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Kevin Sekniqi

Kevin Sekniqi is the Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer at and Chief Protocol Architect at Ava Labs. He is credited with developing the platform and works on growing Ava Labs while researching ways to improve the Avalanche protocol. He’s based in Miami, Florida.

Prior to Ava Labs, he was a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University. Some of his work is in fully homomorphic encryption schemes, OPE schemes, distributed systems/consensus, crypto-economics, and more. [6]

In addition to his role at , Sekniqi is an active member of the San Francisco tech community. He is an advisor to several startups and has spoken at various conferences and events. He mentors aspiring entrepreneurs and is passionate about entrepreneurship and fostering the next generation of tech leaders. [7][9][11]

Education

Kevin Sekniqi studied for a Bachelor of Arts/Science at Macaulay Honors College. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Cornell University in 2020. [1][2][3]

Early Years

In 2010, 16-year-old Kevin Sekniqi saw a post on Reddit detailing new peer-to-peer money called . He later began mining from his childhood bedroom in Brooklyn, New York.

“It was early enough that I remember a time when I didn’t even know where to buy bitcoin,” Sekniqi told Insider, adding that it was only worth pennies. “The only place you could buy it was from a guy on Craigslist.”

On getting serious with crypto, Kevin got back into in 2013 after taking a hiatus. His first project was to work on distributed systems research at Cornell University. Kevin mentioned in an interview that Cornell University was like a tech hub where people like , , and so on came together during the yearly Foundation boot camp to hack around and talk about research. [12]

While working towards his Ph.D. at Cornell University in 2016, he worked on a research project that would later become Ava Labs, the developer behind the Avalanche layer 1 blockchain, with Professor and fellow Ph.D. student . [4]

On , Sekniqi said, it had its shortcomings and he wanted to build an open, permissionless system "from the ground up" in a "totally different way."

"I was familiar enough with Bitcoin technology to know that it's great in a lot of ways and faulty in a lot of other ways," [5]

Career

  • Kevin Sekniqi started his career as a software engineer at the American Museum of Natural History in 2011.
  • Researcher / Software Engineer at NASA (2013)
  • Researcher / Software Engineer at the University of Maryland (2014)
  • Researcher (Cryptography - Fully Homomorphic Encryption) / Software Engineer, The City College of New York (2015)
  • Researcher / Software Engineer at Microsoft (2017)
  • Co-founder & Chief Protocol Architect, AVA Labs [8]

Avalanche

When asked in an interview "what sets AVA apart", Sekniqi responded;

AVA is built on which is a new family of consensus protocols that flips lots of standard consensus literature on its head. To our best knowledge, all consensus protocols in deployment, besides longest-chain (Nakamoto style), use all-to-all voting, or “quorums”, for their core operations. A wonderful property of all-to-all voting is that it is relatively easy to reason about in terms of security. This is because one needs to simply demonstrate one invariant: once a threshold number of nodes all vote for a particular proposal, there will never be any other equal-sized or larger threshold number of nodes that also vote for another, yet conflicting proposal. Guaranteeing this invariant may sound scary and complicated, but it is actually quite intuitive, and is simply a matter of some set intersection arguments! [10]

For Kevin Sekniqi, the success factor for would be the trillions of dollars of digitized and non-digitized assets moving to AVA. [10]

Awards & Recognition

  • 2023 'Forbes 30 under 30' [3]

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