Meet Solana’s Growing Team of Blockchain Junkies
The world’s first ‘Proof of History’ based Blockchain’s makers in action.
Solana Founding Team — May 2018
Ever wonder about the folks making Solana’s Proof of History blockchain a reality? Like really — who they are, why they’re doing it and whether they are actually human?
Questions were asked. Answers were given. And the paparazzi shots were a must.
Why did you join Solana?
Hsin-Ju Chuang, Head of Growth
For the amazing commute.
Kidding! I joined Solana because it’s a top-tier scalability project with a very technical team that’s phenomenal at execution. The problem they’re solving is a real one, as I’ve encountered many DApps and Layer 2 protocols built on Ethereum that can 100% never go to mainnet due to scalability issues & high gas fees.
I was excited by the opportunity to work with this team in particular. I’ve known a few of the team members from time spent in the digital health space and was intrigued to see them join efforts on a blockchain company. I’m extremely new to the space and lucky to be able to learn more from this team. The platform, which addresses the inefficiency challenges of other technologies, is another key reason. I’m excited by the opportunity to support a transition of blockchain technology towards the mainstream as new use cases continue to be fleshed out across the community.
Raj Gokal, Chief Operating Officer
It’s the biggest swing I could possibly imagine taking, at one of the most important problems I can think of. And this team is the perfect one to do it.
I joined Solana to become part of Solana’s great team. Greg, Stephen, and Anatoly are among the smartest folks I’ve ever worked with, and I really wanted a chance to do it again.
What attracted you to the blockchain space?
Eric Williams, Chief Scientist
It’s a uniquely exciting space that is innovating at the intersections of math, economics and behavioral incentives.
The open source ethos of public, permissionless blockchains really appeals to me. Openness, transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, and collaboration resonates with me. Blockchains, when done right, can align as many people and nodes in a network system to deliver optimal outcomes for all. The ultimate result is a better organized, networked humanity.
Stephen Akridge, Engineering
The technology challenges are very interesting. Especially at Solana where we are pushing the limits of current hardware and network infrastructure. You see both ad-hoc and very professional mining rig setups which are pushing the limit of processing in the most efficient way possible and it really excites me to see people putting that much effort into efficient computing. I’m hoping we can harness that power in an even more useful way than current technologies.
Companies are building monopolies on top of our personal data. They know so much about us and we know so little about how much data they have or how securely it’s stored. Blockchain is a fascinating technical response. It’ll allow us to create a world where the consumer decides what data they’d like to share. We’re off to a great start, but scaling has been an enormous pain point. As a longtime programming languages and compilers engineer, I knew I had a lot I could contribute.
Michael Vines, Principal Engineer
It’s a totally new space for me with tons of room to learn and grow personally.
I was on the sidelines, watching the bitcoin and ethereum frenzy and craze. I was intrigued by the nuances of the complexity, and yet simplicity of it. The technology brings many domains (software, finance, legal etc) together. I see a lot of opportunity to learn and grow.
What excites you most about the PoH protocol that Solana is building?
Anatoly Yakovenko, Chief Executive Officer
The most exciting thing for me is building a platform where the users are in control of the data. It’s fascinating that public ledgers would be the catalyst for internet privacy. It’s a high performance, permissionless, cryptographically secure operating system. No one has accomplished this yet, and we have a chance to be the first — how amazing is that!
The fact that it’s LLVM compatible. Meaning any engineer out there can build a DApp using traditional programming languages like Rust, C, C++, etc.
I find this extremely exciting because, if launched correctly, we should be able to drive mass adoption.
Tyera Eulberg, Senior Engineer
Solana’s PoH is a new way to think about time and synchronicity, emergent from, rather than imposed upon, today’s cryptographic technology. I’m excited to see how this new approach to an ancient concept can be used to push systems to be blazing fast and utterly efficient.
It is simple and elegant. Nothing too untested, just a combination of well-understood and proven elements that result in blockchain the way it should have been built to begin with.
Pankaj Garg, Senior Staff Engineer
It’s a revolution. It’ll change the landscape of blockchain. I can see its utility in any space that needs a shared ledger (banking, real estate, or any industry that has contracts).
What is one use case of Solana that you’re excited to see happen in the next 5 years?
Payments is a huge one, I think there are inefficiencies in the banking marketplace especially in places where there is no or unreliable infrastructure. If we can remove some friction and cost there I think it could help a lot of people.
Greg Fitzgerald, Chief Technology Officer
I want to see the uses we haven’t dreamed up yet — the ideas unlocked when developers feel unconstrained by transaction fees and smart contract gas prices. Imagine what you’d build on a cloud computing service where the consumer pays for all computing resources, and not the developer. Imagine your phone with no AppStore, a web browser that makes ads optional, and stores without checkout lines. Anywhere you find utility, you’ll seamless interact with blockchain-backed applications to transparently pay for that utility.
In 5 years I would love to see persistent, user created interactive worlds that run on Solana. I spent countless hours playing Civ 2 (Civilization 2) and Diablo; it would be amazing for games like these to run on Solana and for users and creators to remix and interact with them in an open and free way. And payments, how crazy is it that we pay more to send 10 dollars than 10 cents.
Alan Yu, Chief of Business
I believe we’re better together so I’d love to see Solana help deliver universal access to the next generation web. We’re social creatures that thrive on connecting so I’d love to see Solana’s high throughput empower next generation messaging and social networking while still owning and controlling our own identity, data, and value.
Besides working on Solana, what else occupies your time?
In my spare time I like to pretend to be a triathlete, so during the weekend you’ll usually find me, very slowly, swimming, biking or jogging my way around San Francisco.
When I’m not playing with my kids sometimes I ride a bicycle.
Rob Walker, Principal Engineer
I like cooking and I like beer, but my main hobby is performance driving. I build and race cars with The Porsche Club of America, The BMW Car Club of America and with 24 Hours of Lemons.
I am the captain of the USA Women’s Underwater Hockey team, and I spend a lot of my time in the pool and the weightroom training for that.
Jeffrey Levy, Operations
I’m a new parent, so I’m constantly exhausted throughout the week…. but I look forward to every weekend, when I have a bit more time to cook a fancier dinner with my wife and pairing that with a bottle of wine. I’m huge fan of cocktails, but have shifted my energy towards enjoying my spirits neat of late, especially rum. I love sharing meals with friends and family and introducing them to new drinks.