Vitalik Buterin is a partially self-taught student of computer science, mathematics and economics, and has been actively doing math and computer programming as a hobby since age 10. He discovered Bitcoin in March 2011, and was attracted by the computational and economic elegance of the platform as well as its potential to massively streamline, simplify and democratize the financial system. He cofounded Bitcoin Magazine with Mihai Alisie in September 2011, and served as its head writer, writing articles on events in the Bitcoin space as well as technical pieces covering the deeper technical and economic issues.
Vitalik studied at the University of Waterloo for one year, but left to pursue cryptocurrency interests full-time in 2013, and after six months of travelling, interacting with Bitcoin communities around the world, and learning about the ideas that othersother people were thinking about at the time, he came up with Ethereum the original whitepaper Ethereum project in November. He has been a core developer and researcher for Ethereum ever since.
Vitalik is interested in the nascent but rapidly growing field that he has come to call “cryptoeconomics” - the study of cryptographic social protocols as holistic systems including aspects from cryptography, economics, mathematics and to some extent even sociology, and how these different components both individually behave and interact.