Influential Crypto Figures: Who is Vitalik Buterin?

Vitalik Buterin is at the forefront of decentralized finance, co-founding the Ethereum network.

The ETH Co-Founder

Vitalik Buterin is the co-founder of Ethereum and one of the world’s youngest crypto billionaires at age 27. He is a massive crypto influencer, due to his founding of the Ethereum blockchain, which is currently the second largest crypto currency sitting behind Bitcoin. The Russian-Canadian programmer discovered Bitcoin in 2011 which fascinated him, a fascination that then snowballed, resulting in the young man launching Ethereum in 2015. He is arguably the biggest name in crypto. 

A Brief History

Buterin’s early childhood is an unusual one. He was born on January 31st, 1994 in Kolomna, Russia, but then soon moved to Canada in 2000 where he went to school. Buterin was naturally gifted in math and programming, so much so that he soon alienated him from his peers. He was incredibly gifted, and began to show signs early in his childhood.

Buterin was known by the community as a math genius growing up, and soon discovered a love for learning. Buterin typically had high grades in school, but they began to slide a bit. Since the age of 13, Buterin was an avid player of World of Warcraft. Oddly enough, one day in 2010, the Warcraft server suspended a damage component linked to his beloved warlock’s spell, upsetting Buterin which then eventually resulted in him quitting the game entirely. It was then Buterin realized the issue that centralized services can bring. 

Following his absence from World of Warcraft, Buterin searched for a purpose in life. Then, in 2011, he discovered Bitcoin

Buterin enjoys drinking green tea and considers himself an intellectual hipster. 

Vitaliks Relationship With Crypto 

Buterin, upon quitting World of Warcraft and searching for a purpose, discovered Bitcoin in 2011. Funny enough, he couldn’t understand how it could have value without any physical backing. Slowly, he became more and more interested, and picked up a blog writing position, at a blog called Bitcoin Weekly for an hourly wage of $1.5 an hour.

Following that, Buterin left the blogging position, and with the help of Mihai Alisie, co-founded Bitcoin Magazine. 

Buterin then went to college at the University of Waterloo. However, Buterin soon found that his crypto projects were taking up 30 hours a week of his time, so he subsequently dropped out of school. Buterin then traveled around the world, exploring new and up-and-coming crypto projects. 

It was then he realized they were all too concerned about specifics, and not being sufficiently general. Thus, Ethereum was born, a platform allowing for users to build decentralized applications.  

Following the birth of Ethereum in 2015, Buterin a few years later proposed Ethereum 2.0, which aimed to decrease the blockchain’s transaction throughput traffic, decrease network costs, and increase rewards for the node validators. Ethereum 2.0 is still under development and there is no set date for release.


Ethereum is an open access platform for digital money and data-friendly services for anyone – regardless of background or location. The protocol is a community-built technology that lets users send cryptocurrency to anyone for a small fee. The protocol leverages cryptography and smart contracts to bolster what is known as Decentralized Finance (DeFi). Notably, the platform also powers applications that are built on the Ethereum network that everyone can use and no one can take down. 

To put in perspective, Bitcoin is like a calculator and Ethereum is like your phone with all your apps. Ethereum’s genius is that it can power and run applications, the same way your phone powers and runs applications. 

Notable Events Vitalik Buterin Has Been Part of:

2011: Buterin discovers Bitcoin

2013: Buterin sends out his idea for Ethereum on white paper to a few of his friends; 30 people reached out back out to Buterin

2015: Buterin launches the Ethereum blockchain with help from Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin

2016: Buterin, after learning Chinese in a couple of months using an app on his phone, traveled to China where he went to witness and support the adoption of Ethereum by businesses both large and small across the country 

2017: Buterin donated $763,970 worth of Ethereum to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. The charity hopes to ensure artificial intelligence technologies have a positive impact on humanity

2017: Buterin travels to Russia to meet with Putin, who at the time showed his support for technologies Buterin developed in Russia 

2018: Buterin donated $2.4 million worth of Ethereum to the SENSE Research Foundation, which develops solutions for health issues associated with aging. 

2018: Buterin donated $1 million to charity for Ugandan Refugees. 

2018: Buterin was granted an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Basel for his innovative work in the blockchain space and his contribution to the ecosystem.

2019: Buterin proposes a significant update to Etheruem, Ethereum 2.0 

2021: Vitalik donates Eth and Shiba Inu coins to India relief fund, asking Ethereum alt-coins to stop sending him tokens 

Vitalik’s Significance in Crypto

Buterin is one of, if not the biggest influencer and leader in the crypto space. The founder of Bitcoin remains anonymous, so with Ethereum’s massive market cap ranking 2nd, Buterin is widely recognized and celebrated for his genius ingenuity. He is a widely respected philanthropist and to this day remains active within the crypto space. His idea of a blockchain being able to run applications on top of it has remarkably changed the world of DeFi.

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