Informational

Who Is Vitalik Buterin?

Caroline Bowler

While the origin story of Bitcoin is a little difficult to confirm, Ethereum's background is more straightforward. The revolutionary network was created by a young man from Russia with an aptitude for economics and cryptography. But who is this young man exactly? Read on to learn more about a remarkable human being and a remarkable story.

Vitalik Buterin's early life

Who is Vitalik Buterin? While you may already be vaguely aware of the Vitalik Buterin Ethereum connection, you may not know too much about the young man who started it all.

Buterin's story begins back in January 1994, when he was born to Dmitry Buterin and Natalia Chistyakova in the city of Kolomna, Russia. Dmitry was a computer scientist and provided the young Vitalik with much of his early education into the worlds of computer networking and decentralisation.

The young Vitalik showed his academic prowess at an early age and quickly rose to the top of his class. Vitalik Buterin was aged only six when his parents relocated from Russia to Canada, and it was here that Vitalik found himself in a class for gifted children. With a keen understanding across most of his academic subjects, Vitalik was particularly suited to several key fields — mathematics, computer programming, and economics. It was these three disciplines that would form the basis for the development of Ethereum many years later.

The young man's education quickly gathered pace, and Buterin earned a place at the private Abelard School — a renowned high school in Toronto. It was while studying at Abelard that Vitalik would talk to his father about a new phenomenon emerging in the world of digital sciences — Bitcoin. Vitalik was still only 17 years old at this point, and he did not know that, in only two years, this concept would change his life forever.

Following high school, Vitalik attended the University of Waterloo. Again Buterin proved to be a gifted student, winning numerous awards at university and taking advanced modules. He also became a research assistant for the eminent cryptographer Ian Goldberg. Viltalik Buterin would not complete his university education and eventually leave Waterloo before graduation. There was a good reason for this, of course — things were changing for Vitalik, and changing fast.

The creator of Ethereum

As early as 2011, Vitalik Buterin was showing that he was not simply interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, but he was something of an expert in the field. He began earning Bitcoin as a journalist, writing for the Bitcoin Weekly magazine in exchange for small amounts of the fledgling currency — amounts that would be worth tens of thousands of dollars today.

After a couple of years working as a cryptocurrency journalist, Buterin began to develop his own ideas as to what a cryptographic network could, and should, achieve for society. These thoughts eventually coalesced into the concept of Ethereum and were outlined in Vitalik Buterin's own Ethereum whitepaper in 2013.

The ideas at the heart of the white paper were relatively simple, but they were instrumental in changing the status quo of crypto. Buterin declared that one of the failings of Bitcoin was its static nature. He argued that the currency and the network needed a scripting language through which new crypto-supported applications could be developed.

Buterin soon realised that adding this capability to Bitcoin was not feasible, and therefore he decided to create his own network. This would eventually become the Ethereum network and the Ether currency.

By 2014, the white paper had been distributed throughout the industry and was generating significant interest. Cryptocurrency was still a relatively underground phenomenon back in those days, and it was difficult for Buterin and his new network to gain mainstream acceptance. Despite this, his ideas were certainly turning heads among those in the know, and Ethereum was rapidly becoming the next big thing.

This is particularly remarkable because of Vitalik Buterin's age. Buterin was still only 19 in the first weeks of 2014, and his work experience was largely based around journalism for Bitcoin Weekly and Bitcoin Magazine. With little to no experience in public speaking, Buterin was invited to give a talk at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami, where he demonstrated his knowledge, passion and expertise with an excellent speech that outlined the aims of the project.

Fast forward nine years, and Vitalik Buterin's project is very much a leading player and pioneer for investors and traders in the crypto market. While Bitcoin continues to lead the way in terms of value and mainstream understanding and recognition, Ethereum is not far behind. In fact, Ethereum can be considered superior to Bitcoin in some ways, not least due to the smart contract-based structure that makes the network more versatile than its rival. Boasting the second highest market cap among all cryptocurrencies has made Ethereum an attractive crypto to stake. While currencies such as XRP and Litecoin are developing rapidly, Ethereum remains the closest competitor to the elder statesman Bitcoin.

Buterin today — where does Vitalik Buterin live now?

While Vitalik Buterin originally came from Kolomna, a city close to the Russian capital of Moscow, he has lived in a number of other locations across the world. He spent many of his formative years in Canada, and eventually attended the University of Waterloo in Ontario before eventually dropping out.

It is understood he has lived in Europe for a period, including Zug — the capital of the Swiss canton of the same name. He has also lived in Asia, having spent time living in the city-state of Singapore.

Despite the meteoric and ongoing rise of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin has withdrawn from the spotlight in recent years. Sources close to him say that he is uncomfortable with his position as a leader in the field. Instead of being a figurehead, Buterin would prefer to allow the Ethereum community to grow more resilient on its own, demonstrating the power and potential of the network.

Vitalik Buterin's Ethereum holdings — how much Ethereum does Vitalik Buterin have?

One of the most frequently asked questions about Ethereum and Vitalik Buterin relates to his Ethereum holdings. So, just how much Ether does Vitalik Buterin have?

Vitalik Buterin decided to disclose his Ethereum wallet in 2018, showing that he had over 355,000 ETH coins. As of January 2022, this would be worth over A$1.5 billion due to pricing growth. Buterin has since transferred much of this digital wealth to other wallets and has donated significant amounts to charitable funds in locations such as India.

[Reference: https://coinformant.com.au/how-much-ether-does-vitalik-have/]

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