The creator, Vitalik Buterin, who presented the new blockchain platform in 2014, is well-known person in crypto market. Today, the Ethereum altcoin is the second most capitalized cryptocurrency in the world, and the platform competes with the bitcoin blockchain. It is known far beyond the digital world. However, there were originally eight people involved in the project. Why is Buterin the only person who stayed?
Do you remember how it all started?
The idea of a fundamentally new technological platform was finally formed by Buterin by 2013. And with the beginning of 2014, practical preparations for the implementation of the project began. The first Ethereum presentation took place in February, and developers Gavin Wood and Jeffrey Wilke were hired full-time. For almost a year prior to this event, Wood and Wilke had been working on bare enthusiasm, writing the code for Ethereum. By the way, it was Wood who put forward the idea of developing the Solidity programming language, which later became the basis for creating smart contracts.
Even before the launch of the platform, the partners did not come to a consensus on the direction in which to move. Charles Hoskinson, who was at the origins of Ethereum and left the project in 2014, suggested commercializing it initially by raising venture capital and, as a consequence, centralizing the management structure.
Buterin saw the development differently: as a base for the affordable implementation of blockchain technology in third-party projects. Proposing to leave Ethereum decentralized and non-commercial. Hoskinson recalled:
“It was a board fight!”
By that point, there were eight people on the board. Eventually Hoskinson left. And Buterin, recently, on September 2, 2021, when asked by a user:
“What do you regret most in the context of working on Ethereum?”
“The whole ‘8 co-founders’ thing (chosen quickly and indiscriminately).”
It is fair to say that the “Ethereum Eight” were far from amateurs: entrepreneur Anthony Di Iorio, programmer Jeffrey Wilke, one of the creators of the Colored Coins concept Amir Chetrit, ConsenSys head Joseph Lubin, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson and Gavin Wood, who is at the helm of Polkadot.
Besides, no one forced Buterin to include the entire team as founders. Geniuses may be brilliant at everything, but certainly not at the art of management.
The project evolved and within a few years came out to a solid second place in terms of capitalization and number of users.
In 2016, users discovered a bug in the source code of the newly created DAO platform. At first, the Etherium team did not pay attention to this fact, but then “the thunder rang out”.
Attackers using the found vulnerability were able to withdraw almost a third of the coins, which at the time was the equivalent of $50 million. The cryptocurrency world was struck with panic.
In order to return funds to the affected users, the management of Ethereum held a hardfork. However, not all users accepted the database adjustment, which eventually led to the separation of the project and the emergence of Ethereum Classic.
What is happening with Buterin and his team now?
Currently, Buterin and his former colleagues are direct competitors. Hoskinson and Wood created a new project, IOHK, about six months after leaving Ethereum, whose main brainchild was the multi-layered Proof-Of-Stake blockchain platform Cardano. It launched in late September 2017. The platform’s tokens, ADA, went public on October 1 of the same year. As of today, the project has a capitalization of just over $55 billion, and the value of the altcoin is around $1.60.
Gavin Wood started DeFi, a platform called Polkadot, in 2016. The first ICO of DOT altcoin took place in the fall of 2017. At the end, more than 2.7 million tokens were sold, at an average cost of $0.29. In November 2021, the token showed a historical high of $53.95 (according to Coinmarketcap). The capitalization at the moment is $38 billion. But most importantly, experts call Polkadot – “the killer of Ethereum”.
The circle closed – first everyone created the “bitcoin killer” together, and now there is a “killer” of Ethereum itself.
It turns out that the developers behind Ethereum created two projects that are in the top 10. Together with Ethereum, they are nearly a third of the best blockchain projects today. Apparently the team was destined to break up anyway. Because realizing your ideas and your potential is the main driving force for a talented person. And the ideas of the first Ethereum team were different.