Vitalik Buterin, one of the most influential people in crypto, says he’s not a digital-currency billionaire.
In a Twitter post, Buterin, who helped start the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, Ether, and continues to drive the development of underlying technology, said he never personally held more than 0.9 percent of the cryptocurrency, which has a market cap of $20.1 billion. Buterin posted a link Wednesday to his digital wallet, which currently holds 365,003 Ether, valued at about $73 million, and includes gifts and charity donations. Buterin said he has other wallets, “but they’re quite small relatively speaking.” Buterin was responding to a tweet from New York University professor Nouriel Roubini, who accused him and another Ether co-founder, Joe Lubin, of becoming billionaires by creating some Ether coins for themselves before releasing the cryptocurrency for others to use. Lubin hasn’t responded to the tweet, while Buterin said, “I’m pretty sure there are no criminal laws” against the practice, called pre-mining.
The accusations fly as, in most cases, creators of cryptocurrencies end up with huge portions of the coins, and can hold much sway over their price. Ether is down 86 percent since its January high, according to CoinMarketCap.com. In a February story, Forbes estimated Buterin’s net worth at up to $500 million, much lower than that of Ripple Labs co-founder Chris Larsen, for example, who was worth up to $8 billion.