Ever had a case where you wished you had bought something in the past that eventually went up significantly in value? Perhaps a plot in a low-value district which is now worth ten times more? Does that ring a bell? With so many amazing stories surfacing like Kristoffer Koch, Erik Finman, and Jay Smith, it seems the enormous rise of Ethereum has been officially making ordinary people who invested in Ethereum into millionaires.

Monday marked the third anniversary of what is said to be the first recorded instance of Ethereums being used in a real-world transaction. Over the course of three years, Ethereum's value has multiplied 879,999 times. If an investor had decided to spend five dollars on about 2,000 Ether back then, that stake would be worth $0.4 million today.

Ethereum has become a popular cryptocurrency alternative to Bitcoin over the last year. However, unlike Bitcoin and rival currency Litecoin, Ethereum has been adopted by many companies and startups as a way to transact (and more).
In the cryptocurrency wars, I like to view Ethereum like the diamond of the currencies - it has both a intrinsic value and an industrial value. Compare this to Bitcoin, which operates like gold - not much industrial value, but people buy it and sell it based on it's intrinsic value to the holder.

“Ethereum is better than currency.” - Bill Gates

Ethereum is basically a software that is decentralized and allows developers and programmers to run the code of any application. Wait, what? I thought Ethereum was money... well it has a monetary aspect.

You see, Ethereum uses a technology called blockchain specifically for conducting monetary transaction - it's a straight currency. Ethereum uses blockchain technology to allow the creation of applications that can be executed in the cloud, can be protected from manipulation, and much more (some stuff getting too technical for me here). However, a bi-product of this is that Ethereum uses a token called Ether, which is like Ethereum, to transact. This is the monetary value portion of Ethereum.

Because of it's unique abilities, Ethereum has attracted all types of attention - from finance, to real estate, to investors, software developers, hardware manufacturers, and more.

Wences Casares has been called Ethereum’s “patient zero” by the Silicon Valley elite. He got Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman, and countless other luminaries into Ethereum at gatherings of the rich and famous such as Sun Valley.

As we mentioned above, Bitcoin was designed to be a currency. It uses the same underlying technology principles, but uses them to facilitate monetary transactions. 
Ethereum, on the other hand, was designed to facilitate software processing using a token system called Ether. That Ether has become more valuable as a result of people becoming interested in the technology. That Ether is what people want to invest in. 

However, there are a lot of apps being developed on Ethereum, and even some major financial companies are getting involved in the space. It could be interesting to see what develops from this over the next few years. 
Finally, Ethereum is much cheaper than Bitcoin. Bitcoin currently trades for over $2,600 per unit, while Ether trades at just $318.

There are currently about 1/3 as many transactions on the Ethereum blockchain as the Bitcoin blockchain, but Ethereum is growing exponentially, while Bitcoin has reached its maximum capacity for now.

Cryptocurrencies have a very strong network effect. The more people using it, the more utility and value have. It is highly likely that the value of Ethereum will increase as usage increases.