Robert Sasu: Elrond Core Developer Interview
I learned about the Elrond project three months ago. It looked very fresh and advanced in the blockchain Sphere. Elrond’s blockchain implements Adaptive State Sharding for almost linear scaling and Secure Proof of Stake as consensus mechanism. And behind this advanced tech there is an amazing team consisting of high-grade experts and professionals.
Beniamin Mincu, CEO of Elrond, says that all progress wouldn’t have been possible without the extreme dedication and effort put forth by Elrond’s whole team with which they could literally build rockets.
While learning about the project I noticed Robert Sasu — core developer at Elrond, who wrote an article about Elrond’s security. He shares a lot of interesting details about technical solutions there.
I invited Robert for an interview on Telegram to learn more about his versatile personality and work at Elrond.
Renars Derrings (RD): It is known that you have great math knowledge, enormous experience as a software engineer and that adrenaline-boosting activities are the way you relax. At the beginning please briefly talk about your roots. What were the most important factors in your life that have shaped your personality?
Robert Sasu (RS): Since I was a child I always knew that I will work with algorithms, computers, math, physics. Even as young as 4–5 years old, I was eager to learn about the world and to do some math. Yes, maths! By the age of 7 I could do square root calculations.
After that the life was pretty straight forward. I was always a competitive kid, I always wanted to participate and win as many competitions as possible. Through the school I participated and won numerous math, physic, informatics, programming and algorithm olympiads. I had always set goals in front of me and I always have tried to achieve them. Some of them rather impossible goals.
When I reached high school I did not care about literature, grammar or other stuff than maths, physics and informatics. Because I won national and international olympiads, I was accepted by numerous universities before finishing school.
Important factors to shape personality: my mom was/is crazy about math, so I had some in my blood. I was always eager to learn and to compete, wanting to win at all cost. When reaching adulthood, career and knowledge became really important, I always want more and more.
RD: Did you chose extreme sports because of your competitive character? Competitiveness includes need for adrenaline doesn’t it? Can you imagine yourself having vacation in 5* hotel laying on the beach all day?
RS: I always loved adventures, adrenaline and was eager to try everything. When I was young I played football, handball, basketball, tennis, karate, skiing. At one point I started to make bigger and bigger jumps, and trying to ski in the forest off -piste. And it was amazing!
I started to search for places where I can go off- piste and to have a great adventure, in places normal people would not reach. When I was in University I bought a bike and started to cycle to work and school. In 3 months time I bought my first MTB and went to a competition. After that my heart was all in on bicycles and skies. In the last few years I have been in several places in the Alps and Carpathians to do extreme skiing. On the bicycle I go to dozens of competitions every year. It is a really good way to clear the mind. I can’t stay more than 2 days in the same place, so it is impossible to stay in a 5* hotel for a week.
RD: Robert, it seems you are very active since your childhood and it is not surprise you gained a lot of experience in Information technologies. You obtained Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering and Master’s degree in Software engineering, Graphics, Multimedia and Virtual reality. Could you please tell us what is your practical experience in IT and what is your passion?
RS: Great question. My parents bought the first computer when I was 5. At that time it was only about games, but since it was no graphics interface, DOS I had to learn some commands. At age of 8–9 I wrote my first few lines of codes — it was HTML. At that time my mother started a new bachelors degree and she knew nothing about programming and the University had a few courses. An IT teacher came and I started to learn as well. At age of 10 I was doing her projects — it was fun, simple HTML 1.0. At 12 I started to learn Pascal and algorithms within an IT club. After 3 months I won the regional algorithms olympiad for that year category and was 3rd at the nationals. Competition after competition went by and in between I had some school projects, websites for my father etc. At 16 I wrote a bigger project — first GUI, a 3D pong game in C, with sprites and some parallel processing, made some kinematic simulators. At that time I did get paid for some websites — CSS and templates. At university I joined a few algorythm groups. I started to work on open source projects from the first year of university. I applied for Google Summer of Code program and I got in. First real job. After that I worked full time even throughouth the University. I had 3 Google Summer of Code, and in the meantime I worked full time on an airport and airplane simulator. So at one time I had 2 full time jobs and the university. I became the lead engineer at the airport simulation company. The rest can be read on the Linkedin: Continental — autonomous driving and 20 patents on AI , founder of an e-mobility startup. And now — Elrond.
RD: That is impressive! How did you join Elrond and what are your responsibilities? Do you work on blockchain itself or smart contracts, or utilities like explorer, wallet etc?
RS: Beniamin and Lucian Mincu added me on Facebook last year, then I got some news on the news feed from time to time. In October there was a meetup in Sibiu and I went there. At that time I was already thinking about leaving Continental, I wanted a more challenging job, I wanted to do more and create more. In the middle of November I got a call from Google, asking whether I would be interested in a job in Switzerland. I did all the interviews and got the job offer.
However at the same time I was having the conversation with the boys, and I decided it would be better to join this startup, as here I can be part of a team which can change the world.
