John Wu


Top 11 Cornell Grads and Faculty in the Cryptocurrency Industry

San Francisco, CA
September 10th, 2018

As a Cornell undergrad, I can say that I learned how to think critically and analytically as an Economics major due to the rigorous course curriculum. Looking back, I realize now that the engineering and mathematics department as well as the liberal arts departments have produced a disproportionately high number of co-founders and CEO’s in the blockchain industry.

  1. Richard Ma, CEO of Quantstamp: Richard Ma studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell and was a high-frequency trader for a Bitcoin HFT fund before he co-founded Quantstamp, a protocol for smart contract audits. “Cornell’s rigorous Electrical and Computer Engineering program, as well as my engineering work on the Automotive X-Prize, built the foundation for a successful career in algorithmic trading, and then in the field of blockchain security with Quantstamp”
  2. Emin Gun Sirer, Scientist and Professor at Cornell University. Emin co-authored a whitepaper that describes new protocols called Snowflake, Snowball and Avalanche which randomly sample network participants and choose a single result.
  3. Euwyn Poon, Co-Founder of SPIN and LRX (Layer Protocol). Euwyn received CS degree from Cornell before subsequently obtaining a JD from Cornell Law school. Poon co-founded the popular bike-sharing platform SPIN and also most recently co-founded Layer Protocol, a decentralized reputation, incentive, and payments protocol for the global sharing economy, built on the blockchain.
  4. Jae Kwon, Co-Founder of Tendermint & Cosmos. Jae Kwon is co-founder and CEO of Tendermint and Cosmos and also President of the Interchain foundation. Jae began work on Tendermint in early 2014 and previously dealt with encryption and public key hashes earlier in his career. Jae is a CS graduate of Cornell.
  5. Gee Chuang, Co-Founder CEO of INK Protocol / Listia. Gee Chuang is Co-Founder and CEO of Listia and Ink Protocol and received his Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell. Ink Protocol is a decentralized reputation and payment system for peer-to-peer marketplaces and helps ​users safely ​send ​and ​receive ​payments ​in ​P2P ​marketplaces ​while ​earning ​a ​reputation ​for ​every completed ​transaction.
  6. Matt McGraw- CEO of Dispatch Labs. Matt McGraw is Co-Founder and CEO of Dispatch Labs a blockchain advisory group and also incubates several blockchain-related projects at Here Collective, his own co-working space based in San Francisco’s Mission District. “Cornell taught the whole me, not just tech, or Econ, or some specific thing. And now supporting the E@C program and really pushing entrepreneurialism on campus’s in general I think it’s helping push a new generation of business savvy domain experts.
  7. Richard Choi — Co-CEO of Carry Protocol. Richard Choi is Co-Founder and CEO of Carry Protocol and received a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell. Carry Protocol empowers consumers to own & monetize their transaction data. Carry brings blockchain to the offline world.
  8. Arry Yu — Co-Founder & President at STORM. Arry Yu received her Bachelors in Math, Music and East Asian Studies from Cornell and currently is Co-Founder and President of StormX, based in Seattle. StormX changes way people earn money by matching them with tasks and letting them complete small gigs from any mobile device, anywhere in the world, and be rewarded in cryptocurrency.
  9. Elaine Shi — Co-Founder & Chief Scientist at Thunder Token. Elaine is a distributed computing Associate Professor at Cornell and Co-Founder Chief Scientist at Thunder Token, a blockchain with “optimistic instant confirmation.”
  10. Kathleen Breitman — Co-Founder at Tezos. Kathleen Breitman is a graduate of Cornell and manages operations for Tezos. She was previously a strategy associate at R3, the blockchain consortium for R&D consisting of more than 200 companies.
  11. Richard Craib — Founder of Numerai. Richard studied Mathematics at Cornell and was on the Dean’s List. Writes Richard: “The mathematics classes were much tougher than the other universities I went to. It felt like you could really fail so you had to work extra hard for your grade rewards.”

In my opinion, the rigorous Math and Engineering departments at Cornell fostered the independent thinking needed to foster innovation in a nascent industry. Why do you think some institutions have produced more grads that are now movers and shakers in the blockchain industry rather than others? Feel free to leave comments below.


Disclaimer: These opinions are solely my own and do not represent the opinions of Sharespost or any companies that I may advise or invest in.

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