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

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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.
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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.

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And before you know it, you’re done.

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Your Mist wallet/browser should look like this:

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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.

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It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour before you can see the following:

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The process is quite straight forward and most of the time is spent downloading the blockchain and mining some test ether.

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