The 8 Founders of Ethereum

The crypto world is packed tight with exciting, strange, heart-warming and even mysterious stories. Among the most interesting, mysterious and juicy tales in all of cryptocurrency lore, is that of the origins of Ethereum.

Who Created Ethereum?

If you’re semi-familiar with crypto things; you’ve probably seen mr. Ethereum himself, Vitalik Buterin, pop up somewhere on the internet. But did you know that in Ethereum’s early days: there were actually 8 total founders?

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These days, only one face consistently remains…

The 8 Founders of Ethereum: Who Created Ethereum?

So what in the heck happened that turned an 8-founder-led technological beast, into the single-founder-led, second largest cryptocurrency in the world?

This is.. The Story of the 8 Founders of Ethereum….

The History or Ethereum | 8 Founders of Ethereum – The Mysterious Crypto Origin Story

What actually is Ethereum?

Today’s tale is a dense one, so no dilly dallying, folks. ETHEREUM. You best know of it by now. If not, you just might be living under a rock. And if so, you might wanna consider refinancing the land under your rock, because the time is now, rates are good and money is funny!

Very briefly here, Ethereum is Bitcoin’s prodigy younger cousin. It was born after BTC with the goal of being a more advanced, open source and functional version of the bitcoin network. Mainly, through the use of these amazing, still-developing smart contracts. The currency that makes up the majority of the Ethereum network is ETH, and that’s the one that people refer to when they say they’re “buying Ethereum”

The 8 Founders of Ethereum: Who Created Ethereum?

When I say Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency in the world: it’s not because ETH is poppin’ around $2800 a coin right now; it’s because of it’s massive, overall market cap. Which, at the very now moment is a hefty: $300 billion.

These days, Ethereum is swimming in functionality: NFT’s, crypto real estate, internet wallets, Cloud storage, unstoppable domains, video games, defi, legal contracts, etc etc.

But it wasn’t always this… “proven”

There was a day when Bitcoin was the only beast on the water, and the world was still far from familiar with this whole crypto underbelly.

There was a day when this type of next-level crypto functionality was nothing more than cyber dreams and juicy ideals.

Well, everything changed in 2013.

2013: The Conceptualization of Ethereum

Immerse yourselves…

It’s 2013. We, as a world, are 4 years into the existence.. of Bitcoin. It’s been almost 4 years since the mysterious, Satoshi Nakamoto first put the blockchain into motion in January of 2009.

Well, amidst these formulative crypto years, a young russian boy by the name of Vitalik Buterin watched passively on, as the groundbreaking Bitcoin network exploded into popularity, and of course, intense value.

For reference, in 2013, BTC started the year at about $13.30 a coin and ended the year off at about $757.50 a coin.

The Ethereum White Paper by Vitalik Buterin

Young Vitalik Buterin popped up most notably into the public eye in late 2013, when he published.. The legendary… The iconic… Ethereum White Paper.. This son of a gun was 19 years old when he conceived Ethereum.

This white paper focused on the big limits of Bitcoin and of course, a solution.. This new, advanced protocol that would provide a platform with unique potential. “Rather than being a closed-ended, single purpose protocol intended for a specific array of applications in data storage, gambling or finance, Ethereum is open-ended by design and we believe that it is extremely well-suited to serving as a foundational layer of both financial and non-financial protocols in the years to come.”

Well folks, this white paper hit just right. Vitalik had one heck of an idea. The crypto underbelly was watching and Vitalik saw his chance to build a powerhouse to bring this “Ethereum” thing to reality. And well, in later 2013, that’s just what he did. Let’s meet… The other 7 founders….

The 8 Founders of Ethereum: Who Created Ethereum?

The Initial Five Founders of Ethereum

Before the eventually-credited 8 Ethereum founders: There were the “initial 5” – This was Vitalik Buterin, of course. Then, Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Lorio, Amir Chetrit and Charles Hoskinson

Let’s Meet Mihai Alisie

This young, slick son of a gun was actually, a friend of Vitalik’s prior to the white paper. A “day one’er” you could say. Or you could just call him a friend, either way. That is he.

Vitalik met Mihai 2 years prior in 2011, where they bonded and decided to cofound the famous: Bitcoin Magazine. By 2012, there was a print edition of this lil magazine and these days, Bitcoin magazine is often considered to have been the first “serious publication” dedicated to cryptocurrencies

Well Vitalik invited his crypto pal to join in very early on the Ethereum journey, and Mihai immediately joined the party.

