HEAVY market trading has jolted cryptocurrency Ethereum to record price gains of nearly 190 per cent, as of Easter 2021.
Digital currency Ethereum – the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin – was co-founded by ‘celebrity’ crypto guru Vitalik Buterin.
Who is Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin?
Vitalik Buterin, 27, is one of Ethereum’s eight founders.
“He was a 2014 recipient of billionaire Peter Thiel’s prestigious fellowship and [in 2016], he was included on Fortune’s 40 under 40 list.”
Born in Moscow, Buterin’s childhood was spent in Canada, after his family moved there when he was six years old.
Wired’s Backchannel says that later, he “invented the world’s hottest new cryptocurrency and inspired a movement — before he’d turned 20”.
The website explains that his huge mathematical talent was fostered at school.
“In third grade, he was placed in a programme for the gifted… he began to realise that his particular talents – a natural proclivity for math and programming, an early interest in economics, and an ability to add three digit numbers in his head twice as fast as the average human being – set him apart as an oddity.”
He had learnt about Bitcoin in 2011 from his dad, who was running a small software startup.
Buterin told Wired: “I saw everything to do with either government regulation or corporate control as just being plain evil.
“And I assumed that people in those institutions were kind of like Mr. Burns [in The Simpsons], sitting behind their desks saying, ‘Excellent. How can I screw a thousand people over this time’.”
Wired adds: “Buterin established himself as an indispensable voice of authority with a great talent for untangling and explaining the technicalities of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies.”
But cryptocurrency’s value is extremely volatile. Experts urge users to only invest money that they can afford to lose.
Money expert Martin Lewis told the Mirror that when it comes to cryptocurrency, “if you can’t afford to lose the money you put in, do not invest in it”.
He added: “It’s a gamble like all forms of stocks and shares, like all forms of investment, and putting money in gold.
“That’s your choice, but if you do it the right way, the investment should work for you – that doesn’t mean you won’t lose money though.”
In January 2021, The Sun said that Brits have been warned that they risk losing ALL of their money if they invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said people need to be aware of the risks, ranging from prices going up and down suddenly, to the lack of protection if something goes wrong.
When Bitcoin and Ethereum prices soared in early 2021, Tesla boss Elon Musk said they seemed ‘high’.
- Bitcoin had risen more than 100 per cent by Easter 2021, this year, while Ethereum gained nearly 190 per cent in trade, reports Reuters.
- Ethereum reached a peak of $2,151.63 on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, according to data and market trackers CoinGecko and Blockfolio.
- Moving in tandem with Bitcoin, Ethereum has soared around three times so far this year.
What is Ethereum?
Ethereum is another cryptocurrency – one which some have said could eventually overtake Bitcoin as the dominant coin in the market.
But it is also a ledger technology – using “blockchain”, like Bitcoin – that companies are using to build new programmes.
A blockchain is where encrypted data can be transferred securely, making it nearly impossible to duplicate or counterfeit. This ledger is the foundation of any cryptocurrency transaction.
E Toro writes that “cryptocurrency is a way to trade currency and other assets digitally, independent of any third-party entity, such as a government or bank.
“These transactions take place on a decentralised ledger system called the ‘blockchain’.
“The first crypto was Bitcoin, and it remains a leading digital currency, along with Ethereum, XRP, and others.”
Who are the Ethereum co-founders?
There were eight co-founders of Ethereum – all of whom boast “huge personalities, huge egos, some more than others,” cryptocurrency author Camila Russo told Decrypt.
“That kind of points to why the eight aren’t in Ethereum anymore. They were just too big personalities to be sharing,” she added.
Decrypt says: “Most of them, however, are still in the crypto space.”
Ethereum’s co-founders are:
1. Vitalik Buterin
Russia-born Vitalik Buterin cofounded Bitcoin Magazine and heads up Ethereum,”the blockchain platform that acts as a world computer for decentralised applications”, working on upgrades to its protocol, explains Forbes.
Speaking with Julia Galef on a recent podcast, Buterin said: “In addition to a crypto person, I’ve always been a rationalist.”
2. Mihai Alisie
Cybernetic Economics expert Mihai Alisie “was making a living coaching and playing poker in his home country Romania, when he heard about Bitcoin,” says Decrypt.
He and Buterin set up Bitcoin magazine, before Alisie helped to establish Ethereum’s Swiss base.
Alisie “is the only Ethereum co-founder to remain in Zug, Switzerland’s Crypto Valley’, Decrypt adds.
He is heavily involved in Akasha, a social framework for Ethereum.
3. Anthony Di Iorio
Anthony Di Iorio, “co-founder of Ethereum, is plotting a way out of cryptocurrency to tackle a project he hopes will help change the world for the better,” writes the Financial Post.
The website notes in February 2021 that the ‘Crypto King’ “wears the same thing every day, call it his uniform: a white t-shirt, which he orders in bulk at $10 a pop, blue jeans and white sneakers”.
An ‘early adopter of Bitcoin’, Di Iorio made the Forbes list of the top-20 richest people in cryptocurrency – but he is at pains to say, “when people know I’ve got crypto… the money is not in a bank.”
After leaving Ethereum, the Toronto man was hired as chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange, before founding Decentral.
He is now focused on solving “the world’s bigger problems”.
4. Amir Chetrit
US-Israeli national Amir Chetrit met Buterin at a Bitcoin business conference in Amsterdam, says Decrypt.
He now works as head of Alchemist Israel at Alchemist, says ItsBlockchain.
5. Charles Hoskinson
Charles Hoskinson is a Colorado-based technology entrepreneur and mathematician, according to tech firm IOHK.
He attended Metropolitan State University of Denver and University of Colorado Boulder to study analytic number theory before moving into cryptography.
His professional experience includes founding three cryptocurrency-related start-ups – Invictus Innovations, Ethereum and IOHK.
He was the founding chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation’s education committee and established the Cryptocurrency Research Group in 2013.
IOHK’s website says: “His current projects focus on educating people about cryptocurrency, being an evangelist for decentralisation and making cryptographic tools easier to use for the mainstream.”
6. Gavin Wood
“When I first read about Bitcoin in 2011, I was largely uninterested, focusing too much on the currency aspect rather than the technology,” writes Gavin Wood on his website.
In 2017, The Times explained how the “British coder” was revealed as the brains behind bitcoin’s rival.
Gavin Wood ‘wrote the code’ for ether — whose value soared 4,400 per cent in 2017.
His Twitter bio says that he “founded Polkadot, Kusama, Ethereum, Parity, Web3 Foundation. Building Polkadot. All things Web 3.0.”
Blockchain project Polkadot is a competitor to Ethereum – where he used to work as its chief technology officer.
7. Jeffrey Wilcke
Jeffrey Wilcke’s “contributions were more on side of client development than protocol.
“Currently he is founder of Grid Games, a company he founded back in January 2018,” writes ItsBlockchain.
According to his Twitter bio, computer programmer Wilcke is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
8. Joseph Lubin
Decrypt describes Joseph Lubin as “the most experienced of Ethereum’s eight founders”.
After graduating in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton, his career has ranged from software engineering, music producing, business and finance – including the crypto market.
Di Iorio and Lubin’s “deep pockets kept the fledgling Ethereum afloat,” the website adds.
The ex chief operating officer of Ethereum founded ConsenSys Systems which develops the decentralised applications and utilities for Ethereum.
ConsenSys is a prominent blockchain startup that grew rapidly during the 2017 crypto bubble, according to Reuters.