Vitalik Buterin, the world’s youngest known crypto billionaire and the co-founder of the Ethereum crypto network recently donated over $1.14 billion (₹8,360,081,700,000 approx) worth of meme coins to India’s Covid-19 relief fund and other charities to help the country battle the second wave of the ongoing pandemic.

So, who is Vitalik Buterin and what do we know about him?

Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian programmer and writer who is also popularly known as one of the co-founders of Ethereum. For the uninitiated, Ethereum is a cryptocurrency platform that is similar to Bitcoin. It was launched in 2014. 

Before we dig any further let’s learn a little more about Buterin’s childhood and how he developed an interest in cryptocurrency. Shall we?

Buterin was born on 31st January 1994 to Dmitry Buterin and Natalia Ameline. His father was a computer science by profession and they immigrated to Canada for better employment opportunities when Buterin was just 6 years old.

When Buterin was in third grade he was put into a class for gifted children and that’s where he developed an interest in mathematics, programming, and economics. At the age of 17, his father taught him about Bitcoin and his curiosity to learn more grew stronger.

After completing high school, Buterin took advanced courses and worked as 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.

In 2011, Buterin also started writing for a publication called Bitcoin Weekly. He co-created Bitcoin Magazine with Mihai Alisie and worked as a senior writer until 2014.

In 2012, Buterin also won a bronze medal in the International Olympiad in Informatics. A year later, he returned to Canada and published a white paper proposing Ethereum.

He was granted $100,000 from the Thiel Fellowship (a scholarship created by venture capitalist Peter Thiel) and he dropped out of college. He accepted the fellowship and started work on Ethereum full-time.

He believed that bitcoin needed a scripting language for application development so he proposed a new platform, Ethereum, with a more general scripting language.

He was named in Fortune 40 under 40 list in 2016, Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2018 and he also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel in 2018. 

Though it is not only work that he’s focused on. He has also donated to philanthropic causes on several occasions in the past too. In 2017 he made a donation of $763,970 of Ether to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. 

In 2018, he also made a donation of $2.4 million of Ether to the SENS Research Foundation for research on rejuvenation biotechnologies and human life extension.

Today, Ethereum has grown to become the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency platform after Bitcoin.