Oasis Foundation
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Oasis Foundation

Meet the Team behind Oasis — Jernej Kos, Director of Oasis

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Since the launch of the Oasis Network, we have amassed an incredible community of supporters, developers, as well as major backers like Binance Labs, Pantera and many others. We also recently partnered with the CryptoSafe Alliance with Binance to identify bad actors across multiple exchanges and we continue to expand the Oasis Network and its features. But we’re not resting on our laurels, as we’ve also been hard at work on development this year and have a number of exciting updates on the way, including a network upgrade, new ParaTimes and other critical features to support our growing DeFi ecosystem.

At the forefront of our progress and momentum is Oasis Foundation Director Jernej Kos, who has an extensive background in engineering. In fact, before becoming our Director, Jernej served as a senior engineer at Oasis Labs, our development arm that spearheads the creation of our products. So in this article, we’ll find out about his background in blockchain, what motivates him, and what he thinks about the future of the blockchain space and how Oasis fits into it.

Our hope is that you get a better understanding of Oasis and the great people behind it.

What’s your background, and what experience do you have in blockchain & engineering?

I’ve been involved with software development and open source for about 20 years now, and I’ve always been interested in distributed applications, security, computer networks and the low level details and inner workings of complex systems. For anyone that’s interested you can also check out my GitHub page.

Before joining Oasis, I co-founded the Institute for Development of Advanced Applied systems, where we developed an innovative open-source open-hardware wireless communication system among other things. I was also a senior software developer at Genialis which is a data science company focused on new ways to treat diseases.

Also, before even Oasis Labs started, I worked alongside with the early team and l developed most of the Oasis Core platform. Following that, I actually became a full time engineer at Oasis Labs, where l further developed the network. So given my history in blockchain, and Oasis in particular, I really understand our ecosystem and its potential from the ground up.

What’s your day to day role at Oasis?

There are two main parts to what I handle for Oasis. Currently, I’m the technical lead for the Oasis Core platform and the Director of the Oasis Foundation. That means, I’m involved in a lot of the architectural design work and implementation details of our various core protocols and SDKs.

The goal of the Foundation is to empower the ecosystem around the Oasis network. The Oasis Foundation’s main activities include:

  • Supporting and bringing people together to build vibrant and creative communities
  • Facilitating and funding various community-driven activities (grants, hackathons, etc.)
  • Expanding communities into global regions
  • Promoting transparency, governance and decentralization of The Oasis Network
  • Driving awareness, educating and ensuring that everyone is informed about ongoing activities, product features and projects

What are you currently working on?

I’ve always got a lot on the go! But currently, I’m busy with making sure that all the pieces are in place for our upcoming network upgrades.

These upgrades are actually really exciting as they will bring on-chain governance, making ParaTimes more secure and powerful, and also enable even more utility from our ROSE token by making it available inside ParaTimes to numerous potential applications.

When did you start working in the blockchain space, and what drove you to want to be in this industry?

Actually, most people don’t know this, but Oasis is the primary reason I started working in the blockchain space in the first place.

It all started as a research project at Berkeley, where I developed a lot of the initial implementation. I was always interested in secure decentralized peer-to-peer networks that enable people to take control of their private data, and this was an opportunity to dedicate more time to this very important mission.

I think when you look at the current solutions we have out there for data privacy and protection, there’s so much room for improvement, and I’m deeply passionate about solving these problems.

Name another blockchain project you admire.

There are a lot of interesting blockchain projects out there — that’s for sure. But my top one besides Oasis is surely Cosmos.

Even though we are not using their SDK the team and the community around it have always been very welcoming and supportive of our project. That speaks volumes to the kind of team they have, and it’s been a pleasure to work with them on some of the shared features.

What excites you the most about Oasis?

Two things that jumped out to me right away were the team and the big vision behind Oasis.

In regards to the team, everyone here is super passionate, really smart, and each person really brings their A-game to the table each and every day. You don’t find that everywhere you go.

Then you have the fact that you have all these great people working in tandem solve interesting technical challenges that will enable a new class of confidential applications that bring control back into the hands of the people and allow the kind of privacy people deserve to have.

