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I'm looking at: https://ethereum.org/en/wallets/find-wallet/

After spending a very long time going through every single link on that webpage, I have been forced to conclude that there is no actual decentralized application that you can install and run, which doesn't force me to use some spyware browser and install an "extension", and doesn't just ask me to "log in" to some centralized account.

Somebody will likely link me to some GitHub repository, claiming that there are indeed actual downloadable applications for Ethereum. However, I am aware of those two ones, and my point is:

  1. They are not listed or even mentioned at all on the Ethereum "portal" website (the URL I linked to), which in practice is seen as the official website for Ethereum. Why is that?
  2. They are written in "Golang" and "Rust", which are extremely dubious programming languages controlled by entities who are violently against any kind of privacy or power to the individual. The previously existing C++-based Ethereum client's website just auto-redirects back to Ethereum.org without explanation.

I'm not saying that I think that Ethereum is a scam or "troll" project, but honestly, I don't know what to think at this point when it doesn't appear to have an actual program to use and can be trusted, or, if it does, they are apparently ashamed of linking to it for whatever reason?

Can somebody please explain to me why exactly this is? I feel as if somebody is pranking me, but the price of an Ether seems way too high for that to be the case. And I've heard it mentioned so many times now in relation to Bitcoin that I (pretty much) have to rule this out. Still, it's a fact that there is literally no way for me to actually use it! I find this puzzling to say the least.

All I want is something like "Ethereum Core", which would be a Windows EXE (and macOS, and Linux) which I install and which loads up some kind of minimal GUI where I can back up my Ethereum wallet/private keys and can do the same basic tasks as with Bitcoin on Bitcoin Core. I also expect it to have some kind of "wizard" to "create new smart contract" or similar, since this has been touted as a major feature of Ethereum (even though Bitcoin also has had them since the very start). In other words: a basic/reference implementation. An actual client to use to interact with the Ethereum network which supposedly exists and has tons of users somehow, in spite of this.

Is Ethereum really exclusively for those who are somehow able to trust centralized entities (which obviously goes completely against the whole point of decentralization...) and/or are comfortable with running spyware such as Chrome or Firefox and installing extensions into those for Ethereum support? That doesn't sound right at all.

The things allegedly enabled by Ethereum excite me a lot, and the reason I'm asking this is because I genuinely want it to be a thing. However, I just don't see how. There really appears to be nothing concrete for me to bite into, and I don't understand how other "power users" or "Bitcoin veterans" are using it.

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Just to clear up the non-speculative parts of your question:

...there is no actual decentralized application that you can install and run,...

Of the listed wallets, MyCrypto and MyEtherWallet certainly have standalone, non-browser, non-browser-extension packages that you can download and run offline (air-gapped, if you wish), and which will generate you a private key and wallet.

I imagine some of the others do, too.

They are not listed or even mentioned at all on the Ethereum "portal" website (the URL I linked to), which in practice is seen as the official website for Ethereum. Why is that?

They used to be detailed on the main front page, but it became clear that running a client isn't necessarily what people wanted to do. The needs of the many, and all that.

They are written in "Golang" and "Rust", which are extremely dubious programming languages controlled by entities who are violently against any kind of privacy or power to the individual. The previously existing C++-based Ethereum client's website just auto-redirects back to Ethereum.org without explanation.

Aleth, the C++ client, had a small userbase, and I believe official support was dropped for the Go implementation. It's open-source, and still exists, should the wider world deem it worth resurrecting. https://github.com/ethereum/aleth

The site that you were looking at has a developer section, which helps describe how to run your own client. The following page section lists the available clients and the languages they're written in: https://ethereum.org/en/developers/docs/nodes-and-clients/#clients (You have a choice of Go, Rust, C#/.NET, Java, Python.)

Aside: Go (golang) is open-source. If someone doesn't trust the reference implementation, they can write their own with reference to the grammar specification.

Aside #2: Rust is effectively memory-safe C++. It's also on a fairly permissive MIT licence, so again, anyone could write their own implementation if they don't trust the reference.

it doesn't appear to have an actual program to use and can be trusted

The instructions for how to run your own client are linked on the page I mentioned above. (https://ethereum.org/en/developers/docs/nodes-and-clients/#top)

Can somebody please explain to me why exactly this is?

See this previous Stack Exchange question: How would I explain Ethereum to a non-technical friend?

All I want is something like "Ethereum Core"...

Again, this used to exist as Mist and the Ethereum Wallet. And again, they were dropped because no one used them and there were better (decentralised) third-party alternatives. The market spoke, people used the best available tools.

I also expect it to have some kind of "wizard" to "create new smart contract" or similar, since this has been touted as a major feature of Ethereum (even though Bitcoin also has had them since the very start).

Bitcoin doesn't have native smart contracts, it has Script, which has its uses, but is limited in its scope. (Push-ing and pop-ing opcodes off a stack quickly gets tiresome.) Rootstock is a third-party smart contract layer built on Bitcoin - I'm unsure of its current status.

Ethereum smart contracts are written in Solidity (docs) or Vyper (docs). There are instructions on those pages.

and/or are comfortable with running spyware such as Chrome or Firefox

A proportion of the community uses the Brave Browser, which is open-source (MPL licence). Chromium, the open-source basis of Chrome (MIT licence), can also be used to run any browser extensions you might choose to run, such as Metamask (also open-source).

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