Ethereum is a decentralized development platform that uses blockchain technology. It was created to allow others to build applications, cryptocurrencies, tokens, or other use cases that can benefit from distributed and secured databases.
You can tokenize nearly anything—information like passwords, personal data, finances, real estate, debt, and much more—into databases. When something is tokenized on a secured database like a blockchain, ownership can be secured and tracked through cryptographic techniques. A blockchain creates cryptographic snapshots of an entire database and includes them in each new block so that the blocks in the chain cannot be altered.
Ethereum operates like a distributed computer with the operating system running on machines (called nodes) worldwide. For this reason, it is called the Ethereum Virtual Machine because anything can be designed to run on it to take advantage of blockchain technology. The long-term goal is to connect everyone via this virtual machine and provide infrastructure to people everywhere. As a result, no single entity would have control over or access to anyone’s personal data or other information, and it would therefore be much less vulnerable to hacks or shutdowns.