Given that, it was almost impossible not to be drawn into the Oasis project.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right. Just like we have a right to privacy in our physical lives, we also deserve it in our digital lives. The Oasis network brings privacy onto the Blockchain in a way that’s never done before.”

Aside from the team and the incredible vision, it has to be the potential we have to change the internet, change the way users and entities interact with data and even give people the chance to generate revenue from their data. This is simply amazing. Also the fact that we’re so laser focused on creating a more secure decentralized DeFi ecosystem is something our industry is really in need of. As a user of DeFi services myself, I feel the pain and risks attached to the current solutions out there, so I want to see this area of our industry improved in a big way.

Really, it’s only a matter of time before the whole crypto industry wakes up to the risks of completely transparent blockchains, and Oasis is on the forefront revolutionizing how we use and derive value data.

What do you think the future will look like for Oasis?

Having launched our network in 2020, we’ve made some incredible progress already, but I see a future where a large portion of our industry is interacting with Oasis products and services in one way or another.

We envision a new paradigm in which people truly control their data and are compensated for its use by entities. When you really sit down to think about, it’s pretty unbelievable this hasn’t been done yet. And of course, there have been proposals for things like this in the past, but Oasis is actually the first one to really start building it.

We really do want to use blockchain to change the world!

Why should developers and blockchain experts choose Oasis over other projects out there?

It’s true, there are a lot of projects out there, but Oasis has a unique approach that always keeps scalability and privacy in mind. To summarize though, there are 3 things that developers will appreciate about Oasis and that’s 1) scalability and low gas fees, 2) privacy features and 3) token monetization.

The architecture of the Oasis network offers scalability and a lot of flexibility for different use cases — building your own ParaTime for the most flexibility or building smart contracts and data governance solutions on top of an existing ParaTime for the more opinionated use cases. A unique feature of the Oasis network is enabling general confidential computation in a safe, scalable and trustworthy way.

Also, Oasis has an Ethereum-compatible ParaTime and we have an incredible community of developers, tools and the backing and support of major players like Binance, Pantera, and more. If you’re a developer, I encourage you to check out our developer primer for more details, and connect with us on Telegram.

Which person in the blockchain space do you most admire?

There are a lot of people in this space I have a high amount of respect for, but for me Dawn Song is my clear choice.

First, she brought together a great team of people from various backgrounds and effectively led the Oasis project to success. She’s got such a big vision and I was immediately inspired by it. You also have to consider that many people have proposed the kinds of things that we are doing with the Oasis network, but no one was able to do it before Dawn

put this team together and made it possible — and this is definitely something to be admired.

When you add that to the fact that Oasis is the primary reason I was drawn to blockchain in the first place, it’s almost a no-brainer that Dawn is someone I will always look up to.

Do you think blockchain is the future? And what will it take to gain mass adoption?

Blockchain is certainly driving a lot of innovation now and I believe this will be the case for years to come. As a technology that enables multiple parties that don’t necessarily trust each other to agree on a shared state, it already has an important place in bringing in a more decentralized future.

Many of the services of today are often controlled by a single entity and the only way users can be in control is through decentralization. In addition to scalability, one of the important features that the blockchain technology needs to provide is confidentiality of general on-chain computation which will enable use cases where information needs to remain private in order to be useful.

Gaining mass adoption is usually a matter of usability and accessibility. When you think about something as simple as the high gas fees that currently plague the Ethereum network, this is a clear hurdle for the average user that wants to access DeFi services. Not only are we tackling this problem head on, we’re also ensuring that we never have those issues as we scale up. And that’s just one use case we’re focused on. Of course we have the mission of allowing users to control and earn revenue from their data among lots of other exciting things.

What are your hobbies and interests?

Hiking is big for me, and I have two daughters who I love to spend time with. They are a big part of my motivation and are what drive me to work so hard. At the end of the day, we all work so hard because we want the future to look better for all people. I want my kids to grow up in a better world — one made better by the responsible use of technology.

What is your motto?

There are only two limitations in life — physics and our imagination.

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