Vitaly Dmitrievich "Vitalik" Buterin is a Russia-born, Canadian computer scientist and writer. In 2013, he cofounded Ethereum, a blockchain and smart contract application platform. He is also the cofounder of Bitcoin Magazine. He received the Thiel Fellowship of $100,000 in 2014 to work on Ethereum, around which time he dropped out of the University of Waterloo to pursue blockchain technology and applications. In May 2021, he became the world's youngest crypto billionaire at age twenty-seven when Ether (ETH), Ethereum's native cryptocurrency, first crossed $3,000 per coin. He was named to the Time 100 Most Influential People of 2021 list and has been named to the Forbes 2022 30 under 30 Hall of Fame and 2018 30 under 30 Finance lists.
Vitalik Buterin is the cofounder of Ethereum. At the age of nineteen, Vitalik Buterin proposed the Ethereum protocol in his famous whitepaper to create a general-purpose, next-generation blockchain platform to support decentralized applications and smart contracts. Buterin had previously contributed to the Bitcoin developer community and found limitations to the Bitcoin scripting language, including a lack of Turing-completeness, value-blindness, lack of state, and blockchain-blindness. Ethereum was formally announced at the January 2014 North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami, Florida. That same year, Buterin was awarded a two-year, $100,000 Thiel Fellowship to begin working on the Ethereum platform. Ethereum became the first smart contract platform in the world when it launched in July 2015.
Ethereum encountered a large problem in its design and implementation because it required massive amounts of energy for its "proof-of-work" consensus mechanism. With proof-of-work, crypto miners verify transactions by generating matching computer codes, which requires a large amount of computing power. At one point, a single Ethereum transaction used about as much energy as the average US household consumes in a week.
Buterin realized the issue and suggested the Ethereum network move from a proof-of-work to proof-of-stake where network validators “stake” the platform’s native token ETH to secure their votes on which blocks get added to the underlying blockchain. The change to proof-of-stake was part of the Ethereum merge completed in September 2022, which decreased the network’s power consumption by 99 percent, from 112 terawatts per hour annually (TWh/yr) to 0.01 (TWh/yr).
Before he conceived of Ethereum, Buterin learned and wrote about Bitcoin. In 2011, he was first introduced to Bitcoin by his father, a Russian-born engineer who had moved his family to Canada in 1999. Without capital to invest in Bitcoin or cryptocurrency mining, Buterin chose to work as a blog writer for Bitcoin payments. Mihai Alisie, a Romanian Bitcoin enthusiast, saw his blogs and approached him about starting a Bitcoin-centric publication, which became Bitcoin Magazine, the first major publication to cover cryptocurrency exclusively. Buterin quickly became a respected writer in the crypto sphere and attended his first Bitcoin conference in San Jose, California, in 2012.
In 2013, he used by-then valuable Bitcoins he earned blogging to travel the world investigating Bitcoin itself. He visited Bitcoiners in Israel, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Las Vegas who were trying to push Bitcoin into a more powerful version of itself by adding complicated layers. Instead, he developed the idea of building a new network, and this idea evolved into Ethereum.
Vitalik Buterin cofounded Bitcoin Magazine with Mihai Alisie in 2011. Vitalik Buterin became interested in Bitcoin but could not afford to buy it and did not have the equipment to mine it. He instead found someone willing to pay him five Bitcoins per blog post he wrote. Mihai Alisie, from Romania, saw the blog posts, and the two started corresponding. They decided to found Bitcoin Magazine in 2011. Vitalik Buterin became the head writer while still attending the University of Waterloo and working as a research assistant. They published their first issue in May 2012.
Soon after the magazine was founded, it was acquired that same year in December 2012 by Coin Publishing LLC. Coin Publishing LLC was a new Florida-based entity that took over the full operations of Bitcoin Magazine, purchasing the assets and contracts from Bittalk Media Ltd for an undisclosed sum of cash plus Bitcoins. As part of the transaction, Mihai Alisie signed a twelve-month contract to work as editor-in-chief, and Vitalik Buterin signed a twelve-month contract to work as lead writer and webmaster.
He made his first donation in 2017, giving more than $750,000 in ETH to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, an organization promoting the development of safer artificial intelligence. In April 2022, he donated $5 million in ETH to Ukraine, giving half to Aid for Ukraine and half to Unchain Fund. In May 2021, Buterin donated over $1 billion in ETH and SHIB combined to India for COVID-19 relief. Additionally, Buterin has donated over $54 million in ETH to Givewell, a nonprofit organization that evaluates the effectiveness of charities, and approximately $336 million worth of ELON to the Methuselah Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to tissue engineering and making "90 the new 50 by 2030."
He studied computer science at the University of Waterloo but dropped out in 2014 after receiving the Thiel Fellowship of $100,000 to work on Ethereum. He attended high school in Toronto at the Abelard School.
Vitalik Buterin was born in Kolomna, Moscow Oblast, Russia, on January 31, 1994, and moved to Canada in 1999 just before his sixth birthday. His parents are Dmitry Buterin, a computer scientist, and Natalia Ameline, a blockchain researcher. He considers himself to be a product of internet culture instead of geography because most of his relationships were made online.
Ethereum Whitepaper | ethereum.org
How A 19-Year-Old Genius Created Ethereum
January 19, 2022
The Uncanny Mind That Built Ethereum
June 13, 2016
Vitalik Buterin on about.me
Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum 2.0 | Lex Fridman Podcast #188
June 3, 2021