Vitalik Buterin Discloses Non-Ethereum Holdings
02.21.2019

Vitalik Buterin, archangel of Ethereum, has disclosed his non-ether/Ethereum ecosystem crypto holdings.

Buterin made the announcement three days ago in a Reddit AMA about “Ethereum leadership and accountability.” Outside of Ethereum, Buterin holds bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, and Zcash, totaling less than 10 percent of the value he holds in ETH. In the Ethereum ecosystem, Buterin owns non-ETH tokens including Kyber Network (KNC), Maker (MKR), OmiseGO (OMG), and Augur (REP), also representing less than 10 percent of his total ether.

Buterin also disclosed his “significant corporate shareholdings.” He’s invested in both Clearmatics, a blockchain research and development company, and Starkware, which focuses on blockchain scalability and privacy. He also mentioned “friends in the ecosystem” working on various projects, like EthGlobal and Plasma Group.

Get the BREAKERMAG newsletter, a weekly roundup of blockchain business and culture.

His disclosures come in the wake of a dramatic week for the Ethereum community. Yesterday, BREAKERMAG published an open letter from multiple members hoping to quash the recent onslaught of “toxic behavior” in the community, particularly targeting a longtime Ethereum developer named Afri Schoedon. It started with a tweet. Schoedon sent one out in the past week comparing Polkadot to Serenity—the first being a non-Ethereum blockchain project, the second a name for what is otherwise known as “Ethereum 2.0” (for a very thorough explanation of all this, David Z. Morris has you covered).

Related: Vitalik Buterin On the Hard Lessons of Ethereum’s First Five Years

Some Ethereum supporters interpreted Schoedon’s tweet as basically treason. It got to the point where he reportedly started receiving death threats—all for allegedly having strong professional and financial interests outside of Ethereum. Those angry with Schoedon believed he was shirking his Ethereum duties in favor of working at Parity Technologies, the company that is building Polkadot (again, please read here for a deeper explanation).

It seems likely that this controversy is what sparked Buterin’s disclosures. For someone so integral to the Ethereum ecosystem, it makes sense that people would want to know about his other financial interests. “I’d definitely support more people actively involved in protocol decision-making making such statements!” Buterin wrote under his disclosures, and indeed, a couple other Ethereum developers joined in. Justin Drake, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, and Martin Swende both disclosed their (majority ether) holdings.

Since Buterin’s disclosures, some have thanked him for his transparency. Others have chimed into to point out what a bad idea it is for the Ethereum white paper writer to put the vast majority of his eggs in one blockchain’s basket. Looks like you just can’t win.