Ethereum's proof of work algorithm does not make use of Scrypt or Sha256, instead, it leverages EtHash, a Hashimoto / Dagger hybrid. You can read all about the theory behind this and its design in the Ethereum gitBook, mining chapter. Note that for Serenity (a future release, a major milestone on the Ethereum development roadmap) we are planning to switch to Proof of Stake (PoS).
The rapid price increase of Ethereum has not only attracted investors but developers too. Ethereum has tens of thousands of developers in its open source community, each contributing to the many layers of the “Ethereum stack”. This includes code contributions to the core Ethereum clients, second layer scaling tech and the “decentralized applications” (dApps) that are built on top of the platform. The appeal of Ethereum to developers is unique in that it was the first platform to allow anyone in the world to write and deploy code that would run without the risk of censorship. The community of developers which have formed around these core principles have led to the creation of technologies that could not have existed without the inception of Ethereum, many of which were never predicted. Some of the major use-cases of Ethereum so far have been:

Ether was also hit by the mass sell-off, posting a 10.5 percent loss as of writing with the downward trend in ETH looking to test $180 and below. As Ethereum’s price continues to slip relative to that of Bitcoin, more analysts are pointing out the drying Initial Coin Offering marketplace as a possible indication for ETH’s ongoing price struggles. Throughout 2017 and the beginning of this year, ICOs almost entirely relied upon the ERC-20 token as their model for development and launch.

Never a dull moment – With swings of over 10% in a matter of hours, this volatile market should give you the chance to find traceable action, and a potential profit for a savvy bitcoin day trader. Put simply – it’s an exciting market to day trade in. So unless you hand over your trust to a  day trading bitcoin bot, you’ll have fun glued to the screen.
It is possible that the Ethereum Platform will not be used by a large number of external businesses, individuals, and other organizations and that there will be limited public interest in the creation and development of distributed applications. Such a lack of interest could impact the development of the Ethereum Platform and potential uses of ETH. It cannot predict the success of its own development efforts or the efforts of other third parties.