Vitalik Buterin created one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies in his early twenties — here’s how he did it and why

  • Vitalik Buterin is the co-founder of Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency in the world. Buterin was 21-years-old when the cryptocurrency was initially released.
  • Buterin became interested in bitcoin in 2011 and co-founded a bitcoin magazine. Eventually, he dropped out of university to focus on crypto full-time.
  • Buterin built Ethereum as be a blockchain platform that other applications could be built on top of.
  • Buterin says that bitcoin does one thing and does one thing well. He compares it to a plot key calculator whereas he sees Ethereum as a smartphone. A smartphone can run a plot key calculator app, but it can also run other apps.

VItalik Buterin sat down with Business Insider at DesTechAZ in October, 2018. In this clip he talks about how he got involved in the cryptocurrency space and why he created Ethereum. Following is a transcript of the video.

Vitalik Buterin: So, I first got into the crypto space back when it was just called the bitcoin space around 2011. I heard about bitcoin in a couple of places. I thought it was something really interesting. I started getting into the community more and more. I co-founded Bitcoin Magazine which was this, kind of, online site and eventually a print magazine that talked about bitcoin-related, technical, social, economic, whatever topics. And I did a lot of bitcoin-related things for about two years.

Eventually dropped out of university to join the space full-time. And soon after that I started to realise that there were a lot more interesting things that you could do with blockchains than just a single period of year currency. And this was something a lot of other people were starting to recognise at the same time. I came up with the idea behind Ethereum. This idea that blockchain was a built-in programming language as, kind of, what I thought was the simplest and kind of, most logical way to actually build a platform that can be used for many more kinds of applications.

Interviewer: What was the biggest issue with bitcoin that you were trying to fix with Ethereum?

Vitalik Buterin: Just too limited functionality. So like, think of the difference between something like a plot key calculator and a smartphone, where a plot key calculator does one thing and it does one thing well, but really people want to do all these other things. And if you have a smartphone then on the smartphone you have a plot key calculator as an app. You have playing music as an app. You have a web browser as an app and pretty much everything else. So basically taking that same kind of idea of increasing the power of the system by making it more general purpose and applying it to blockchains.

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