Research & Development

  • Silvio Micali

    Silvio Micali

    Silvio Micali has received his Laurea in Mathematics from the University of Rome, and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1983 he has been on the MIT faculty, in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, where he is Ford Professor of Engineering. Silvio’s research interests are cryptography, zero knowledge, pseudorandom generation, secure protocols, and mechanism design. Silvio is the recipient of the Turing Award (in computer science), of the Goedel Prize (in theoretical computer science) and the RSA prize (in cryptography). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Naveed Ihsanullah

    Naveed Ihsanullah

    Naveed is a senior engineering leader and technologist fascinated by distributed systems and performance. Most recently of Mozilla, Naveed was instrumental in designing and leading the Quantum Flow program that focused 400 engineers to double Firefox’s performance in just one year. Naveed also lead the adoption of new technologies across all browsers to close the performance gap with native applications. These technologies include WebAssembly, SIMD.js, Shared Array Buffer and the still experimental Binary AST for JS (BinJS). Naveed is also previously of Bit9 (now Carbon Black) where he served as Principal Engineer of an enterprise application whitelisting product and then took over the Global Software Repository, a massive cloud-based application reputation system. Passionate about improving how enterprises use technology Naveed has also consulted on large organizational level projects for Fortune 500 companies including Boeing Jeppesen.

  • Nickolai Zeldovich

    Nickolai Zeldovich

    Nickolai Zeldovich is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He received his PhD from Stanford University in 2008. His research interests are in building practical secure systems. Recent projects by Prof. Zeldovich and his students and colleagues include the CryptDB encrypted database, the STACK tool for finding undefined behavior bugs in C programs, the FSCQ formally verified file system, the Algorand cryptocurrency, and the Vuvuzela private messaging system. He has been involved with several start-up companies, including MokaFive (2005), PreVeil (2015), and Algorand (2017), and his work has been recognized by several best paper awards at the ACM SOSP conference and by the ACM SIGOPS Mark Weiser award.

  • Jing Chen

    Jing Chen

    Jing is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stony Brook University. She is also an Affiliated Assistant Professor in the Economics Department and an Affiliated Member of the Stony Brook Center for Game Theory. Her main research interests are distributed ledgers, game theory, and algorithms. Jing received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Computer Science from Tsinghua University, and her PhD in Computer Science from MIT. She did a one-year postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Jing received the NSF CAREER Award in 2016.

  • Sergey Gorbunov

    Sergey Gorbunov

    Sergey’s interests range from cryptography to design of secure large scale systems, computer networks, protocols and blockchains. He received PhD from MIT where he was the recipient of the Microsoft PhD fellowship. His dissertation was on building advanced cryptographic protocols using lattice-based cryptography for which he received Sprowls Doctoral Thesis Prize for best PhD thesis in CS at MIT. Prior to joining Algorand, Sergey was an Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo. Before that, he was the founder and CTO of StealthMine, and spent some time at IBM T.J. Watson Research Centre.

  • Rotem Hemo

    Rotem Hemo

    Rotem spent 5 years in Israel’s elite cyber-intelligence unit 8200, leading projects of national strategic caliber. His experience, however, streches even further back. He started his career as a software engineer for SAP AG at the age of 14 and has since developed software and conducted research for several prominent companies, including IBM Research, Akamai Technologies and Broadway Technology. He also provided strategic counsel at Sygnia, a leading cyber-security consulting firm. In his free time, Rotem is an avid runner and SCUBA diver.

    Rotem Holds a Master of Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from MIT.

  • Georgios Vlachos

    Georgios Vlachos

    Georgios received his M.Eng. in Computer Science from MIT in 2017, under the supervision of Professor Silvio Micali. He holds a B.S. from MIT, double majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science. In 2011, he was awarded a Gold Medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad (the first Greek student to achieve this distinction).

  • Derek Leung

    Derek Leung

    Derek earned his M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. He wrote his thesis on Vault, a scalable cryptocurrency storage scheme, under Nickolai Zeldovich at MIT. He also helped develop Stadium, a scalable metadata-private messaging system. Prior to this, he earned his B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics at U.C. Berkeley. There he worked on usable security in IoT devices under David Wagner. He also served as a teaching assistant for Joseph Hellerstein’s undergraduate classes on databases.

