Bitcoin is the first successful internet money based on peer-to-peer technology; whereby no central bank or authority is involved in the transaction and production of the Bitcoin currency. It was created by an anonymous individual/group under the name, Satoshi Nakamoto. The source code is available publicly as an open source project, anybody can look at it and be part of the developmental process. Bitcoin is changing the way we see money as we speak. The idea was to produce a means of exchange, independent of any central authority, that could be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable and immutable way. It is a decentralized peer-to-peer internet currency making mobile payment easy, very low transaction fees, protects your identity, and it works anywhere all the time with no central authority and banks. Bitcoin is design to have only 21 million BTC ever created, thus making it a deflationary currency. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm with an average transaction confirmation time of 10 minutes. Miners today are mining Bitcoin using ASIC chip dedicated to only mining Bitcoin, and the hash rate has shot up to peta hashes. Being the first successful online cryptography currency, Bitcoin has inspired other alternative currencies such as Litecoin, Peercoin, Primecoin, and so on. The cryptocurrency then took off with the innovation of the turing-complete smart contract by Ethereum which led to the development of other amazing projects such as EOS, Tron, and even crypto-collectibles such as CryptoKitties.
Ethereum is a smart contract platform that enables developers to build tokens and decentralized applications (dapps). ETH is the native currency for the Ethereum platform and also works as the transaction fees to miners on the Ethereum network. Ethereum is the pioneer for blockchain based smart contracts. Smart contract is essentially a computer code that runs exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. It can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific conditions are met. Ethereum allows programmers to run complete-turing smart contracts that is capable of any customizations. Rather than giving a set of limited operations, Ethereum allows developers to have complete control over customization of their smart contract, giving developers the power to build unique and innovative applications. Ethereum being the first blockchain based smart contract platform, they have gained much popularity, resulting in new competitors fighting for market share. The competitors includes: Ethereum Classic which is the oldchain of Ethereum, Qtum, EOS, Neo, Icon, Tron and Cardano. Ethereum wallets are fairly simple to set up with multiple popular choices such as myetherwallet, metamask, and Trezor. Read here for more guide on using ethereum wallet: How to Use an Ethereum Wallet