Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin becomes the world’s Youngest Crypto Billionaire.

The cryptocurrency Ethereum has seen an unprecedented rise in value over the last few months, having appreciated 375% since the beginning of 2021. On Monday, May 2nd, the value of 1 ETH crossed $3000, and with it, the co-founder of Ethereum — Vitalik Buterin’s net worth soared past the billion-dollar mark.

Buterin, who is only 27 years old, created Ethereum when he was 19 and has been at the helm of all blockchain development since. He currently holds 335,000 ETH in his public wallet. Buterin is currently the second youngest tech billionaire on the planet, second only to 25-year old Austin Russell, CEO of Luminar Technologies, which makes LIDAR sensors for self-driving cars.

Buterin was born in Russia, but his family moved to Canada when he was only four years old. Having been placed into a batch of gifted students since 3rd grade, the young prodigy went on to take advanced classes in Mathematics, Cryptography, and Economics in high school. Buterin learned about Bitcoin from his father at the age of 17 and briefly wrote for a publication named “Bitcoin Weekly” in 2011 to earn a few BTC. At the time, one bitcoin was worth $3.50.

In 2013, Buterin started working on his own blockchain project, together with like-minded developers from around the world. He presented his white paper on Ethereum later in the same year. After being awarded the Thiel Fellowship worth $100,000 in 2014, Buterin dropped out of the University of Waterloo, where he was a Computer Science student, to pursue Ethereum development full-time.

Buterin is not very active on social media, even though he is followed by 1.4 million people on Twitter.

As for the currency itself, Ethereum is currently second in price only to Bitcoin, which currently goes for $55,000 for 1 BTC. According to CoinMarketCap, the total value of all Ethereum in circulation is about $403 billion, and 1 ETH presently stands at $3462. Together with Bitcoin, the two cryptocurrencies make up almost two-thirds of the $2.3 trillion crypto economy.

Ethereum’s incredible increase in value can be attributed in part to the growing popularity of Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs. Written using Smart Contracts powered by the Ethereum Blockchain, NFTs can be used to sell one-of-a-kind verifiably unique digital goods. Various celebrities, as well as independent artists, have sold several collectibles and other unique artefacts as NFTs, netting them millions of dollars. As of March 2021, the total worth of the NFT market stands at $432 million.

Another major factor driving Ethereum’s steady rise in value is the network’s gradual move to Ethereum 2.0. This major multi-year update to the blockchain promises to make transactions using Ethereum significantly faster while also improving network capacity and security. At the moment, it’s in Phase 1 of development, with further stages slated to begin in late 2021 or Early 2022.

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