The new kid on the block – Ethereum Introduced (IPO Feb 1)

All the buzz in the last few weeks in the crypto-currency space is about Ethereum, a “Turing complete crypto-currency”. Let me TL;DR wtf that is (and I’m by no means an Ethereum expert, so don’t quote me on this):

Ethereum is a “Minecraft for money”. It’s a new raw protocol that allows people to build arbitrarily complicated financial scripts and treat these scripts as first class citizens. In Bitcoin, you can send money to an address, that’s easy. A less-known fact about Bitcoin is that you can send money to a script, e.g. a 3-out-of-5 “multisig” script, that requires a signature from at least three people in order to spend.

Bitcoin scripts are deliberately not Turing complete – you want scripts to be very easy to compute and verify – the last thing you want would be someone spamming the network with high fee transactions to a script that is a hidden infinite loop, causing miners and users to overwork their CPU.

I’m not going to go into the details (see the spec, I’ve asked them to prepare a TL;DR and an FAQ). After the last year, in which we saw interesting launches of “Second generation crypto-currencies” such as Mastercoin, ProtoShares, Nxt and others”, everybody’s looking for “the next best thing”. Ethereum is an innovative project with very high ambitions – think of it as a commercial attempt to develop javascript 20 years ago. If it works, the ecosystem this will create can be huge. However, they do face tremendous risk as far as execution and complexity of the project. Add to it an extreme hype that’s generated right now, and it adds to a very risky investment (they are IPO-ing on Feb 1st).

So my TL;DR – I don’t know. When Mastercoin came out August 1st 2013, it was the first second generation crypto-currency, and this is why I posted a buy recommendation that turned out to give a more than X10 profit. Ethereum’s timing is different, for good and bad – they’re getting a lot of attention which is great for them, but it might also mean an over-priced IPO.

Go do your own homework! Follow these links, engage the community, and make up your own mind. I wish them a successful IPO.