Neha Narula is the Director of the Digital Currency Initiative, a part of the MIT Media Lab focusing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. While completing a PhD in computer science at MIT, she built fast, scalable distributed systems and databases. She is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Futures Council on Blockchain and has given a TED talk on the Future of Money.
In a previous life, Neha helped relaunch the news aggregator Digg and was a senior software engineer at Google. There, she designed Blobstore, a system for storing and serving petabytes of immutable data, and worked on Native Client, a way to run native code securely through a browser.
Alin S. Dragos | Head of Strategic Partnerships
Alin heads strategic partnerships for the Digital Currency Initiative, and also leads product management for the DCI's efforts on Layer 2 solutions for scaling public blockchains. Before MIT, he was a vice president at First Data Corporation, leading a family of products for banking the unbanked. In this role, he was responsible for a $200M P&L and an organization of ~200 employees. He also spent three years in the startup world, raising seed funds, scaling up business models and managing a post-acquisition integration. Alin holds an MBA from University of Arkansas and an MS from MIT.
Rhys Lindmark | Head of Community and Long-Term Societal Impact
Rhys Lindmark is focused on positively shaping our exponential, fragile, and abundant context. Within the cryptocurrency ecosystem, he’s focused on facilitating cross-project collaboration and stewarding a more compassionate culture. He also donates a percentage of his income to charity and is writing a book about how blockchain technology will change society. Follow @RhysLindmark on Twitter.
Robleh Ali | Research Scientist
Robleh Ali is a Research Scientist, his main focus is on how fiat currencies can be issued digitally outside the existing banking system and the role of central banks in such a system. The overall aim of the work is fundamentally reforming the financial system by changing the way money is issued.
Tadge Dryja | Research Scientist
A creator of the Lightning Network, one of the most promising Bitcoin scaling solutions, Tadge Dryja leads DCI research focused on the scaling and interoperability of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. Follow @tdryja on Twitter.
Madars Virza | Research Scientist
Madars recently completed his MIT PhD thesis on zero-knowledge cryptography. His publications on zkSNARKs laid the foundation for the Zerocash protocol. Madars has presented his work at conferences around the world. He is a scientist for both the A.I. Initiative and the Digital Currency Initiative at the Media Lab.
Wladimir van der Laan | Bitcoin Core Developer
Wladimir van der Laan is the Lead Maintainer of the Bitcoin repository on GitHub. Follow @laanwj on Github.
Cory Fields | Bitcoin Core Developer
Cory Fields is a Bitcoin Core lead developer. Previously, Cory served on the board of The XBMC Foundation and worked as a developer on XBMC. Follow @theuni on Github.
Gert-Jaap Glasbergen | Software Developer
Gert-Jaap is a DCI software developer from the Netherlands. His primary focus is on second layer solutions like the Lightning Network and Discreet Log Contracts.
Wassim Alsindi | Managing Editor of Journal and Conference Series
Wassim is working on a new journal and conference series for cryptocurrency & blockchain technology research in collaboration between the Digital Currency Initiative and the MIT Press. Our goal is to bring together the technical fields of cryptography, protocol engineering and distributed systems research with epistemic, phenomenological and ontological insights from the domains of economics, law, complex systems and philosophy to crystallise a mature scholarly ecosystem.
Prior to joining the DCI, Wassim conducted and managed academic research in the physical sciences, curated avant-garde arts events, and published open-source experimental electronic music. More recently he was a researcher at independent British laboratory Parallel Industries, using the lenses of astronomy, taxonomy and spectroscopy to formulate novel approaches to the characterisation of cryptographic assets and networks.
Eilon Shalev | Project Manager
Eilon Shalev is a second-year MBA student at MIT Sloan. He is the Head of the Working Groups Program at the DCI. He is taking the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Track and co-leads the MIT Sloan Blockchain Club. Prior to MIT Sloan, Eilon served his country for 12.5 years. He wrote a novel at the age of 23 and was the first-ever Israeli to crowdfund a project in Israel, financing the publishing of his book.
Samantha Bates | Project Manager
Sam has a background in tech, law, and project management. She helps coordinate a variety of DCI projects including the MIT cryptocurrency journal.
Ashley Jacobson | Administration and Events
Ashley handles the administrative tasks of the DCI, such as scheduling, event planning, financial reporting, website maintenance, and other forms of DCI communications. She is also assisting the interdisciplinary research project, Tuna fisheries and b_verify.
Ashley is providing the logistical management of the upcoming DCI conference series.
Ashley studied Oceanography at Eckerd College with a focus in Marine Invertebrate Ecology. She enjoys SCUBA diving, gymnastics, acrobatics and baking.