  • David Shoots

    David Shoots

    David has been working in the software industry for almost 30 years, starting as an undergrad at MIT in Computer Science. In that time, he has served as the Systems Engineer for a range of large-scale projects. He spent over a decade designing and delivering complete, CAD/CAM/CNC products from motion control algorithms to installers and help files. He has extensive experience in resource-constrained, embedded, and real-time systems. For the past 18 years he has been involved in developing and shipping tools for developers, including leading a team of 15 at Compuware, spread across the globe. While at Compuware he architected and implemented much of the foundational code for TestPartner, a large-scale test automation tool for Windows developers. He spent the last 12 years as a Principal Software Engineer at Microsoft working on the HTML and XAML designers, including publishing, language services, and performance optimization. He also lead a small team building a suite of performance analysis tools for XAML and Windows developers. He has been involved with a handful of startups and small companies and has a passion for helping teams deliver reliable and performant solutions.

  • Adam Suhl

    Adam Suhl

    Adam recently graduated from MIT, receiving a B.S. in Mathematics. He’s interested in both theoretical and applied cryptography — the underlying mathematics and also the applications to practical privacy-protecting technologies. While at MIT, Adam led numerous seminars on PGP, taught a high school summer class on elliptic curve cryptography, and built a proof-of-concept blindsigning Bitcoin tumbling service.


  • Jamie Goldstein

    Jamie Goldstein

    Jamie Goldstein is an experienced founder and investor in early stage companies. Prior to Pillar, Jamie was an investing partner for 18 years at North Bridge Venture Partners. His active investments include, Actifio, Plexxi, Layer3 TV, and O3b Networks.

    Prior to Northbridge, Jamie co-founded PureSpeech, a venture-backed speech recognition software and applications company that was acquired by Voice Control Systems [NASDAQ: VCSI] and subsequently sold to Nuance [NASDAQ: NUAN]. Jamie also co-founded WattsUp?, a company that sells consumer electricity meters, and remains in business today.

    Jamie grew up in the Boston area and is a graduate of MIT in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. He served as both Chairman and President of the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA) and served as Chairman and is currently Vice Chairman of Match Education. He is also the co-founder and featured speaker of StartMIT, the boot camp for MIT student entrepreneurs.

  • Albert Wenger

    Albert Wenger

    Albert Wenger is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures. Before joining USV, Albert was the president of through the company’s sale to Yahoo and an angel investor (Etsy, Tumblr). He previously founded or co-founded several companies, including a management consulting firm and an early hosted data analytics company. Albert graduated from Harvard College in economics and computer science and holds a Ph.D. in Information Technology from MIT.

  • Steven Kokinos

    Steven Kokinos

    Steve is co-founder and Executive Chairman of Fuze, where he is responsible for corporate strategy. Under his direction, the company is transforming the way enterprises view communications as a key driver of business visibility, process improvement, and results.

    Previously, Steve was a founder of BladeLogic, Inc., a recognized leader in the data center automation market with a Fortune 500 client list that includes GE, Time Warner, Microsoft, Cable & Wireless, Walmart, and Sprint, among others.

    Prior to BladeLogic, Steven was founder and CEO of WebYes, Inc., an early market leader in the Web hosting and application service provider arena. WebYes provided the electronic software distribution platform for all of Sun Microsystems’ software products, including Java, and was acquired by Breakaway Solutions in 1999. At Breakaway, Steve established and ran the company’s ASP business. He played a critical role in driving the business to $120M in revenue and taking the company public, and in just 18 months was responsible for Breakaway’s #2 worldwide ASP industry ranking.

    Steve holds a B.A. from McGill University

Economic Advisors

  • Andrew Lo

    Andrew Lo

    Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor Professor, Sloan School of Management, MIT Director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering at the MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

    Professor Lo is a world expert in Finance and Technology. A former governor of the Boston Stock Exchange, he is currently a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a member of the OFR Financial Research Advisory Committee, the New York Federal Reserve Board’s Financial Advisory Roundtable, FINRA’s Economic Advisory Committee, the Consortium for Systemic Risk Analytics Academic Advisory Board, the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Board of Overseers. He is founder and chief scientific officer of AlphaSimplex Group, LLC, a quantitative investment management company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His awards include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Paul A. Samuelson Award, the American Association for Individual Investors Award, the Graham and Dodd Award, the 2001 IAFE-SunGard Financial Engineer of the Year Award.

    Professor Lo holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University.

  • Christian Catalini

    Christian Catalini

    Christian Catalini is the Theodore T. Miller Career Development Professor at MIT, and an Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

    Christian’s main areas of interest are the economics of digitization, entrepreneurship, and science. His research focuses on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, the economics of equity crowdfunding and startup growth, and the economics of scientific collaboration.

    Christian is one of the principal investigators of the MIT Digital Currencies Research Study, which gave access to all MIT undergraduate students to Bitcoin in the fall of 2014. He is also part of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and the recently launched Digital Currency Initiative.

