The blockchain paradigm when coupled with cryptographically-secured transactions has demonstrated its utility through a number of projects, with Bitcoin being one of the most notable ones. Each such project can be seen as a simple application on a decentralised, but singleton, compute resource. We can call this paradigm a transactional singleton machine with shared-state. Ethereum implements this paradigm in a generalised manner. Furthermore it provides a plurality of such resources, each with a distinct state and operating code but able to interact through a message-passing framework with others. We discuss its design, implementation issues, the opportunities it provides and the future hurdles we envisage.

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