Vitaly Dmitrievich Buterin (Russian: Вита́лий Дми́триевич Буте́рин), better known as Vitalik Buterin (Russian: Вита́лик Буте́рин; born 31 January[2] 1994), is a Canadian computer programmer and co-founder of Ethereum. Buterin became involved with cryptocurrency early in its inception, co-founding Bitcoin Magazine in 2011.[3][4][5] In 2015, Buterin deployed the Ethereum blockchain with Gavin Wood, Charles Hoskinson, Anthony Di Iorio, and Joseph Lubin.[6][7][8]

Vitalik Buterin
Виталик Бутерин
Buterin in 2015
Vitaly Dmitrievich Buterin

(1994-01-31) 31 January 1994 (age 30)
Kolomna, Russia
EducationUniversity of Waterloo
Known forEthereum, Bitcoin Magazine
AwardsThiel Fellowship
Scientific career
FieldsDigital contracts, digital currencies, game theory
WebsitePersonal website

Early life and education


Buterin was born on 31 January 1994 in Kolomna, Russia, to a Russian family.[9][10] His father, Dmitry, was a computer scientist.[9] He and his parents lived in the area until the age of six, when his parents emigrated to Canada in search of better employment opportunities.[11] While in grade three of elementary school in Canada, Buterin was placed into a class for gifted children and was drawn to mathematics, programming, and economics.[12] Buterin then attended The Abelard School, a private high school in Toronto.[13] Buterin learned about Bitcoin from his father at the age of 17.[11]

After high school, Buterin attended the University of Waterloo. There, he took advanced courses and was a research assistant for cryptographer Ian Goldberg, who co-created Off-the-Record Messaging and was the former board of directors' chairman of the Tor Project.[14][15] In 2012, Buterin won a bronze medal in the International Olympiad in Informatics in Italy.[16]

In 2013, he visited developers in other countries who shared his enthusiasm for code. He returned to Toronto later that year and published a white paper proposing Ethereum.[17][18] He dropped out of university in 2014 when he was awarded with a grant of US$100,000 (equivalent to $128,704 in 2023)[19] from the Thiel Fellowship, a scholarship created by venture capitalist Peter Thiel and went to work on Ethereum full-time.[20]

On 30 November 2018, Buterin received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Basel.[21]



Bitcoin Magazine


In 2011, Buterin began writing for a publication called Bitcoin Weekly after meeting a person on a bitcoin forum with the aim of earning bitcoin.[22] The owner offered five bitcoin (about $3.50 at the time) to anyone who would write an article for him.[23] Buterin wrote for the site until it shut down soon thereafter due to insufficient revenue.[24] In September 2011, Mihai Alisie reached out to Buterin about starting a new print publication called Bitcoin Magazine, a position which Buterin would accept as the first co-founder and contribute to as a leading writer.[22]

Bitcoin Magazine in 2012 later began publishing a print edition and has been referred to as the first serious publication dedicated to cryptocurrencies.[25] While working for Bitcoin Magazine, Buterin reached out to Jed McCaleb for a job at Ripple who accepted.[26] However, their proposed employment fell apart after Ripple was unable to support a U.S. visa for Buterin.[26]

In addition, he held a position on the editorial board of Ledger in 2016, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal that publishes full-length original research articles on the subjects of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.[27][needs update]



Buterin is the inventor of Ethereum, described as a "decentralised mining network and software development platform rolled into one"[28] that facilitates the creation of new cryptocurrencies and programs that share a single blockchain (a cryptographic transaction ledger).[29][30][31]

Buterin first described Ethereum in a white paper[32] in November 2013.[33] Buterin had argued that bitcoin needed a scripting language for application development. But when he failed to gain agreement, he proposed development of a new platform with a more general scripting language.[34]: 88 

The Ethereum white paper was circulated, and interest grew in the new protocol in late 2013 and early 2014. Buterin announced Ethereum more publicly at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami on 26 January. Buterin delivered a 25-minute speech, describing the general-purpose global computer operating on a decentralized permissionless network, ending with potential uses for Ethereum that ranged from crop insurance to decentralized exchanges to DAOs.[35][36]: 92, 110–130 [37]

