By Gabriel Onyango
The price of one ether is sh72, 692 (at the time of publication of this article), however, the most impressive thing about ether is not the price tag but the reason behind its innovation. Ether is not really a means of payment like bitcoin, but a fuel, a means of buying services in something called the ethereum network that enables making of computer applications, which no one has absolute control over.
To understand ether, we need to go to the very beginning of the internet, which was invented to allow computers to communicate with each other. As the web has grown, things like websites (Dhahabu, Wikipedia), applications (Uber, WhatsApp), services (Gmail, cloud storage) all function and store information in the machines (server) of a third party service provider. As more people use these services, these third party service providers consolidate influence in the internet and if they decide to, can delete, change, abuse information.
As a way to decentralize the internet, the ethereum network – numerous computers distributed throughout the world, was launched in 2014 by Vitalik Buterin. The computational power comes from miners computers and ether is their reward for working in the network. To run or create something in the network, ether is what is needed to finance the computational resources needed to run an app or a program and the computers in the network have to all agree to dedicate their computational power to do it.
Because of this nature, data stored in the ethereum network cannot be changed and allows for development of decentralized applications, that run on the network instead of on machines belonging to third party service providers. Currently services and platforms on the internet can sensor and delete accounts of users if need be, but on the ethereum network, not even they can change data once it’s on the network.
When you decide to buy ether you are simply holding on to the currency that some computer developer somewhere is going to need to work in the ethereum network and that is where its value comes from. The more developers decide to do on the network the more valuable it becomes but most buyers or sellers don’t know the ether they hold is a foundation in running a service they use every day.
If you want to trade ether in Kenya, a few sites like localethereum.com and spectrocoin.com allow so but, once bought the ether needs to be securely stored in a wallet e.g. Exodus, Jaxx and MyEtherWallet, use unique passwords to avoid security breaches.