Very few blockchains are as synonymous with the cryptocurrency revolution as Ethereum. The world’s no. 2 digital currency by market cap has quickly emerged as the leading platform for investors, businesses and startups looking to raise capital through initial coin offerings (ICOs). These parties have all converged on the Ethereum platform to take advantage of its superior technical specifications and smart contract capability.
From Bitcoin to Ethereum
Vitalik Buterin is the genius behind the Ethereum project. Blockchain technology first piqued his interest in 2011 as he marveled at the potential of Bitcoin. That same year, he cofounded Bitcoin Magazine. It would be another two-and-a-half years before he published the first Ethereum whitepaper in November 2013.
The Ethereum network is still in its infancy, with Vitalik and Co. working hard to implement a more advanced version of the protocol. The Ethereum system went live on July 30, 2015, and experienced its first fork in October of the following year.
In 2017, the Ethereum team joined forces with blockchain startups, research groups and Fortune 500 companies to create the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA). The EEA, which aims to define new business avenues for ether, boasts some of the world’s leading companies. They include:
- CME Group
- Credit Suisse
- J.P. Morgan
As an open-source, public blockchain, Ethereum welcomes contributors from various backgrounds. However, that hasn’t prevented Vitalik from retaining a small team to serve on the Ethereum Foundation. Below are their introductions.
The Ethereum Foundation supports the Ethereum project through research, development, and education. Combined, these efforts provide developers with the decentralized tools and resources needed to “build a more globally accessible, more free and more trustworthy Internet.”
Ming Chan, Executive Director
Ming Chan serves as Executive Director to the Ethereum Foundation, where she is helping see through the next phase of blockchain development. She studied Computer Science and Media Arts & Science at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Before joining the Foundation, she served in senior roles in education, government, and the private sector. She has a background in enterprise IT, management consulting and startups, and has worked successfully with various stakeholders in getting projects off the ground.
Ming currently resides in Zurich, Switzerland.
Jeffrey Wilcke, Technical Steering Group
Jeffrey Wilcke is one of the founders of Ethereum, having successfully implemented the system in 2015 using the Go programming language. He has been the project’s head developer ever since. Jeff was at the helm when the Ethereum system first launched in 2015. He has a strong technical background and is a keen developer with interest in various programming languages. He studied at HKU in the Netherlands.
Jeff is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Vitalik Buterin, Foundation Council
In addition to founding Ethereum, Vitalik currently serves in the capacity of Foundation Council. He leads Ethereum’s research team in pursuit of future versions of the blockchain’s protocol. He was educated in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Vitalik appears to be splitting his time between Canada and Switzerland at the moment.
The Ethereum network extends far beyond these three individuals to include a capable community of blockchain developers, advisors, and investors. Together, they have developed the platform of choice for a large and growing segment of the blockchain market. It is up to the Foundation to continue steering them in the right direction.
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