If I were a woman, I’d have Vitalik’s babies.
No, seriously. The guy is a boy genius. When I first read about his idea to rebuild the entire internet in 2016, it instantly impressed me. I later started buying ethereum at about $100 per coin. Now it’s around $3800 per coin. Despite the trolls I attract online because of my ethereum obsession, it’s all been worth it. Ethereum is a powerful idea.
The core concept is that the internet should be owned by and built for the users. The computers that run the internet should be decentralized so that they can’t easily go down like traditional centralized cloud computing. Ethereum is one big decentralized computer. Nice.
Then you add in smart contracts to enforce trust, so that you don’t need a middle man that’s driven by incentives to make decisions. Smart contracts then allow a whole series of online functions to be automated. Automation brings speed. Speed advances humanity. Ethereum is supercharging progress.
Maybe ideas like ethereum are what will allow humans to live on Mars a lot sooner than conventional wisdom suggests.
You’d have to be a weirdo to create an idea this big. Enter Vitalik Buterin.
The rage quit that went on to disrupt the entire internet
There’s nothing like being pissed off to inspire you to do something radical.
Many people who are great thinkers started out their lives as gamers. Writer Nicolas Cole comes to mind. On a more mediocre level, I was a gamer too, but a bad one who threw tantrums and became a nobody.
Between 2007–2010 Vitalik spent a lot of his life playing the game World of Warcraft — the same game Nicolas and I played as teenagers. The maker of the game removed a key feature from one of the main characters.
Vitalik says “I cried myself to sleep that night.”
Shortly after he quit the game of Warcraft forever. The disappointment led him to hate centralized apps that unfortunately run our lives today.
This is one experience that led Vitalik to come up with the idea for ethereum. Had a game never pissed him off, we probably would never have ethereum. Think about how big that would be. Makes me think of the Matrix and the notion of cause and effect. A tree fell in the woods but did anybody hear it? If nobody heard it then did it even exist?
Loneliness changed his life
I feel like my huge span of time in Singapore last year changed me quite a bit. It was interesting to just… be by myself and with my own thoughts for the first time in nearly a decade. — Vitalik
The success of ethereum has made Vitalik more in demand than Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and all the other billionaires combined. Vitalik is now, too, a billionaire. The difference is his only goal is to transition humanity to a decentralized future, so that ideas can flourish and incentives can stop being messed with by elites and governments.
Since the start of that journey Vitalik has been all over the globe. He’s become the poster boy for the project. Everybody wants his time. Strangers want to pick his brain thousands of times per day. He can’t walk down the street without people recognizing him and wanting to pitch him their crypto project — that’s why he loves wearing surgical masks so much.
The global health crisis has forced Vitalik to stop travel. When we are by ourselves we have the biggest sparks of creativity. Loneliness isn’t for losers. Loneliness doesn’t happen to self-confessed tech geeks like Vitalik because they’re broken. No. Loneliness is when they come up with the next big idea.
Ethereum 2.0 launches next year. Vitalik has to find a way to make the migration a success. Otherwise his project that’s grown faster than the internet could fail. It’s not one problem he faces. It’s thousands of tiny paper cuts that slice away at his mind in the night.
Loneliness will give us Vitalik Version 2.0 at the same we get Ethereum 2.0.
Fixing money isn’t the most important problem
The notion bitcoin fixes everything is an exaggeration. Bitcoin fixes the store of value problem but there are even bigger issues to solve.
Ethereum fixes trust and ownership which are directly correlated to money. One thing many people don’t know is Vitalik’s decreased focus on bitcoin.
I feel like I’ve been doing less “monetary theory” per se than a few years ago. I just don’t rate it as anywhere close to the world’s most important problem the way I would 10 years ago or the way many bitcoin people do today. — Vitalik
This surprises a lot of people because Vitalik’s original obsession was bitcoin. In 2011 he says he was “searching for a purpose.” Bitcoin became his purpose. He got a job writing for a magazine called Bitcoin Weekly.
They abused Vitalik nicely by paying him $1.50 per hour. Later he cofounded Bitcoin Magazine. The project led him to travel around the world and look at different crypto projects. Like Bitcoin, he found them too specific. He wanted something more general.
In 2013 he wrote the white paper for ethereum to stroke his own curiosity. The rest is history.
Vitalik’s dating profile
Residence: Cathay Pacific Airlines
Political affiliation: Intellectual hipster meta-contrarian
Drinks/smokes/drugs: green tea
Religion: I like DAOism, daoism/taoism, and tauism (as in 6.283185…).
