Penumbra brings privacy to proof-of-stake, allowing users to transact, stake, swap, and marketmake without disclosing their personal information, account activity, or trading strategies to the entire world – while still permitting selective disclosure to appropriate parties. Working at Penumbra Labs is a unique opportunity to work on exciting problems and build new financial infrastructure, and offers a collaborative work environment and a meaningful stake in the creation of a new protocol.
Penumbra is a private-by-default proof-of-stake network. Penumbra provides private transactions in any kind of cryptoasset, using Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) to connect to other chains. It also has a novel staking mechanism that provides accountability for validators but privacy for delegators, allowing them to privately stake, earn rewards, and participate in governance. Finally, Penumbra provides ZSwap, a decentralized exchange integrated with its shielded pool. ZSwap provides sealed-bid batch auctions on the market-taker side and Uniswap-v3-style concentrated liquidity on the market-maker side. Sealed-bid batch auctions prevent frontrunning, provide better execution, and reveal only the net flow across a pair of assets in each block, and liquidity positions are created anonymously, allowing traders to approximate their desired trading function without revealing their individual beliefs about prices.
This is a condensed summary of the entire system; more details on the economic and cryptographic design of Penumbra can be found in the notes on the website, which – with your help – will eventually evolve into a complete protocol specification. (If something on the website is unclear, please let us know, we’d love to fix it).
Penumbra is an early-stage project. There are lots of interesting things to work on:
This is a big list, and it’s by no means expected that you would work on all or even most of these — any of these areas could individually constitute most of your entire responsibility for some time. If even one of these sub-projects sounds interesting, we’d love to hear from you.
You’ll be working with the team on some combination of cryptographic design and implementation. Our codebase is written in Rust, and you don’t need to be a Rust expert (though you could become one on the job), but you should be willing to learn some Rust so you can begin meaningfully contributing to the project within the first month or two of joining the team.
Penumbra Labs is a remote organization, building in public. You should have excellent written and verbal communication skills to coordinate with and make your work legible to the rest of the team and – as the project grows – to outside collaborators and stakeholders. The COVID-19 situation remains uncertain, but, were it not for the pandemic, we’d ideally sync up in person about once per quarter.
You’ll be building new, decentralized infrastructure for economic coordination. You should be interested in thinking about how the systems you’re building reflect your values, and you should be excited about the challenge of trying to build solutions, not just analyze problems.
The team that builds Penumbra will need deep technical expertise across a wide range of specialties. But it’s not necessary that each team member has expertise in all of those specialties, or particular formal credentials for their skills. If you’re excited by what you’ve read so far, please don’t hesitate to apply, even if:
Apply using the form with:
1. your name and pronouns,
2. your resume/cv,
3. a brief description of your interest in the role,
4. a sample or description of your technical work.
This sample could be public links to code you’ve written, or, if your best work has happened behind closed doors, it can be a description of what you built in enough detail for us to understand it. It’s fine if the best example of your work is in a language other than Rust, but in this case, please also include a sample or description of something you’ve built in Rust as well.