Ethereum’s introduction of blockchain-powered smart contracts has taken the world by storm, and although it’s been facing growing pains recently, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The open-source software platform also enables developers to build and deploy decentralized applications, giving blockchain technology an ever-widening array of use cases.

Now that Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, has successfully staked his position in the cryptocurrency market, it’s time to start putting money behind his project.

Who is Vitalik Buterin?

Vitalik Buterin was born in Russia in 1994, and raised in Canada. Since an early age he was recognized by his outstanding intelligence and his enthralling interest in computer languages, math and economics. The hunger for knowledge was a major factor that led him to create Ethereum at the age of 19.

His interests and talent served him well, and Buterin’s invention went on to achieve great success, success that was formally recognized by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. His insightful understanding of the most complex problems, his ability to deliver, as well as his charmingly unique personality has allowed him to gain a loyal following, along with an impeccable reputation.

Why So Generous?

Recently, Buterin donated $300k to 3 Ethereum startups, Sigma Prime, Prysmatic Labs, and ChainSafe, which are all building towards Blockchain’s next iteration, Ethereum 2.0. This move came in response to certain members of the company tweeting about various problems they’ve been facing, such as underfunding, to which Buterin immediately gave his response.

The donations were made to enhance, and hopefully quicken, the development of businesses contributing to Ethereum 2.0, with an emphasis on finding solutions for Ethereum’s scalability issues.

Currently, Ethereum can only handle about 15 transactions per second, a figure that would need to increase exponentially if the technology is to go mainstream.

The Future of Ethereum

Considering the scaling issues, there are a lot of eyes on Ethereum, many wondering if they’ll be able to hold onto their top platform coin spot. Buterin himself was quoted saying “Present day blockchain sucks”, and he’s fully aware that if he doesn’t guide the Ethereum ecosystem correctly, the project will trend towards zero.

This undoubtedly places a huge burden on the companies Buterin made the donation to, because receiving such large donations instantly puts them in the spotlight. That said, let’s take a look at the companies who benefitted from Buterin’s donating spree:

  1. Prysmatic Labs — A group of Blockchain engineers designated to solve the scalability issues through the sharding technique, which led them to releasing a beta version of Ethereum 2.0 recently. Buterin donated 1,000 Ether when their co-founder Preston Van Loon explained that underfunding is the company’s setback.
  2. Sigma Prime — A company that is building an Ethereum 2.0 client called ‘Lighthouse’ which specializes in blockchain technology and unparalleled network security. Their co-founder Paul Hauner also blamed being underfunded as the company’s hindrance to growing.
  3. ChainSafe Systems — This company specializes in intuitive, user-centric Blockchain solutions and is developing an Ethereum 2.0 client, ‘Lodestar Chain’. The donation was made after project leader, Mikerah Quintyne-Collins, tweeted that she would drop out of school to work on the project full time if she received funding.

Crypto Donations are Here to Stay

Crypto donations have also seen a rise over the years. Near the end of December 2017, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) received over $1 million from the Pineapple Fund, which is a fund that, at the time, had already donated $86 million worth of Bitcoin to various charity groups.

Buterin has also donated $2.4m to the SENS Research Foundation, which treats diseases related to aging, and $1m to GiveDirectly, which helps refugees in extreme poverty.

It would be safe to assume that 2019 will be an exciting year for Ethereum, given all the potential it has to progress. The race to establish a platform coin seems to be theirs to lose, and it’ll be interesting to see how well the Ethereum ecosystem is able to adapt, and how well Buterin’s donations are used.

After all, this could be part of a final push to get Ethereum as scalable as it needs to be. Buterin seems confident that it’s nearly complete, donations aside, having this to say in a tweet:

Hard to increase focus on scalability when we’re close to 100% on that already…


Who you’re reading:

Matt Laxen is a full-time cryptocurrency writer and traveler, excited to see what decentralized technology holds for our future. When he’s not writing in his favorite workspace, he’s doing research, building businesses, lifting weights, or headed to the beach.

Learn more about Matt here.

For questions or story ideas, you can contact Matt.


Disclaimer: Any and all opinions expressed here are those of Matt Laxen alone. The article is for educational and/or entertainment purposes only, so please use it at your own risk.