Founder Vitalik Buterin Reveals How Ethereum Got Its Name

By Ibiam Wayas June 05, 2021 In Crypto News, Ethereum

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, came across the term “Ether” (also written as aether) on Wikipedia while searching for science fiction-themed words as he wrote his whitepaper. 

Ether From Medieval Science

Ether is a common term from ancient and medieval science and was used in various theories to explain several natural phenomena, such as gravity and the travelling of light. However, there was no hard evidence to back ether being a medium through which light can travel. Scientists in the late 19th century postulated that ether was transparent, frictionless and weightless, and that it permeated all matter and space. 

South American-born crypto journalist and founder of DeFi newsletter The Defiant, Camila Russo, detailed in her 2020 book The Infinite Machine that the name of the second-largest blockchain network, Ethereum, was coined from a medieval scientific theory. As Ethereum was developed to be an imperceptible medium for every decentralised application, it’s worth mentioning that the blockchain is fairly living up to that. 

Ether is Still Relevant in Crypto

Although the concept of ether posed by medieval scientists has been dismissed, Buterin still chose the term for the blockchain network as he appreciates the assumed properties of ether. 


Vitalik wanted his platform to be the underlying and imperceptible medium for every application, just what medieval scientists thought ether was. […] Plus, it sounded nice.

Camila Russo

Buterin came up with “Ethereum” for the blockchain network, while “Ether” refers to the native cryptocurrency (ie, ETH). Since its inception in 2015, Ethereum has grown to become one of the core pillars of cryptocurrency. Several projects have been built on the network, and still counting. 

Despite the fact that Ethereum has scalability issues, many experts believe the network still has more to offer, especially with Ethereum 2.0 under way.

Vitalik owns over US$1 billion dollars worth of ETH and has also recently been in battle with Elon Musk over scaling transactions on Dogecoin and how he thinks it’s a flawed idea.

Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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