With the goal of advancing the science and technology of the next generation of the internet, we introduced a16z crypto research – a new kind of multidisciplinary lab dedicated to helping shape crypto and web3 as a formal area of study.
Another of our goals is to help bridge the worlds of academic theory with industry practice, and one of the ways we aim to do this – besides working with our portfolio and publishing our own work – is by bringing together the very best research talent from the disciplines that are relevant to the space, including computer science and the social sciences. To that end, we’ve now hosted two immersive summer programs at the a16z crypto office, where we invite both established and emerging researchers to present their work and ideas, collaborate on some of the hardest problems in the ecosystem, and sharpen each other’s ideas by spending time with one another.
You can watch many of the talks (and overhear our in-room conversations) from the 2022 cohort seminars here. We also continued this series of seminars through last fall and this spring. But now, I’m excited to share talks from the 2023 summer program and cohort, which covered topics from scaling to governance to incentive design and beyond.
You can subscribe to the YouTube channel here, where we will continue to post new talks regularly. The initial set of releases features:
- Joe Bonneau (a16z crypto research partner, NYU), “Distributed Randomness Beacons”
- Lera Nikolaenko (a16z crypto research partner), “Distributed Data Storage, Data Availability Sampling, and Danksharding”
- Matt Green (Johns Hopkins), “Beyond ZK: Next Steps for Compliance and Constrained Encryption on Blockchains”
- Sarah Meiklejohn (University College London and Google), “Adaptivity and Asynchrony in Distributed Key Generation”
- Ittai Abraham (Intel Labs, former VMWare), “It’s All about Trust” (Ittai also has a very popular industry blog Decentralized Thoughts)
For more about the lab and our research team, including featured releases and papers, please visit https://a16zcrypto.com/research/. Some of our ongoing and latest work includes proposing and building a new paradigm for SNARK design (Lasso and Jolt), which make SNARKs more accessible, more auditable, and more widely usable for more developers to build more applications in web3; introducing ideas like LVR, which helps participants in automated market makers think more precisely about tradeoffs in liquidity provision for decentralized finance; providing overviews and proposals to fundamental concepts like danksharding; helping apply our theories to practice, such as private on-chain auction design for web3; diving deep on marketplace, mechanism, other incentive and business design; and much more.
Doing research in web3 is fun and intellectually stimulating. The range of topics also shows how much work we have to do to fulfill the promise of a distributed computer that’s available to everyone but owned by no one (what I’ve called a “computer that lives in the sky”) – and there are still plenty of challenges, and opportunities, ahead for interested researchers from many fields.
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