College dropout who founded Ethereum becomes worlds youngest crypto billionaire

Meet Vitalik Buterin – the college dropout who's just been named the world' youngest crypto billionaire.

The 27-year-old programmer made his fortune after Ethereum, the cryptocurrency he co-founded, saw its value soar to $3,200 (£2,300) per coin for this first time on Monday May 3.

Buterin, who left his native Russia for Canada at the age of three, co-founded Ethereum- the second most common cryptocurrency after Bitcoin – six years ago.

Its popularity has exploded because it takes less time to buy goods than its industry-leading rival.

Buterin owns 333,500 Ether coins – which, since Monday, are now worth a whopping $1.029billion (£741million).

After dropping out of college in 2013 when he was 19, he went on to co-found Ethereum with seven others.

The original Ethereum network was launched two years later after money was raised through crowdfunding, with 72m Ether coins made available.

Now living in Singapore, Buterin was born in Kolomna, a small Russian town 60 miles from the capital Moscow, in January 1994.

But his family struggled to make ends meet. They decided to move to Canada to find work when he was three.

After receiving his first computer, he became passionate about programming, numbers and spreadsheets.

As a schoolboy, he flourished in maths, ultimately earning a place on a gifted and talented scheme.

However, despite showing great academic promise, Vitalik quit the University of Waterloo in 2013 after being introduced to Bitcoin by his dad two years earlier.

"I saw everything to do with either government regulation or corporate control as just being plain evil," Buterin told Wired magazine.

"And I assumed that people in those institutions were kind of like Mr Burns (from The Simpsons), sitting behind their desks saying, 'Excellent. How can I screw a thousand people over this time?'"

A year after leaving his studies behind, Buterin revealed his blueprint for Ethereum in white paper.

In 2017, Etheruem's value plummeted after Vitalik was falsely reported to have been killed in a car accident.

But since then it has surpassed all expectations, once more become one of the leading digital currencies available today.

But Ethereum is not without its critics.

Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, accused it of being potentially used by criminals because it allows anonymous payment to be made internationally without the need of a bank.

"I don’t welcome a currency that is so useful to kidnappers and extortionists and so forth," he said.

"Nor do I like shovelling out a few extra billions and billions and billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air.

"I think I should say modestly that I think the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilisation."

Despite the concerns, Ethereum's blockchain is now being considered by The European Investment Bank and other corporate organisations.

Bitcoin's price has soared in recent months after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced he had invested in it to balance the carmaker's books.

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