Meet the Team Series: Noah Golub

July 13, 2020 inTeamby Findora

Findora is actively hiring passionate and driven team members to build an accessible and privacy-empowering global finance network.

The team at Findora consists of highly skilled individuals, many of whom are paving the way forward in their respective fields. We’d like to introduce you to these individuals through our team spotlight series. This week we spoke with Noah Golub to learn a bit more about his background and what makes him so passionate about Findora’s mission.

Before working at Findora, Noah studied computer science at Stanford. During this time, Noah started reading many blockchain and cryptography-specific papers. Thanks to this, he developed a unique understanding of the applicability of cryptography to real-world problems.

When asked what drew Noah into cryptography he said:

“I always really liked the properties that come with a trustless and authenticated data structure(ADS). I think there are a lot of issues with the black boxes where users currently store their data. The lack of control people have over their own data is a bit scary. ADS can provide a guarantee of how data is being used. For example, with ADS, A client querying a remote database to verify that the response to the query is consistent with a small authentication tag. If the server’s response isn’t consistent with the authentication tag, the user will know something is wrong. In other words, the server can only respond to all users in a unique way, or they will know the server is not being “honest” about the data.

By using ADS in a distributed ledger setting you gain several efficiency advantages, for example:

  1. You can verify that all nodes in the network agree on the state of the ledger by simply comparing short data tags.
  2. Users can retrieve a portion of the ledger from a single node in the network along with an authentication proof, rather than storing the entire ledger themselves, to verify that the portion is valid.
  3. Users can submit transactions to the ledger and obtain a certificate from any node in the network that proves the transaction was included in the new state of the ledger.

A well-known example of an ADS is the Merkle tree used in Bitcoin. In Findora we are experimenting with several types of accumulators. With them, we can eliminate storage and memory bottlenecks and improve throughput by completely decoupling consensus and storage. These types of structures and more are possible thanks to cryptography.”

After college, Noah felt even stronger about using cryptography to solve important problems impacting many people today. This conviction led him to join Findora. At Findora, Noah works as a systems engineer. His current focuses include building the core platform as well as the API/web layer. These will be the foundation and building blocks for a new ecosystem that brings both confidentiality and transparency to financial services. In the past, those two properties have been mutually exclusive, but Findora’s technology allows them to coexist with each other.

Noah is excited about the new policy language Findora is building. Noah said:

”Findora is providing a platform for a wide range of privacy-preserving financial instruments. To do this, we need to allow our customers to encode the contractual logic of those instruments. There must be a balance between

  • Customizability — How easily can different logic be implemented?
  • Predictability — How easy is it to understand the outcomes of a contract before agreeing to it?
  • Trustworthiness — Can users and auditors be sure that the ledger has enforced the contract terms, even though some transactions are confidential?

To achieve all three aspects, we are designing a Domain-Specific Language (DSL) for describing contract-validation logic. We call each specific contract-validation program a “policy”. Our policy language will be expressive enough to allow for non-trivial financial applications, but limited in a healthy way to avoid some terrible classes of bugs. This enables Findora to be a network that safely executes programs as intended.”

Building Findora means enabling all new types of financial services and applications that truly put the user first. In Noah’s words: “Findora’s mission is to bring cryptographic transparency to financial services, granting them privacy and transparency at the same time. Combined with granting people ownership of their financial identity, this will allow for a whole new class of financial applications.”