On Oct. 5, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin wrote on Twitter that he is planning to “detach” from the blockchain protocol because it can “absolutely survive” without him.
I think ethereum can absolutely survive me spontaneously combusting tomorrow at this point.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) October 5, 2018
He went on to say that much of the research is already being done by three other developers, signaling the slow end of his grip on Ethereum. Buterin said this in response to a Twitter user who had asked him if he thought of leaving the platform.
A day later, Buterin said:
“To be clear, detaching meant detaching from needing to participate. No actual plans to disappear anytime soon.”
Buterin, a Russian programmer, proposed Ethereum in 2013. A 2014 online crowdsale funded the project, and Ethereum was released on July 30, 2015.
Ethereum Without Buterin Is Like Bitcoin Without Satoshi Nakamoto
On May 21, Vitalik Buterin revealed that he was contacted by Elizabeth Garcia, a Google recruiter who wanted to lure him away from Ethereum and probably work on Google’s blockchain project. The Russian programmer took to Twitter and ran a poll on the decision to take. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents polled in favor of him continuing with Ethereum.
If Buterin ever leaves Ethereum, he will have many options and opportunities considering how much of a respected figure he is in the crypto community.
Some blockchain projects are already functioning without their founding figures. A case in point is Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first Bitcoin on Jan. 3, 2009, but “disappeared” in mid-2010. The Bitcoin network was not affected and continues to function very well even in the creator’s absence.
Charlie Lee, the ex-Google employee who created Litecoin, the world’s seventh-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, sold and donated all of his Litecoin holdings in December 2017 but kept a few ones as “collectibles.” In May, Lee said he was going to leave Litecoin at some point because he believed that his departure would enable the platform to be more decentralized.
Meanwhile, Jed McCaleb left Ripple and established the Stellar blockchain protocol, a direct competitor of his former project.
Ethereum in a Bear Market
The crypto market has experienced a bad year by many standards. The prices have plummeted, and it may take some time before they can climb back to the highs reached between December 2017 and January 2018.
According to CoinMarketCap data, Ethereum peaked at $1,410.25 on Jan.10 but has since fallen to its current price of around $227. On Sept. 12, Ethereum’s price fell to $171.88, its lowest in more than a year.
On Oct. 4, the Ethereum Foundation announced that it would delay the release of its much-hyped Constantinople upgrade. The new upgrade is expected to lower fees, boost network speed, and improve data storage. The new launch, if there are no further delays, will take place on Oct. 14.