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HomeVenture CapitalSaying a16z crypto analysis | Andreessen Horowitz

Saying a16z crypto analysis | Andreessen Horowitz

One of the best industrial analysis labs all through historical past have performed a crucial function in pioneering a lot of recent expertise. Two fashionable examples of profitable analysis labs — each based within the wake of radical advances within the area of synthetic intelligence — embody DeepMind and OpenAI. Each of them have since pushed the sector to new heights. 

Within the final decade, the world of crypto and web3 has likewise emerged as a brand new frontier in expertise, and it has matured into an unbiased area of data that brings collectively parts of laptop science, economics, finance, and the humanities. In any case, like private computer systems and smartphones, fashionable blockchains behave similar to computer systems — they’re absolutely programmable. What makes them distinctive, nevertheless, is that they permit builders to write down code that makes robust commitments about how that code will behave sooner or later. It’s that property that makes it potential for Bitcoin to ensure that there’ll solely ever be 21 million bitcoins. And, it’s that very same property that brings a couple of basically new mannequin of computation.

With the arrival of Ethereum and different blockchains which might be absolutely programmable, web3 has unlocked an especially wealthy design area for innovation. It’s an area that we’ve solely simply begun to discover. Previously a number of years, we’ve seen entrepreneurs construct purposes that embody novel blockchain-based monetary primitives (DeFi); social networks that empower artists and creators (through NFTs); video games with built-in economies that transcend these video games and interoperate with real-world markets; and new mechanisms for large-scale human coordination that depend on open-source code working on blockchains (DAOs), somewhat than on centralized intermediaries.

Innovation within the area is just accelerating. Every new entrepreneurial thought for a web3 utility or protocol tends to uncover recent analysis challenges which might be basic to how this technological motion will play out. Already, these challenges have included laborious questions on how the computational infrastructure will scale and evolve; how token incentives in protocols needs to be structured to align all contributors (tokenomics); and easy methods to finest construct token economies into consumer-facing web3 purposes like video games and social networks. 

There is a chance for an industrial analysis lab to assist bridge the worlds of educational principle with business follow, and to assist form crypto and web3 as a proper space of research by bringing collectively the perfect analysis expertise from the varied disciplines which might be related to the area. 

As we speak, we’re excited to announce the creation of a16z crypto analysis, a brand new form of multidisciplinary lab that may work carefully with our portfolio and others towards fixing the necessary issues within the area, and towards advancing the science and expertise of the subsequent era of the web. However what’s going to the subsequent nice industrial analysis lab appear like? We’ve requested this query to founders, technologists, and researchers over the previous 18 months, and two key elements stood out…

(1) The individuals

First, crucial component of any profitable analysis lab is the individuals. Once we determined to construct a16z crypto analysis, we knew the individual at its helm must be a superb researcher, communicator, and educator who might additionally assemble and lead a world-class staff. This individual must be able to bridging the hole between academia and business by main shut collaborations between our staff and founders in our portfolio. Lastly, we knew that whomever we introduced onboard must be aligned with our mission of advancing the science and expertise on the core of crypto and web3.

In our view, there are actually solely two individuals on the earth that deliver collectively all these attributes.

Tim Roughgarden 

For twenty years, as a researcher and laptop science professor at Stanford and Columbia, Tim has led the event of Algorithmic Recreation Principle, a area that brings collectively concepts from Pc Science and Economics to resolve real-world computing issues. He wrote the definitive textbooks and programs on the sector. 

Lately, Tim has more and more centered on analysis issues in web3. That’s no shock, given how basic questions on incentives are within the area. For instance, prompted by discussions with Vitalik Buterin and different members of the Ethereum neighborhood, Tim printed the primary formal evaluation of the (initially polarizing) payment mechanism that was proposed in EIP-1559. The report helped the neighborhood get comfy with the proposal, and it was subsequently deployed to the Ethereum mainnet in August of final yr.

Moreover Tim’s brilliance as a researcher, he’s additionally an awesome instructor. The YouTube lectures for his crypto and blockchain course at Columbia, for instance, are among the best and hottest introductions to the area.

Attending to know Tim over the course of over a yr has left us with little doubt that he’s the proper individual to guide a16z crypto analysis full time. We’re thrilled to announce that Tim has joined us as Head of Analysis.

