The creator of Ethereum got into crypto because Blizzard nerfed his character

An undead warlock
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Ethereum is the blockchain behind the cryptocurrency Ether and also NFTs. It was created by a programmer named Vitalik Buterin who was inspired by realizing "what horrors centralized services can bring". And what set off that Damascene moment of insight? It was World of Warcraft's 2010 warlock nerf.

"I happily played World of Warcraft during 2007-2010," Buterin writes in his bio, "but one day Blizzard removed the damage component from my beloved warlock's Siphon Life spell. I cried myself to sleep, and on that day I realized what horrors centralized services can bring. I soon decided to quit."

From there, Buterin got into Bitcoin, "started writing for a blog called Bitcoin Weekly initially at a meek wage of $1.5 per hour, and soon with Mihai Alisie cofounded Bitcoin Magazine." He dropped out of university to focus on crypto, coming up with the idea for Ethereum in 2013 and therefore being responsible for NFTs, the digital certificates of authenticity that, like everything powered by crypto's proof-of-work security systems, are wildly energy-inefficient.

Many of us have been affected by a strategy we rely on being deemed OP and hit by a nerf. Very few of us subsequently cry ourselves to sleep, quit the game, and then dedicate the rest of our lives to a pyramid scheme for dorks that contributes to an environmental crisis, graphics card shortages, art theft, and ends up being banned in China.

This story was recently highlighted by Twitter's @zemnmez and  @simplygastly, who wrote, "I PLAYED WARLOCK AS MY MAIN FOR 17 YEARS AND IT DIDN'T MAKE ME WANT TO DELETE RAINFORESTS".

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.