Behind every blockchain technology is an individual or group responsible for its development. Vitalik Buterin is the man behind Ethereum. That’s a lot more straightforward than naming the Bitcoin creator, isn’t it?
Who is Vitalik Buterin?
Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer who initially created Ethereum. Buterin remains actively involved in the Ethereum community as the co-founder of the Ethereum Foundation. In addition to his work on Ethereum, Buterin is also the co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine.
Vitalik’s Early Days
Buterin was born in Russia on January 31, 1994. Yes, you read that correctly! Vitalik’s early accomplishments were enough to receive recognition on Fortune’s prestigious “40 under 40” list.
Buterin’s favorite toy as a child? Microsoft Excel. This programmer, born outside Moscow and raised in Toronto, has spent the last few years reimagining a world in which all business logic—would-be corporate contracts, agreements, and bylaws—is encoded into, well, code. Buterin is the creator of Ethereum, a blockchain-based decentralized network that could serve as the basis for the next generation of peer-to-peer apps, like Uber (a ride-hailing app) without Uber (the company).
Highly proficient in math from a young age, Buterin began programming as a teenager. Soon after discovering Bitcoin in 2011, Buterin began contributing cryptocurrency articles to a Bitcoin blog. His involvement with that particular project didn’t last long, as Buterin would go on to start Bitcoin Magazine that very same year.
In late 2013, Buterin published the Ethereum white paper, which included:
- A brief history of Bitcoin
- An introduction to Ethereum
- An exploration of possible use cases
This white paper would serve as the foundation for the technology’s creation. In early 2014, Buterin and a small team launched their efforts to transform Ethereum from a concept into a reality.
Later that year, the Ethereum project launched as the group crowdfunded its software development by selling units of Ethereum (ether) for Bitcoin. This capital provided enough money to bring in additional programmers to build out the blockchain technology. As the cryptocurrency has grown in value and popularity, the Ethereum project has continued to draw enough support for continual development.
As the Ethereum project expanded, Buterin became less directly involved in the software development of the blockchain. However, he has remained diligently involved as the “chief scientist,” thought leader, and frequent public spokesman for Ethereum and the entire blockchain community.
Disputing the Vitalik Buterin Death Hoax
In late June 2017, Vitalik Buterin was the subject of a death hoax. It was reported that Buterin died in a car accident.
The prank was meant to do more than just draw controversy – with headlines about “Ethereum insiders selling,” it had an immediate effect on the Ethereum market.
The fake news reminded all of us about the volatility of cryptocurrency prices. The rumors correlated with a drop in Ethereum’s value from $320 to $280, which plummeted the market cap of Ethereum by $4 billion.
Buterin offered a brilliant response to the death hoax. To end the speculation of his death, Vitalik posted a photo on Twitter holding a paper with characters from the most recent Ethereum block on it. This has been effectively compared to holding up a current day’s newspaper, as it wouldn’t be possible to obtain this information beforehand.
Another day, another blockchain use case. pic.twitter.com/OyHzdhEeGR
— Vitalik Buterin (@VitalikButerin) June 26, 2017
The Vitalik Buterin death hoax showed us a differentiator of Bitcoin vs. Ethereum. Unlike Bitcoin, which currently has no clearly-acknowledged inventor, Ethereum and its future still heavily rely on the support of its founder.
The Future of Vitalik Buterin and Ethereum
Buterin stated in his original white paper that the technology was designed to support many different applications. Ethereum wasn’t created to replace Bitcoin – or even to become a simple cryptocurrency at all.
“Rather than being a closed-ended, single-purpose protocol intended for a specific array of applications in data storage, gambling or finance, Ethereum is open-ended by design, and we believe that it is extremely well-suited to serving as a foundational layer for a very large number of both financial and non-financial protocols in the years to come.”
As the original mastermind of this project, we expect both Vitalik Buterin to remain a relevant name for years to come, as the Ethereum blockchain continues to grow in its adoption and application.
Original photo courtesy of TechCrunch