If you frequent crypto-focused spaces, you’re probably heard his name. If you’ve seen the latest issue of Time Magazine, you’ve also probably heard the name Vitalik Buterin. As per the magazine, he is the ‘Prince of crypto’ and a top figure in the industry.
Over the years, he has been featured on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list twice, has amassed a loyal following online, and has been at the forefront of one of the biggest financial movements in the world. But who exactly is Vitalik Buterin and why is he so important inside and outside of crypto spaces?
Who is Buterin?
Born Vitaly Dmitriyevich “Vitalik” Buterin in 1994, Vitalik Buterin is best known for being one of the co-founders of Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency in the world and one of the top blockchains.
Born in Russia but growing up in Canada, Buterin started his career in the crypto space early. He helped to co-found Bitcoin magazine in 2011 and then Ethereum in 2014 after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Thiel Fellowship and dropping out of University to focus on the blockchain full time.
Based on a whitepaper that he first wrote in 2013, Ethereum has gone on to not only become the second most valuable cryptocurrency in the world but also one of the top blockchains. For example, most of the top decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols are built on the Ethereum network and it is well-regarding for being a foundation for decentralized app (D’App) development as well.
Buterin’s Relevance in the Industry
Buterin being a co-founder of Ethereum on its own gives him plenty of relevance in the industry but this is further compounded by the fact that he acts as the public ‘face’ of cryptocurrency. The only blockchain and crypto bigger than Ethereum is Bitcoin and the founder of Bitcoin is unknown, going only by the pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’.
This unknown figure hasn’t given their opinion on NFTs or been featured on the cover of Time magazine but instead, has been an unknown ominous presence.
As the industry was developing, crypto fans wanted a ‘figure’ to look up to and Buterin, with its public involvement in the industry, a large following on social media, and occasional feuds with people such as Craig Wright, filled this role. At the same time, as Buterin’s father has alluded to, Buterin is not entirely keen on the focus on him as a persona.
“He is trying to focus his time on research. He’s not too excited that the community assigns so much importance to him. He wants the community to be more resilient,” he said in a 2018 New Yorker article.
An Ethereum Future
So there you have it. Vitalik Buterin has, before the age of 30, created one of the biggest blockchains in existence and is leading the emergence of the crypto world. Serving as both a public face of crypto and a background force for the industry, we will be herding more of him for years to come.