Vitalik Buterin, the 26-year-old Russian-Canadian and inventor of Ethereum, has amassed both wealth and fame as one of the most influential figures in the world of cryptocurrency.
A blockchain is a series of transactions that is based off of the other. A record of cryptocurrency transactions takes form, made up of code. This allows for decentralized governance and more secure transactions, because a third, intermediary party is not involved in the transaction. The transfer went from point A to point B (with many microscopic jumps in between). Thus, no data mined. This is what the blockchain platform, Ethereum, is made out of.
This disrupts the way we think about the internet, and the idea was coined by a 19-year-old.
Buterin co-founded Bitcoin Magazine in 2011, which he wrote for until 2014. A noted fan of Bitcoin, Buterin set out to improve the cryptocurrency. According to Nathanial Popper of the New York Times, “the most basic aim of Ethereum was to make it possible to program binding agreements into the blockchain—the smart contract concept. Two people, for instance, could program a bet on a sports game directly into the Ethereum blockchain.” Once an official winner is declared, the money would automatically be allocated to the winner.
In 2013, Buterin published a white paper advocating for what was just his idea at the time, the blockchain platform known as Ethereum. Venture capitalist Peter Thirl then granted him a $100,000 fellowship, which allowed him to drop out of the University of Waterloo in Toronto, and devote his time completely to his idea, which is now worth more than $43 billion.
It is obvious that Ethereum and Buterin have a bright future ahead of them—and blockchain technology, even more so.
According to Matthew Braga of Canadian Business, “major financial institutions are already showing interest in blockchains.” If companies were to commit to Ethereum, they would become much more democratic. Executives would no longer call the shots, but rather, pieces of secure, man-made code would behave transparently in accordance with the consumer’s wishes.
And they have. In 2017, Popper reported that approximately 30 companies would form the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. Now, the EEA functions with a global developer community of more than 3,000 contributors. Their mission is, according to the EEA, is to “enable organizations to adopt and use Ethereum technology in their day-to-day business operations.”
Nipping at Bitcoin’s heals, Ethereum holds immense promise.