Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer born in Moscow in 1994. He is most famous for co-founding Bitcoin Magazine in 2012 and the Ethereum project in 2015.
Buterin was introduced to bitcoin in 2011 by his father, and his first contribution to the space was when co-created Bitcoin Magazine in 2011 with Mihai Alisie. The website launched in 2012. Buterin contributed to the magazine as a leading writer until 2014. That year, he accepted a Thiel Fellowship and turned his full attention to developing Ethereum.
In 2015, Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin and others co-created the Ethereum blockchain, an alternative platform on which users can create decentralized applications. Buterin sought to provide new use cases for blockchain technology, moving beyond the financial applications of bitcoin. Ethereum works as a blockchain-based operating system where anyone can create and run smart contracts and decentralized applications. In 2019, Buterin (who is often referred to as simply “Vitalik”) proposed the most significant update called Ethereum 2.0, which would decrease the blockchain’s transaction throughput traffic, decrease network costs, and increase rewards for the node validators. It is due to launch in the summer of 2020.
Buterin is a philanthropist. In 2017, he donated $763,970 worth of ether to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, which aims to ensure that artificial intelligence technologies have a positive impact on humanity. In 2018, he donated $2.4 million worth of ether to the SENSE Research Foundation, which develops solutions for health issues associated with aging. Later that year, he donated $1 million to charity for Ugandan Refugees.
In 2018, Buterin was granted an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Basel for his innovative work in the blockchain space and his contribution to the ecosystem.