Vitalik Buterin: The man who co-created Ethereum. Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian writer and programmer who has been active in the Bitcoin movement since 2011, co-founding Bitcoin magazine and producing articles for it. He is best known as the creator of Ethereum, a blockchain platform that acts as a global computer for decentralized applications, or DApps.Buterin spent six months in 2013 around the world to meet with Bitcoin BTC’s $28,464 developers. He realized that he could create a new, maybe superior version by iterating on the Bitcoin blockchain.
To demonstrate this concept, he connected Bitcoin to a calculator and a future blockchain to a smartphone, using the same notion of increasing the system’s strength by making it more general-purpose to blockchain networks. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, and Ether was the second.
Buterin was born in Kolomna, Moscow Oblast, Russia, on January 31, 1994. He was born in Russia and raised there until age six, when his parents chose to come to Canada for better job possibilities. He was placed in a gifted program in third grade at a Canadian primary school. Buterin immediately realized that his unique skills and talents set him apart from his friends and teachers in the program.
Buterin avoided social gatherings and extracurricular activities. As he recalls, many people talked about him as a maths prodigy. He subsequently attended the Abelard School, a private high school in Toronto, for four years. The school radically altered his attitude towards schooling and his results. He developed his distinctive thirst for study in Abelard, effectively making knowledge his primary purpose.
From 2007 until 2010, he spent his free time playing World of Warcraft. When Blizzard decided to remove the damage component from his favorite warlock’s Syphon Life talent, he cried to sleep that night. Buterin departed World of Warcraft after realizing the hazards of centralized systems.
Buterin’s student life
In 2011, he stumbled upon Bitcoin while looking for a new direction in life. He was first skeptical and couldn’t see how it could be valuable without any tangible basis. However, as time passed, he learned more and became interested. He wanted to formally join this new and experimental economy by obtaining some tokens but lacked the processing capability to create them or the funds to buy Bitcoin. So he started looking for jobs in Bitcoin on various sites and eventually began writing articles for a blog, earning roughly 5 BTC for every piece.
Simultaneously, he investigated cryptocurrencies’ various economic, technological, and political elements. His essays piqued the interest of Mihai Alisie, a Bitcoin enthusiast from Romania who co-founded Bitcoin Magazine in late 2011. He was writing, traveling, and working on crypto for more than 30 hours a week when he decided to drop out of university.
He traveled the world, looking at numerous crypto initiatives, and eventually concluded that they were too concentrated on specific uses and not broad enough. Vitalik believes a successful and long-lasting blockchain should have a more comprehensive and diverse application potential rather than a particular use case or limited capability. A Turing-complete programming language in computer science allows a machine to solve any issue given the suitable method and sufficient time and memory. After being turned down by existing projects, he opted to do it himself, giving birth to Ethereum.
The birth of Ethereum
Buterin presented his proposal in a white paper in late 2013, which he distributed to a few friends, who spread it even more. As a result, some 30 people contacted Buterin to discuss the idea. Initially, the concept of Ethereum was centered on digital cash. The vision evolved, and by the end of January 2014, the team realized that it was relatively simple to establish decentralized file storage and that concepts like name registry could be learned with just a few lines of code.
The project was announced publicly in January 2014, with Buterin, Alisie, Anthony Di Iorio, Charles Hoskinson, Joe Lubin, and Gavin Wood as the core team. Buterin also spoke on stage at a Bitcoin convention in Miami. A few months later, the team opted to fund the development via an initial coin offering (ICO) of ETH, the Ethereum network’s native token. Around the same time, Buterin was awarded a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship.
The team raised around 31,000 BTC via the sale of ETH, which was approximately $18 million. The Ethereum team formed the Ethereum Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Switzerland tasked with managing Ethereum’s open-source software development. Despite some difficulty, Ethereum’s crowdfunding effort was a success. These improvements include various network enhancements to continue Ethereum’s natural march towards the Ethereum consensus layer upgrade known as Ethereum 2.0 (Eth2).
Ethereum and Buterin in China
Buterin visited China in 2014, shortly after the initial white paper for Ethereum was published. There is a substantial Ethereum community in China, and Buterin has been actively working with developers, enthusiasts, and business pioneers there. He has attended conferences, meetups, and events in China to promote Ethereum and discuss its potential applications. Buterin has attempted to reach the Chinese-speaking community and bridge the linguistic divide. He has performed interviews in Mandarin, networked with Chinese media organizations, and utilized Chinese social media networks to reach a bigger audience.
In May 2016, 11 regional commodity exchanges, equities, and financial asset exchanges created the ChinaLedger Alliance. The Securities Association of China’s Internet Commission provided advising support, while famous blockchain community members, such as Buterin, served as consultants.
