The star of “air”: as the programmer from Russia is planning blockchain revolution

In 2015, the General public recognized the term “blockchain”, and about the technology of all: the media wrote that the policy was discussed, regulators threatened to ban banks and corporations are studied.

By the end of year total investment into blockchain startups, according to estimates by Goldman Sachs, has reached almost $1 billion, and the term entered the Oxford English dictionary during its last update in August. But this year to oust the blockchain from the standpoint of the most fashionable technology can Ethereum, the brainchild of programmer Vitaly Buterin, which the whole world is calling just by acne.

“When he talks about the blockchain, Professor Stanford pulls out a notebook and start to record” — presented Buterin the head of Sberbank German Gref at the forum in Davos. After any public performances of this shy, lanky guy around him are heads of banks and corporations. In may 2016, he came to Russia for the first time since then, in 2001, moved with his parents to Canada.

In Russia Buterin met with Ministers and representatives of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. For him, this is nothing new: the same high techniques it is staged in the UK, Switzerland, China and in other countries. Why is everyone so obsessed with Baleriny?

The fifth element

At the end of 2011 Buterin decided that the advantages of blockchain safety, reliability, transparency — can be done more effectively not only the process of payments or remittances. This technology of distributed databases may be hundreds of applications — from the creation of registers to issue securities without the involvement of investment banks. In order for any programmer can create applications based on the blockchain, not enough of an open platform with a built-in programming language, I decided Buterin.

Project is called Ethereum — in honor of Aristotelio ideas of ether, inclusive of the fifth element. “Your blockchain could be done to Ethereum, but for each new application, which was dedicated to blockchain, it was necessary to amend the original Protocol. Imagine if app developers were forced to release your phone with new operating system every time was going to write a new application,” explains RBC Buterin.

Design your own block chain worth tens of millions of dollars, could raise questions of safety, because for normal operation of the technology have a lot of users, it was terribly ineffective, he continues. Thanks to the capabilities of the new Ethereum blockchain applications are now limited only by the imagination of developers.


“Imagine that you are an artist and want to support his creativity with the release of a private equity, holding IPO personal. If the other person wants to support you, he buys these securities, investing in technically you. Securities traded on decentralized exchanges, presenting your objective value as an artist,” says technical Director Ethereum Stephan Twal.

To talk about the future and the blockchain Stefan can watch. On the basis of the blockchain, you can create applications that will allow you to send money, we send emails. Everyone can produce their own stocks, bonds, derivatives, to pay dividends without participation of banks, to hold open a vote on any issues. Finally, you can completely change the market for Internet content. “Today, when you want to support the musician, for example, you press Like on Facebook, but your focus brings income to the musician, and social networks that placed ads next to the page of a popular artist. In Ethereum income is to the musician,” continues Twal.

Ethereum — a platform for innovation, such as the protocols underlying the Internet. “Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, the whole modern Internet is a result of the development of the World Wide Web and Javascript — programming language,” notes Buterin. He was sure that every developer will be able to decide what to build on a new platform, and most exciting applications of Ethereum — the ones we haven’t guessed.

Mr. Robot

Acne — a pale boy with angular face, the intonations resembling Siri, inconsistent speech and shifty eyes that do not stay on you longer than a few seconds. It seems that with computers it feels more comfortable than with people. Blog posts overflowing with technical terms. Fellow programmers even wrote an algorithm that automatically generates text in the style of Vitalik records — “Ethereum-poetry.”

Buterin first heard about bitcoin from parents-programmers in early 2011, when he was 17. “I didn’t have a powerful computer to mine bitcoins fine, didn’t have the money to buy them, but I liked the idea, I’ve read a lot about bitcoin on the forums, started to do some work to earn bitcoins,” he says. In November 2011 he became the co-founder of the monthly magazine Bitcoin Magazine, on the cover of the first issue which sported a guy Fawkes mask, symbol of the hacker group Anonymous.

