Cryptocurrencies had another wild weekend with several popular tokens soaring to new record highs on Monday. Ether, the digital currency widely used in the booming trade of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in recent months, surged past $3,200 on Monday, making its creator, the Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin, a billionaire.
As of Monday, Buterin’s public Ether address—which he said in 2018 is his main crypto wallet—holds about 333,500 Ether worth $1.029 billion. The self-described NFT collector Justin Trimble said on Twitter Buterin, 27, is now the world’s youngest crypto billionaire.
Buterin is hailed as one of the founding members of the cryptocurrencies and other blockchain applications we’ve come to know today. Buterin first proposed the design of the Ethereum platform in a white paper in 2013 at the age of 19, aiming to create a general scripting language to develop blockchain-based applications. Development for the first Ethereum network was crowdfunded in 2014, and the first version went live in 2015 with an initial supply of 72 million Ether coins, the native cryptocurrency of the platform.
Today, Ethereum is the most actively used blockchain. And Ether is the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin by market value. Both cryptocurrencies have seen astronomical surges in 2020 and 2021 so far as the mainstream finance world, including institutional investors, embrace crypto as a legitimate asset.
Year to date, Ether has more than quadrupled in dollar value. It now has a market capitalization of $364 billion, exceeding that of Bank of America, the second largest bank in the U.S.
Last week, Buterin donated 100 Ether and 100 Maker tokens, worth over $600,000, to a COVID-19 relief fund for India.