When people first lay their eyes upon Vitalik Buterin, he looks like a gamer and a bit like an alien tbh. What they think of first is his reputation for disrupting the crypto space by inventing  Ethereum in 2014. Being bestowed the title of the V God, Vitalik is vocal in his disdain for centralized bodies behind his conception of Ethereum. 

As a programmer, Vitalik laid the groundwork for the world’s first “Smart Contract” platform that enabled the creation of decentralized applications (dApps) and soon found himself one of most influential people on the planet. Certainly right at the top of the crypto community.

His contributions to the crypto community are largely responsible for the evolution of the entire space as it exists  today. Think og DeFi, NFTs, DApps… programmable money essentially. All of these were made possible developments made using the Ethereum network.

Who is Vitalik Buterin?

Born in 1994, Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer. He was born in Kolomna, Moscow Oblast, Russia, where he lived until the age of six before his parents migrated to Canada in search of a better life. 

Vitalik’s parents enrolled him in a Canadian primary school. Studious and academically gifted from a very young age, Vitalik was soon placed in a gifted program when he was in the third grade. His love for maths and programming and a strong interest in economics made him an oddity among his peers. He then spent four years at Abelard high school, where he got to hone his skills. Knowledge became a primary goal of his life. But that didn’t deter him from engaging in his favorite pastime – World of Warcraft. 

An avid gamer, he played the leading massively popular multiplayer online games from 2007 to 2010, World of Warcraft. But in 2009 the game’s developer Blizzard, decided to nerf  the Siphon Life Spell, a once-popular gameplay mechanic that allowed Warlock characters in World of Warcraft to siphon off the life force of their enemies. 

Afterwards, as Vitalik Buterin himself puts it, he was “crying himself to sleep”, the soon-to-become Ethereum developer realized the “horrors of centralized services”. 

Vitalik’s first encounter with Bitcoin was hostile.

He was skeptical of it initially and couldn’t see value without physical backing. Of course this changed with time, and he joined the Bitcoin community in 2011.

He founded Bitcoin Magazine in 2011 and, after writing for it for two years, traveled around the world for six months in search of Bitcoin developers. His goal was to create a superior iteration of the Bitcoin blockchain. He quit the university after realizing the time and effort it would take to materialize his new inspiration.  

He explained his idea initially by drawing comparisons between Bitcoin and a calculator.

Vitalik wanted the next blockchain to operate like a smartphone.

Ethereum was born.

Ethereum’s Origin Story

Vitalik first described his idea of a future blockchain in a whitepaper in 2013 that he sent out to some of his friends who shared it with others. Over 30 people reached out to him to help build it. Despite burgeoning support from talented people, the initial idea for Ethereum was actually a lot closer to being just another Bitcoin. 

Fortunately, the vision shifted over time as more people joined the team, and Vitalik realized the ease at which files can be decentralized. 

The Ethereum project was then first announced in 2014 along with Anthony Di Lorio, Charles Hoskinson, Mihai Alise, Joe Lubin, and Gavin Wood. This team held the first ever ICO (Initial Coin Offering) of the native token ETH – in order to fund development.

In 2014, Vitalik Buterin received a Thiel Fellowship grant worth $100,000 – for which he had to compete with competitors from 44 countries. 

Founded by Peter Theil in 2011, the Thiel Fellowship is a two-year program that rewards young people who want to build new things. 

50 million ETH, worth 31,000 BTC – $18.3 million at the time – were sold during the initial ICO. It was enough to finance the creation of the Ethereum Foundation in Switzerland, which was tasked with watching over Ethereum’s open-source software development. 

Source – https://www.gemini.com/cryptopedia/initial-coin-offering-explained-ethereum-ico#section-ethereums-role-in-the-ico-boom

Ethereum’s design was created on five principles:

  1. Simplicity – The protocol must be feasible and simple
  2. Universality – Ethereum should provide an internal Turing-complete scripted language to create custom smart contracts.
  3. Modularity – Ethereum’s development must benefit the entire crypto ecosystem.
  4. Agility – Ethereum’s protocol must shift according to the crypto ecosystem’s needs over time
  5. Non-discriminatory ownership – The protocol shouldn’t impose any restrictions on usage.

Vitalik the V God

Ethereum couldn’t have gotten the initial traction it did if it wasn’t for the support from the Chinese crypto community. In the earliest days of Ethereum, the Chinese crypto community’s reverence for Vitalik Buterin is what pushed Ethereum. 

That relationship with China started in 2014 when Buterin spent months in Shanghai – forming partnerships with crypto VCs and developers in the region, including Feng Xiao

Meeting Feng Xiao, the CEO of Wangxiang Blockchain in 2015, likely saved Ethereum from an early death. 

According to Jax Xie, one of the former core researchers and developers of the Ethereum foundation, “Vitalik was completely unknown as the most dominant voice of crypto was Bitcoin.”
“Many thought he’s a hired actor and that the Ethereum is headquartered in Hangzhou.” 

After Ethereum’s ICO in 2017, more people were brought into the Ethereum community, leading to Buterin’s nickname – V God

In China, Vitalik Buterin is known as V神—the V God.

That reverence was carried over into 2020 when rumors suggested that Vitalik Buterin was the original creator of Shiba Inu – the world’s second leading memecoin. 

Crypto Winter for Ethereum 

Crypto’s 2021 bull run saw altcoins to climb to all time highs as the entire crypto market moved to almost 3 trillion USD.

ETH went on to reach an all time high of $4,891.70 USD on November 16.

A major retrace of the entire crypto market followed. ETH remained above the $3k support until February. 

Then in April 2022 ETH dropped below its $1k support to hit its 2022 bottom of $848 —largely due to the LUNA crash which brought everything down with it.

While the entire crypto community entered FUD, but Vitalik Buterin anticipated it. 

Before the start of the second – and now the longest – bear run, Vitalik Buterin said that the crypto community would be better off from it. 

Commenting on the matter during the ETHDenver festival in 2022, Vitalik said –

“The winters are the time when a lot of those applications fall away, and you can see which projects are actually long-term sustainable, like both in their models and in their teams and their people.”


ETH Price Chart
Ethereum Price – ETH Live Price Chart | CoinMarketCap

Where’s Vitalik Now?

While the Ethereum founder hasn’t commented much in regard to crypto winter, much can be gleaned from his wallet activity. CryptoPotato has reported that Vitalik Buterin has just moved 700 ETH to two different addresses and is currently buying Tether. 

The programmer’s Twitter account is still active as ever. He has recently commented on the importance of Self-Custody and how social recovery and multi-sig can help investors accomplish that. 


His other attention is toward the upcoming Shangai upgrade, also known as the “Ethereum Shanghai Fork”. Five EIPs (Ethereum Improvements Proposals) are expected to be rolled out soon. Experts say that the arrival of these upgrades will have broader economic implications for the cryptocurrency market. 

In Summary

Vitalik Buterin is a disruptor of the cryptocurrency space.

Ethereum laid the groundwork for decentralized apps and derivative cryptos to emerge that build upon ETH’s original design. 

His focus is on decentralization, and his end goal is technological freedom continues to inspire the community. What now remains to be seen is the arrival of the Shanghai upgrade – which will dictate the community’s perception of Ethereum’s founder.