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Polychain Capital
Polychain Capital
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General Application



Posted on Friday, May 12, 2023

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.

What Penumbra is

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 protocol specification on the website.

What you'll be doing

This is a general application for candidates that are interested in Penumbra but do not match any current job listings.

Who you are

You have strong skills for public, asynchronous, remote work

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’re excited to build the systems you want to see in the world

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.

You have any of many different backgrounds and skills

The team that builds Penumbra will need deep technical and domain 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:

  • you don’t have a university degree in computer science,
  • you don’t have X years of professional experience in Rust or Y years of experience as a programmer
  • you don’t have experience with cryptography, zero-knowledge proofs, blockchains, economic mechanism design, or any other specific domain details.

How to apply

Apply using the form with:
1. your name and pronouns,
2. your resume/cv,
3. a brief description of your interest in Penumbra,
4. a sample or description of your 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 non-technical.