The Thiel Foundation has announced 20 entrepreneurs will be receiving the 2018 Thiel Fellowship, which is a two-year fellowship that pays USD 100,000, four winners of which are blockchain developers. One of the most notable Thiel fellows from the past is Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, which has become the second biggest cryptocurrency in the world with a market cap of USD 45 billion and has transformed blockchain-based decentralized apps via smart contract technology.

The Thiel Fellowship was created by Peter Thiel in 2011, co-founder of PayPal. It is for students under the age of 23 who want to drop out of school and start a business, work on a social movement, or perform scientific research. It is highly competitive, with less than 1% of applicants winning. It certainly speaks volumes about the potential for blockchain technology that 4 out of 20 winners this year are blockchain-centric entrepreneurs.

The four Thiel fellows that are blockchain developers include Aparna Krishnan, CEO of Mechanism Labs, which focuses on critical cryptoeconomic problems. Axel Ericsson is co-founder of Vest, a platform that helps users earn interest on cryptocurrency. Daniel Ternyak is chief technical officer of MyCrypto, which aims to facilitate the transition to a decentralized society. Finally, Robert Habermeier is co-founder of Polkadot, which is building a decentralized internet.

Director of the Thiel Foundation, Allyson Dias, says, “Leaving behind the safety of the classroom and choosing to build a business instead isn’t easy or glamorous. But our Fellows have found what we suspect to be true more broadly: young people learn best by doing things in the real world”.

With USD 100,000 in their war chest, prior experience in blockchain technology and the massive potential for worldwide expansion of blockchain technology, the 2018 Thiel Fellows have everything it takes to start successful blockchain-based businesses.


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