Profile of Vitalik Buterin: Both a Lone Island and a Signal Tower

Author | Dui Dui

Editor | Elaine

“Signal tower built, linking the world of the island.”

On July 30, 2015, sunshine shone through the window of Vitalik Buterin’s office, falling on his excited and anxious face. He gripped his mouse tightly, clicking the last button, announcing the birth of Ethereum on the internet stage. Followers of cryptocurrency around the world cheered, and the joy of dreams becoming reality filled the air.

Thus, Ethereum entered the blockchain field, becoming a digital revolution that caused a sensation worldwide.

Before the establishment of Ethereum, a young man only 19 years old insisted on the core concept of an embedded Turing complete programming language, committed to building an innovative blockchain platform. After years of effort and struggle, Ethereum successfully realized this vision, bringing to the world an open, flexible, and infinitely possible digital asset platform.

As a public blockchain platform, the success of Ethereum cannot be separated from the efforts of an important figure, the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. In this issue of the “AIO News Person” column, we will bring you a close-up of Vitalik Buterin’s story.

This Person: Vitalik Buterin


Vitalik Buterin was born in 1994 into a family of IT programmers in Russia. When he was 4 years old, Vitalik received his first computer in his life, which became the starting point for Vitalik to show his genius. At the age of only 4, he embarked on the road of programming.

However, even child prodigies cannot have perfect families. When Vitalik was 5 years old, his parents divorced. After the divorce, his father took him to immigrate to Toronto, Canada. This decision to move to the other end of the earth plunged young Vitalik into a completely unfamiliar environment. Because he couldn’t speak the language, he had to go to daycare in different languages. For him, who was only 6 years old, this was a huge and painful adaptation process.

Despite facing two significant life-changing events, Vitalik’s talent did not disappear. In third grade, Vitalik demonstrated exceptional mathematical abilities with a mental calculation speed twice that of his peers. At the age of 7, Vitalik began using computers for entertainment, creating a world made up of little rabbits and naming it “Rabbit Encyclopedia”. In Vitalik’s world, which he ruled, mathematics, charts, and calculations were abundant. By the age of 12, Vitalik was capable of using the C++ programming language to create simple games for his own amusement.

Although Vitalik showed extraordinary talent in mathematics and programming, his father was very concerned: “Vitalik is very intelligent, but his growth was not smooth. His thoughts always turned very quickly, making it difficult for him to communicate with others. He didn’t start speaking until he was 9 or 10 years old. I was very worried at the time. But later I realized that since that was the case, I could only give him more love.”

In Vitalik’s growth process, his wisdom and creativity made him an island, lonely but independent.

Vitalik stayed away from the world of his peers, constantly exploring himself, seeking his own path and dreams. He grew up in loneliness, like an island standing in the endless sea, but harboring infinite power deep within.

First Signal

Like other geniuses, Vitalik has a unique way of perceiving the world, which deeply affects his way of interacting and communicating with others. Although his skills in mathematics and computer science are impeccable, Vitalik’s performance in social skills is almost nonexistent.

Before entering high school, Vitalik’s figure had always wandered lonely on campus. He was like a person trapped on an island, unable to integrate into the social world of his peers.

The feeling of loneliness in real life overwhelmed Vitalik, and he was always looking for a way to forget his loneliness. So he indulged in Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft” game, where the skills and characters in the game became his source of happiness. However, three years later, the skills of his favorite game character were removed by Blizzard, and after many unsuccessful protests, he felt hopeless about the game and the character he had spent three years on, and decided to give up. And began to look for a way to break the centralized network authority.

However, fortunately, Vitalik, who suffered a major blow to the gaming world, began to learn how to socialize and connect with others through the internet world.

“And, that’s when he entered the entire cryptocurrency and Bitcoin field,” Vitalik’s father recalled.

Cryptocurrency became Vitalik’s redemption, allowing him to gradually break free from his predicament. He became more outgoing and learned to communicate with peers, enjoying the joy of social interaction. When discussing cryptocurrencies with netizens, Vitalik’s face always shines with excitement and is full of energy.

If computers were Vitalik’s only comfort during his lonely childhood, then cryptocurrency was the magical key that opened the door to socializing, and it was also the first signal he connected to the outside world in his own way.

Through exploring the field of cryptocurrency, Vitalik discovered the huge potential contained in this field. In order to uncover the mysterious veil of cryptocurrency, the long-sealed “Vitalik Island” sent out a strong signal to the outside world, eager to communicate and learn with more like-minded people. Through questioning, he constantly absorbed new knowledge, making this unknown field gradually clear in front of him.

Cryptocurrency became the bridge for Vitalik to communicate with the outside world, allowing him to meet many like-minded friends in this community. They learn from each other, share experiences, and explore this new field together. And these precious experiences ultimately gave birth to Vitalik’s groundbreaking idea – creating a brand new blockchain platform, Ethereum.

The Second Signal

Although cryptocurrency broke Vitalik’s own limitations, he did not confine his vision to the field of Bitcoin because of it.

On the contrary, he put forward a brand new concept with a more grand perspective. This young genius had a unique insight, and he firmly believed that only by creating a new technology could the potential of Bitcoin be truly released. This new technology will be able to provide higher efficiency and flexibility to meet the current needs of Bitcoin hardware and software.

Based on this, Vitalik wrote a whitepaper detailing his new project Ethereum when he was 19 years old. In the whitepaper, Vitalik proposed a new architecture, new technology, and new applications that would all become important components of Ethereum.

