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Motivational Leaders: Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian writer and programmer. Vitalik was involved in the Bitcoin community since 2011, co-founding and writing articles for Bitcoin magazine. But he is primarily known as the boy-genius behind Ethereum, the world’s second-most valued and recognized cryptocurrency platform.

He first heard of Bitcoin from his father, who himself had a software startup back in 2013. He wanted to formally join this new and experimental economy, he looked for work paid for in Bitcoins on various forums and eventually began writing articles for a blog, which earned him around five Bitcoins per article.

His articles attracted the attention of Mihai Alisie, a Romania-based Bitcoin enthusiast, which lead to the two actively corresponding and eventually, in late 2011, co-founding Bitcoin Magazine. Buterin took the job of head writer for the magazine while doing another part-time job as a research assistant for the cryptographer Ian Goldberg. Moreover, Vitalik was taking five advanced courses at the University of Waterloo at the same time.

In late 2013, Vitalik Buterin described his idea in a white paper, which he sent out to a few of his friends, who in turn sent it out further. As a result, about 30 people reached out to Vitalik to discuss the concept.

By the end of January 2014, the team has realized that it is relatively easy to create a decentralized file storage, and concepts like name registry can be brought to life with just a couple of lines of code. As those use cases piled up, they slowly changed Vitalik’s idea and gradually shaped it into what Ethereum is today.

The project was publicly announced in January 2014, with the core team consisting of Vitalik Buterin, Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Iorio, Charles Hoskinson, Joe Lubin and Gavin Wood. Buterin also presented Ethereum on stage at a Bitcoin conference in Miami, and just a few months later the team decided to hold a crowdsale of Ether, the native token of the network, to fund the development. Around the same time, Vitalik himself received the Thiel Fellowship grant in the amount of $100,000.