Ethereum Classic is an open source, decentralized, blockchain-based distributed cryptocurrency platform that runs smart contracts. Based on the principle of “Code is Law,” smart contracts are self-executing autonomous digital applications which are capable of running on their own as programmed. Examples of such applications include systems that manage working of the automatic teller machines (ATM) and the bitcoin system
Ethereum Classic facilitates running such smart contracts by offering the benefit of decentralized governance. There is no necessity or possibility of any external interference, monitoring, manipulation, or censoring the working of such applications.
Ethereum Classic emerged as a split version of the Ethereum’s Blockchain, the other being Ethereumitself. The split occurred following a hack on Ethereum in June 2016, where $50 million worth of funds were stolen.
The split was performed to return the stolen funds to their original owners, as per the records prior to the hack. (See more: Ethereum Reaches Consensus to Hard Fork, Fixing DAO Hack.)
This resulted in the hackers’ transaction getting voided, and the fork exercise leading to the two versions existing simultaneously. The newer one was called Ethereum, and the older one was renamed Ethereum Classic.