On Thursday, the Thiel Foundation announced its 2014 fellowship recipients, one of whom was Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. 

Buterin, from Toronto, is currently working full-time on developing the Ethereum project, will receive US$100,000 over the next two years as a fellow. 

Venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel announced this fellowship program — originally called 20 Under 20 — at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2010. His idea was to reward those who dropped out or opted out of college to pursue entrepreneurship, research or social work. 

Each fellow receives US$100,000 plus access to a network of other fellows and mentors. 

“At a time of increasing concern over the value of a college education and a national student debt burden that tops US$1 trillion, the Thiel Fellows are part of a growing national movement exploring alternative ways to build successful futures,” foundation representatives said in a statement. 

Buterin, 20, is already a well-known figure in the cryptocurrency space. Before launching Ethereum, he co-founded Bitcoin Magazine and has written for a number of outlets. 

Meanwhile, Ethereum’s team posted an update on its blog Thursday:
Development of the Ethereum project has gone very well over the months since inception. The core activity — development of the software platform — is on track and many developers around the world are starting to build small, exploratory distributed applications on the platform, even though we are still not yet in alpha release. 

The fifth installment of the proof of concept series will be released soon, though many community members download the developing source code, compile it and use it on a regular basis for their various activities.