In the early internet days, a group who pioneered the space worked together at Paypal. Almost every single one of these members went on to build exciting, innovative and still-relevant-today businesses. In 2002 Paypal was acquired by eBay for 1.5 billion dollars, leading to most of the group going their own ways. This didn’t stop any of them from continuing to build great things.
Ethereum may be in a similar position, although only time will tell. Ethereum also has a larger-than-normal group of co-founders, who have already begun revolutionizing the blockchain and digital asset space on their own.
The Paypal mafia included the following people…
Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, Boring Co)
Keith Rabois (Square, LinkedIn)
David Sacks (Yammer, Geni)
Premal Shah (Kiva)
Max Levchin (Slide)
Russel Simmons & Jeremy Stoppleman (Yelp)
Roelof Botha (Sequoia Capital)
Peter Thiel (Palantir, Founders Fund)
Jared Karim, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley (Youtube)
Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn, Greylock)
The group also included Ken Howery, Luke Nosek and Yu Pan.
Companies like Youtube, Palantir, Neuralik, LinkedIn, Yelp and Sequia Capital were all built by Paypal co-founders. Needless to say, this group has been extremely influential in the advancement and innovation throughout the internet space.
The Ethereum mafia includes…
Vitalik Buterin (Widely regarded as the true Etheruem founder)
Gavin Wood (Pioneered smart contracts and went on to develop Polkadot)
Charles Hoskinson (Developed Cardano with his Ourorborus “peer-review” consensus)
Anthony Di Lorio (Founded Decentral, a crypto wallet provider)
Joseph Lubin (Consensys founder)
Mihai Alisie (Built Akasha, a social framework for Ethereum)
Jeffrey Wilcke (Built Go Ethereum and later Grid Games)
Amir Chetrit was also briefly included as a co-founder.
Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin, Charles Hoskinson and Vitalik Buterin have been instrumental in moving the blockchain space forward over the past decade, both between technological developments and driving adoption.
The contributions of the original Ethereum team are undeniable, with most of them still active today. The similarities between the founding Ethereum group and founding Paypal group are staggering, with striking comparisons able to be made between the two projects in general.
Ethereum completely revolutionized blockchain with an “internet infrastructure” theme, a focus on Decentralized Finance and smart contracts. Paypal did this with peer to peer transactions, circumventing the traditional ACH transfer used at the time, becoming the first major payment processor outside the banking system.
There is something to be said for people driving these massive innovations as early as these teams did. Peer-to-peer transactions in the late 90s was unheard of, and would be equivalent to magic internet money and decentralized financial infrastructure in 2014. It would have paid massively to watch the Paypal founding team after the sale of the company, and now we wait to see if the same impact is had by the founding Ethereum team.
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