Buterin, a former Thiel fellow, is the 24-year-old creator of blockchain platform Ethereum, which has fueled the initial coin offering trend and now has a $100 billion market cap. He now collaborates with the likes of Microsoft, BP and JPMorgan.
Ethereum Creator Vitalik Buterin’s Utopian Dream Created A Nine-Figure Fortune
Creator of Ethereum
Crypto Net Worth: $400 million-$500 million*
Gaunt and boyish, with close-cropped blond hair and piercing blue eyes, Ethereum creator Buterin might be the most recognizable person in crypto. As a teenager, he launched Bitcoin Magazine , dropped out of college to accept a Thiel Fellowship, then began traveling on his Bitcoin–and ruminated on its limitations.
Those travels inspired him to write the Ethereum white paper, which proposed an open source platform for more complex financial instruments aimed at the economically marginalized rather than just a currency like Bitcoin. Some $100 billion of market cap later, Ethereum is believed to have a greater number of developers building on it than any other blockchain community.
Utopian visions come with a cost: Buterin, 24, says he has less than 0.4% of the circulating supply of Ether. “A lot of people cheer the wealth redistribution that’s coming from cryptocurrency because they think, oh, it’s old money that’s being disempowered and flashy new tech money that’s being empowered,” says Buterin, whose invention now collaborates with the likes of Microsoft, BP and JPMorgan Chase. “But I’m skeptical that people involved in cryptocurrency are better people than people involved in the banking system.”
He adds, “If crypto succeeds, it’s not because it empowers better people. It’s because it empowers better institutions.”
*All cryptocurrency/U.S. dollar conversions are as of January 19, 2018.