At Elrond I am a Core Developer. Together we write codes, do research, participate in business meetings, code reviews, peer reviews. I mostly work on the protocol itself, the algorithms there. Blockprocessor, metachain, Elrond VM integration into the protocol, K block finality scheme are some of the stuff I worked on together with the team since joining Elrond. Formalizing requirements, writing, reviewing and posting technical documents is also part of the job.
RD: You mentioned that you preferred Elrond which would be the way to change the world. I think this is essential point! How do you think Elrond can change the world? What would be practical solutions built on Elrond blockchain to change our lives to the best?
RS: In the 90’s Internet was the symbol for the free world, for the perfect democracy, for the perfect free speech platform. You could post anything, do anything. Once the internet started to generate money — then it doubled the global GDPR — some really big dinosaurs have been born: Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft etc. Currently these corporations are forced by governments to leave them backdoors to hack, to share the users data. We do not even bother of how many traces we leave on the internet. Our life is predictable, our urges and desires are used by these companies. Now with the raise of AI this becomes even more problematic: there are millions of public video camera, some good facial recognition software, all connected to the internet — on company, or one government through lobbying can make all these data available for even higher mass surveillance.
In the last year we saw how vulnerable is FIAT money. Sometimes it depends on only one signature from one orange man.
Elrond is here to RE-decentralize the internet. To make the internet the free world again, without the fear of mass surveillance. You will be able to own your own data, to hide the footprints in the internet.
In the first place, Elrond make changes when it comes to value transfer through decentralized platform where the value is driven only by the market. No possibility for one company or one person to roll back a set of transactions.
Through innovation, research it reaches the speeds and reliability of centralized systems and it will cost less. So at the start we will have uncensored free market. Programmable money, super automatization when it comes to money/value transfer through smart contract.
Then you can treat the platform as an autonomous agent who validates state transfers. In theory every imagined system in a centralized world can be put into the blockchain — although not everyone of them is efficient. But use cases there are in the thousands. Security offerings for IoT services, protecting private data, supply chain management, communication and value transfer between autonomous agents (cars, smart cities).
RD: At what point you would say blockchain tech is mass adopted and how long will it take in your opinion?
RS: Blockchain tech is mass adopted, when the user interface is cool, the user does not have to know about cryptography, no public-private key generation. The tech will be adopted only when the tech is hidden from the users, so he/she does not have to know what is the underlying technology.
Better UX, better control, easier processing and easier usage are the first things to do. After that the users will understand the benefits of blockchain. Until there is no useful dApp, or a dApp needs 7 passes in order to start it, it will be impossible to get hundreds of millions of users.
I hope with Elrond we can make a breakthrough after the mainnet launch. The plan is to get millions of users.
RD: For investors it is always important how the project acts in the market. Its difficult, but could you please give a hint which position in coinmarketcap Elrond could take in 5 years? Will it be top 10, top 5 blockchain or hopefully #1?
RS: Elrond is thinking about long term, we know our strengths. We are really the first sharded architecture — state, transaction, network — which is truly scalable, decentralized and super secure. The tech is speaking for itself — with only 5 shards in the testnet we reached more than 10K TPS — cross-shard and intra-shard transactions as well.
Our meta-VM is coming, and after integration we will have the first scheme for smart contracts on a sharded architecture — the code is written as we speak — mostly when we not speak, as I am the one doing it. It will offer limitless possibilities for dApp developers to create new amazing apps, which will run on a high throughput system with low operating costs.
Elrond is hoping and planning in the long term, when our tech is proven top 10–5–3–1 will be in the reach. We are optimistic, but we want to take it step-by-step.
RD: Every community member is aware of Elrond team’s high business an professional standards. Elrond self-funded development for more than 1,5 years and team’s approach is first to build quality product. Recently Elrond launched first version of testnet called “Zero to One”. Everybody could see testnet processing around 10k TPS during livestream. Could you tell us a backstage story of this event?
RS: On the day of the Testnet launch the master (deployable, runnable version of testnet) was broken a few hours before the livestream. The whole team was pushing to find a bug and to make it the deadline. Improvement was ready 15 minutes before the launch!
We are pushing really hard, sometimes staying in the office more than 12 hours and even on the weekends. Our office is really nice, so we feel like at home there — without shoes, music in the background. At night time we sometimes drink a beer in the office and then code or do reviews.
This interview is just a small introduction with Robert and a little insight in what Elrond is and how it could improve our lives. There is a chance to have another interview with Robert on more technical aspects of Elrond and blockchain as such.
For more information about Robert Sasu and Elrond please use these outlets –
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sasu-robert-3b11ab55/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SasuRobert
For more Guest articles on The Daily Chain click here.
Elrond’s official outlets:
- Elrond Community Platform: https://community.elrond.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/elrondnetwork
- Official website: www.elrond.com
- Elrond Github:https://github.com/ElrondNetwork
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRLKQHcjuWW_-JOZ-DqQTXw