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What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized 'smart contract' platform, and is said to be the first Turing Complete1 blockchain. In addition to executing payment-style transactions like Bitcoin, arbitrary code (programs) can be run on Ethereum. This opens the possibility for decentralized applications and organizations and offers a rich programming environment for developers when compared to earlier blockchains. Key trade-offs include a larger 'attack surface', and more difficult long-term scaling considerations.

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Ethereum Supply Snapshot

Current supply


Y2050 supply (est.)


% Y2050 Issued



Low inflation


Switch to PoS expected at ~100m coins; 0.5-2% PoS emission thereafter.

Distribution method

Proof-of-Work initally, Proof-of-Stake ultimately

Estimated supply at PoS introduction


Estimated date of PoS introduction

~2019. See details.

Eventual PoS issuance

0.5%-2.00%, see details.

Ongoing emission type



Decaying emission, then PoS constant inflation

Supply Details

To date, the Ethereum community has prioritized various system properties over producing a concrete monetary policy, but there's nevertheless some rough consensus on what eventual monetary policy will look like. Further, it is expected that with upcoming system upgrades, various aspects of monetary policy will be finalized.

The consensus today is that Ethereum will move to Proof-of-Stake issuance in the next 2 years1 or so, at which point roughly 100 million ETH2 will have been mined. It is not well-defined what the issuance rate will be after the switchover to Proof-of-Stake, but the range of 0.5%-2% has been targeted3. Note that this perpetual inflation will accrue proportionally to existing ETH holders who decide to let their ETH participate in new-block 'validation'. Critically, from an investment perspective, this means that existing holders can prevent dilution without having to explicitly purchase new coins.


1: comments on Casper & sharding timeline
Vitalik Buterin states that sharding is roughly 3-5 years away, and that Casper (full proof-of-stake) will be released well before sharding. OnChain Finance therefore estimates Casper release at roughly mid 2019.

2: proof of work issuance table
From this table, it's clear that Ethereum's proof-of-work generated supply will likely be around 97million when proof-of-stake is released.

3: Vitalik Buterin on Casper inflation rate

Ethereum & Related News