Vitalik was born on January 31, 1994 in the city of Kolomna, Moscow region of Russia. He lived in Russia until the age of 6, when his parents decided to emigrate to Canada in search of a better job.
When he was in the third grade at a Canadian elementary school, he was placed in a gifted program. And although a place in this program meant more opportunities for learning, he was in fact abruptly separated from his friends. While in the program, Vitalik quickly realized that his special skills and talents made him something out of the ordinary for his peers and even teachers. He had a natural aptitude for mathematics and programming, showed an early strong interest in economics, and could add three-digit numbers in his head twice as fast as the average person his age. Buterin admits that one of his favorite childhood toys was Microsoft Excel.
Buterin was alien to social gatherings and extracurricular activities. As he recalls, quite a few people spoke of him as some kind of mathematical genius. At that time, Vitalik began to wonder why he couldn’t be a normal person with an average IQ of 75 percent like everyone else.
Some might say that it was difficult for Vitalik to get used to a new country and culture after moving from Russia, as his uncanny mind and incredible talents made him even more different from his peers. He immersed himself deeply in the learning process as well as the Internet, where he forged much of his professional and personal relationships.
He then spent four years at the private Aberald School in Toronto. Vitalik describes his time there as one of the most interesting and productive of his life. The school changed his perception of education, and his attitude and results changed dramatically almost immediately after he began studying there. It was at Aberald School that he was so inspired that he made learning his main goal in life.
Vitalik has always had reasonably good grades, but for a while his priority was to get extra levels in World of Warcraft, instead of wasting time and effort on homework. He enjoyed playing WoW from the age of 13, until one day in 2010, some properties of Vitalik’s character were changed due to a Blizzard update. He cried himself to sleep that night, and after realizing how terrible decentralized services can be, he quit World of Warcraft entirely.