Nowadays, the crypto market offers lots of different cryptocurrencies you can invest in, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ethereum or Ether (ETH). 

You probably know Bitcoin already since it’s the world’s first and most popular cryptocurrency, but how much do you know about Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency and most popular platform for decentralized blockchain-based solutions?

In this article, we’ll explain what Ethereum is and how it works. We’ll also do our best to figure out just how much ETH belongs to the co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin.

Man with surprised face holding Ethereum coin on orange background

What Is Ethereum and How Does It Work?

As we already said, Ethereum is the second most popular digital currency, right after Bitcoin. However, Ethereum is in no way a direct competitor to BTC. Unlike Bitcoin, ETH isn’t designed to be just a store of value or a medium of exchange. Rather, it’s meant to be a decentralized computing network that is based on blockchain technology.

A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed, public ledger on which transactions are recorded and authenticated. The Ethereum network is decentralized because it’s not maintained or operated by a central authority, such as a central bank. Instead, the network is maintained by Ether miners. The distribution part means that every user of the network has an identical copy of the ledger.

Blockchain technology uses cryptography in order to secure the network and confirm transactions. The users solve complex math problems in order to verify every transaction on the network and by doing that, they add new blocks on the blockchain, which is the foundation of the Ethereum ecosystem. For every new block that gets added to the blockchain, the users are rewarded with digital assets, known as tokens.

Ethereum’s decentralized finance (DeFi) coin is called Ether, although you’ll find that most people use the name Ethereum interchangeably for both the platform and the coin. You can use Ether to sell and buy goods and services, just like you’d use Bitcoin. 

There are two things that are unique for the Ethereum DeFi system, however. The first one is that you can use the network to develop decentralized applications (DApps) that run on the blockchain. These apps can make complex financial transactions and transfer and store personal data. The second unique feature is smart contracts that allow two parties to set up the rules of their own transaction without the need for an intermediary.

Who Is Vitalik Buterin?

We’ve gone over a brief overview of the Ethereum network and coin, but we’re yet to cover who the Ethereum founder is. In fact, there are eight of them: Vitalik Buterin, Charles Hoskinson, Gavin Wood, Antony Di Iorio, Amir Chetrit, Jeffrey Wilcke, Mihai Alisie, and Joseph Lubin.

Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, is a Russian-Canadian software developer born in 1994 in Moscow, Russia. He is also known as the co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine in 2011. Buterin studied at the University of Waterloo, but he dropped out (it’s a trend in the tech industry) and devoted himself to the crypto world.

Vitalik Buterin presented the design for the Ethereum network for the first time in 2013, when he was only 19 years old, with a whitepaper carrying the intention to develop a general scripting language for developing apps that will be based on blockchain technology. In 2014, he was finally able to develop his project with the help of crowdfunding. The first version was presented to the public in 2015, and the Ether supply was hard-capped at 72 million ETH.

How Much ETH Does Vitalik Buterin Have?

Ethereum has seen huge surges in its value in the past two years due to the fact that the mainstream economic world is increasingly embracing digital assets as a legitimate currency. As it’s the second most popular cryptocurrency in the world, you are probably assuming that a lot of people own ETH, but we’re interested in learning how much ETH its founder owns.

In October 2018, Vitalik Buterin disclosed his public Ether wallet, i.e. the main cryptocurrency wallet where he stores his Ether. This wallet held over 355,000 ETH, and as Ethers’ price constantly fluctuates, you can check Ethers’ current value to see what that adds up to today. In August of 2021, for instance, that meant a little bit over one billion USD. This makes Buterin the youngest digital currency billionaire.

In May of 2021, the Ethereum inventor transferred exactly 325,001 Ether to a separate crypto wallet, leaving only 10,000 USD worth of Ether in his main cryptocurrency wallet. On May 21st the same year, Vitalik donated over 1 billion USD worth of crypto to India Covid Relief Funds.   

How Much Bitcoin and Other Altcoins Does Vitalik Own?

Vitalik doesn’t only own Ether, but a variety of ERC-20 tokens as well. These are tokens that are developed on the Ethereum platform, such as Augur (REP), Maker (MKR), OmiseGo (OMG), and Kyber Network (KNC). These tokens are gaining increasing traction in the DeFi industry over time.

Vitalik Buterin also said that he owns Bitcoin, Zcash, Dogecoin, and Bitcoin Cash worth over 10% of the value of Ether in his ownership. Buterin’’s other cryptocurrency holdings are approximately: 2,000 BTC; 140,000 ZEC; 58,000 BTC; and 3.6 million DOGE.

Vitalik Buterin doesn’t earn only from cryptocurrency holdings. He has disclosed that he earns a six-figure salary from the Ethereum Foundation. Moreover, he has stated that his salary is roughly 144,000 USD per year. However, the current salary of Vitalik Buterin is estimated to be somewhere between 140,000 and 250,000 USD.

A Few Words Before You Go…

Hopefully, you’ve got a good idea of Ethereum and how it works. The goal of this article was to give you an insight into the wealth of the youngest cryptocurrency billionaire Vitalik Buterin, but maybe this article will also inspire you to start investing in cryptocurrencies, the future of the global economy.