In this whitepaper, he poured his vision as if he had sent a signal on a desert island, hoping to be seen and recognized by the whole world.

As Vitalik hoped, the Ethereum whitepaper received widespread attention upon its release and Vitalik’s ideas received widespread praise within the Bitcoin community. Community members praised the innovation, practicality, and feasibility of Vitalik’s whitepaper, and were full of expectations for the future development of Ethereum.

Vitalik’s vision is undoubtedly inspiring, as creating a new programming language can unleash developers’ hands and allow them to focus on their core projects, and quickly realize creativity and ideas. At the same time, this new programming language should also have qualities such as high quality, scalability, and maintainability, so that developers can trust and rely on it more.

Thus, Vitalik Buterin conveyed the second signal to the outside world with the Ethereum Whitepaper, which gave him the expectation of building a decentralized, equal, efficient, and trustworthy world.

The Third Signal

With the strong support of the community, Vitalik Buterin was determined to turn the vision in the Ethereum whitepaper into reality.

In June 2015, the first version of Ethereum was released, named Frontier. This also marked Vitalik Buterin’s third signal to the world, putting his vision of “building a decentralized, equal, efficient, and trustworthy world” into action.

All Ether promised to early investors was delivered smoothly, and developers began to weave their dreams on Ethereum.

Just as Vitalik Buterin intended, Ethereum has successfully provided users with a digital, intelligent, and transparent decentralized medium. In Ethereum’s smart contracts, users can write any contracts they want, with the highest universality and flexibility. However, this also means that all vulnerabilities, including security vulnerabilities, are visible and may not be quickly fixed.

The release of this third signal from Vitalik has caused a huge echo. Ethereum has become one of the most widely used and widely watched blockchain platforms in the world, sparking a new wave of distributed application and smart contract development.

Signal tower builds an island to connect the world

From a genius teenager who was out of touch with the world to a pioneer who pushed blockchain to the top of the wave. Vitalik Buterin has become the V God in people’s hearts.

However, there is no smooth success in the world. Since its birth, Ethereum, the cryptocurrency with the second-highest market value in the world after Bitcoin, has faced various crises and doubts.

On a dark night in May 2016, Ethereum’s decentralized organization The DAO became the victim of a hacker attack. The attack exploited a code vulnerability in The DAO, resulting in the theft of 50 million US dollars worth of ether. This incident not only raised doubts among investors about the security of smart contracts, but also caused the value of ether to plummet from $20 to $10 overnight, causing global market capitalization to evaporate by $500 million.

In the midst of the crisis, Vitalik Buterin decided to sacrifice a pawn to protect the car. In order to help users recover their losses, the community launched a public vote to help users recover all lost ether. However, this approach caused dissatisfaction among many people and even led to a split within Ethereum. Vitalik Buterin and his supporters insisted on updating the vulnerability and running a new chain, which they called Ethereum (ETH); while the other group was Ethereum Classic (ETC), who chose to continue maintaining the original Ethereum.

What doesn’t kill him only makes him stronger.

In the epic waves of crisis, Vitalik Buterin fearlessly made wise decisions to help Ethereum overcome the storm. In this battle, Vitalik and Blizzard made completely opposite choices. Vitalik worked hard to protect the users’ interests and did not let them be compromised. It is because Vitalik has always been pursuing his dream, cherishing ideals, and dedicating himself to building a digital, intelligent, and transparent decentralized platform for users. In recent years, Ethereum’s technology has matured and developed steadily, winning global acclaim. The value of Ether, which had fallen in value, has also surged like bamboo shoots in a year and a half, increasing by 300 times to $1,500.

Vitalik Buterin, the island that once stood alone in the ocean, miraculously built the signal tower of Ethereum, which soared into the sky and transmitted the signal’s light to every corner of the world.

The isolated island connects the world, and the signal tower illuminates, like the “time traveler” in Proust’s pen, people can cross the vast ocean and communicate with each other.

New Signal

Flowers and applause have not changed Vitalik Buterin. He is still the same young man who is determined to create a decentralized, absolutely equal, efficient and trustworthy world. So when he found that some people were using Ether to speculate and make money, he sent out a signal again, hoping that all Ethereum users would mature and Ether would not become a “tulip” for people to speculate and make money.

At the same time, Vitalik Buterin did not indulge in Ethereum’s success, but keenly realized Ethereum’s shortcomings: high transaction fees and various usability barriers still exist. He said, “If we really want to fully realize this vision, there is still a lot of work to be done.” And he is confident about this: “The time for software development is always longer than expected, so even though there is a delay, it doesn’t matter. The earlier we complete these tasks, the better Ethereum will be able to achieve more of its original vision.”

Vitalik recently published an article regarding the future development of Ethereum, mentioning three major technical transitions, namely L2 expansion transition, wallet security transition, and privacy transition. For Vitalik, the most important thing is still to make it easy for users to understand: “We need to ensure that users can easily access the latest views, understand what their current assets are, and know what messages have been published for them.”

When Vitalik was young, he was alone on an island, but he had extraordinary talents and used his unique growth experience to achieve great success in his favorite field. Today, he has become a leader in the field of blockchain, and the Ethereum platform he developed has become one of the important applications of blockchain technology.

On this island, Vitalik built a signal tower, like a bridge connecting people around the world, providing a globally universal decentralized network. People can trade and interact without the need to trust third parties, making the network more secure and fair.

He was hidden in the vast sea, but sent out a unique shock to the world.

Both an isolated island and a signal tower.


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