There are indeed many opportunities where Smart contracts can reduce the analog friction that is present with the current ownership of equity. The most obvious use case is of course the instant transfer of ownership that is paired with low costs and speed, due to cutting out the intermediaries and wet signatures. However, from there it's easy to go a step ...
If all profits and losses are on the blockchain then everything can easily be managed with smart contracts. For example boardroom provides tools for governance of Daos and it is a simple matter to write a contract that disperses funds to different parties . However where it gets challenging is the interface with the 'real world' legal system. As far as I'm ...
In Ethereum they are commonly referred to as tokens. Here's the official guide: https://ethereum.org/token. It is very thorough and should answer all your questions.
On the technical side, this is the EIP discussing an official API for all token contracts: https://github.com/ethereum/EIPs/issues/20
Interestingly I haven't found a proper answer on ...
The question is too broad.
An ERC20 token gives you the accounting and transferability as well as compatibility with wallets and exchanges.
In theory, you can sell the tokens for money if anyone will buy them. Why would they? It's not a rhetorical question.
This is an economics, mechanism-design question. It's a little too broad to describe ...
For those who haven't seen it, the PDF of the Terms and Conditions of the Ethereum Genesis Sale can be found here. (See the parent pdf directory for more gems.)
On page 8 of the document:
In addition to the Genesis Sale Quantity of ETH, the pre-mining
process will create and place a second pool of ETH in the Genesis
Block. This second pool of ETH ...
This is normal and due to the mining difficulty rising in response to the additional hashpower being pointed at Ethereum.
As Ethereum becomes more and more profitable to mine, the additional miners make it harder (more difficult) for other miners in the network to find shares.