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Vitalik Buterin

Who is Vitalik Buterin?

Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer who is best known for creating Ethereum, which has been called “the world’s hottest new cryptocurrency.”


Born in Moscow, he moved to Canada when he was only five years old. Entering and entering third grade, teachers discovered he could add three-digit numbers in his head at twice the speed of his peers. Subsequently, he entered the gifted program and his gifts flourished.

As Buterin grew, his dad introduced him to a concept that would serve as a small seed that would grow in the coming years — Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency founder doesn’t divulge why the concept was interesting but admits that he had recently quit playing World of Warcraft and may have been looking for the next obsession.

College dropout who created Ethereum

He set out to learn more about the idea, attending conferences and talking with thought leaders. And from this point on, he stayed laser-focused, and that focus would transform from an idea to the hottest new blockchain technology in just a matter of months.

The budding curiosity about cryptocurrency was growing, and Buterin was spending more time learning, growing and conceptualizing. Finally, he did what many great minds do (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg — just to name a few). He dropped out of college. Then Buterin traveled the world to talk to people and learn more about Bitcoin.

 He writes, “I went around the world, explored many crypto projects, and finally realized that they were all too concerned about specific applications and not being sufficiently general – hence the birth of Ethereum, which has been taking up my life ever since.”

He wrote about his findings and published a white paper in 2013. That piece of work captured attention and landed him a $100,000 Peter Thiel Fellowship.

Shortly after, he started the Ethereum Foundation to further his research on cryptocurrency. The same year, Buterin announced the sale of Ethereum and introduction of Ethereum mining. This new currency wouldn’t be just a rehash of the popular digital currency Bitcoin — it would be much different.

According to Ethereum, it can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.”

Vitalik is now primarily engaged with the creation of next-gen smart and decentralized application platform. He has co-authored several  books includingThe Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology (William Mougayar, Vitalik Buterin) and THE BITCOIN: How Bitcoin Overturning the Global Economic (Charlie Lee, Vitalik Buterin). His interests include maths, algorithms, cryptography, mechanism design, economics, social science, politics, and rationalist philosophy.

Creating a new generation of blockchain technology

The blockchain technology that Buterin created isn’t just a digital currency, but a blockchain platform that performs many different tasks. For example, the cryptocurrency features contracts and the Ethereum Virtual Machine. The currency can be used for peer-to-peer contracts using “smart contracts” to negotiate and facilitate the agreements.

The benefit is that the blockchain provides a decentralized method for verifying and enforcing these contracts. These smart contracts also provide greater security than traditional contracts, at lower costs. Corporate support has grown rapidly, with 86 firms, including Toyota, Merck, ING and many others, recently joining a collective that seeks to use blockchain technology to run smart contracts at Fortune 500 companies.

In addition, you can set up and seek pledges from the community and raise money until a specified goal is reached — or an agreed-upon date. Getting rid of “middleman” companies, such as Kickstarter, means that the third party, any associated rules, and the service fees do not exist.

The future of Ethereum

Ethereum is second only to Bitcoin right now, as it’s proven to be a real competitor today and in the future. But it’s also changing what can be done with blockchain technology, as new applications prove there is more to this technology than peer-to-peer currency transfers.

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