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Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin Thanks SHIB Community for Helping Fund Fellowship Program

Ethereum’s co-founder was gifted billions of dollars in Shiba Inu tokens. But he decided to dedicate them to a good cause.

2 min read
Vitalik Buterin was just 19 when he wrote the Ethereum white paper. Image: Flickr

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin today thanked the Shiba Inu community for helping make his PhD fellowship fund a reality. 

Shiba Inu’s anonymous developers last year gifted Vitalik Buterin a load of SHIB tokens. In fact, they sent him 50% of the total supply to address to remove it from circulation. 

But Buterin, who is known in the crypto world for his magnanimous gestures, decided to burn (destroy forever) 90% of the tokens in his wallet. He then chose to give the remaining 10% for charity—including 50 trillion SHIB, around $1.2 billion at the time, to the India Covid Crypto Relief Fund. 

And he used some of the cash to fund a PhD program researching the safe development and deployment of AI. “Big thanks to the Shiba Inu community, whose cryptocurrency made these fellowships possible,” Buterin wrote on Twitter Wednesday in response to a tweet naming the fellowship grant winners

The Vitalik Buterin Postdoctoral Fellowship in AI Existential Safety is “designed to support promising researchers for postdoctoral appointments starting in the fall semester of 2022 to work on AI existential safety research,” the program's website says, adding that funding is for three years subject to annual renewals based on satisfactory progress reports. 

SHIB, for those who don’t know, is the 12th largest cryptocurrency in the world with a market cap of $7.5 billion. The ERC-20 token (a cryptocurrency which runs on the Ethereum network) is a Dogecoin competitor and is based on a famous Internet dog meme. 

Just like DOGE, the token is highly speculative and doesn’t have much—if any—utility, but some people have made huge returns investing in it. Its price has rocketed since it launched back in August 2020. 

At one point the crypto Buterin decided to destroy had a market value of $32.5 billion. Had he chosen to cash it out, it would have made him not only the richest man in crypto but one of the richest men in the world. 

“I don’t want to be a locus of power of that kind,” he said at the time. 

Right now, CoinMarketCap data shows SHIB is trading for $0.0000129 per token—a 6% 24-hour increase. But the token is also down ​​85.92% from its October 2021 all-time high of $0.00008845. 

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