Heliax is a remote-first public goods lab which researches, develops, deploys, and maintains open-source protocols and mechanisms designed to serve the everyday needs of humanity. Using this, we build vertically integrated open-source products and networks that form coherent open systems which are capable of acting as an alternative to existing exploitative paradigms.
Heliax’s work includes Anoma, a novel architecture that is intent-centric for decentralized counterparty discovery, solving, information flow control, and multi-chain atomic settlement; Namada, a proof-of-stake L1 for interchain asset-agnostic privacy, designed to bring the best privacy to the multichain and with the vision of building a portal between public and private worlds.
The systems of coordination and finance in our world today are not private enough for safe use by citizens, corporations, or dissidents. Heliax is looking for a research mathematician & cryptographer interested in working with us to design, evaluate, and implement zero-knowledge proof constructions such as zkSNARKs and zkSTARKs, distributed cryptographic protocols such as threshold encryption and distributed key generation, cryptographic primitives such as elliptic curves and hash functions, and multi-party protocols constructed with many of these primitives as components, then put this cryptography into practice in order to realize the information flow control and scalability capabilities required to realize the vision of Anoma.
This role offers the chance to work closely with a small team on compelling cross-disciplinary problems in theoretical computer science, cryptography, game theory, economics, and systems design, and enjoy a high degree of independence in working conditions and task prioritization.
What you'll do
- Design new cryptographic protocols from first principles to achieve specified information flow topologies, external interfaces, security properties, and performance characteristics.
- Evaluate and analyze existing cryptographic protocols, often zkSNARK or zkSTARK proof systems (e.g. Halo 2, ProtoStar) for security, expressivity, and performance.
- Update, alter, reimplement, and combine existing cryptographic protocols, customizing them for specific proofs-of-concept and production use-cases.
- Produce comprehensive technical specifications for designs & instantiations of cryptographic protocols (a la the Zcash Protocol Spec and collaborate with research engineers & cryptography engineers on implementations of these protocols.
- Implement, review, and test cryptographic operations & protocols, primarily in Rust, evaluate existing implementations for correctness and performance. For example, we contribute to Arkworks.
- Mathematical and/or cryptographic background in relevant subfields, such as complexity theory, abstract algebra, and cryptographic protocol design
- Equivalent of a PhD in mathematics or cryptography. A formal PhD degree is not a hard requirement, but you should have this level of expertise and mathematical familiarity
- Expertise (formal or informal) in constructive protocol design and analysis of distributed cryptographic protocols. This could be a protocol that you’ve designed in a research paper, an experimental project, a past work project, or even a system worked out (in detail) in a series of blog posts
- Published papers in mathematics, theoretical computer science, and/or cryptography (depending on the papers - we will read them!)
- Experience with distributed systems and/or operating systems architecture/design
- Experience with Zerocash/Zexe/VeriZexe and related architectures
Ideally based in or willing to relocate to Berlin, Zug, or London. Must be based in Europe (including UK) and willing to travel to Berlin and/or Zug for initial onboarding. We can help with relocation to Germany (e.g. visa assistance).
Ideally someone who enjoys travel, nature and hiking. Often we find that protocols are best designed not in a meeting room but rather on a trail 🏔️.