Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum's creator, a 28-year-old Russian immigrant, has been dubbed the 'world's youngest crypto billionaire', ripped Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and hates the Bored Ape Yacht Club

For years, Vitalik Buterin has been a household name in the crypto sector, but he's just recently become a household name.

For one thing, Ethereum, which the 28-year-old co-founded, is a behemoth. It is widely renowned for its smart contract capabilities and uses for decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-financial tokens (NFTs), among other things.

Buterin became the "world's youngest crypto billionaire" as a result of its success, according to Forbes, but he has much greater ambitions for the blockchain and himself than profit. (According to Time magazine, Buterin's net worth is at least $800 million.)

He's emerged as crypto's voice of conscience in the early months of 2022, slamming against Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine and the Bored Ape Yacht Club for encouraging wealth inequality in the same crypto sector that made him famous.

Here are five interesting facts about Buterin.

1. He was born outside of Moscow to two computer scientists and has always been interested in math

Buterin was born in 1994 near Moscow parents Dmitry Buterin and Natalia Ameline, two computer experts.

Vitalik, like his parents, was fascinated by numbers. According to Time, Buterin "inherited" his parents' old IBM computer when he was four years old and began playing with Excel.

In 2016, Dmitry told Fortune, "Excel was his favorite toy."

According to Time, Buterin "could recite more than a hundred digits of pi and would shout out arithmetic equations to pass the time" when his family relocated from Russia to Canada when he was six years old.

According to Time, he began coding at the age of 12 and is now fluent in nearly six languages and fields, including sociological theory, advanced calculus, and land-tax history.

2. His father taught him about Bitcoin

Buterin first learned about Bitcoin, the most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization, from his father when he was 17 years old.

He initially ridiculed the idea, but after a negative experience with World of Warcraft game producers, he grew interested in the blockchain. Buterin was enthralled by the concept of a decentralized platform that was not governed by a single institution.

"I had a much more cartoon attitude back then," he said to Wired in 2016.

"Everything that had to do with government regulation or corporate control seemed to me to be pure evil." And I assumed that the folks who worked in those institutions were like Mr. Burns, sitting behind their desks, saying, 'Excellent.' I don't know how I'm going to screw a thousand people this time.'

3. He is a co-founder of the Bitcoin magazine

Buterin cofounded and became the head writer of one of the top crypto magazines when he was 18 years old. He learned a lot more about Bitcoin and how to improve the blockchain there.

According to Time, he believed it could be a useful tool for safeguarding assets ranging from web apps to financial derivatives to non-predatory loans.

According to Wired, he managed his responsibilities at Bitcoin while studying the University of Waterloo and working as a research assistant for a cryptographer.

4. He dropped out of college and founded the cryptocurrency Ethereum

In 2013, Buterin stepped out of college and started working on the Ethereum white paper.

"When I originally came up with Ethereum, my first thinking was, 'Okay, this thing is too good to be true, and five expert cryptographers are going to shower down on me and tell me how stupid I am for not recognizing a bunch of really obvious faults,'" Buterin told Wired. "Two weeks later, I was astounded that none of that had occurred. The underlying Ethereum concept turned out to be good, essentially, absolutely sound."

Buterin was selected a Peter Thiel fellow in 2014 and received $100,000 to invest in his efforts.

5. He's growing more and more outspoken

Buterin told Time that he wants to "try to be more risk-taking and less neutral" in 2022. "I'd prefer Ethereum anger some people than devolve into a meaningless symbol."

Buterin recently tweeted, "This is a crime against the Ukrainian and Russian people," before switching weeks later in a Time interview to a condemnation of his crypto community.

"One silver lining of the situation in the last three weeks is that it has reminded a lot of people in the crypto space that the goal of crypto is to do things that accomplish meaningful effects in the real world, not to play games with million-dollar pictures of monkeys," Buterin told Time on March 14. He was "alluding to the Bored Ape Yacht Club," according to Time.

(In 2017, Buterin briefly met Putin at an event and discussed Ethereum.)


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