Ethereum’s 27-year-old co-founder undertakes one of the largest philanthropy efforts ever
The rise of cryptocurrencies over the past 18 months or so has made millionaires and billionaires of many of the early adopters, and one of the most interesting cases has been that of Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum. Buterin is just 27 years old, and with Ether’s current price at around $3,500, he has become the world’s youngest billionaire. His Ether address, which he had disclosed in October 2018, currently holds 333,520 ETH, which is worth around $1.17 billion at the current price of the token. It is important to note that while Ethereum has dropped in price over the last few weeks, it is still up by over 300% in 2021.
The popularity of Ethereum has surged in 2021, largely due to the growing influence of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications which are looking to replace traditional financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies. Most of these DeFi protocols are built on the Ethereum blockchain, which explains why Ethereum has been steadily increasing in price. There are many analysts and crypto observers who believe that Ethereum’s real-world utility and applications will help it surpass Bitcoin’s price in the future. Of course, this is a long way away, but it points towards the fact that the Ethereum blockchain is being widely used and has far more applications than the Bitcoin blockchain.
All of this has helped make Buterin the world’s youngest billionaire, and it is quite encouraging that he is using his newfound wealth to try and help people all around the world. Buterin recently donated more than $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies to the India Covid Relief Fund, which is raising money to help provide resources to India, which is battling a vicious second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic at the moment. He has also made several donations to other worthy causes, and it is interesting to note that his donation for COVID relief to India came in the form of various cryptocurrencies. Buterin’s donation was made via Dogelon, Shiba Inu coin and Akita Inu coin, which are all cryptocurrencies that have been created on the back of Dogecoin’s popularity, and are therefore essentially joke or meme cryptocurrencies themselves, with no real-world applications. Nevertheless, the rise in Dogecoin’s price has lifted these tokens too, and Buterin is ensuring that these coins will have some utility through this donation, although the recipients would be wise to convert them into fiat as soon as possible to take advantage of the current rally, which may not be sustainable. It is quite interesting to see Buterin’s journey so far – he was born in Russia but emigrated to Canada with his parents at the age of six. He attended the University of Waterloo, where he was a research assistant for Ian Goldberg, a noted cryptographer who was formerly on the board of directors for the Tor Project. Buterin published a white paper that proposed Ethereum in 2013 and dropped out of university in 2014 to work full-time on the development of Ethereum after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Thiel Fellowship, Peter Thiel’s scholarship.
Buterin also recently moved the bulk of his Ethereum to a separate address, leaving just around $10,000 worth of the token in his aforementioned main wallet. While we do not know the reason for this, it is being speculated that he could be looking to sell a portion of his holdings to try and cash in on the recent crypto rally, which is now showing signs of having bottomed out, with prices falling over the last few weeks.
However, Ethereum is expected to rebound and continue on its upward trajectory soon, and the upcoming Ethereum 2.0 update, which will add a number of enhancements and features to the Ethereum blockchain, will be one of the major catalysts for this. This is also one of the biggest reasons for the assertion that Ethereum will eventually be the biggest crypto in the world, as it simply has more real-world utility than Bitcoin. While that remains to be seen, there is no doubt that Buterin’s invention has already made a huge difference to the world.