Vitalik Buterin created a 'fellowship of the ring' to build ethereum. But the founders have a history of feuds and are now competing for crypto dominance.

Vitalik Buterin invented ethereum back in 2013. Getty Images/John Phillips
Vitalik Buterin

According to the Financial Times, Vitalik Buterin compared the eight founders the ethereum Blockchain to JRR Tolkien’s close-knit "fellowship in the ring".

The group's history is marked by rivalry and feuds, and two of its members split off to form ethereum rivals, cardano, and polkadot. Buterin said that his greatest regret was choosing seven founders to help build the network.

He is one of crypto's most prominent figures, as he was 27 when he created ethereum, a cryptocurrency network that allows decentralized applications to be built. He was only 19 when the idea for ethereum was first launched, and he was 21 when it launched in 2015.

Buterin was a long-time fan of crypto technology and bitcoin before he cofounded Bitcoin Magazine. Buterin is still involved in the network's research and provides new ideas.

Charles Hoskinson Charles Hoskinson/YouTube, cofounder of Ethereum and Cardano creator

Charles Hoskinson

Charles Hoskinson, a math genius who rose to prominence in the 2013 ethereum startup, quickly rose to become an influential member. His rocky relationship with other founders meant that his time on the project was cut short within months. Hoskinson wanted to make ethereum a for-profit business, but Buterin wanted it a non-profit platform.

There are many accounts of what happened. Some say Hoskinson claimed he left and others claim Butern fired him. They are not known to be close friends and sometimes still poke fun at each other's methods.

Hoskinson, who left ethereum to create the cardano platform for blockchain technology, whose ada cryptocurrency recently rose to the third largest. Cardano, which allows users to build their own projects, is known as the "ETH killer".

Gavin Wood founded polkadot. Parity

Gavin Wood

After joining the group in 2014, Gavin Wood, an English computer scientist, became a key ethereum programmer. He was the creator of the first ethereum testing network and made many other important programming contributions.

Wood quit ethereum in 2016 and founded polkadot. This is another ETH-killer crypto network that aims to connect different blockchains. Polkadot has seen its dot cryptocurrency rise more than 500% over the past year, as the project has been embraced with great enthusiasm.

The founder of polkadot has been known for taking swipes at ethereum. In 2020, he compared polkadot’s "slow" transaction times to polkadot’s faster speeds.

Joe Lubin founded ConsenSys. Riccardo Savic/Getty Images

Joe Lubin

While many of the cofounders of ethereum were still in their 20s, Lubin was more experienced and older when he joined the board in 2013. After graduating from Princeton, the Princeton-educated computer scientist Lubin worked at Goldman Sachs until he became disillusioned by traditional finance during financial crisis.

Lubin co-founded ConsenSys, a for-profit company that develops ethereum. It has launched many projects on the network. MetaMask, a widely-used "wallet", is one example. ConsenSys received $65 million in funding from JPMorgan, UBS, and other sources this year.

Anthony Di Iorio recently stated that he is quitting crypto. Ethan Lou/Reuters

Anthony Di Iorio

Before Buterin approached him to join ethereum, Anthony Di Iorio was an entrepreneur. He was not keen on the ethereum non profit direction, so he took a backseat. Decentral was founded by him, and the Jaxx cryptocurrency wallet was launched.

Di Iorio made headlines when he stated that he would be leaving the crypto industry and selling his company partly due to concerns about his safety. Di Iorio also stated that philanthropy was another reason.

Mihai Alisie is currently working on a crypto-project called Akasha. @MihaiAlisie/Twitter

Mihai Alisie

Mihai Alisie knows Buterin since 2011, when they co-founded Bitcoin Magazine. This was the first publication exclusively dedicated to crypto. Alisie was instrumental in the establishment of the Swiss company that provided ethereum with a legal and financial foundation in its early days.

He served as vice president of Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the network. He returned to the Ethereum Foundation to become vice president. Akasha is a crypto project that uses technology to help people.

Jeffrey Wilcke is now video-game designer. @etehreum/Twitter

Jeffrey Wilcke

Jeffrey Wilke, a computer programmer, was an important player in the early days ethereum. He wrote a version for the platform in the Google Go Language. This was the basis for Go Ethereum or Geth.

Since then, he has left to start a games company called Grid Games together with his brother. Wilcke stated that he felt his energy could be better spent elsewhere and "away from the drama of ethereum."

Amir Chetrit

Amir Chetrit, the most mysterious and public-shy member of the group is also the one who was previously working on Colored Coins, a crypto startup that Buterin had worked on before he joined Ethereum.

Matthew Leising, a journalist who wrote "Out of the Ether" about ethereum, said that Chetrit was not pulling his weight. Leising said that Buterin kicked him out of the project along with Hoskinson.


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