Vitalik Buterin, ethereum’s co-founder, is now officially one of the most influential person on earth, making it to the Times 100 for the first time.
Alongside Tim Cook and Elon Musk, as well as Xi Jinping and Joe Biden – no Putin this year – and other scientists, artists and leaders, crypto’s first boy is featured.
“What makes Vitalik so special is that he is a builder’s builder,” says cryptopunk NFT wearing Alexis Ohanian, who introduced Buterin.
By that he means Buterin is a protocol developer, contributing towards the design and code of the Turing complete ethereum network upon which run the NFTs, the decentralized finance (defi) dapps and networks, as well as games and much else.
Buterin has and is also contributing towards the design of eth improvements, including the transition to Proof of Stake (PoS) and data sharding.
His idea of smart contracts has expanded considerably the borders of the crypto world by facilitating the permissionless publishing of self-executing open source code.
In some ways it is an incremental expansion of bitcoin’s script language which allows Omnilayer that ‘runs’ the Tether token.
He took Satoshi Nakamoto’s intentionally limited non-Turing complete coding language and expanded it so that anyone can code whatever they want, including theoretically a new ethereum network running on the ethereum network itself.
For that he has been rewarded handsomely, with his remaining circa 330,000 eth worth $1.2 billion currently, making him one of the first dev billionaire coming out of this space.
He was one of the six ‘core’ co-founders, all of whom received about 600,000 eth each. None of the original co-founders remain in active eth development. Jeffrey Wilcke famously sold after going off to some game. Gavin Wood went off to found Polkadot, an attempted eth competitor of sorts with a current market cap of $35 billion. Charles Hoskinson did a bit better with his Cardano, he too now a billionaire.
Buterin remained with the launch of eth on July 30th 2015 coinciding with the beginning of the blocksize civil war in bitcoin that arose due to a dispute regarding network capacity and scalability.
A year later eth took off with the launch of Slokit’s Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that gave rise to the idea we the people can own our digital platforms.
That was hacked, with Buterin somewhat skillfully navigating the treacherous waters that for a time had Barry Silbert as eth’s antagonist.
Now ethereum is booming with its only ‘enemies’ being those that want to replace its success or boomer regulators.
It is potentially that diplomacy with these regulators or politicians, which Buterin hasn’t quite engaged, that can give him significant influence.
But where eth itself is concerned, Times 100 is arguably about five years too late as while Buterin does and can have significant influence, especially regarding the deployment of L2s, those L2 devs – of the present or the future – are perhaps even more influential and certainly can be.
Someone like Andre Cronje, the developers of OpenSea, or even Sam Bankman and his games on defi, can be bigger contenders for this 2021.
Buterin so graduating more to the background as the ethereum ecosystem becomes a citadel of its own.