Mahai is an all-around smart individual, so this was a great first addition. In the foundational days of Ethereum, he led the efforts in establishing the actual business infratructure itself and legal frameworks required for this thing. But, we’ll get into more specifics in a bit.

Let’s Meet: Anthony Di Iorio

Anthony Di Iorio, the Canadian Crypto king. Di Iorio, who has the most fun name to say out of this crew was a man that saw the future early. Anthony first heard about Bitcoin in 2012 and immediately knew that it had insane potential. He started buying right away, at $9.73 a coin and shortly after went on to create a little social club known as the Toronto Bitcoin Meetup Group. This humble little idea started out at a pub, with 8 bitcoin enthusiasts, and quickly scaled up to the hundreds. Amidst the early-goers of the Toronto Bitcoin Meetup Group was the young & oh-so brilliant, Vitalik Buterin.

The two became friends and of course, Anthony was incredibly impressed by this skinny, passionate genius boy.

When Vitalik published his first iteration of the Ethereum white paper, Anthony was interested. The man knew potential when he saw it, but he needed a second opinion. How serious could this be? What is the potential here? So he took this white paper and passed it onto another crypto whizz in the space for his thoughts on this juicy-new matter. That man would be none other than Charles Hoskinson..

Let’s Meet: Amir Chetrit

Before Charles Hoskinson, Amir Chetrit had also joined the team.

Please welcome: the most mysterious of the crew! → Mr. Amir Chetrit was a man that lost faith in the traditional finance system after being thoroughly involved in real estate leading up to 2008. Unfortunately, that’s like ….. being thoroughly involved in building a beautiful new shed in your backyard in Kansas right before the biggest tornado in history. You’d probably lose faith in the traditional shed system at that point too.

In early 2013, Amir was woking on the ambitious BTC project known as colored coins, when he met Vitalik. Colored coins, if you aren’t familiar, were the first semblance of what would eventually become NFT’s. Go watch my video delving into the origins of NFT’s for more on that juicy tale. Smooth plug for my own content? I think so.

Anyway, Vitalik worked on the colored coin project briefly as well, before writing up the Ethereum whitepaper. In late 2013, Vitalik invited Amir to look over the paper and join the team.. And he was in!

And of course, the final 2013 member of the Ethereum team and the last of the initial five….

Let’s Meet: Charles Hoskinson

Charles Hoskinson, a face you may recognize if you follow the 2021 crypto world. Well, at this point Mr. Charles Hoskinson too was very interested in the potential of this crypto madness. He wanted in on this excitement. He too saw this explosion potential, and fell in love with this world. But without any direct ability to contribute to Bitcoin itself, Charles founded The Bitcoin Education project: basically trying to gather everyone at this time that was involved in Bitcoin education, knowledge, understanding, etc – To create a whole lot of free content to bring attention and understanding to Bitcoin. He created a full-fledged FREE bitcoin course called “Bitcoin or How I learned To Stop Worrying and Love Crypto”

To his surprise, the man ended up getting 50,000 STUDENTS up in this sucker. Well, with his crypto world success, he got some momentum, got some financial backing, got some involvement on a few other brief projects, but eventually.. got in contact with none other than Anthony Di Iorio. Anthony got Charles to make some educational content for The Toronto Bitcoin Meetup Gorup, which had now scaled up and become The Bitcoin Alliance of Canada. Well these two dudes worked on some stuff together, become pretty decent buddies, and so: Anthony sent along Vitalik’s legendary white paper to get his read on it.

Well, Charles liked what it had to say. He supported the idea calling it “Really novel idea!” but stating that this needed a team around it to figure out how to make this thing happen. And he wanted in!

Anthony filled him in that there was in fact the early bones of a team being born. Well Charles met the crew and joined in on the fun as member #5.

And that there was the 2013 team. The “Initial 5” as referred to by Anthony Di Iorio. But with early 2014, came with it the addition of three more significant figures and founders-to-be.

Let’s Meet: Gavin Wood

Gavin Wood was a man with a plan. From all the tales I read and heard, it seems Mr. Gavin Wood was constantly set on technological problem-solving. From implementation, to programming, to bugs, to specifications, to the first official testnet: This dude was extremely crucial in the existence of the Ethereum network.

Gavin is said to have been the 6th member of the team, joining slightly after Charles. Though apparently, Gavin was rarely present at the early Ethereum Skype meetings because he was busy as all heck focusing on early-stage implementation

Well, beyond that, Gavin went in hard on developing Ethereum with everything he had. He eventually himself wrote and published the official Ethereum Yellow Paper, which is a technical specification of Vitalik’s original white paper. He also was the man that proposed and set forth Ethereum’s native programming language. Solidity.

