Vitalik Buterin, the 27-year-old who spearheaded the launch of the Ethereum blockchain 2015, has now become the world’s youngest crypto billionaire. As Ether (ETH) surged past $3,000 last Monday, virtual fireworks were going off for Vitalik, whose 333,520 ETH bought him a membership for the three commas club.

Ethereum 101: Cryptocurrencies are increasingly mentioned in the news and in pop culture lately. What is Ethereum, and why does it matter? Here’s a quick rundown. Ethereum is a decentralized open-source blockchain system that features its own cryptocurrency, Ether. It’s one of the pioneers of the decentralized finance (DeFi) movement aiming to replace traditional financial intermediaries like banks and insurance companies. Ethereum works as a platform for various other cryptocurrencies and the execution of decentralized smart contracts. Its goal is to allow users worldwide to write and run software that is resistant to censorship, downtime, and fraud. Ether has a market capitalization of $456 billion (at the time of writing), second to Bitcoin’s $1.04 trillion.

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