Ethereum is becoming more popular as the ecosystem continually expands. More people are onboarding themselves, especially with the rising price of Ether (ETH) helping to spread the word. The problem is Ethereum has always been a bit… ethereal. If you’re looking to get involved with Ethereum, here’s how.
If you’re a Developer…
Learn Solidity. Solidity is a programming language used to write executable distributed code contracts (EDCCs). Solidity programmers will be in high demand as blockchain technology continues to disrupt markets. If you’re looking for good pay and steady employment, consider learning how to code EDCCs. (And please, please learn industry standard best practices. It’s integral to the security of your code and the perceived stability of the entire network.)
Launch your own coin (aka an ERC20 token). Creating your own virtual currency isn’t actually as hard as it sounds. It’s mostly just copying and pasting open source code. The hard part is getting your coin to have any value. Tokens are generally used as markers of membership in a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) or as the currency that powers a specific project or Dapp (distributed application). Without a strong reason behind a token’s existence, it’s not likely to see any investment or adoption, and therefore will only have what value you personally put into it.
Become a bug bounty hunter. Many projects, from their early stages straight through their launches, have bug bounty programs. This usually involves reviewing open source code on GitHub. If you find a bug, you are rewarded for your White-Hat efforts, usually with an amount of cryptocurrency in line with the severity of the bug you found. Blockchain tech developers take security very seriously, and as such, often pay very well when bugs are discovered, and even more so if a solution is presented in an intelligible manner.
If you’re an Investor…
Buy Ether (ETH). [This does not constitute investment advice; it’s simply a way an investor can become involved with Ethereum.] Injecting money into the ecosystem benefits Ethereum. The more Ether is worth, the longer the Ethereum Foundation can continue to employ some of the world’s most innovative computer scientists, developers, and game theorists. Crypto investments come with high volatility, but as such, that increased risk can lead to a higher rate of return on your investment. General advice: don’t invest more than what you’re comfortable losing.
Participate in an ICO. Many Ethereum-based projects crowdfund themselves with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). This is where you can actively invest in projects you believe in, by picking up their tokens during their first public offerings. There are different ways companies run their ICOs, and it’s very, very important to do your due diligence and make sure you’re fully aware of what you’re getting into.
Provide market analysis. Do you love looking at candlestick charts? Do you understand the relationship between price swings and the speculated reasons behind them? Then let your opinion be heard. You could start a blog on Medium and share it on reddit.
Fund a startup. This isn’t like participating in an ICO, this is even earlier funding, requiring you to do some real investigative work, as well as risk a fair amount of money on something that’s little more than a concept. Dig around the internet for early-stage projects or concepts that excite you and seed them (if you have enough money to fund a garage-worth of independent developers). There are lots of great ideas out there that simply need backing. Every idea is a potential opportunity. With Ethereum’s ability to crowdfund projects without the need for a middleman, you can know exactly where your money is going.
If you’re an Advocate…
Spread the word. Share this story. It’s an easy way an Ethereum fan can help grow the ecosystem. Share links to blockchain technology articles you find interesting. Speak to your friends about “the #2 cryptocurrency by market cap” (Ethereum). Have them web search for “Ethereum.”
Could blockchain technology provide benefits or efficiencies to you, your workplace, or your industry? Then speak up; post your thoughts on the Ethereum subreddit; stir up a conversation with like-minded individuals on Facebook and other social networks. Starting the conversation is the first step to the widespread adoption of blockchain technology across multiple industries.
Have an idea/concept/project but know nothing of coding? Form a startup and launch a Dapp. It’s certainly easier said than done, but a good idea can attract talented devs (developers), which can then in turn attract investors. With your guidance, your idea can become a self-sustaining project, brought to life by members of the community.
Host an Ethereum meetup. Find a space where Ethereum fans and supporters can congregate and start networking. While Ethereum is obviously tied to computer culture, face-to-face interactions can lead to strong connections and opportunities you may not have thought about previously.
If you’re just looking to simply Participate…
Run a node. This is one of the easier, yet most active ways to participate in Ethereum, because you’re a part of the network. Your node is just your computer connected to the Ethereum network. In the same way your car isn’t stuck in traffic, you are traffic, by running a node on the Ethereum network, you are literally a part of Ethereum. Ethereum is simply a decentralized network of individuals hosting nodes. The more nodes on the network (with a full copy of the blockchain), the higher the network’s redundancy, and thus, security is improved.
When it comes to running a node, do your research and make sure you’re well informed, so you can confidently install the software required to get on the network. Don’t fear the blockchain. Once you’ve set up your node, it requires little maintenance. Mist is the official Ethereum wallet, and it runs a full node.
Participate in Ethereum-based projects. You could host a node for Golem, helping to run distributed computations for others across the network. Best part is you get paid for your computer’s work. You could also host a Swarm node. This is another form of actively participating in the network, as you’d be helping store pieces of distributed files for others. And you’d also get paid for it as well. Both Golem and Swarm are still in alpha testing, so look out for the beta release, and then an eventual full launch.
Use some Dapps. Just by using existing Dapps, you can help out the Ethereum ecosystem. Try out Dapps you find interesting, and provide feedback to their development teams. Even non-technical feedback is very useful for software engineers. Developers often don’t think in the same way the average user might, so offering feedback/suggestions regarding the user-interface can be invaluable.
No matter who you are, you are welcome to join the Ethereum community. Getting involved is as easy as googling “Ethereum.” Start reading, sharing, and dreaming up all the ways the future is going to be Ethereum powered.