Occupation: It’s complicated
The ladies don’t understand Vitalik (yet). They don’t even seem to be captivated by his enormous wealth. His mission is greater in life than the need to get married and procreate. I suspect he will change later in life. For now, he wants to see what sort of world Web 3.0 can build for us before his sperm creates young eth babies.
Vitalik states his religion as DAOism. This gives us a window into the future. A DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization. In simple terms it means that the LLC or the typical legal entity used to run a business and employ humans will change.
The rules of business will be written in code and stored in a smart contract on the ethereum network, that is secured by thousands of computers all around the world, that get paid to enforce trust.
What’s more interesting is that humans could actually work for a piece of code, be managed by code, and even paid by code. Cool.
The Mr Burns Effect explains his view of the world
I saw everything to do with either government regulation or corporate control as just being plain evil. And I assumed that people in those institutions were kind of like Mr. Burns, sitting behind their desks saying, ‘Excellent. How can I screw a thousand people over this time.’ — Vitalik
Ethereum is a rebellion against how trust is enforced in society. The middlemen all over the world tell us to trust them. They give us a feeling that they listen and that we vote for the leaders who run these organizations. But trust has been abused a lot in the last few decades, according to The Atlantic. Vitalik sees these leaders as greedy Mr Burnses that want to get their hands on our money or freedom.
This view of the world came from Vitalik’s father Dmitry Buterin who grew up in Russia. He saw an authoritarian regime create huge oppression. It led Dmitry to worship openness, freedom, and transparency. Vitalik sucked up these beliefs from his father and hardcoded them into ethereum. That’s why the platform is such a radical idea to what we’re used to, thanks to his complex mind.
The complexity to his way of life is a feature not a bug that created something truly monumental. Many people who have met Vitalik report having strange experiences with him.
It’s like his existence is supposed to be observed but never understood. I feel like that when I read anything he writes on Twitter or Reddit.
Vitalik says he knows the true identity of the Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto
The mystery creator of bitcoin may never be revealed. It’s one of the greatest mysteries of human history. The entire internet is being rebuilt, thanks to the seed Satoshi planted when he released his whitepaper for Bitcoin.
Vitalik has been around bitcoin since the early days. He knows many of the influential people in the community who oversee the foundation that keeps the project alive. I reckon he’d know a few dark secrets the rest of us don’t know.
What surprised me is Vitalik doesn’t hide who he thinks created bitcoin.
“In my opinion, Hal Finney was Satoshi Nakamoto because Bitcoin reflected his working style. It is also a known fact that the first Bitcoin transaction occurred between Satoshi Nakamoto and Hal Finney.”
Hal Finney is now dead and has been cryogenically frozen, adding to his mystery and Clark Kent persona even more, which leads people to think only the real Satoshi Nakamoto would need to go to these extremes.
I did my own research on who Satoshi Nakamoto is and published my findings (see here). This is the part I never shared. After I wrote that article a strange person claiming to be Satoshi contacted me.
They said a bunch of weird things that left me with this weird feeling, “did I just speak to the creator of bitcoin that millions of people around the world have spent stupid amounts of time trying to find?”
If Vitalik is right then the answer lies in a frozen body in America that one day may become the subject of an investigation.
A better breed of entrepreneur
You know what sucks? People that change humanity with technology often become billionaire bums with huge egos. It’s not uncommon for them to turn their backs on the greater good that in the early days they promised to serve. It really makes me emotional thinking about it.
Vitalik isn’t one of those billionaire bums.
On 12 May 2021, he donated $1 billion worth of the cryptocurrencies Shiba Inu and Ether to a global health crisis relief fund in India. (Source: Fortune)
That’s what I like to see. It’s no surprise. Money that buys possessions isn’t his focus. One suitcase contains all of his worldly possessions as proof.
For a long time Vitalik has been doing everything he can to ensure he’s no longer the center of attention. In the book “Infinite Machine” he does everything in his power to further decentralize ethereum and ensure all of the control doesn’t sit with him. He wants the community to decide ethereum’s future through a democratic process.
Vitalik is part of a new generation of Web 3.0 entrepreneurs. The goal in this iteration of the internet isn’t to become a billionaire and have enormous power. The goal is to build cool sh*t users own and that can’t be shut down by anybody.
Some call Vitalik an “autistic wunderkind” because he learned fluent Mandarin in a matter of months. Others have a more sci-fi description and say he’s an android powered by the ethereum network.
I don’t know who or what Vitalik is. What we know is he’s an unusual character that built something as big as the internet, and perhaps, even more powerful. How one mind can do that, we don’t know. What we can do with his creation is now up to us. That’s a beautiful thought.
Use ethereum to understand why Vitalik’s creation is so special. It might just change your life.