By Michael Scott
ConsenSys, a leading global blockchain company, recently announced its launch of ConsenSys Israel, planned for the fall of 2018.
Headquartered in New York, ConsenSys expects to support Israeli companies in developing decentralized applications and “spokes” as part of the venture studio ConsenSys Labs. It also intends to launch projects through Token Foundry, a global platform for well-structured tokens and token-powered networks; provide enterprise and government consulting projects through the ConsenSys Solutions domain; train developers via ConsenSys Academy; and provide project investments through ConsenSys Ventures, the venture capital arm of ConsenSys.
ConsenSys is seeking to cultivate a team of blockchain experts in Tel Aviv with cryptography and enterprise-centric blockchain solutions experience. Targeting the full-stack functions of ConsenSys, the company hopes to hire over 30 people before the end of 2018.
Overseeing the work of ConsenSys’ in Israel is Dror Avieli, who previously started Hewlett Packard’s customer success organization. Avieli was born and raised in Israel, has accumulated decades of enterprise software experience while living in Boston and is currently the vice president of customer success at ConsenSys. Avieli will be supported by Rachel Epstein, Esq., who previously worked on ConsenSys’ legal team.
“Part of the power of the ConsenSys mesh is a culture that respects emergence and decentralized organizing, where decisions are made quickly as long as there is a consensus,” Avieli said in a press statement. “I was hired to build up ConsenSys’ Customer Success team to support Quorum in Boston nearly five months ago. Yet my homeland is Israel, and I did harbor a dream of opening an office in Tel Aviv one day. All I needed to do was find people to that shared energy, vision, and passion — and here we are.”
For his part, Joseph Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys (and co-founder of Ethereum) is enthusiastic about Israel as an emerging epicenter for blockchain advancement.
“Israel is a hotbed of technology advancement in the world,” he said in a release. “Blockchain technology and Ethereum has blossomed in a decentralized fashion, but somewhat unevenly. Like Silicon Valley, Israel took a while to embrace Ethereum. Both are tech leaders and both believe what they are building will be significant for how the world builds social and economic systems.”
A “Startup Nation” Decentralized
From the dripper irrigation system’s pivotal role in fostering agricultural independence to being a leader in cybersecurity, Israel has built a global reputation as a hub of emerging technology. With many startups and U.S. tech companies calling Tel Aviv home, the country has quickly honed in on blockchain technology’s role in solving difficult problems in a unique Israeli context.
Rachel Epstein, who is helping lead the ConsenSys Israel initiative, noted in a press email, “A lot of the cryptography tools, such as Shamir’s Secret Sharing algorithm, were invented here. And Professor Eli Ben-Sasson of Technion University was an early innovator of zkSNARKs, now indispensable to private blockchains.”
Epstein claimed that this culture of innovation is in Israel’s DNA, stating that, when “recruiting talent and selecting projects to join ConsenSys, we are looking for blockchain ‘builders,’ not ‘hodlers.’ Eventually we want to create decentralized applications that are not just used by developers and enterprises, but by you, by me — by my mother. We are a country that sees the crack, complains about it but then fixes it. That is the spirit I also see present in the blockchain community.”
Asked about ConsenSys’ value proposition in terms of Israel global startup-nation reputation during an interview by email, Avieli was optimistic.
“I believe that ConsenSys as a venture production studio complements the ‘startup nation’ ethos,” he said. “Both visions see problems in the world as an opportunity to build something better. Both are limited only by their imagination. The common directness, willingness to try new ideas and transparency are inherent to both cultures as well.”
In short, Avieli believes that ConsenSys brings enormous value to Israel with its huge global reach, making the world more accessible to the startup nation and bringing the possibilities of blockchain solutions for world issues into the minds of Israelis.