Here's a little history on the founder: Buterin was born in Moscow, according to a feature by Wired's Backchannel last year. At 6 years old, he moved with his family to Canada. He was considered a math genius from an early age and was placed in a gifted program in the third grade, the publication reports.
Buterin reportedly first grew interested in bitcoin when his father introduced him to the concept, and he soon became an expert in the emerging field. In 2011, he launched the cryptocurrency's eponymous magazine.
In May 2013, the 19-year-old programmer traveled to California to a cryptocurrency conference led by the Winklevoss twins. According to Backchannel:
Veterans of the dotcom era drew comparisons between cryptocurrencies and the dawn of the Internet. Booths showed off new hardware wallets, merchant payment platforms, and Bitcoin ATMs. And Buterin witnessed it all as a representative of Bitcoin Magazine. The San Jose event was Buterin's first glimpse at the living, breathing community cropping up around the cryptocurrency economy.
"That moment really crystallized it for me," he tells the publication about the experience. "It really convinced me that, 'Hey, this thing's real and it's worth taking a risk and jumping into.' So I did."
Buterin dropped out of the University of Waterloo and spent the rest of the year traveling around the world visiting with individuals working on bitcoin, according to Backchannel.