Vitalik Buterin, who spearheaded the launch of the Ethereum blockchain in 2015, has become the world’s youngest crypto billionaire at age 27. Ethereum’s cryptocurrency, ether, surged past $3,000 for the first time early Monday morning, marking a 325% rise since the beginning of this year.
The ether cryptocurrency has a market capitalization of $376 billion, second only to Bitcoin’s $1.08 trillion. Ether’s value has surged since the beginning of the year, largely due to the rising popularity of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications that are aiming to replace traditional financial intermediaries like banks and insurance companies. According to the data aggregator DeFi Pulse, over $72 billion is now locked in DeFi protocols, many of which are built on top of the Ethereum blockchain.
However, Ethereum is facing tough competition from Binance Smart Chain (BSC), the blockchain infrastructure developed by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which has been processing an average of more than 8 million transactions on a daily basis since late April (Ethereum is just over 1 million). Other prominent blockchains include Algorand, Cardano, Polkadot and Solana.
Last week, Buterin donated about $600,000 in Ether and Maker (MKR) tokens to a COVID-19 relief fund for India.
Buterin could not be reached for comment.
*With additional reporting from Steven Ehrlich