“When in 2013 the price of bitcoin soared from $13 to $100 and community around bitcoin began to grow, I realized that this is a very interesting thing, that the opportunity to work on something so interesting is the only time in my life, and decided to dedicate myself to it,” says Vitalik. The fascination with bitcoin has not left Buterin time to study, he left the canadian University of Waterloo where he studied computer science. This decision allowed him to obtain a grant of $100 thousand from the Fund of PayPal founder Peter Thiel, which supports talented students dropping out to create their own projects.

$18.5 million has attracted over one and a half months on the launch of the platform through crowdfunding the founders of the Ethereum Foundation

210 start-UPS already working on the platform Ethereum

Us $2.9 worth one “ether” at the time of release in July 2015

Up to $10.5 m increased rate of “ether” by may 2016

$959 million is the amount of “ether”, which is now traded on the stock exchange

On your bitcoin savings Vitalik went to the semi-annual journey around the world to meet the team of developers working on bitcoin projects. In tel Aviv Buterin met programmers who have developed a platform for smart contracts. To write simple contracts in a traditional blockchain, they had to exert too much effort. “The protocols of the blockchain was made as the Swiss army knives, every time someone invented a new use, it was necessary to change the Protocol. I figured out that instead of a Swiss army knife can do multi-function device is a universal Protocol,” says Vitalik.

His idea Buterin formulated in the form of a white paper, which in November 2013 was sent to 15 friends. The friends shared the document with their friends, and eventually I began to write people who want together with me to create Ethereum,” says Buterin. Now his team has about 30 people around the world. The headquarters of the Ethereum Foundation is in Switzerland, where he employs three or four programmers. The developers have offices in Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, USA, Brazil, China and Poland.

Project Buterin they are not the only startups that have already written more than 200 applications based on Ethereum, but also large corporations. UBS using Ethereum is developing a smart bond, in which the blockchain will provide the entire chain of transfer of securities from one trading participant to another, which will enable the Bank to save on the registers of holders, brokers and back offices. At the end of 2015 interested in Ethereum and IBM who are experimenting with “smart contracts” for the Internet of things.

Vladislav Martynov (left) will be engaged in Ethereum issues related to the business, will develop relations with large companies
Photo: Anton Berkutov for RBC


Vladislav Martynov (left) will be engaged in Ethereum issues relating to business, will develop linkages with large companies Photo: Anton Berkutov for RBC

Brave new world

Buterin doesn’t really like to talk about how Ethereum transformerait the economy and relations between people. To remove the middlemen — so to make the world better, he says, but doctors like to solve complex technological problems, makes possible the existence of platform. The developers themselves will find a use for his product, he said.

Ethereum — an experiment that could change the world if successful, says Vitali, but to assess the chances of success are not taken. “When I came up with Ethereum, I was sure that there is a reason why nobody did before me, waiting for me to write some smart cryptographers, why such a platform cannot exist. But this has not happened so far,” — he wonders. However, the probability that at least something will change, is growing every month, says Buterin: “We are working on a project around it grew the community, since the launch has been six months, people find a new use for until now”.

Evangelists Ethereum talk about how the platform will change the world with great pleasure, than a founder. “The blockchain could change almost any area of life as well as at the time it was changed by the Internet. Before the Internet we went to the banks, stood in line and wrote checks. Now we get a smartphone and carry out any transaction,” says a member of the Advisory Board Ethereum Vladislav Martynov.

Even the way Buterin raised the funds for the project, suggests that we see the signs of the birth of a new economy, he continues. In 2011 Buterin released its cryptocurrency — ether, or “ether”, to obtain funds for the development of the platform. In the bitcoin network cryptocurrency — an end in itself but “ether” is just fuel to create a platform. Four weeks Buterin sold “ether” is 31 thousand bitcoins ($18.5 million), breaking the world record to raise funds through crowdfunding. “The money goes to the development of the project, along with “ether”, who were the founders of Ethereum, funds will be enough for 4.5 years,” he calculates.

“We always have the possibility to get more money, arranging conferences, workshops, taking donations and working with sponsors. But the goal is to earn money we have, we are a non — profit organization,” adds Buterin. This is an unexpected conclusion, quite naturally fit into his style.