Episode 214: Emin Gün Sirer on Avalanche and its Formation

This week Anna chats with Emin Gün Sirer – CEO Ava Labs and Founder of Avalanche. They chat about the experiences that led him to become interested in distributed systems research and his work as a professor at Cornell that led to the development of Avalanche. They then dig into their novel consensus mechanism which uses the sub-sampling technique, the architecture of the network with the 3 distinct components: X-Chain, C-Chain and P-Chain, bridges and more.

Here are some links for the episode:
Episode 127: Consensus Algorithms & HotStuff with Ittai Abraham
Avalanche on Twitter
Emin’s blog
Paper: Avalanche Platform
Paper: Scalable and Probabilistic Leaderless BFT Consensus through Metastability
Paper: KARMA: A Secure Economic Framework for Peer-To-Peer Resource Sharing
Paper: Majority is not Enough: Bitcoin Mining is Vulnerable
Avalanche’s consensus protocol: Snowflake
AVAX Roadmap
Avalanche grant program


There are a lot of exciting events and initiatives for the ZK Podcast on the horizon!

If you do want to keep track of what’s going on be sure to check out our channels – especially:
The ZK community board: https://community.zeroknowledge.fm/
The ZK Jobs Board: https://jobsboard.zeroknowledge.fm/


Today’s episode is sponsored by Polygon.

Polygon is one of the top Ethereum scaling platforms for developers with more than 130+ mn unique user wallets. They are committed to bringing web3 to the masses by improving scalability and fostering the network effects of Ethereum.

They’re known for Polygon PoS chain and the team is actually working on a spectrum of solutions like – Polygon Edge, which offers developers the capability to build sovereign EVM-compatible chains. As well as a number of fully secured EVM-compatible Zero Knowledge rollup solutions like Polygon Hermez, Polygon Miden, and Polygon Nightfall and the most recently announced acquisition of Mir Protocol, now known as Polygon Zero. These solutions inherit the security of Ethereum and use the power of zero knowledge.

Check out our recent episodes to learn more about the journey of these Polygon projects:

Episode 194: zkEVM with Jordi & David from Hermez
Episode 210: The Road to STARKs and Miden with Bobbin Threadbare


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Previous Episodes

Episode 247: Exploring Penumbra with Henry de Valence

In this week’s episode, Anna and Guillermo catch up with Henry de Valence from Penumbra. They discuss his thoughts on requirements for adoption of privacy systems and how these led to him to develop Penumbra. They explore how Penumbra aims to use privacy features not as ‘nice to haves’ within the system, but rather as essential components that offer a new paradigm for how to think about DeFi in a Multichain Ecosystem.

Episode 246: Adversarial Machine Learning Research with Florian Tramèr

This week, Anna and Tarun chat with Florian Tramèr, Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich. They discuss his earlier work on side channel attacks on privacy blockchains, as well as his academic focus on Machine Learning (ML) and adversarial research. They define some key ML terms, tease out some of the nuances of ML training and models, chat zkML and other privacy environments where ML can be trained, and look at why the security around ML will be important as these models become increasingly used in production.

Episode 245: Sanctions against Tornado Cash: a Legal Perspective

In this episode, Anna explores the topic of the recent OFAC sanctions against Tornado Cash with 2 interviews: One with TuongVy Le, Head of Regulatory and Policy at Bain Capital Crypto, who previously worked at the SEC and the other with Michael Mosier, General Council at Espresso Systems, who used to work at the Treasury within FinCen and at OFAC itself.

Episode 244: Journey to Blockchain with David Tse

In this episode, Anna and Guillermo chat with David Tse about his career and research spanning from early Networking, Mobile Networking, P2P, all the way up to his work on formalizing Blockchain systems.

Along the way, they touch on topics like David’s paper ‘The Price of Anarchy’, the Prism work, his work with the Ethereum Foundation and his new project Babylon.

Episode 243: Dive Back into MEV with Alex Stokes and Chris Hager

In this week’s episode, Anna and Tarun revisit the topic of MEV with Chris Hager from Flashbots & Alex Stokes from the EF. In this episode, they tease out more of the nuances around MEV, what the MEV space could look like after the Merge, the PBS (Proposer Builder Separation) concept, what each role in the MEV landscape will do and the MEV-Boost architecture. They also chat about using cryptographic solutions to prevent some kinds of MEV and some recent work that Tarun released on the topic of MEV, as well as future ideas around MEV aim to democratize or even share the searchers rewards.

Episode 242: Halo 2 with Daira Hopwood and Str4d

In this week’s episode, Anna explores Halo 2 with Daira Hopwood and Str4d, cryptographic engineers at Electric Coin Company. They explored what new ideas Halo introduced and how Halo 2 built on these ideas, adding optimisations such as adding Plonk-ish arithmetization to take what was a breakthrough to a production ready proving system.

Episode 241: Deconstructing Bridges with Vaibhav Chellani

In this week’s episode, Anna chats with Vaibhav Chellani, a bridge builder and the co-founder of Socket. They explore what makes up the components of a bridge, the types of bridges, and then look at their framework for analysing the security trade-offs of different bridge architectures. This is an important topic, since at present, there are more and more bridges coming online to connect all the different chains together. And with these come a number of new bugs, hacks and exploits. This episode gives us an overview on how to think about bridges.

Episode 240: Composable Privacy with Manta Network

In this week’s episode, Anna and Kobi chat with Shumo Chu, co-founder of Manta Network.They discuss the origin story of the project and how they aim to bring privacy to web3. They explore how the unique accessibility that Polkadot parachain enables, the work they do on building ZK tooling and libraries for the general ZK community. They then take a look at their plans for a multi-asset shielded pool and the future they have planned for Manta projects and more.

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