Lesson 4 of 10
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4. Vitaly Buterin – the creator of Ethereum

Vitaly Vitalik Buterin—the creator of Ethereum, was born in Russia in 1994. He lived on its territory until the age of 6 in the city of Kolomno, located in the Moscow region, the son of Dmitry Buterin and Natalia Ameline. In 2000, he and his family immigrated to Canada. They settled in Toronto. Vitalik since childhood showed above-average abilities. In the third grade of elementary school, he was assigned to gifted students. He led the way in mathematics, computer science and economics.  In high school, his intelligence also surpassed that of his peers, and it was then that he discovered his passion for programming.  This resulted in a bronze medal at the International Computer Science Olympiad (2012). 

All because of World of Warcraft…?

World of Warcraft was one of the programmer’s favourite games. He even had a favourite spell called Siphon Life. One day, the game’s developer decided to remove some of the damage that this spell did. Blizzard Entertainment’s decision only reinforced Buterin’s belief that centralized external bodies negatively affect institutions. Not only IT system. The programmer often recalls the event, saying that it was then that he realized the limitations of centralized services.

Since childhood, Vitalik has manifested an entirely different value system than his peers. Another example would be the robotics competition he participated in. It was there that Buterin stated that he would give “added value” to each robot. What did he mean? That each of the mechanisms designed there could be equipped with artificial intelligence and be useful to the world. 

Ethereum – the beginnings

In 2011, his adventure with Bitcoin began. His interest in this cryptocurrency was so great that he even started working on co-founding Bitcoin Magazine. It was the premier cryptocurrency magazine that featured publications on digital assets. In addition to his writing, Vitalik has also worked for Dark Wallet, Egora.  In 2012, he decided to start studies at the University of Waterloo. However, he dropped out of education quickly – in 2013. Sources disagree on the reason for his leaving the University. Some say it was disappointment caused by the level of education. Others believe that the Thiel scholarship he received was behind his decision.

Back in 2013, he started working on Ethereum. The initial idea of the Ethereum project was to update the Bitcoin protocol to allow it to perform more complex tasks than “simple” value exchange transactions. This idea was not appealing to the Bitcoin team because they thought BTC was just fine. For Vitalik, Bitcoin’s scripting language was a dealbreaker, so he set about creating his own blockchain ecosystem using the Turing Complete language to enable all sorts of decentralized applications through smart contracts. The conception of the idea was very time-consuming. The creator himself admits that he dedicated his life to the project. 

 In 2013, Vitalik had his five minutes. This time he was the one who issued a manifesto in which he introduced Ethereum to the whole world. His idea – a platform aimed at developers of decentralized applications and to create smart contracts. Programmers enthusiastically embraced the project, but Stephan Tuala – a cryptocurrency enthusiast – also showed his interest. As a result, he joined the developer’s team.

Surprisingly – Vitalik’s manifesto did not receive any negative feedback, which disappointed the programmer – Buterin wanted it badly. Feedback was valuable to him because it would allow him to eliminate any inaccuracies right away. However, none of this happened. His basic idea was so good that everything was in its place. 

For his work, contributions and dedication to the project, the genius received a $100,000 award and a Thiel 2014 membership. 

He first spoke about his project at the Bitcoin conference in Miami. His speech was so passionate that he was rewarded with a long ovation. Followers of the project were convinced, that it was another milestone in the future.

ETHEREUM ICO

To fund the Ethereum project, in early 2014, Vitalik held one of the first ICO ( Initial Coin Offering) fundraisers in the history of cryptocurrencies and put the first Ether on pre-sale, raising 31,591 bitcoins worth $18 million. 60 million Ether were sold at $0.3 a piece!

Ethereum Switzerland GmbH (ETHSyusse), the company that was responsible for the creation of the Ethereum Blockchain in 2015, was overseen by Joseph Lubin. 

Despite what you may often believe, Vitalik proposed the Ethereum project very young. But on the technical side, Gavin Wood (Polkadot) and Joseph Lubin (Consensys) were responsible for its development.

Original source of jealousy?

As he stated in his 2018 tweet, he never owned more than 1% of the total amount of ETH, yet many have criticized him. That’s probably why he announced in 2020 that he sold his ETH at a price of $700 without specifying the exact date of the sale.

VITALIK ON THE COVER OF DECENTRALIZED TIME

23/03/2022 Vitalik Buterin was chosen by TIME to be the cover of its (first) fully decentralized magazine. The issue available as NFT devotes a long interview with the Father of Ethereum, during which Buterin expresses some of his concerns. According to him, high transaction costs are preventing wider uptake of the Ethereum blockchain.

“The goal of crypto is not to play games with images of monkeys costing millions of dollars, but to do things that have significant consequences in the real world. […] One of the decisions I made in 2022 is to try to take more risk and be less neutral. I would rather see Ethereum offend some people than turn into something that doesn’t represent anything.”

Vitalik Buterin, TIME

Numerous awards

Vitalik is a very young programmer, but he has quite a background of his own. Including countless awards:

Thiel Scholarship

World Technology Award in the IT Software category

Fortune 40 list under 40 

Forbes 30 list under 30 

Fortune book 40 list under 40

Honorary doctorate from the University of Basel 

TIME 100 

Summary

Vitalik is an important person in the cryptocurrency world who believes in his project and keeps developing it. Ethereum without Vitalik is not the same; this is even confirmed by the fraud surrounding his death in 2017. In just 3.5 hours – until the scam was exposed – the price of Ethereum fell by 20%. Vitalik Buterin is an excellent programmer and a modern visionary. For many years, he has been heavily involved in the cryptocurrency community, and he finds himself excellently involved in it. What else will he surprise us with in the near future?