🤔 Wait, WTF is Ethereum?
I won’t be going into Merkle trees, hashes, mining & how it all fits to make up the blockchain because there are plenty of existing materials explaining this. What I want to do here is give a high-level overview of the importance of this technology.
One of the main breakthroughs that Bitcoin made was to enable scarcity in the digital realm. Whereas previously, anything digital could just be copied & pasted - bitcoin couldn't.
Combined with the fact that it has no admin that can just decide to mint more coins outside the prescribed rules of the game, seize your funds or alter the history; it made bitcoin the first global currency that isn’t issued by any nation-state.
But, you know, it's still just a currency. You can send it, you can receive it, but that’s about it. Then along came a young wizard named Vitalik, thinking something like: “We should take this blockchain thing & allow people to program it to do anything.”
Now we have what is basically an admin-less database, able to run any arbitrary function. This allows us to build a data infrastructure layer that isn’t controlled by any centralized entity. These so-called smart-contracts allow you to enter agreements & exchange value with strangers, resting assured they can’t screw you over.
Do you see how powerful this is?
The inability to make databases talk to each other enabled centralized middlemen such as Visa to sweep in, monopolize and start taking something like 1.5% off each transaction for being the global settlement layer between bank accounts; Paypal did the same for the online realm.
These were necessary evils; no longer necessary. Running on Ethereum, services of the future will not only be interoperable but composable. Imagine talking to your friends, ordering a new laptop & investing; all through a single interface.
You will often hear us refer to this whole space as Web3 - the next era of the internet. While the Web2 era was dominated by huge centralized service providers such as Amazon, Facebook & Uber, the promise of Web3 is an internet of decentralized peer-to-peer protocols, platforms & applications; tokenized & in the hands of their users.
"Ethereum is a game-changing technology." - Virgil Griffith
- There are no administrators in the Ethereum network.
- The ledger contains a full history of all the changes that ever happened.
- This allows us to have a source of truth we can be sure hasn’t been tampered with.
- This single database that can’t be hijacked or coerced allows people who don’t trust each other to exchange value and build decentralized, interoperable applications & organizations.
🧐 Understanding Ethereum
Tbh nowadays it’s hard to beat Ethereum.org as your go-to place for learning about Ethereum.
- Programmable Blockchains in Context
- Ethereum is a game-changing technology
- Ethereum: The World’s Computer
- Edward Snowden Explains Blockchains
- The last blockchain explainer you’ll ever need (video)
- Ethereum in 25 Minutes (video)
- Ethereum Wiki
- EthHub (Ethereum wiki)
- Week in Ethereum News
- EthHub Newsletter
- Ethereum Cat Herders (development)
- Ethereum Foundation Blog
- r/Ethereum & r/ethdev (subreddits)
- Into the Ether (podcast)
- Etherean.org (blog)
- BanklessHQ guide to Bankless (an epic guide)
- Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians
- [ETH research](https://ethresear.ch
- MetaCartel DAO
- Ethereum Hackers
- ETH Network
- The Ether
- For a longer list, visit Ethereum.org
Areas of Interest
The real question is not “What is Ethereum?” but “What can we do with it?” We split it into three main areas of interest. Brief for now, because each deserves its own page.
- The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum
- Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and DApps
- Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed
💰 Obtaining Ether
There are essentially two ways of obtaining Ether; buying it & earning it.
- You can buy it from some of the most well-known exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase, Gemini, or Kraken.
- If you want a more decentralized way of buying it, go through Local Cryptos.
- And if you want an easy way to buy it in Europe, you can use Ramp Network.
- Gitcoin is probably the most well-known place to earn it.
- You can participate in hackathons, start your own project, ask for grants & eventually raise money from DAOs or the crowd.
- Find work by applying for jobs or joining DAOs such as MetaGame, Raid Guild, or 1Hive.
There are a bunch of wallets to choose from. Your decision will mainly depend on whether you are optimizing for security or accessibility.
- If you want accessibility:
- If you want security:
- Note: Whichever way you choose, you’ll likely need to store what we call a seed phrase. This is the most important bit. There are many ways to do it.
- **NOTE: TAKE IT REALLY SERIOUSLY. STORE YOUR SEED PHRASE PHYSICALLY, NEVER COPY, PASTE OR ENTER IT ANYWHERE NEW
Layer 2 How-To
Layer 2 is a collective term for solutions designed to help scale your application by handling transactions off the main Ethereum chain (layer 1).