The controversial hot take on Gavin Wood, is that many claim that he was the most substantial, significant part of building Ethereum.

But either way, he was not the only programmer in the bunch.

Let’s Meet: Jeffrey Wilcke

Jeff Wilcke was another legendary crypto programmer. This dude had a fun, sneaky start to the inner circle.

Jeff became a part of the early, infamous Ethereum Skype chats BUT he existed behind an anonymous screen name, carefully not revealing who he actually was. That was due to the fact, that Jeff Wilcke was a core developer at Mastercoin at the time. So it seems this whole Ethereum interest of his was sort of “hedging his bets” with crypto involvement. Very clever son of a gun, that one.

Jeff built up his own implementation of Ethereum in Google’s Go language, eventually called “Go Ethereum” — Very creatively titled, might I add.

Let’s Meet: Joseph Lubin

And of course, lastly but not leastly: Joseph Lubin. Joe Lubin was the oldest and wisest of the bunch. This dude had a fun resume of a whole lotta good stuff: Music production, software engineering, business, finance, and more. The man was very successful, and very smart. That’s a good combination, you know.

Joe Joe met Anthony Di Lorio throguh the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada as well, and was eventually introduced to the boy genius himself. He was invited to join the team as the 8th and final co-founder of Ethereum.

The 8 Founders of Ethereum Were Solidified!

And with this, the characters had all made their way into the story. 8 founders solidified. The seeds were planted, and it was go-time.

Though at this point, the group of founders had never been together all in the same place at the same time. Imagine that?

So now, the real meat of the story. It’s January of 2014, folks.

Immerse yourself..

Bitcoin starts the year off at a sleek $770 a coin. The crypto world is hyped, the community is growing, the total crypto global market cap has risen to 10.6 billion, compared to a little over 1 billion the year before, and for reference, compared to $1.7 TRILLIOn today. I mean, damn!

Well with this thriving crypto growth, January 2014 brings with it the North American official Bitcoin conference, being held in Miami, Florida. Anthony Di Iorio proposes the newfound group of founders rent a house to all meet up, discuss, and feel out to tone. How does everyone work together? Is this a bunch a-holes? What’s the deal? Then, with that, perhaps it’s time to bring Ethereum to the big stage at the Bitcoin conference. The team agrees wholeheartedly and the real fun begins.

The legendary, anticipated meeting of the minds goes down in Miami. And as it turns out….. It was amazing! Everyone had an incredible time and officially “hit it off” as they say.

According to Chearles Hoskinson, conversations ranged from philosophical, to business, to technical and it was great overall.

The First Presentation of Ethereum at the 2014 North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami

Beyond the meeting of the minds, and more importantly, the presentation at the Bitcoin conference occurred this anticipated also. And well… The meeting at the house went great.. But the conference…

It went extra great! Extra great? Very great! The Ethereum boys had two big presentations to get through: Vitalik was doing a complete overview of Ethereum and Charles was to participate in a live debate with David Johnston and Dan Leremer

The 8 Founders of Ethereum: Who Created Ethereum?

The Bitcoin Community Loved Ethereum

The presentations were incredibly well-received. They knew they had something here This whole idea of an autonomous company running in the web, with no jurisdiction but still with legally-enforceable contracts was juicy and the community was in-like-flynn.

Also, to top it all off Bitcoin has having one of its first real deal hype-filled bull runs.. From 100 to over 1200 in a month, or something ridiculous like that. Plus another little cryptocurrency had just been invented that was making millionaires by the dozen, you prolly haven’t heard of it though. D-oh-g-eh coin? Doggy coin? Doge-coin. Something like that, some small little altcoin that ended up working out pretty well for some people, no big deal.

Point is: The crypto market was on fire and Ethereum came along at the perfect time to further grow the flames.

The Year Ethereum Was Developed

After the bitcoin conference success, the Ethereum team went into work-mode. This confirmed everything they all hoped, and it was now go-time. This is when the crew moved their main operation to Switzerland, work became intense, the online following was growing, everything was amazing..

The Ethereum founders were strategically splitting off into the sort of “sectors” within the Ethereum team.

  1. Focusing on funding for the long term.
  2. Focusing on the underlying technology and getting it to maturity to be able to be funded.
  3. Marketing, community, advertising and business development (Strategic partnerships, etc.).

