Ethereum is a new database technology similar to the blockchain that underpins the digital currency bitcoin. Its essentially a shared, secured ledger of transactions, and its advantage is that it cant be easily modified.
The heart of the Blockchain validation technology is a Smart Contract -- A set of rules in the form of programmable constructs that are capable of automatically enforcing themselves when predefined conditions are met.
This year will bring a needed dose of reality. It might even herald a shake-out of an increasingly over-hyped sector as the banking industry tries to get myriad projects out of the lab and into the real world.