The co-founder of one of the earliest rivals to bitcoin has sensationally abandoned the cryptocurrency market, sending prices tumbling.
Canadian entrepreneur Anthony Di Iorio, co-founder of the ethereum network, revealed at the end of last week that he was quitting crypto and planned to sell his Toronto-based blockchain company Decentral.
The 48-year-old plans to never set foot in the cryptocurrency world again.
The announcement sent the price of ethereum plummeting.
The digital coin fell by 7.13 per cent in the last 24 hours according to Coindesk at time of writing.
Ethereum is the second biggest cryptocurrency after bitcoin, with a market capitalisation of $275 billion.
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Mr Di Iorio was there at the inception of ethereum in 2013, and financed the project, but one reason had made him turn his back on crypto forever.
He told Bloomberg he was getting out because he was tired of feeling unsafe and needing protection.
“It’s got a risk profile that I am not too enthused about,” he said.
“I don’t feel necessarily safe in this space.”
Mr Di Iorio has had a security team with him wherever he goes since 2017, due to personal safety concerns.
The entrepreneur had a net worth of US$1 billion (A$1.36 billion) in 2018, according to Forbes.
Ethereum’s price has more than doubled since then.
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Mr Di Iorio co-founded ethereum in 2013 with seven others while they shared a rented house in Switzerland.
Among them, Vitalik Buterin, who invented the coin when he was barely out of his teens, is the only one still working on the project.
Mr Di Iorio’s interest in decentralised transactions played a role in the conception of ethereum.
Decentralised finance allows people to borrow, lend and trade with each other without any interference from a third party such as a bank.
Now that he’s quit, Mr Di Iorio plans to turn his attention to more philanthropic ventures, including a project he’s working on at the moment to invent a zero-emissions vehicle.