How Rich is Vitalik Buterin?
The man behind Etheruem has amassed substantial wealth, most of which is held in Ether and other cryptocurrencies.
- Buterin's cryptocurrency holdings represent the largest chunk of his wealth, worth $82 million at today's prices.
- Buterin also has substantial cash holdings, estimated at $12 million, as well as a salary somewhere between $140,000 and $250,000.
- Finally, he owns equity in two multi-million dollar startups, Clearmatics and StarkWare. The precise value of these investments is not known.
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Vitalik Buterin is one of the most influential people in crypto. He has amassed substantial wealth thanks to his role in creating Ethereum. We calculated his net worth.
Buterin wasn’t rich prior to creating Ethereum. His first major windfall was in 2014. That year he dropped out, at 20 years old, after receiving $100,000 through a Thiel Fellowship. From there his wealth only grew.
The crowdsale for Ethereum began in July of 2014 and raised Bitcoin worth, at the time, $18.3 million. From there, he was able to secure a six-figure salary from the Ethereum Foundation, the non-profit born out of the raise.
However, his main source of wealth is the hundreds of thousands of Ethereum tokens he was able to hold on to from the cryptocurrency’s pre-mine. This gave the foundation and its founders a little under 12 million ETH, which now represents about 11% of the circulating supply.
Though Buterin hasn’t publicly revealed his financial position, his wallet addresses and public statements are enough to get a decent estimate.
Vitalik Buterin’s Cryptocurrency Holdings
Looking at his primary wallet addresses, Buterin owns about 352,000 ETH at a current value of $46 million. Between his three main wallets, he also holds ERC-20 tokens worth over $900,000.
These ERC-20s include Augur (REP), Maker (MKR), Kyber Network (KNC), and OmiseGO (OMG).
However, he also said in February of last year that he held Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zcash, and Dogecoin worth over “10% the value of my ETH.”
Crypto Briefing calculated his Ethereum holdings on the day of his statement. Though he did not specify the precise investment in each of these coins, we gave each coin an equal allocation of 15% of the value of his ETH, adjusted by historic prices, for simplicity.
Adjusting his Ethereum holdings back to February 2019 levels, his holdings would amount to roughly 2,000 BTC, 58,000 BCH, 140,000 ZEC, and 3.6 million DOGE.
Assuming he held everything, these coins would make up 37% of his portfolio at current prices, or about $35 million.
Since then, the prices for these coins have fluctuated substantially, in line with the massive amounts of volatility in the market. At its peak in early 2018, Vitalik Buterin’s cryptocurrency portfolio was worth well over half a billion dollars.
Today, Vitalik Buterin’s cryptocurrency portfolio amounts to roughly $82 million, composed mostly of Ethereum, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Doge, and Zcash.
What is Vitalik Buterin’s Salary?
Outside of his cryptocurrency holdings, Vitalik Buterin has also disclosed that he earns a six-figure salary from the Ethereum Foundation. The last time he commented about his salary he revealed he was making roughly $144,000 per year.
Though this may seem high to some, Buterin claims he was offered an even higher salary and didn’t take it. “Others in the foundation (ie. the ones who actually decided these salary numbers) offered me $185k at one point; I declined,” he said. For the executive of a multi-billion dollar enterprise this salary seems relatively modest.
Vitalik Buterin’s current salary is estimated at somewhere between $140,000 and $250,000.
Cash and Equity Holdings
There’s more to the picture. Buterin also has a substantial portion of his wealth in cash. In March of 2019, in a now-deleted tweet, Buterin said that his “fiat holdings are well under $30m,” attributed to $8 million in charitable contributions he disclosed.
Looking at the rest of his finances, Crypto Briefing estimated his fiat holdings at $12 million, bringing his net worth up to $94 million.
But that isn’t all, Buterin also owns “significant corporate shareholdings” in two companies: Clearmatics and Starkware. Clearmatics is a London-based company designing protocols for DeFi while StarkWare is building privacy software using zero-knowledge proofs.
Buterin did not disclose the exact amount invested nor his equity holdings in each of the startups. To date, Clearmatics has raised $13 million and StarkWare has raised $36 million, according to Crunchbase.
Between his cryptocurrency holdings, cash, and equity, it’s possible to calculate the Ethereum co-founder’s wealth. Vitalik Buterin’s net worth is $100 million.