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Who is Vitalik Buterin?

Vitalik Buterin is a Canadian-Russian technologist, programmer and leader who is the co-founder of Ethereum, the world’s second largest blockchain ecosystem by market capitalization and the first blockchain-based platform with a general scripting language that can be used for Smart Contract execution and Decentralized Application (DApp) development.


Full name: Vitaly Dmitriyevich Vitalik Buterin

Birthplace: Kolomna, Russia

Date of Birth: 31 January 1994

Nationality: Russian-Canadian

Occupation: Blockchain Technologist

Country of Residence: Singapore


Vitalik Buterin was born on 31 Jan 1994 in Kolomna, Russia and moved to Canada when he was six years old. His parents, Dmitry Buterin and Natalia Ameline chose to emigrate to Canada with Vitalik because it had more job opportunities for Dmitry who was educated as a computer engineer.

Ethereum mining rigs

Caption: Vitalik Buterin’s parents, Dmitry Buterin & Natalia Ameline.

In Canada, Vitalik Buterin was enrolled in an elementary school and teachers became aware of his high intelligence with the ability to multiply 3 digit numbers at least 2 times faster than kids of his same age. For this reason, he was placed into a class for gifted children when he was grade 3 and he thrived in mathematics as well as programming.

Although Vitalik dived deep into learning and exploring the internet, he played a lot of World of Warcraft (WoW), a MMORPG computer game. One day, WoW’s gaming company, Blizzard, released an update in 2010 that changed his character’s properties. This made him realized how a centralized program can be changed negatively with the users powerless to prevent it. The game change caused Vitalik to be upset and he quitted World of Warcraft permanently.

Vitalik completed 4 years of studies at the Abelard School, a private high school in Toronto that changed his attitude and perception of education. At Abelard, Vitalik set his goal in life and his desire to learn grew. For this reason, his results improved significantly and he entered the most productive years of his life.

Ethereum mining rigs

Caption: Vitalik Buterin formerly studied at Abelard High School in Toronto.

Vitalik Buterin was introduced to bitcoin by his father when he was 17 years old and he gradually began to research on blockchain. He frequently visited Bitcoin related forums to communicate and discuss its technology with the community. Since Vitalik could not afford to buy bitcoins, he worked for a Bitcoin blog that paid him 5 Bitcoins for every article he wrote.

A Romanian bitcoin fan by the name of Mihai Alisie noticed Vitalik’s articles and contacted him. They eventually teamed up in May 2012 to co-found Bitcoin Magazine, a news publishing group specializing in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, with Vitalik as the head writer while he was still studying at the University of Waterloo.

Ethereum mining rigs

Caption: Similar to Vitalik, Mihai Alisie is the co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine & Ethereum.

Vitalik Buterin dropped out of university in 2013 to focus on blockchain technology research. He travelled to Israel to meet like-minded blockchain experts for the purpose of exploring the use of blockchain for various applications. Vitalik realized that Bitcoin lacked a scripting language to develop applications and eventually discovered that it is possible to develop a new Operating System based on blockchain that developers can use to build Decentralized Applications (DApps).

After failing to get an agreement to develop a scripting language for bitcoin application, Vitalik published a whitepaper containing his ideas and proposed to develop a new blockchain based ecosystem called Ethereum with a general scripting language that can be used for smart contract execution and development of DApps. Vitalik chose the name Ethereum after he spotted it in a science fiction article from Wikipedia.

Vitalik Buterin and Eth Logo picture

Interest in Ethereum grew and considerable number of people reached out to Vitalik for further discussions. An Ethereum core team was formed and it consisted of Vitalik Buterin himself, Mihai Alisie, Joe Lubin, Gavin Wood, Anthony Di Iorio and Charles Hoskinson.

The Launch of Ethereum

In January 2014, the core team officially announced the Ethereum project at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami and started its development. Vitalik announced few months later that Ethereum would be a non-profit project and Charles Hoskinson left the team.

In July 2014, a crowdsale was held to sell Ethereum’s native tokens and the team successfully raised $18.4 million for its development. It was historically the third largest amount raised in a crowdfunding campaign to date. Vitalik Buterin and the development team were able to launch Ethereum’s live network on 30th July 2015.

Latest Updates

Ethereum grew to become the blockchain ecosystem with the world’s second largest cryptocurrency market cap worth more than $19 billion as of 4 September 2019. For this reason, Vitalik Buterin became a multimillionaire and currently resides in Singapore working on the Ethereum project with his team.

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