A Russian-Canadian programmer has officially been crowned the world’s youngest crypto billionaire.
Vitalik Buterin, 27, reached billionaire status after digital currency Ethereum surged above a $3,000 price mark Monday.
The celebrity crypto guru co-founded Ethereum – the second biggest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin – in 2015.
Ethereum has attracted a huge following in the world of decentralized finance, thanks to its faster transaction times when compared to that of Bitcoin.
He holds 333,000 Ether coins – which is now worth an astonishing $1.029 billion.
In 2013, the writer and programmer dropped out of college and later became one of eight co-founders of Ethereum.
Vitalik Buterin, 27, reached billionaire status after digital currency Ethereum surged above a $3000 price mark today
At the time of writing, his visionary project boasts a huge market cap of about $350 billion, which is bigger than The Bank of America, the country’s second largest bank.
Buterin, who now lives in Singapore, was born in 1994 in a small Russian town called Kolomna, located around 60 miles away from Moscow.
Aged 4, his family moved to Canada to search for better job opportunities.
They later gifted him his first computer. But instead of playing video games like most kids, he developed a fascination with the spreadsheets on Microsoft Excel.
At school the mathematical whizz kid was a bit too clever for his peers. In third grade he was placed in a programme for the gifted and talented.
According to former peers, he had the ability to add three digit numbers in his head twice as fast as the average human being.
Visual representations of digital cryptocurrency Ethereum (ETH) arranged on a circuit board of a hard drive on January 3, 2021 in Katwijk, Netherlands
With his parents’ blessing, Vitalik dropped out of the University of Waterloo in 2013 and travelled the world to meet crypto enthusiasts in other countries.
His father, who ran a small software startup, introduced him to bitcoin in 2011.
In an interview with Wired, Buterin said: ‘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?’
Buterin, who was 19-years-old at the time, came up with the design of Ethereum in a white paper later that year.
The aim was to create a general scripting language to develop blockchain-based applications.
The first Ethereum network was crowdfunded in 2014 and first went live in 2016 with a supply of 72 million Ether coins.
In 2017, false rumors spread online claiming that Vitalik had died in a car accident.
The outbreak of the news, which originated on 4Cchan, led to a drop in the value of the Ethereum market cap to about $4billion.
The recent Ethereum price surge appears to push back against criticism levelled at cryptocurrencies’ by Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, last weekend.
He said: ‘I don’t welcome a currency that is so useful to kidnappers and extortionists and so forth.
‘Nor do I like shoveling out a few extra billions and billions and billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air. I think I should say modestly that I think the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization.’
Like Bitcoin, Ethereum runs its own blockchain, an online ledger which tracks the transfer of information or value.
Vitalik Buterin speaks during the TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 in San Francisco, California
The Ethereum logo (pictured).
Buterin envisioned a payment network that allows anonymous payments to be sent across the internet without the need for a bank.
Corporate interest in the cryptocurrency sector has boosted retail investor’s confidence in the unregulated sector, including plans by The European Investment Bank to issue a digital bond on the Ethereum blockchain.
Bitcoin’s price increased dramatically after Elon Musk recently revealed that an investment he made on behalf of Tesla had helped keep the electric carmaker out of the red.
At publishing time, the world’s largest altcoin is trading at $3,144, up 8.6% over the past 24 hours, with gains of 36% over the past seven days, according to data from CoinGecko.
Bitcoin , the world’s biggest crypto asset with more than $1 trillion in market capitalisation, regained the $50,000 mark last week and hovered around $58,700 on Monday, up about 4% but well below its record high of $64,895.22.
Meanwhile, the price of meme coin Dogecoin was continuing its upward trajectory as of today, pushing its overall valuation higher than that of Twitter or Ford.
WHAT IS ETHEREUM?
Ethereum is a technology first developed by Vitalik Buterin, a former Bitcoin programmer in 2013.
After Bitcoin, ether (the currency of Ethereum) is the second most valuable form of digital money.
Ethereum uses a decentralized payment network that allows payments to be sent anonymously across the internet without the need for a bank.
Transactions made through Ethereum are stored in a blockchain, where they are visible for everyone else in the network to see.
Ethereum has more than quadrupled in value from around $700 at the beginning of 2021.
Some analysts have said it could eventually overtake Bitcoin as the dominant coin in the market.
One ether is now worth roughly $3,300.