Everybody uses the Internet to exchange information but with the blockchain we can exchange and transact value and make contracts about how this is done.
Ethereum is a public blockchain that provides a decentralized virtual machine that can execute peer-to-peer contracts using a cryptocurrency called ether.
Time to experience Ethereum for yourself in a safe test environment.
The first step is to download Mist. Mist is a “wallet/browser” used to store ether and interact with Ethereum contracts. It is easy to use and you don’t have to be a developer or write any code. It will take about 5 minutes to set up the wallet but about 1 hour to sync to the network and about another hour to successfully mine some test ethers.
Step 1: Download Mist
Go to https://github.com/ethereum/mist/releases and find the latest version to download for your system. You will see a number of options for downloading. Choose the one which is right for your device. For example, if you are using the Windows platform and have a 64 bit machine you will choose Etherium-Wallet-win64-0-7-5.zip
Step 2: Installation
At this point you will be shown a screen that asks you whether you want to connect to the ‘real’, main network or the test network.
Use the TEST NETWORK as this will allow you to very quickly generate test ether and freely experiment without the fear of losing real money.
Next select your password.
And before you know it, you’re done.
Your Mist wallet/browser should look like this:
Note that I’m on TEST-NET, I have zero ether in my MAIN ACCOUNT and the wallet is still synchronizing. (Which means it is still downloading the entire Ethereum blockchain). Coffee time!
Step 3: Get some test ether
Now that you have the wallet and it’s up to date, the final step is to get some ether to play with. Go to Develop > Start Mining and go get another coffee.
It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour before you can see the following:
The process is quite straight forward and most of the time is spent downloading the blockchain and mining some test ether.