Vitalik Buterin is one wealthy individual! At just 27 years of age, he has become the world’s youngest crypto billionaire! Buterin’s Ether address, which he revealed in October of 2018 as his main Ether wallet, currently contains 333,520 ETH. This gives him a market value of $1.09 billion at the current Ether price of $3,278 at 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday. Ethereum’s cryptocurrency, Ether, towered past $3,000 for the first time early Monday morning, marking a 325% rise since the beginning of this year.
So who is Vitalik Buterin? He is a 27-year-old Russian-Canadian computer programmer and the co-creator of Ethereum. At the age of 19, Buterin helped build the Ethereum blockchain and has served as a manager of the blockchain since 2013.
Buterin was born in 1994 in the town of Kolomna, just outside of Moscow. He later moved to Canada with his family and was raised in the capital, Toronto.
Vitalik's father, Dmitry, was a computer scientist. It was he who first introduced his son to the idea of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Dmitry encouraged his son to build video games from the tender age of 10. In 2011 he informed him about Bitcoin and began to educate him on how it works.
Apparently, the 17-year-old Vitalik initially rejected the idea, but then gradually started to take an interest after doing his own investigation into virtual money.
Just two years earlier, Bitcoin was created as the world reeled from a devastating 2008 Financial Crisis, brought on by the failures of Banking systems. Vitalik was taught how Bitcoin lets people exchange cash online without a bank mediating the transaction. At the time, Bitcoin was considered so drastic that many thought governments would outlaw it, facing the dark market it apparently supported. Despite this, it survived, trading at highs of $19,000 at Christmas of that year, although a huge crash followed. Many people regret not buying Bitcoin back then.
Just one year later in 2012, at 18 years of age and while studying computer science at Canada’s University of Waterloo, Buterin cofounded (and wrote for) Bitcoin Magazine with Mihai Alisie. Mihai later joined Buterin in founding Ethereum.
In 2014, Buterin was awarded the prestigious Thiel Fellowship. The Thiel Fellowship awards $100,000 to young people under the age of 23 who want to pursue hobbies outside of mainstream academia (college or university). The fellowship was founded and funded by billionaire Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook and a graduate of Stanford University.
Fast forward to 2015, Buterin and his team launched Frontier, in what they named the “barebone implementation of the Ethereum project.”
Development for the first Ethereum network was crowdfunded in 2014, and the first version went live in 2015 with an initial supply of 72 million Ether coins, the native cryptocurrency of the platform.
And the rest, as they say, is history!
According to CoinMarketCap, Ethereum prices have increased by more than 320% since the beginning of 2021. This is due to a multitude of reasons: the exponential growth of the decentralized finance (De-Fi), non-fungible tokens (NFT), and the Stablecoin ecosystem.
The second-largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum now has a market capitalization of over US$368 billion, making it more valuable than major corporations like Nestle, the Walt Disney Company and even the Bank of America in terms of total market capitalizations.
Last week, Buterin generously gave approximately $600,000 in Ether and Maker (MKR) tokens to a COVID-19 relief fund for India.