6th February 2024

17:45 UTC

Workshop host:

In this video, Anna Rose (Zero Knowledge Podcast, ZKV) is moderating a discussion panel with Brendan Farmer (Polygon), Brian Retford (RISC Zero) and Nico Mohnblatt (Geometry Research) about “What it is like working in the ZK industry”.

Video summary

The last session was an opportunity to get ready for ZK Hack IV grand finale: the ZK Job Fair on! Anna Rose gathered a panel of all-star speakers to chat about what it is like working in ZK: Nico Mohnblatt, Brian Retford, and Brendan Farmer.

As Anna kicked off the discussion by asking each panelist to introduce themselves and share their journey into the world of ZK, it was interesting to notice how our featured experts came to ZK with diverse backgrounds, but also for different reasons. For Nico, applied cryptography researcher at Geometry Research, it was because of his interest in privacy and technology. Brendan, who later co-founded Mir Protocol (eventually acquired by Polygon), recalled being intrigued by ZK after attending a talk by Vitalik Buterin on Plasma. Brian, co-founder and CEO of RISC Zero, was introduced to ZK by his co-founder Jeremy, whose deep interest in the topic sparked Brian's curiosity.

The conversation then shifted to the early days of exploring ZK, with our panelists remembering about the lack of accessible resources and the steep learning curve associated with understanding ZK concepts. Despite the challenges, they emphasized the importance of perseverance and self-directed learning, as well as finding another person/group for this daunting journey! Anna and the speakers also focused on the skills and backgrounds needed to work in the ZK space. Although they clearly highlighted the value of mathematical maturity, coding proficiency, and hands-on experience with ZK technologies, they also insisted on the evolving nature of ZK application development, noting the potential for growth in areas like mobile application development and client-side proving.

As in the previous sessions, they also fielded many questions from the audience, touching on various topics: the role of product development in advancing ZK technology, the need for accessible education and resources, the anticipated increase in ZK audits demand... and some very technical ZK questions too – as expected from ZK Hack IV audience! In regards with the future of the ZK landscape, the panel highlighted a shift towards smaller fields and multi-linear protocols as emerging trends, aiming for faster provers while accepting larger proof sizes. They also emphasized the importance of integrating ZK technology into existing infrastructure to enable privacy-preserving applications, and mentioned for instance ZK Email and ZK Login.

Overall, the discussion highlighted the growing opportunities and challenges in the field of ZK, as well as the importance of collaboration and continuous learning to stay at the forefront of the rapidly evolving landscape – a message that strongly resonates with ZK Hack mission!