Vitaly Dmitriyevich “Vitalik” Buterin is a Russian-born Canadian programmer and writer who is best known as one of the co-founders of Ethereum. Buterin became involved with cryptocurrency early in its inception, co-founding Bitcoin Magazine in 2011.
28-year-old billionaire co-creator of Ethereum, isn’t a fan of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection. “The peril is you have these $3 million monkeys and it becomes a different kind of gambling,” Buterin, 28, said. The publication noted that he was “referring to the Bored Ape Yacht Club.”
He doesn’t drink or particularly enjoy crowds. Not that there isn’t plenty for the 28-year-old creator of Ethereum to celebrate. Nine years ago, Buterin dreamed up Ethereum as a way to leverage the blockchain technology underlying Bitcoin for all sorts of uses beyond currency.
Since then, it has emerged as the bedrock layer of what advocates say will be a new, open-source, decentraland internet. Ether, the platform’s native currency, has become the second biggest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin, powering a trillion-dollar ecosystem that rivals Visa in terms of the money it moves.
Ethereum has brought thousands of unbanked people around the world into financial systems, allowed capital to flow unencumbered across borders, and provided the infrastructure for entrepreneurs to build all sorts of new products, from payment systems to prediction markets, digital swap meets to medical-research hubs.
He also mentioned the millions of dollars in cryptocurrency donated to aid Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin began an invasion, and seemingly compared it to money spent on Bored Apes.
“One silver lining of the situation in the last three weeks is that it has reminded a lot of people in the crypto space that ultimately the goal of crypto is not to play games with million-dollar pictures of monkeys, it’s to do things that accomplish meaningful effects in the real world,” Buterin told TIME on March 14.
In 2022, Buterin hopes to be “more risk-taking and less neutral,” he told TIME. “I would rather Ethereum offend some people than turn into something that stands for nothing.”
As Buterin learned more about the blockchain technology on which Bitcoin was built, he began to believe using it purely for currency was a waste. The blockchain, he thought, could serve as an efficient method for securing all sorts of assets: web applications, organizations, financial derivatives, nonpredatory loan programs, even wills.
Each of these could be operated by “smart contracts,” code that could be programmed to carry out transactions without the need for intermediaries. A decentralized version of the rideshare industry, for example, could be built to send money directly from passengers to drivers, without Uber swiping a cut of the proceeds.