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Get to Know the Founders: Vitalik Buterin

The 23 year-old co-founder of Ethereum.

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Russian-born programmer and developer Vitalik Buterin was only 14 years old when Bitcoin came into existence. Three years later, he joined the crypto world and never looked back. Buterin created Ethereum in 2013, which later became one of the most successful ICOs to date. The decentralized smart contract platform built on blockchain technology currently has a market cap of $117 billion.

Education

Vitalik Buterin moved to Canada when he was only six years old. In third grade, he realized he enjoyed Math and Programming after being placed in a gifted program for children. Buterin disliked centralized services after seeing how Blizzard Entertainment controlled and removed a component from his warlock spell in his favorite game, World of Warcraft. He came across Bitcoin in 2011, and started working as a writer for Bitcoin Weekly. In the same year, he co-founded Bitcoin Magazine and won third place in a high school programming competition. Buterin joined the University of Waterloo in 2012, but dropped out after one year to focus on crypto-related innovations. He later won the Thiel Fellowship and received $100,000.

The Rise of Ethereum

Vitalik Buterin published a whitepaper on Ethereum in 2013, where he explained that the platform was open-ended and had “unique potential”:

“What Ethereum intends to provide is a blockchain with a built-in fully fledged Turing-complete programming language that can be used to create “contracts” that can be used to encode arbitrary state transition functions, allowing users to create any of the systems described above, as well as many others that we have not yet imagined, simply by writing up the logic in a few lines of code.”

The Ethereum project was officially announced in January 2014, and included co-founder Joseph Lubin, Bitcoin Alliance of Canada’s founder Anthony Di Iorio, Bitcoin Magazine’s founder Mihai Alisie, and entrepreneur Charles Hoskinson.

The Ethereum ICO started on July 20th, 2014 and ended on September 2nd, 2014. People bought Ether tokens in exchange for Bitcoin and the event was successful, raising 31,500 BTC. Now, Ethereum holds the title of the second-most valuable cryptocurrency, valued at $1,207.16.

Awards & Achievements

Vitalik Buterin’s Notable Quotes

On Centralization:

I happily played World of Warcraft during 2007-2010, but one day Blizzard removed the damage component from my beloved warlock’s Siphon Life spell. I cried myself to sleep, and on that day I realized what horrors centralized services can bring.

On Bitcoin:

Bitcoin is great as a form of digital money, but its scripting language is too weak for any kind of serious advanced applications to be built on top.”

On being a smart kid:

“When I was in grade five or six, I just remember quite a lot of people were always talking about me like I was some kind of math genius. And there were just so many moments when I realized, like, okay, why can’t I just be like some normal person and go have a 75% average like everyone else.”

On Hard Forks:

“I personally like hard forks. Particularly, I like the fact that they give users a measure of control, requiring them to opt in to protocol changes. Sure, they can be a little more chaotic if they’re controversial, but that’s the price of freedom.”

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