Protocol Labs Research
2022-07-01 / News, Team
Akosh Farkash joins ConsensusLab as a Research Engineer

ConsensusLab are excited to welcome Akosh Farkash to the team!

Akosh joins us from IOHK and CasperLabs, where he helped develop robust and performant blockchain systems, mainly working in Scala and Rust.

We asked Akosh about his journey and what brought him to Protocol Labs, the projects he’ll be working on, and his thoughts on future technological developments:

How did you decide to join Protocol Labs, and what are you working on?

Protocol Labs, and in particular Consensus Lab, was recommended to me by my former colleague Dragan Zurzin, who said the size and composition of the team provided ideal circumstances for research and development to flourish. I listened to Marko’s vision during ConsensusDays and found several things that appealed to me: the commitment to open collaboration across the industry, Hierarchical Consensus with subnets, and particularly the idea of deriving security from Bitcoin. Subnets, or the ability to spawn special purpose side chains on-demand came up in my earlier projects as something that could solve a lot of issues, for example running trusted setups for ZK upgrades. I thought adding this general capability to a blockchain is a worthy pursuit. It was also refreshing to hear that rather than trying to displace Bitcoin as old and stale technology, we can build solutions on top of it that make both sides more valuable, and not treat the space as a zero sum game. Initially I will be working on porting Hierarchical Consensus to Rust, but I’m very excited to explore the avenues this opens, especially the integration with Lurk.

What research problems are you most interested in exploring?

I have for a while been interested in learning more about implementing programming languages, DSLs, and understanding Zero Knowledge techniques, which is why I was so happy to see that Lurk is being developed in Rust, the language I am currently using, and it is one of the candidates to be integrated into Hierarchical Consensus. I am curious to see what implications this will have on consensus and privacy.

What future technology are you most excited about?

I would like to see what effect blockchain technology might have on democracy and robotics. Who controls the means of production will be important as robots take over more and more of the work humans used to do. Blockchain could be key in making sure that control stays in the hands of the public, and provide the necessary transparency as well. Hierarchical Consensus could play a role at making sure that blockchains can scale to the level they need to in order to handle data from IoT devices that will no doubt be more prevalent as automation takes over. As a former Data Engineer I am also excited to see the Bacalhau project. Most blockchains are not great at storing and disseminating huge amounts of data. I’m curious if Filecoin has an answer here, and will allow us to utilise more of the surplus computational capacity around the world in a sensible way, as well as to keep data private and local to its owners - the people -, rather than in centralized data centers.