Ether has a lot in common with the famous digital currency Bitcoin . Both are a purely digital store of value and means of exchange that cannot be counterfeited. Both are implemented so that no one can manipulate the currency supply. Both can be transferred around the world, like email, and in a very final way, like cash. Both have value today because users expect them to have value tomorrow, and because they can do things traditional money can not.
Ethereum’s other half is a complete programming language, sometimes called EtherScript. A programming language is how people tell computers what to do. Computers are not able to guess at what humans really intend, so instructions written in any programming language are precise. There is no ambiguity about how a computer will run a program. Under the same conditions, it will always run the same way. This feature would be great to have in legal contracts and human law. With EtherScript you can write such agreements.
In short, Ethereum is both a digital currency and a programming language. But it is the combination of these ingredients that make it special.
I totally understand people who distrust new technology and the anonymity of the internet. But I don't think extreme skepticism is justified. As some of you might know I am a music producer since 1994. I remember very well all the talks even and especially among the professionals back in 1999/2001. Nobody could imagine that mp3s would be able to kill the CD and drastically change the music market. Today even mp3s are close to dead. People are now streaming music. They don't even pay for it anymore. Maybe a flat-rate but more often they just have to watch a commercial which they can skip away after 4 seconds to listen to the music for free. As a producer and copyright owner you get paid only fractions of a cent these days for any stream/play! Back then many of my producer colleagues were shouting about the low sound quality of digital recordings and we unable to imagine the huge change that was directly upon us. This same denial had been going on when the CD entered the market killing the vinyl in the early 80ies. These experiences have taught me to always be openminded and accept that one of the most important laws in our life is never-ending change. The ones who can adapt are likely the ones who succeed or as Darwin once put it: It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
Today thanks to the internet human knowledge is growing faster than ever before (although we still behave like monkeys). In our digital information age Ethereum has huge potential and could become the new basis for private and public law. We could get rid of all those commissions for lawyers, notaries and banks for example....
My simple point is: Be openminded, take the time to learn more about these exciting new developments. Bitcoin could bring us the long anticipated free market money. Ethererum might be even better. Who knows. Obvisouly don't invest large amounts of money but start very small to learn more about the technology and to get comfortable. You can start with less than $1!!
I am going to track Ethereum as well and will keep you updated.