Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain platform, is the latest casualty in the dramatic collapse of crypto fortunes.
“I’m not a billionaire anymore,” Buterin, 28, wrote Friday in a Twitter post.
Buterin created Ethereum in 2014 and is the owner of a digital wallet that as recently as November contained holdings worth about $1.5 billion. Since then, the price of the Ether token that’s associated with the blockchain has fallen by 55%.
Buterin has previously suggested he’d welcome lower prices of digital coins, telling Bloomberg News in February: “The people who are deep into crypto, and especially building things, a lot of them welcome a bear market.”
Crypto holdings have been pummeled by a steep drop in prices of digital currencies and the turmoil engulfing the algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD and its Luna token. Changpeng Zhao, founder of the crypto exchange Binance, has seen more than $80 billion — or 84% of his wealth — evaporated this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Some ultra-wealthy crypto backers have professed humility amid the upheaval. Michael Novogratz, founder of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Inc., acknowledged that TerraUSD was “a big idea that failed.” Others, including the Winklevoss twins, have insisted that their investments are long-term.
“It’s all about perspective and HODLing for the long game,” Cameron Winklevoss tweeted on May 12, using an acronym for “hold on for dear life.”
As the pandemic raged through India last year, Buterin donated more than 50 trillion Shiba Inu coins to a Covid-19 relief fund in that country. The coins, which are a meta joke about the dog-themed digital coin Dogecoin, would have been worth more than $1 billion at the time.
Buterin’s donation represented more than 5% of the total Shiba Inu coins in circulation and sent prices tumbling about 50%.
In a separate tweet Friday, Buterin talked about the tradeoffs between “open-mindedness” and “passion,” while expressing support for the blockchain he helped create.
“Note to trolls: no, ethereum was not a mistake,” he wrote.