Dan Boneh

Dan is a professor of laptop science and electrical engineering at Stanford College, the place he leads the Utilized Cryptography, the Stanford Heart for Blockchain Analysis (CBR), and the Pc Safety Lab. He is without doubt one of the most distinguished cryptographers and laptop safety researchers on the earth, wrote the definitive textbook on utilized cryptography, and can also be a famend educator and entrepreneur.

Lately, Dan’s work has centered on cryptographic instruments for blockchain purposes. He co-developed the idea of a verifiable delay operate (VDF), and has designed a number of different cryptographic constructions (like BLS signatures) which have since been extensively adopted in web3. His cryptography MOOC, which is free and open to the general public, is a well-liked option to get began with cryptography. 

For the previous 4 years, Dan has labored carefully with us and our portfolio as a Analysis Advisor. With the creation of a16z crypto analysis, we’re excited to advertise Dan to Senior Analysis Advisor. His work with us might be integral to setting the route for the staff, whereas persevering with to supply assist for founders in our portfolio.


Each Dan and Tim have made numerous contributions to their fields, however nice researchers by no means work alone.

The founding staff

Below Tim’s management, we’re bringing onboard a multidisciplinary, all-star founding staff of Analysis Companions. Every member is a frontrunner of their area, has made excellent analysis contributions to web3, and has labored towards deploying these contributions in the true world.

The founding members of the staff embody:

Joseph Bonneau wrote the (textual content)guide on cryptocurrency applied sciences, and he’s additionally printed work on social networking privateness, cryptographic protocols, side-channel assaults, software program obfuscation, and reverse engineering. He has taught cryptocurrency programs on the College of Melbourne, NYU, Stanford, and Princeton, and obtained a PhD in laptop science from the College of Cambridge and BS/MS levels from Stanford.

Benedikt Bünz is the Chief Scientist of Espresso Techniques and is ending up his PhD in Dan Boneh’s utilized cryptography group at Stanford. His analysis is concentrated on the science of blockchains utilizing instruments from utilized cryptography, recreation principle, and consensus, and has already had a huge effect within the business. His work contains Bulletproofs, one of the crucial extensively used zero-knowledge proofs at this time; and verifiable delay capabilities, that are a basic element of ‘inexperienced’ blockchain consensus. 

Scott Duke Kominers is the MBA Class of 1960 Affiliate Professor of Enterprise Administration within the Entrepreneurial Administration Unit at Harvard Enterprise Faculty and a School Affiliate of the Harvard Division of Economics. He’s among the best market design students on the earth, and likewise advises numerous firms on real-world market and incentive design, resembling constructing reputation-based techniques. He holds a PhD in Enterprise Economics from Harvard.

Valeria Nikolaenko joins from Novi at Meta, the place she was a analysis scientist and cryptographer for the Diem blockchain, began by Fb in 2019 as Libra. She focuses on fashionable cryptography, laptop and internet safety, post-quantum cryptography, and is without doubt one of the world’s specialists in proof-of-stake blockchain design. She has labored extensively on Schnorr signatures — together with half-aggregation, threshold deterministic signing, and research of cryptographic libraries — and long-range assaults on proof-of-stake blockchains. She obtained a PhD in Pc Science from Stanford College, suggested by Dan Boneh.

We couldn’t ask for a greater founding staff to work together with the founders in our portfolio on fixing among the hardest issues in web3.

(2) Pipeline to real-world adoption

The second pillar of a profitable technological analysis lab is an efficient pipeline that takes scientific concepts into manufacturing. To this finish, the analysis staff below Tim might be deeply built-in with our protocol design & engineering staff below Eddy Lazzarin, our authorized and regulatory groups below Miles Jennings and Michele Korver, and our advertising staff below Kim Milosevich, together with editorial below Sonal Chokshi (who additionally previously labored at Xerox PARC earlier than Wired and a16z).

The 4 groups will work along with firms within the a16z crypto portfolio to: (1) generate concepts for fixing laborious open issues; (2) write production-grade code that brings these concepts to life; (3) be certain that our concepts and implementation are compliant with any relevant rules; and (4) share our findings with the broader web3 neighborhood.


There isn’t a scarcity of necessary challenges in web3. We couldn’t be extra excited for a16z crypto analysis to dig in with our founders and the broader web3 neighborhood, and work in direction of fixing them collectively. For those who’re curious about becoming a member of the staff as a researcher, please e-mail [email protected]. And to observe the work of this staff, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.



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