When you think of Ethereum, one of the first things that comes to mind is the name Vitalik Buterin. The Russian Canadian programmer is the poster boy for the smart contract network and has become a household name in the cryptoverse. However, while Buterin was and is the de facto figurehead for Ethereum, seven other talented individuals helped develop Ethereum from a whitepaper to what it is today. Interestingly, barring Buterin, none of these individuals is actively involved in the development and workings of Ethereum any longer.
Here’s a look at these founding members and where they are today:
Buterin’s working relationship with Mihai Alisie goes back to 2011, when the two founded Bitcoin Magazine. Alisie then helped establish Ethereum’s legal and financial foundation in Switzerland. After setting up the bank accounts and coordinating with lawyers during Ethereum’s pre-sale campaign, he also served as vice-president of the Ethereum Foundation until late 2015. After this, Alisie left to build his blockchain-based decentralised social media platform, Akasha.
Charles Hoskinson: Ex-CEO of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson, is an American entrepreneur and one of the first five Ethereum co-founders. However, Hoskinson envisioned Ethereum as a pro-profit organisation, which did not bode well with Buterin, who chose to run the platform as a non-profit (which it still is today). Consequently, Hoskinson was asked to leave in 2014 and went on to support the Ethereum Classic hard fork before founding the Cardano blockchain. Over the years, Cardano has risen through the ranks, and is currently the 8th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.
Anthony Di Iorio: One of the early Ethereum co-founders, Di Iorio played an instrumental role in the network’s marketing and branding operations. However, like Hoskinson, he too disagreed with the non-profit direction that Buterin was going in. Therefore, in 2015, Di Iorio left to take on the role of chief digital officer of the Toronto Stock Exchange. After that, he founded Decentral, the firm behind the Jaxx wallet. Surprisingly, in 2021, Di Iorio said he was selling his stake in Decentral and Jaxx and moving away from the crypto realm, citing personal safety reasons for the exit.
Amir Chetrit: Buterin worked with Chetrit, a US-Israeli national and computer science dropout, at a startup Coloured Coins. Towards 2013-end, Buterin asked Chetrit to come on board as a co-founder of the Ethereum project. However, according to journalist Matthew Leising, other founding members thought Chetrit wasn’t pulling his weight. This led to his resignation in 2015. Since then, Chetrit has chosen to remain aloof and away from any publicity.
Gavin Wood: English computer scientist, Gavin Wood, created the first Ethereum testnet in C++ and, in exchange, asked for a place at the founder’s table. He also went on to propose Ethereum’s native coding language, Solidity. However, he left the Ethereum foundation in 2016 to establish Polkadot, a blockchain network that is currently touted as an Ethereum killer.
Joseph Lubin: Today, Joseph Lubin is well-known as the creator of Consensys. This New York-based software company that enables developers and enterprises to build modern financial infrastructure through the Ethereum product suite. However, before his role at Consensys, Lubin was considered the most experienced Ethereum co-founder. Along with this technical prowess, he is also believed to have provided monies to keep the fledgling Ethereum buoyant.
Jeffrey Wilcke: Jeffery Wilcke shares several similarities with Gavin Wood. He too was a computer programmer, wrote an implementation of Ethereum (in Google’s Go language, not C++ like Wood), and was added to the founder’s list in 2014. However, after a few years, Wilcke decided to leave Ethereum and establish a gaming studio, Grid Games, with his brother. In a 2019 tweet, Wilcke said that his energy “was better spent” away from the drama of Ethereum.