Buterin is also a general partner at Fenbushi Venture Capital, a well-known Chinese venture capital firm. Fenbushi Venture Capital focuses primarily on firms that use blockchain technology. However, regarding cryptocurrency legislation, China has coupled the promotion of blockchain technology with restrictions on cryptocurrency activity. The government has made initial coin offers (ICOs) and cryptocurrency exchanges illegal, but neither Ethereum nor the technology that enables it has been officially identified.
Ethereum-based initiatives and platforms developed by Chinese enterprises have emerged in China. These attempts include decentralized exchanges, blockchain-based supply chain solutions, and financial applications that utilize Ethereum’s innovative contract features. Although Ethereum is present in China, it competes with other blockchain technologies.
Ethereum and Buterin in Russia
The fundamental premise of cryptocurrencies — their decentralized and uncontrollable nature — appears to be somewhat rebellious and anti-establishment. It seems to be the polar opposite of what Russia stands for, making Buterin a trendy and well-regarded figure in Russia. Over 5,000 individuals attended Buterin’s address at Moscow’s Skolkovo Innovation Centre in August 2017. He stated that Russia, England, and Singapore are among the top three countries for exploring and testing blockchain technologies.
Buterin also asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin knows blockchain, meaning the technology’s buzz has died down. According to media sources, Buterin met with Putin during his visit, and this meeting was one of Buterin’s trip conditions. During the debate, Buterin explained the prospects for using the technology he developed in Russia, and the president agreed.
Sberbank, Russia’s most prominent state-owned bank, announced its participation in the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance in October 2017. Previously, QIWI, an electronic payment service provider, was the only Russian company in the partnership. Sberbank has already claimed that it has completed testing on a “smart” letter of credit and a letter of guarantee in collaboration with regulators, the Ministry of Economy, other Russian banks, and Russia’s International Chamber of Commerce.
Buterin also secured an agreement with Vladislav Martynov, CEO of Yota Services, a Russia-based mobile communications and networking device provider, during his visit to Russia in August 2017. The deal calls for forming a new organization, Ethereum Russia, to provide education, events, and architecture reviews for the Vneshtorgbank, a state-owned Russian development bank. In addition, the VTB bank has also funded a new blockchain research center at the National University of Science and Technology (MISiS), which Ethereum Russia will assist.
Philanthropic efforts and awards
Buterin was praised on May 12, 2021, for donating $1.2 billion to India’s COVID-19 relief fund and placing a leash on dog meme coins (given into his Etherscan public wallet). Akita Inu (AKITA), Shiba Inu SHIB $0.000007, and Dogelon Mars (ELON) were among these tokens.
The largest donation, 13,292 ETH, was sent to GiveWell, a nonprofit charity evaluator. The Methuselah Foundation, which works to extend people’s lives, was awarded 1,000 ETH and 430 billion ELON tokens. He gave 1,050 ETH to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, which works to ensure that artificial intelligence has a good impact on society. Buterin received the Thiel Fellowship Award in 2014 to help fund his breakthrough scientific and technological endeavors. In 2014, he also received the World Technology Network (WTN) prize for IT software, defeating Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
Buterin received an honorary degree from the University of Basel in 2018. Buterin donated to different humanitarian projects relating to COVID-19 relief in India in May 2021. He sent a significant quantity of cryptocurrency to India’s COVID-Crypto Relief Fund, comprising 500 ETH and over 50 trillion SHIB tokens, valued at around $1.14 billion.
The future plans of Buterin
Buterin believes Ethereum will be “ruling the metaverse” in ten years. The metaverse is a concept for a vast virtual world in which individuals can interact with one another as avatars and with digital things. According to him, Ethereum is uniquely positioned to be a vital component of the metaverse as the internet and shared state enable things to travel between platforms. He believes the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) ecosystem provides a Web3 username for crypto addresses. Decentralized websites and the concept of cross-platform identities for persons and goods. This is an obvious use that most people are unaware of. However, ENS provides these answers.
Buterin is particularly interested in the Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge. Zk-SNARKS is a cryptographic proof that allows one side to show that it holds specific information without revealing it. It removes the requirement for interaction between the prover and the verifier. Buterin believes it will be “a big revolution” as it enters the mainstream over the next 10-20 years.
Furthermore, Buterin detailed Ethereum’s goals at the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) in July 2022. Transitioning to proof-of-stake (the Merge), adopting sharding for scalability (the Surge). Introducing Verkle trees for efficiency (The Verge), lowering storage requirements (The Purge), and improving quantum resistance (the Splurge) are among the upgrades. These upgrades address speed, scalability, and cost issues. Making Ethereum more efficient and capable of processing thousands of transactions per second.