- Understand why layer 2 scaling is needed and learn about the different types of Layer 2 solutions.
- Read more about the State of Layer 2s as they are currently.
- Instructions to set up xDAI for MetaMask so that you can interact with the xDAI Layer.
- How to use the xDAI bridge to transfer assets from / to Ethereum mainnet.
- Get a bit of xDAI to get you started at the xDAI faucet.
- How to configure Matic (Polygon) for MetaMask to interact with dApps on Matic (Polygon).
⚠️ 🚨 Safety on Ethereum 🚨 ⚠️
A little anecdotal intro to being safe on Ethereum and crypto in general...
😱 Wait, WTF?! You got hacked?! ⚠️
A week ago I was excited to be onboarding my girlfriend into crypto...sending some SEED to her new wallet. 5 minutes after sending her some ETH from my mobile, 5 hours after receiving my SEED for November, I'd been hacked and lost most of my SEED and some other tokens that I've been HODLing to feck for months. 😱 I let my guard down and my precious SEED drained within seconds. She never got her SEED. Tokens from two of my Metamask wallets sold in minutes by a bot. The source of this rancid event? It seems it was a Metamask (Beta) app update pushed as a 'manual update' from the Huawei app store. 😱 I don't remember signing myself up for the 'beta' program.
I was being lazy and thought I'd make a transfer using the Metamask app but had to add my wallet again after re-installing. I was distracted and missed subtle differences in the app I downloaded and the authentic app. The authentic app didn't ask for the seed phrase, but the compromised app had the seed phrase as the only option. The interface was the same but once I'd entered the seed phrase, the screen I expected was actually a badly rendered webpage with a random wallet address and a bunch of dead links. By the time I'd removed the app and checked my wallets in the browser and Etherscan, everything but my pooled tokens were being sold, from two wallets. My Ledger wallet that had been linked to Metamask was untouched.
70% of the crypto I have worked hard for and invested my hard-earned cash into over several months...gone before you could say "Justin Sun".
My mistake was to use my mobile device to interact with my crypto and I let my guard down in an exciting moment. I thought I was pretty savvy with OpSec and work in development, so I'm not a novice with tech and I've survived years without falling for this shit. I am now mainly using my hardware wallet and will be getting a new one for cold storage and will be upping my OpSec.
Please be careful out there and protect your SEED!!! ⚔️💜🌱💜⚔️
I was so glad to be part of MetaFam and be able to talk to people who were able to help me manage the situation and recover my LP tokens and ENS when I had a bit of a melt down. 🙏🏻
How to avoid getting fUx0r3d...
This subject deserves a page to itself and I have taken waaay long enough to get round to adding this little bit to the wiki, so here's a solid resource for looking after yourself and your assets in Web3. If you have any good tips, please suggest them in Discord, or submit a PR.
🦊 Metamask/Web3/Browser specific precautions 👀
These MM specific tips came from our very own Saimano. 🙏🏻
- If you are using @metamask_io extension, do not install any other extensions in the same browser. Some 3rd party extensions can screen read, view & manage browser stuff.
- Lock your metamask when not needed & check for which sites have been granted access to your account at times & revoke unnecessary ones.
- Have some browser discipline & use different browser for different types of activities. Have a separate browser for #web3 with metamask alone (recommend @brave). Turn on shields whenever possible.
- Review your browser security & privacy settings when installed. Don't use password managers if possible (especially in the browser where metamask is installed) Don't use multiple web3 wallets in a same browser.
- Don't store or save your seed phrases in any digital services. Write it down somewhere safe or use @argentHQ for better security.
- Cleanup your browser history & cache at some frequency to remove the clutter & unwanted caching of data + cookies.
- Most important of all, think before proceeding to a website & allowing access to your account. Don't ignore security warnings from your browser.
- Don't import your wallet in whatever wallet providers you come across. Limit yourself to a max of 3 providers.
- Try not to use mobile phones for web3 activities as of now if possible. It's easier to backdoor mobiles than a PC. **Don't use APKs to install applications on your mobile.**
- Have separate wallets for various usecases (to hold funds, to participate in a DAO, to invest & to experiment)
- Be super vigilant. Don't let your guard down, even in a rush.