The astonishing rise of ethereum’s price has propelled the Ethereum Foundation to become the best funded blockchain organization, above 21Inc, R3, Coinbase, Digital Asset Holdings and Blockstream.
Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s inventor, publicly stated that the Ethereum Foundation has “~$15m in fiat (mostly EUR and CHF), 500 BTC, ~800k ETH,” that makes it around $1.3 million worth of bitcoin and $165.6 million worth of eth at the current price, giving it an exact total of $181.9 million.
That compares to 21Inc’s $111 million, R3’s $107 million raised recently, Coinbase’s $75 million, $60 million for Digital Asset Holdings and Blockstream’s $55 million among the top six blockchain companies.
Uniquely among all these companies, the value of Ethereum’s Foundation directly depends on the value of ethereum as the vast majority of its holdings are in eth, thus directly aligning the incentives of the Ethereum Foundation and the ethereum protocol, platform, as well as wider ecosystem.
That makes it more likely the eth developers behave reasonably, objectively, in a scientific minded manner, amicably, and in a way that advances the protocol, with the result being that of an ecosystem which moves very fast.
That is shown by the way ethereum handled its first and biggest test in the digital currency space so far. A theft of $200 million threatened to derail the entire project, with the regulators potentially coming down heavily while the mainstream may have turned against it.
The ethereum ecosystem, however, was able to quickly stop the theft with just a code upgrade, returning the stolen funds to the rightful owners, thus passing the test with flying colors.
That earned Ethereum its first biggest ally, Coinbase, which added the currency to its offerings, opening the dollar market. Then, a series of harmless bugs were exploited which ethereum quickly fixed, earning the confidence of household brands who have now joined in an alliance to raise ethereum up to an enterprise level.
That’s the move fast and break things moto of Silicon Valley in action. It has worked before, it is working here, but that means this space is at bleeding edge. There may be short term turbulences, but as long as the Ethereum Foundation holds eth we should expect such road bumps to be quickly fixed.
Not least because Vitalik Buterin alone holds around $100 million worth of eth with many other ethereum developers probably holding substantial amounts making them directly vested in the platform, unlike in some other digital currencies where most developers were funded by dollars directly.
The Ethereum Foundation is a non-profit, so much of this money will go towards development. To that end, Vitalik Buterin has asked everyone to send his way individuals capable in “Math, CS, distribution systems, crypto, economy, game theory, behavioral economy, all highly welcome” – he said.
They’ll be needed for Prof of Stake research, Sharding, and much else, but the Ethereum Foundation also does other non-directly protocol related projects, such as the Ethereum Name Service which now secures a cool $219 million worth of eth used as reserve for 135,000 ethereum names.