    His work has been featured in Nature, Science, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, WIRED, NPR, Forbes, Bloomberg, TechCrunch, the Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and VICE news among others.

  • Kenneth Rogoff

    Kenneth Rogoff

    Kenneth Rogoff is Thomas D. Cabot Professor at Harvard University. From 2001–2003, Rogoff served as Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund. His widely-cited 2009 book with Carmen Reinhart, This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, shows the remarkable quantitative similarities across time and countries in the run-up and the aftermath of severe financial crises. Rogoff is also known for his seminal work on exchange rates and on central bank independence. Together with Maurice Obstfeld, he is co-author of Foundations of International Macroeconomics, a treatise that has also become a widely-used graduate text in the field worldwide. Rogoff’s 2016 book The Curse of Cash looks at the past, present and future of currency from standardized coinage to crypto-currencies. The book argues that although much of modern macroeconomics abstracts from the nature of currency, it is in fact lies at the heart of some of the most fundamental problems in monetary policy and public finance. His monthly syndicated column on global economic issues is published in over 50 countries.

    Rogoff is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Group of Thirty, and He is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Rogoff is among the top ten on RePEc’s ranking of economists by scholarly citations. He is also an international grandmaster of chess.

Scientific Advisors

  • Shafi Goldwasser

    Shafi Goldwasser

    RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

    Co-Leader of MIT’s Cryptography and Information Security Group

    Professor Goldwasser is a world expert in cryptography and complexity theory. Her awards include the Turing Award, the Gödel Prize, the Franklin Medal, and many others. She is a member of National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    She has received her Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Costantinos Daskalakis

    Costantinos Daskalakis

    X-Window Associate (Tenured) Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT

    Professor Daskalakis is a world expert in Algorithms, game theory, learning, and statistics.

    His many awards include the 2008 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award, the Game Theory and Computer Science Prize from the Game Theory Society, the 2010 Sloan Fellowship in Computer Science, the 2011 SIAM Outstanding Paper Prize, and the best paper award in the Economics and Computation conference in 2006 and 2013.

    Professor Daskalakis received a Ph.D. in computer science for the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Vinod Vaikuntanathan

    Vinod Vaikuntanathan

    Associate (without Tenure) Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT

    Co-Leader of MIT’s Cryptography and Information Security Group

    Professor Vainkuntanathan is a world expert in cryptography. His awards include the George M. Sprowls Award for best Ph.D. thesis in Computer Science, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the NSF Career Award, and the Microsoft Fellowship.

    Professor Vaikuntanathan holds a PhD in electrical engineering and computer Science from MIT.

  • Maurice Herlihy

    Maurice Herlihy

    An Wang Professor of Computer Science, Brown University

    Professor Herlihy is a world expert in Distributed Computation. He is the recipient of the 2003 Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing, the 2004 Gödel Prize in theoretical computer science, the 2008 ISCA influential paper award, the 2012 Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize, and the 2013 Wallace McDowell award. He is fellow of the ACM, a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Professor Herlihy holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from M.I.T.

Cryptocurrency Advisors

  • Naval Ravikant

    Naval Ravikant

    Naval is Chairman and co-founder of AngelList and a founder of CoinList. He’s also a founder and Partner at MetaStable Capital. He is a seed investor in Twitter, Uber, Wish, Thumbtack, Postmates, Kraken, Yammer, Stack Overflow, Protocol Labs, BlockStack, Chia, Basis, and OpenDoor. He’s on Twitter as @naval and blogs at

  • Alessandro Chiesa

    Alessandro Chiesa

    Alessandro Chiesa, a world expert in cryptography, is a faculty member in computer science at UC Berkeley.

    His research, includes the areas of complexity theory, cryptography, and security, and focuses on the theoretical foundations and practical implementations of zero knowledge proofs that are short and easy to verify.

    He is a co-inventor of the Zerocash protocol, and is an author of libsnark, the leading open-source library for succinct zero knowledge proofs.

    He received a Ph.D. in computer science from MIT in 2014, and B.S. degrees in computer science and mathematics from MIT in 2009.

  • Joseph Bonneau

    Joseph Bonneau

    Joseph Bonneau is an assistant professor of computer science at New York university.

    A world expert in cryptography, his research interests include side-channel cryptanalysis, protocol verification, software obfuscation, and privacy in social networks. Recently, he focuses on the difficulty of successfully deploying cryptography and security technologies due to compatibility requirements, economic incentives, and human factors, and in particular

    on secure communication tools, cryptocurrencies, password and web authentication, and HTTPS and PKI on the web.

    He is a co-author of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, Princeton University Press 2016)

  • Jill Carlson

    Jill Carlson