Vitalik Buterin spoke candidly about his experiences as the “leader” of Ethereum, saying there are times when he wishes he was less visible. At the same time, he played down this somber statement by saying, “that comes with the territory.”
The Ethereum co-founder finds public life annoying at times
Buterin’s comment sheds light on aspects of what it must be like leading a cryptocurrency project. The ugly side of this is dealing with people’s obsession with cryptocurrency.
Various figures have commented on this in the past. For example, at the tail end of last year, billionaire investor Mark Cuban described Bitcoin as a religion.
Similarly, Finn Breton, a Professor of Science and Technology at the University of California Davis, said cryptocurrency can form part of people’s identity.
“When you buy bitcoin, you’re actually buying into a whole scene. And it’s a scene that can be a part of your identity.”
When talking about wanting to be less visible, Buterin described his reasons more to do with the hassle of being recognized in public. He added that he likes to disguise himself with a (covid) mask to avoid being spotted.
“I mean, it’s not so much physical safety per se, as just like, wanting the ability to have a life and not just have random people running up and saying “are you the Vitalik Buterin?” There’s times when I definately find such things annoying.”
Reading between the lines, there is likely more to Buterin’s experiences than he let on during this interview.
Hoskinson talks of bullying and death threats
Although Buterin dismissed the notion of threats to his physical safety, fellow Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio said he is quitting cryptocurrency, in part, due to fears over his personal safety.
Di Iorio has had bodyguards since 2017 and said he no longer feels safe being involved with digital assets.
Likewise, Input-Output Global CEO Charles Hoskinson shared similar concerns earlier this year. In a shocking video post, Hoskinson described the attacks he faces daily, both online and in real life.
“I’ve been attacked in every possible way. I’ve been called a criminal, usually every single day, sometimes to my face. I’ve had people drive by my raunch screaming my name. I’ve had death threats, I’ve had people mail me white powder pretending it was anthrax, I’ve had my home robbed, I’ve had my physical safety on numerous occassions threatened.”
No doubt, people’s passion for cryptocurrency can lead to skewed ways of thinking and behaviors. Then again, this is something that could apply to any sector where industry figures are in the public eye.