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If you've been following recent coverage of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, you've probably seen coverage of Ethereum. Although the Ethereum project has only been around for a couple of years.

Ethereum has two parts. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a cryptocurrency. (Technically, the cryptocurrency is called "Ether," but a lot of people refer to it as "Ethereum.") Currently, Ethereum has the second highest market cap of any cryptocurrency (behind Bitcoin), and its price has been rising very quickly.

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum is also a platform for smart contracts. It offers a way for organizations or individuals to enter into contracts that are automatically fulfilled when certain conditions are met without a bank or other financial service acting as an intermediary.

Because of this smart contract capability, Ethereum has getting interest from enterprises and some of the world's largest financial institution. And that in turn has some observers speculating that Ethereum could eventually eclipse Bitcoin as the most popular — and most valuable — cryptocurrency.

That potential has led to growing interest in Ethereum mining.

Go now to: Ethereum Mining: Getting Started - Datamation