Vitalik Buterin is a Russian-Canadian writer and programmer and has been involved in the Bitcoin community since 2011, co-founding and writing articles for Bitcoin magazine. He is primarily known as the one behind Ethereum, a blockchain platform that operates as a world computer for decentralized applications, or DApps.
Buterin traveled around the world for six months in 2013 to speak with Bitcoin (BTC) developers. He understood that he could construct a new, possibly superior version by iterating on the Bitcoin blockchain. To explain this idea, he linked Bitcoin to a calculator and a future blockchain to a smartphone and applied the same principle of improving the system’s strength by making it more general-purpose to blockchain networks. Bitcoin is the world’s first cryptocurrency, while Ether (ETH) is a digital currency based on the Ethereum blockchain network.
Buterin co-created Ethereum, the blockchain that supports various functions including developing apps and programs with the power of cryptocurrencies such as Ether. Smart contracts, which are essentially programs that can be saved and operated on the Ethereum platform, are how the platform accomplishes this.