Vitalik Buterin is a 24 year-old who doesn’t necessarily give an impression of an intellectual at first glance. He’s rather the type of a kid you could assume used to sit in the back of the classroom and during breaks took other kids’ lunch money. Whoever came up with “don’t judge the book by its cover” must have been thinking of Vitalik. So who is Vitalik Buterin really? A genius with an incredible self-distance, one of the brightest minds of his generation. After Satoshi Nakamoto, he is the most famous blockchain and cryptocurrency pioneer, and the moust important the creator of the biggest archievment of the last decade which is Ethereum.
Vitalik was born in Moscow but emigrated with his family to Toronto, Canada. There, his teachers put him in the third grade – for more talented students. When he was in school, it turned out that he was a prodigy in many subjects: mathematics, programming and economics. As he later recalled, he added three-digit numbers in his head twice as fast as the others could. It’s hardly surprising that Vitalik Buterin is at the forefront of a project, which is to revolutionize the world and the only thing that might distract from his achievements, is his casual and laid-back style.
Chapter 1: Today’s worries, from a perspective of time, can be the best thing that ever happened to us
In the years 2007 – 2010 Vitalik was a big fan of World of Warcraft. The game captivated him until the moment when Blizzard removed the damage element of his favourite wizzard from Siphon Life. At this point Vitalik had invested a lot of time and energy in this game and he openly admits that he cried himself to sleep. That day he realized the scale of the threats of centralized services, which became a stepping stone on his future path.
After giving up the game, he had to find a new obsession.
At the age of 17, his father told him about Bitcoin. At first, he wasn’t too optimistic about it, but everything changed at his second attempt. Perhaps it was influenced by his internal desire to break free from the clutches of government regulations and the centralization of services, but one thing is certain: this project helped him see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Chapter 2: In order to achieve your goals, you need ambition, rarely only talent.
Vitalik possessed both of these things. However, he was lacking one thing – sufficient funds. He earned his first bitcoins by writing texts, which in turn attracted the attention of Mihai Alisie, with whom he later co-founded Bitcoin Magazine. Two years later he participated in his first conference devoted to Bitcoin, which only reassured him that what he does, it’s worth taking a risk.
“That moment really crystallized it for me, it really convinced me that, hey, this thing’s real and it’s worth taking a risk and jumping into. So I did.”
He also worked as a research assistant for Ian Goldberg on the side. And if that wasn’t enough, he started studying at the University of Waterloo, where, at a certain time, he participated in five advanced courses.
Chapter 3: After your studies, you have the same chances of working at KFC as before them.
In 2013, it turned out that his projects required over 30 hours a week, almost full-time, so he quit his studies. This decision was helped by the fact that he had won one of the most prestigious competitions going: The Peter Thiel Fellowship. The main prize was $100,000 for the development of the innovative projects he was pursuing at the time.
We often think that what we learn at school doesn’t apply to real life and, in many cases, we’re right. After all, there are certain fields that develop so quickly that your knowledge is already out-dated when you finish your studies. It is worth bearing in mind however that if you don’t have a clear perspective and plan for your life, after you quit your studies you don’t necessarily becoming the second Buterin, Zuckerberg, Gates, Ellison or Jobs. These people had a clearly define idea for themselves already, and a degree simply wasn’t necessary to achieve it.
Chapter 4: If you want to revolutionize the world, first get to know it.
After dropping out of college, Vitalik embarked on a journey around the world, where he built his knowledge about projects related to blockchain technologies. The key moment in his trip was his visit to Israel and seeing how important this technology is for the scientists and how much it can affect the world in the near future.
Chapter 5: As the confidence in institutions starts to rust, people’s trust moves towards the law of mathematics, cryptography and decentralization.
Straight after returning, Vitalik created Ethereum, a platform based on the blockchain technology for making intelligent contracts and creating applications using a decentralized peer-to-peer network. This platform not only allows you to invest but also to make bets or to support crowdfunding. As a result, initiatives such as Hyperledger – which associates over 100 of the world’s most important financial institutions and aims at creating a global system of currency settlements, can be built on it.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, as Buterin calls it, is the opportunity to do things that were available earlier, but for less money and much faster. For example, if you want to open a small hotel in your home, you can use Airbnb. Are you interested in making TV content or publishing a book? Head over to YouTube, run a blog or publish the book yourself. When it comes to blockchains, it’s similar because it is a much more accessible market that allows you to run a profitable business.
Chapter 6: Impact the lives of millions
Not many people know that Vitalik Buterin is also a man with an amazing heart who provides huge financial help for foundations such as the SENS Research Foundation, which was also supported by the Pineapple Fund.
“… I am happy to have been blessed with the opportunity to personally support SENS’s efforts. Their focus on creating solutions to the diseases of ageing, one of the greatest problems facing humanity, is very much in line with my goal to positively impact the lives of millions of people around the world.”
Business is all about people and watching Vitalik Buterin’s actions I have no doubts that Ethereum is just at the beginning of its path to greatness. Even though it is a revolutionary project that surpasses all the other projects based on blockchain technology, Vitalik does’t rest on his laurels and is constantly working on continuous improvements.
Thanks for reading! It means the absolute world to me.