About the Ethereum Project, Buterin said in 2020: "I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to work in such an interesting and interdisciplinary area of industry, where I have the chance to interact with cryptographers, mathematicians and economists prominent in their fields, to help build software and tools that already affect tens of thousands of people around the world, and to work on advanced problems in computer science, economics and philosophy every week."[38] However, in a 2018 New Yorker article, his father suggests that Buterin is trying to avoid the focus on him as the philosopher king of the blockchain world, stating "He is trying to focus his time on research. He's not too excited that the community assigns so much importance to him. He wants the community to be more resilient."[8]

Buterin has stated that he was driven to create decentralized money because his World of Warcraft character was nerfed, specifically by patch 3.1.0. He went on to say in his bio:

I happily played World of Warcraft during 2007–2010, but one day Blizzard removed the damage component from my beloved warlock's Siphon Life spell. I cried myself to sleep, and on that day I realized what horrors centralized services can bring. I soon decided to quit.[39][40]

Open-source software


Buterin has contributed as a developer to other open-source software projects.[3] He also contributed to DarkWallet[41] by Cody Wilson, Bitcoin Python libraries,[42] and the cryptocurrency marketplace site Egora.[4]

Ethereum Russia


As Buterin was recognizing the economic and political relevance of the Ethereum enterprise for his native Russia, he met with President Vladimir Putin on 2 June 2017, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Putin stated that he "supported the idea of establishing ties with possible Russian partners".[43]

Work with Glen Weyl


Buterin came into contact with economist Glen Weyl after tweeting about Weyl's proposal for a new wealth tax.[44] The two then wrote a manifesto Liberation Through Radical Decentralization, where they highlighted the common ground between Buterin's work on cryptocurrencies and Weyl's work on market-based solutions to social problems.[45] Collaborating with Zoe Hitzig, a PhD student at Harvard, they published a paper in 2019 entitled A Flexible Design for Funding Public Goods. The paper sets out a method for optimal provision of public goods, using a version of quadratic voting.[46] As of August 2022, quadratic funding had been used to allocate over $20 million to open-source software projects, primarily through Gitcoin Grants.[47]

Awards and recognition



  • Donation of $50,000 to the SENS Research Foundation in 2020. Together with Sam Bankman-Fried and Haseeb Qureshi, a total of $150,000 was donated the SENS Research Foundation to combat aging and aging-related diseases at the choice of users of Twitter through open voting.[61][56]
  • Donation of $336 million worth of Dogelon Mars ($ELON), which had previously been gifted to him, to the Methuselah Foundation, which focuses on extending human lifespan, on 12 May 2021.[67] Buterin's donation of the memecoin caused a 70% drop in its value.[62]

Philanthropic efforts against the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine


Buterin spoke out in support of Ukraine amid its invasion by Russia in 2022. On the first day of the invasion, Buterin tweeted that "Ethereum is neutral, but I am not",[68][69] and that the attack was a crime against both the Ukrainian and the Russian peoples.[70][71] A few days later, he responded to a tweet by RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan with "иди на хуй" 'go fuck yourself'. She had claimed that people who said they were ashamed to be Russians because of Moscow's actions against Ukraine were, in fact, not Russians at all ("Если вам сейчас стыдно, что вы русские, не волнуйтесь, вы - не русские.").[72]

Buterin has donated crypto to projects supporting the country and endorsed projects helping Ukraine through "cryptophilanthropy". These include Ukraine DAO,[73][74] in which his father Dmitry is one of the key-holders on its multi-signature crypto safe.[75]


  • Vitalik Buterin. Proof of Stake: The Making of Ethereum and the Philosophy of Blockchains. — Seven Stories Press, 2022. — С. 384. — ISBN 978-1644212486.

See also





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  70. ^ Buterin, Vitalik [@VitalikButerin] (24 February 2022). "Очень расстроен решением Путина отказаться от возможности мирного решения спора с Украиной и вместо этого начать войну. Это преступление против украинского и русского народа" [Very upset by Putin's decision to abandon the possibility of a peaceful resolution to the dispute with Ukraine and instead go to war. This is a crime against the Ukrainian and Russian people.] (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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Works cited

  • Leising, Matthew (2020). Out of the Ether: the amazing story of Ethereum and the $55 million heist that almost destroyed it all. Wiley. ISBN 978-1-119-60293-4.
  • Russo, Camila (14 July 2020). The infinite machine: how an army of crypto-hackers is building the next internet with Ethereum (First ed.). New York, NY. ISBN 978-0-06-288614-9.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)