Introducing Ethereum

Wait, wait, wait. Before introducing Ethereum it's important to introduce who we think you are. This context sets up the course and whether it's right for you.

You are a "software security person", sometimes also called application security or product security. You understand risks to web apps and test them. This doesn't have to be penetration testing.

Okay great. Now on to Ethereum. One way to introduce the system is through metaphors and babyspeak (!!).

World computer

Ethereum is a lot of different computers around the world working together as a big computer.

People write smart contracts and give them to the big world computer, which become its programs.

The world computer, believe it or not, runs on gas. When your smart contract program executes it burns some gas. As a responsible owner you pay for gas and put it into the world computer to use.

Since the world computer is open to anyone, other people might use some of their gas to try your smart contract program too.


From a security perspective, each smart contract is like a piñata.

It might be empty or full of candy/Ether/tokens or somewhere in between.

Some piñatas are built better than others.

But remember, when you put your contract/piñata out on the Ethereum mainnet, anyone can take a whack at it!

Required reading

To continue learning about Ethereum, we ask that you read through the following, in the order listed.

There is some redundancy across this content and that's intentional.

Optional/additional reading