Vitalik Buterin: Who Is the Man Behind Ethereum?

September 12, 2019

Vitalik Buterin is one of the most influential and recognizable figures in the crypto space. He is a famous co-founder of Ethereum, and the high-profile publication Bitcoin Magazine.

His story begins in the small town of Kolomna in Russia, where Vitalik was born in 1994.

The rough economy situation, however, made his parents emigrated to Canada along with the then 6-year old Vitalik. In Canada, his talent and intelligence were noticed.

One of his favorite childhood toys was Micrososft Excel, and his teachers realized that Vitalik could add up three-digit numbers in his head at twice the speed of his classmates.

Soon, he was placed in a class for gifted children. About that period of his life, Vitalik said:

I remember knowing, for a while, for a long time, that I was kind of abnormal in some sense.

Then, at the age of 17, his journey in the world of cryptocurrency started. This was when Vitalik learned about the concept of bitcoin from his father, who is a successful entrepreneur and angel investor himself.

Vitalik started to write bitcoin-related articles, and to explore the possible use of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrencies.

He realized that bitcoin has its flaws and limitations, so he decided to create something better.

And the rest is history.

Creating Ethereum

Vitalik was one of the first to see the true potential of blockchain technology. He knew that blockchain use goes beyond than just cryptocurrencies. More precisely, it could be used for building decentralized applications.

Ethereum was created to be more than a payment-service provider. Vitalik created smart contracts that are executed on top of the platform, so developers can create real-world applications on top of Ethereum.

Vitalik described the concept of Ethereum in a white paper in 2013, when he was just a teenager.

The potential of his idea was recognized and Vitalik received a Thiel Fellowship in the amount of $100,000. With the fellowship, he was able to drop out of college and completely devote himself to working on Ethereum.

In the summer of 2014, the project held an online public crowd sale where participants could buy Ether with bitcoin.

With the money from Ethereum’s sale, Vitalik founded the Ethereum Foundation in Switzerland. The foundation oversees the development of the platform.

Today, Ethereum is one of the most popular platforms for building decentralized applications and a host to many ICOs:

Initially, I thought that Ethereum was a thing that would be used for people to write simple financial scripts. As it turns out, people are writing stuff like Augur on top of it.

Many of the ICOs and decentralized applications choose to distribute airdrops through Ethereum. In fact, most of the tokens from airdrops are ERC-20 tokens.

Looking to earn more Ether besides airdrops? Have a look at our blog on earning Ethereum & tokens.

Vitalik Buterin today

Vitalik’s activity doesn’t end with the Ethereum project. As a developer, he contributed to other open-source projects such as DarkWallet, Egora, and Bitcoin Python libraries.

He is active on Twitter, and continues to work on improving the Ethereum platform.

Vitalik is also active in philanthropy activities. In 2018, he donated $2.4 million worth of Ether to the SENS Research Foundation for research on rejuvenation biotechnologies.

And, in the same year, he donated $1 million worth of Ether to the GiveDirectly organization, which helps poor refugees in Africa.

If you want to meet him, you can do that at the SF Blockchain Week 2019 that is held October 31- November 1st, 2019, at UC Berkeley, where he is one of the speakers.

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