This group-split-oriented model worked out extremely well. The Ethereum team was developing quickly, Gavin published the Ethereum yellow paper in April. Anthony, Joe and Amir were killin’ it: going through Silicon Valley, Texas tech events and eventually Anthony’s Toronto Bitcoin Conference.

The dream was going strong, and the project was coming along.

But folks, dreams don’t always last…

The Ethereum Founders Convergence of 2014

The group decided it was time for a big convergence in April of 2014, after all this rapid growth and the “seriousness” of the project at this point.

Some huge decisions needed to be made about the future of Ethereum. The hype was there, now the tech was there. The big matter that needed to be decided on was the divergent options on the business side. How were they going to run this business and how were they going to fund it?

The Decision of How To Structure The Business of Ethereum

Basically, there were 2 options at this point.

Option 1: Venture capital money. There was a ton of interest in this space financially at this point, and with Ethereum’s potential, it would be a no-brainer. I mean, Blockstream had just raised capitol and received a $26 million investment weeks prior, so momentum was in the crypto space

Option 2: The crowdsale option. Raising money from the people. A Crowdsale is basically crowd-funding for crypto. Early-interest enthusiasts can buy coins before they exist to help fund the project in development, in hopes that it’ll be big and juicy once it’s ready.

This decision was big. It is what began the tension. Charles Hoskinson spoke up and stated that he thought Ethereum was too big at this point to go for a crowdsale. He strongly argued that the best course of action was to create this as a “for profit” company, take VC investment, centralize in Switzerland and focus on building a protocol.

On the contrary, the developer side of the team argued for the set-up of a foundation. That this “foundation” could hold a crowdsale and use that to fund a collection of companies within Ethereum to build up an ecosystem and let anyone participate that wanted to. This would hereby create a completely horizontal power structure.

The Tension on Ethereum’s Future

Well, the arguments began and they continued. Charles had a few big concerns with this model.. He argued that this “foundation” of theirs would eventually have “brain death” – Because of no equity, no chaining, and no vesting anyone to this foundation outside of the potential, hopeful appreciation of ether itself. So he said that this would cause a scattering, leaving everyone to want to go on and start their own things. And so, the fighting continued. This is a group of incredibly smart, opinionated folks with a thoroughly contrasting idea of how this business should be structured. This is a problem, folks.

Imagine if you and your lover were getting married but one of you is completely, passionately against living in the USA, and the other of you is a white, red and blue-bleedin’ national-pride, country-lovin American through-and-through. These are pretty contrasting ideas on how you might wanna structure your life.

After weeks of fighting and growing more and more separated in thought; The Ethereum group scheduled a convergence in Switzerland to discuss everything and make a final decision…

The Final Decision: Vitalik Buterin and Charles Hoskinson’s Finale

It’s June 7th, 2014 now, friends. Ethereum is coasting along, close to reality. It’s meeting day. Tensions are high. Opinions are strong. Around us, Zug, Switzerland. AKA crypto valley. Pretty poppin’ at this point!

The meeting is to be held at the Ethereum team’s secluded house in the woods known as “The Spaceship” to decide the future of this organization.

The long, emotional, passionate meeting spanned the day. This “boardroom brawl” eventually led to the decision…

Vitalik made the final call, after hearing everyone’s thoughts, and taking some time to think everything over on the balcony.

Vitalik eventually comes in to deliver the verdict.

Vitalik’s Verdict:

Charles Hoskinson’s side loses the fight. The “devs side” wins. Vitalik “made this speech that consisted of half a minute of filler, followed by the real decision, which was that Charles and Amir would be fired. They were disappointed by not absolutely surprised.”

And with that, they were gone from the Ethereum project. Hoskinson described the endtimes madness like so: ”It became a Lord of The Flies-Style situation, where power camps were formed and whoever was most persuasive to Vitalik was the one who won. That’s why there was some bad blood.”

What Did Charles Hoskinson Do After Getting Fired From Ethereum? Ethereum Co-Founder #5

Well, the future did end up working out for Hoskinson. The man went on to create his very own blockchain, the commonly-referred to “Ethereum killer” known as Cardano. Cardano’s ADA currently trades for about $1.20 per coin, with a market cap of about $39 Billion.

What Happened To Anthony Di Iorio? Ethereum Co-Founder #2

Sometime down the line from the dreaded finale meeting: Anthony Di Iorio was also fired from the Ethereum project. It was reported that he lost a lot of his drive for the project once the nonprofit path decision had been made too. He took a backseat and eventually got kicked from the team.

