Episode 217: Information Theory & Blockchain with Sreeram Kannan

This week, Anna and Tarun Chitra chat with Sreeram Kannan, Associate Professor at University of Washington where he runs the UW Blockchain Lab. In this episode, they look at how information theory and blockchain intersect and map the progression of Bitcoin security. They discuss Sreeram’s early work on P2P mobile networks and how this evolved to work on consensus and fair sequencing. Sreeram takes us through his philosophical reasoning of shifting from genomic research to blockchain research and the two major areas in P2P systems that he focuses on: maximum throughput and low latency.

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Today’s episode is sponsored by Electric Coin Company.

Electric Coin Company, the inventors of Zcash and Halo cryptography, are building the next generation of zero-knowledge tech. With Network Upgrade 5 happening this April, Zcash moves to the Halo zero-knowledge proving system, removing trusted setup and becoming shielded by default.

With the help of Zcash and Halo cryptography, ECC aims to usher in an era of self-sovereignty and creative freedom. To learn more and explore the relationship between privacy, self-sovereignty and creative freedom, visit electriccoin.co


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Previous Episodes

Episode 321: STIR with Gal Arnon & Giacomo Fenzi

In this week’s episode, Anna and Kobi chat with Gal Arnon, Ph.D student from the Weizmann Institute of Science & Giacomo Fenzi, Ph.D. student in the COMPSEC Lab at EPFL.

Gal and Giacomo are amongst the co-authors of ‘STIR: Reed–Solomon Proximity Testing with Fewer Queries’ and in this conversation, they discuss how their research led them to work on these topics and where the thesis for this particular work sparked from. They set the stage by exploring the history of FRI and discussing some hidden nuances in how FRI works. And then they introduce STIR, a system that can be used in place of FRI, which incorporates various optimisations to improve the performance.

Episode 320: A Deep Dive into Shared Sequencers with Espresso’s Ben Fisch

In this week’s episode, Anna (https://twitter.com/annarrose) and Brendan Farmer (https://twitter.com/_bfarmer) catch up with Ben Fisch (https://twitter.com/benafisch), CEO of Espresso Systems (https://www.espressosys.com/). They explore the inner workings of the current L2 sequencing landscape and then discuss how a shared sequencing marketplace like Espresso works. They touch on how MEV plays a part in the new system, how the role of the sequencer can be separated into subroles, how all these parts will work together in such a system and much more.

Episode 319: The Past & Present of the L2 Landscape with Jordi Baylina

In this week’s episode, Anna catches up with Jordi Baylina, OG Ethereum contributor and Polygon zkEVM Technical Lead. They cover what Jordi has been working on since he was last on the show in 2021. Back then, zkEVMs were still just an idea. Now that many of these systems have launched, they have a chance to look at how these fit into the general L2 landscape.

They cover Jordi’s view on engineering decentralized systems and how these are rolled out, and the recent research from Polygon, including their AggLayer proposal. They wrap up on what inspires him to keep contributing in the space.

Episode 318: Threshold Signature Schemes & FROST with Chelsea Komlo

In this week’s episode, Anna and Nico chat with Chelsea Komlo, Chief Scientist for the Zcash Foundation and member of the Cryptography, Security, and Privacy lab at the University of Waterloo.

They discuss what sparked Chelsea’s interest in cryptography research, starting with her work contributing to Tor, to her move to Zcash and her PhD work on Threshold Signature Schemes. They define some important terms around different signature schemes and discuss possible optimizations that can be used to make these more performant. They then dive into her work on the FROST Threshold Signature Scheme plus some new upcoming work.

Episode 317: Enhancing On-Chain Intelligence with Ritual

This week, Anna and Tarun chat with Niraj Pant and Anish Agnihotri from Ritual. They kick off by revisiting the AIxCrypto intersection before diving into the Ritual product and its goals around developing open access AI infrastructure. They explore the opportunities that open up when you bring ML to smart contracts.

Bonus: zkSummit11 reminder!

Quick reminder about our upcoming zkSummit 11 event. Happening in Athens on April 10th, we once again bring together the top researchers and engineers working in zk to share their latest research and new findings.

Episode 316: Alin Tomescu on Distributed On-chain Randomness and Keyless Accounts

In this week’s episode, Anna and Nico chat with Alin Tomescu, founding team member and Head of Cryptography at Aptos Labs. They discuss Alin’s journey to Aptos and his work on distributed on-chain randomness as well as the new Aptos Keyless project. They cover the Keyless accounts architecture, how the flow works for the user and some of the subtleties in the approach they have taken.

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