Vitalik Buterin is the co-founder of Ethereum project, a decentralized cryptocurrency and application-building platform.
Born in 1994 in Russia but emigrated to Canada in 2000, Buterin encountered Bitcoin in 2011 at the age of 19, and quickly became interested. He started writing for a bitcoin-related blog and then he co-founded Bitcoin Magazine.
In 2014, he dropped out of University of Waterloo and got involved in various crypto projects, which led him to conceptualize Ethereum.
In his words:
"I went around the world, explored many crypto projects, and finally realized that they were all too concerned about specific applications and not being sufficiently general - hence the birth of Ethereum, which has been taking up my life ever since."
Buterin won the Bronze Medal in the International Olympiad in Informatics 2012. He was the winner of the 2014 Thiel Fellowship, which granted him $100,000 to drop-out of school and work full-time on Ethereum.
At the moment of writing, Ethereum is the #2 cryptocurrency with a market cap at 26 billion dollars.