If you think the world of cryptocurrency is limited only to Bitcoin, you are mistaken. There are a number of other digital currency systems currently in operation. One of these is called Ethereum, which is self-described as:
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.
These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middle man or counterparty risk.
Ether is the appropriately named currency of the Ethereum network. Cryptocurrency trading company Coinbase recently added support for Ether. Coinbase users can buy, sell, and trade Ether directly from their Coinbase accounts:
In May, we added Ethereum trading on GDAX, our professional digital asset exchange. With the addition of Ethereum on Coinbase, consumers in 32 countries can acquire Ether and take part in an open financial system facilitated by Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Honestly, I don’t really understand any of this. But if you want to learn more about Ethereum, Coinbase has posted a helpful information page that may (?) provide some clarity.