Vitalik Buterin created a “Community of the Ring” to build Ethereum. But its founders have a history of feuds and are now competing for crypto dominance.

Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin came up with Ethereum in 2013.

Vitalik Buterin compared the eight founders of the Ethereum blockchain to JRR Tolkien’s closely-knit “Community of the Ring,” according to the Financial Times.

However, the group’s history has been marked by feuds and competition, with two members splitting off to create Ethereum rivals Cardano and Polkadot. Buterin recently said that it was his greatest regret to have chosen seven other founders “without discrimination” to build the network.

The 27-year-old is one of the most famous personalities in the crypto industry and in 2013 had the idea for Ethereum – a crypto currency network on which decentralized applications can be built. It was just 19 at the time and 21 at Ethereum, launched in 2015.

Previously, Buterin had become a fan of Bitcoin and crypto technology after being introduced to them by his father, and was a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine. Buterin is still working in the network, driving research and providing new ideas.

Charles Hoskinson

Ethereum co-founder and Cardano inventor Charles Hoskinson
Ethereum co-founder and Cardano inventor Charles Hoskinson

Math expert Charles Hoskinson quickly became an influential member of the Ethereum startup founded in 2013. However, his time on the project ended within months, in part because of his prickly relationship with other founders. Hoskinson wanted Ethereum to be a for-profit company, but Buterin wanted it to be a not-for-profit platform.

Reports of what happened vary: Hoskinson says he left, others say Butern fired him. Either way, the two have been known to dislike each other and still occasionally criticize each other’s methods.

After leaving Ethereum, Hoskinson founded the Cardano blockchain platform, the Ada cryptocurrency of which has recently become the third largest. Cardano is known as the “ETH killer” as it also allows users to create their own projects and is a competitor to Ethereum.

Gavin wood

Gavin Wood Polkadot Parity Ethereum
Gavin Wood later founded Polkadot.

English computer scientist Gavin Wood became a key Ethereum coder after joining the group in 2014. In fact, he created the first Ethereum test network and made a number of other important programming contributions.

Wood left Ethereum in 2016 and founded Polkadot, another ETH killer crypto network that focused on linking different blockchains together. Polkadot’s point cryptocurrency is up more than 500% in the past year as excitement about the project has grown.

The Polkadot founder is known for doing swipes in Ethereum. For example, in 2020 he contrasted his “slow” transaction times with the faster speeds of Polkadot.

Joe Lubin

Joseph Lubin Joe Lubin ethereum consensys
Joe Lubin founded ConsenSys.

Although many of Ethereum’s co-founders were in their twenties, Lubin was older and more experienced when he came on board in 2013. The Princeton-trained computer scientist worked for Goldman Sachs before becoming disillusioned with traditional finance during the financial crisis.

Lubin founded the for-profit Ethereum development company ConsenSys, which has launched a number of different projects on the network. One example is the widely used “wallet” MetaMask. ConsenSys raised $ 65 million this year from JPMorgan, UBS and others.

Anthony Di Iorio

Anthony Di Iorio recently said that he is leaving the crypto world.

Anthony Di Iorio was an entrepreneur and Bitcoin enthusiast before Buterin asked him to come on board to start Ethereum. However, he was also reportedly not as keen on Ethereum’s charitable streak and took a back seat. He founded Decentral, which launched the Jaxx crypto wallet.

Di Iorio made headlines earlier this year when he said he was leaving the crypto world and selling his company, in part because of concerns about his personal safety. He said another big reason is to focus on philanthropy.

Mihai Alisie

Mihai Alisie Crypto Ethereum
Mihai Alisie is now working on a crypto project called Akasha.

Mihai Alisie has known Buterin since 2011 when they founded Bitcoin Magazine, one of the first publications exclusively devoted to cryptography. Alisie was important in building the Swiss company that gave Ethereum a legal and financial base in its early days.

Until 2015 he was Vice President of the Ethereum Foundation – the non-profit organization that supports the network. He resigned and started Akasha, a crypto project that wanted to use the technology for social purposes.

Jeffrey Wilcke

Jeffrey Wilcke Ethereum Crypto
Jeffrey Wilcke is now a video game designer.

Computer programmer Jeffrey Wilke was a major player in the early days of Ethereum and wrote a version of the platform in the Google Go language. This became Go Ethereum or Geth.

He has since left to start a games company called Grid Games with his brother. Wilcke said he felt his energy was better used elsewhere, “away from the drama” of Ethereum.

Amir Chetrit

Amir Chetrit is the group’s most mysterious and public-shy, but was working on a crypto startup called Colored Coins – which Buterin also worked on – when he came to ethereum.

However, according to journalist Matthew Leising, who wrote a book on Ethereum called “Out of the Ether,” other members thought Chetrit was not pulling its weight. Leising wrote that this led to Buterin kicking him out of the project with Hoskinson.

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