What Happened To Joseph Lubin? Ethereum Co-Founder #8

Similarly but differently, Joe Lubin immediately began planning a separate, for-profit company as soon as the non-profit decision was made. He launched Consensys, which was designed to be an incubator for other blockchain startup companies. So while he still stayed within the Ethereum realm, he too lost his direct founder-involvement when the big decision came to light.

What Happened To Mihai Alisie? Ethereum Co-Founder #2

Vitalik’s oldest friend of the group, Mihai moved on in a bit more of an organic way. Well, Mr. Handsome actually stayed on as vice-president of the Ethereum foundation non-profit until late-2015, which is around the time he started working on a juicy little project known as Akasha. Basically, this is a pretty ground-breaking social network idea still currently being developed for the Ethereum network. So it seems Mihai is still on quite good terms with Vitalik and of course, Ethereum as a whole, while not being directly involved in the way he once was.

What Happened To Jeff Wilcke? Ethereum Co-Founder #7

Jeff Wilcke made his exit with a bit more speculation involved, so bear with me here. After a long series of what are called “hard forks” in the Ethereum network (basically big protocol changes) as well as a series of hacks to it, and most notably the DAO exploit / hard fork massive controversial Ethereum nightmare of 2016 (Potential future video?? Hmm??) Wilcke handed his duties over to his right hand man, Peter Szilagyi, effectively dropping his role in the Ethereum project. He also had other big dreams to develop a video game, and that’s just what he moved on to. So perhaps that was his inspiration as well? Either way, Jeff Wilcke was the longest-remaining member of the team of founders, besides Vitalik himself.

What Happened To Amir Chetrit? Ethereum Co-Founder #4

Amir Chetrit! After the founders meeting, the firing with Charles, etc. Amir apparently went on to quietly support other projects and work on other crypto-things discreetly, in his own time. But you don’t hear much about Amir, and that is by design. Amir Chetrit likes to keep it discreet!

The man values his privacy, as he seemingly always has. There isn’t much public information to find about Chetrit these days, and that is most definitely the intention. So out of respect for the man, we won’t dig any deeper than that. We can only assume Amir made out quite well with his initial Ethereum sum and is off living happily ever after somewhere. Good job, Amir!

What Happened To Gavin Wood? Ethereum Co-Founder #6

And of course, Gavin Wood. Gavin left the Ethereum project at the end of 2015 after talking with some fellow-programmers (Arkadiy and Marek) – They pitched him an idea where the three of them wrote up a fresh implementation from the ground up in a new language called “Rust.” Gavin was a man who enjoyed challenging himself and he said this was just the thing we wanted to learn and focus on. This thing would eventually become the Gavin’s very own brainchild, blockchain protocol known as Polkadot. These days, Polkadot trades for $13 a coin with a market cap of $13 Billion.

What Happened To Vitalik Buterin? Ethereum Co-Founder #1

In 2021, there is only one face that represents Ethereum, and you know who’s face that is.

Vitalik continues his work on the Ethereum project, currently developing the long-anticipated Ethereum 2.0 – These days, when you Google any iteration of the question: Who owns Ethereum? And who made Ethereum? But also who is the CEO of Ethereum? Who founded Ethereum? Vitalik’s name pops up. As it rightfully should. But the “co-founder” title is very important, because there is no Ethereum without this innovative, foundational group of crypto-forefathers.

The 8 founders of Ethereum are all still in the realm of technological innovation, and all certainly hold a place in history. But this story of the founding days of Ethereum is a wild one, to say the least.

TLDR;

8 founders on a massively-speculative, foundational- cutting edge tech company is the embodiment of the classic saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” – When you take a sack full of ideological, stearn-minded crypto geniuses and throw them into a startup house in Switzerland: Eventually the innovativeness will be halted by fundamental dispute.

And that there is my take on the story of the 8 founders of Ethereum…. Or better-ly worded..

That there is my take on the Ethereum origin story.

The History or Ethereum | 8 Founders of Ethereum - The Mysterious Crypto Origin Story
The History or Ethereum | 8 Founders of Ethereum – The Mysterious Crypto Origin Story

Final Words

This tale has so much more depth, that I would love to explore in time, but this is a pretty fast-paced exploration of what went down. Don’t forget to also check out the video version!

Thank you so much for reading this story and/or watching this video! If you want more stories from the world of “Money Lore” check out some more of my stuff! Hang out, stay a while, let’s bond.

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The 8 Founders of Ethereum: Who Created Ethereum?