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Luckily for those of us who use Ether or understand what blockchain technology is, this isn't a "who is Satoshi Nakamoto" situation. Ethereum is more open about their creator; namely, a 19-year-old developer named Vitalik Buterin invented Ethereum, or is at least responsible for the concept and part of the exectuion of it. Vitalik is an interesting individual, performing feats well above what anyone would expect from a person his age.
Yes, he did create the concept. However, he had help getting his idea for Ethereum off the ground. Before he essentially invented Ethereum, he dove into the cryptocurrency niche harder than anyone else.
In 2011, Vitalik Buterin had his first run-in with cryptocurrency, and at that time, the only cryptocurrency to speak of was Bitcoin. Bitcoin has become famous as people who understand cryptocurrency idealize it as the catalyst for a new wave of exchanging currency internationally. Others, however, see Bitcoin as a sure-to-be-doomed investment. Vitalik Buterin had many opinions and views on Bitcoin and what it would mean for the future of digital currency.
Still, in 2011, Vitalik Buterin founded Bitcoin Magazine with a partner. He explained his views, argued his stance, and offered in-depth insight into how cryptocurrency worked at the time.
Finally, in 2013, he stepped away from all the Bitcoin talk and made his thoughts and concepts known in a technical document called the Ethereum White Paper. He poked holes in the basic construct of Bitcoin, and offered solutions to common Bitcoin problems. Vitalik Buterin alleged that the Bitcoin blockchain would never have the chance to grow in scope, and would always remain limited because of that. In the years since, we've found this to be true.
The 'Ethereum White Paper'
The Ethereum White Paper offered a lot of solutions to the issues that people had with Bitcoin and many other modern cryptocurrencies. It takes far too long to transact or mine Bitcoin. The length of time required for these transactions and mining activities is because of the authentication process and validation methods associated with it.
However, the Ethereum White Paper explained how an open-source protocol would provide validation of ownership, as well as eliminate the over-complicated structure of mining activity involved with decentralized applications. Now, you can mine Ethereum on your Mac.
Digital currency such as Bitcoin, or Ether, gives its users/owners full privacy, including where they obtained the currency and where they sent it, which has sparked a significant amount of controversy. To ensure that there is genuine privacy for digital currency holders, the validation and authentication process must be more advanced than entering a password. The Ethereum White Paper offered a secure cryptocurrency and blockchain platform with more efficient authentication and verification process.
Some facts about Ethereum you didn't know though, is the team assembled to see its existence take form. Ethereum co-founders Mihai Alisie, Charles Hoskinson, and Anthony Di Lorio were equal parts of the team that developed Ethereum and created the open-source platform for Ether. The decentralized applications eventually took over the cryptocurrency community, inspiring many other cryptocurrencies.
While working with these co-founders, Vitalik Buterin also enlisted the help of Dr. Gavin Wood who is a developer, and Joseph Lubin. These two played a vital role in identifying how a runtime environment would operate as a platform and how cryptocurrencies could use it.
The 'Ethereum Yellow Paper'
Vitalik Buterin couldn't bring his concept to life on his own, so he brought in a few key people that would eventually lead to the overwhelming success of decentralized applications in cryptocurrency.
The Ethereum Yellow Paper revealed the Ethereum Virtual Machine, or EVM. The EVM is a runtime environment that carried out smart contracts on the Ethereum network simultaneously. Before the concept of decentralized applications came into play, the execution of smart contracts took place one after another. EVM, however, made it possible to execute them all at once, even if it still took a while to accomplish.
Ethereum Virtual Machine still stands today as a revolutionary point in cryptocurrency history, and governs how many blockchain systems operate on a day to day.
The Ethereum Foundation
In 2014, only three short years after Vitalik Buterin first heard of cryptocurrency, Ethereum blockchain came into existence. Ethereum blockchain became the Ethereum network, and made its debut into the cryptocurrency world through the Bitcointalk forum. While many in the cryptocurrency world thought that Ethereum blockchain was all talk, the Ethereum Foundation came together and hosted an Ether crowdsale in July of 2014.
Hitting record sales, the Ethereum network sold 60 million tokens, or Ether, making it still the most successful crowdsale. Of these 60 million tokens, 12 million of those were pre-mined Ether tokens. Outside of the crowdsale, the blockchain technology used with Ethereum allowed them to scale up and expand in a way that Bitcoin never could. The Ethereum Foundation would continue to develop and grow with increased marketing efforts promoting the concepts Vitalik Buterin first laid in place.
Bitcoin Ethereum and Decentralized Applications
Because Ethereum was an early contender in cryptocurrency, but not the first on the scene, it fell prey to the umbrella use of the Bitcoin in a similar way that people refer to as "xeroxing," even leading to a confusing reference that would stick identifying Ethereum as Bitcoin Ethereum.
Decentralized applications is another term that gets thrown around for a wide variety of reasons in the cryptocurrency world today. From July 2014 when the Ethereum put decentralized applications into action, the cryptocurrency community has been working on new and innovative ways to use them.
Ethereum Blockchain Now
Ethereum blockchain increased it's worth by 1,000% within its first few months of availability, making it one of the most successful cryptocurrencies around. The break into the mainstream brought them a slew of social media attention and recognition for Vitalik Buterin's contribution to the cryptocurrency world. New investors came in from the social media exposure, and today, the Ethereum network continues to develop more user-friendly applications as it flourishes. Their goal is to move away from the traditional Ethereum blockchain platform of command line design.
Although we can track down who invented Ethereum and follow his presence in the cryptocurrency world, there's no indication as to what he's working on now. Without a doubt though, cryptocurrency and blockchain haven't seen the last of Vitalik Buterin.