In this edition of the Humanode Interview series, we would like to introduce Rafael, a core team member and cryptographer. Rafael is one of the senior cryptographers of the Humanode Bio-authentication team.
Rafael, please introduce yourself - what’s your background before Humanode?
Hello. I'm Rafael. I am a mathematician, and my main area of expertise is cryptography and blockchain. Before Humanode I worked on various projects and jobs from academic research, through the development of secure applications for the banking sector, and more recently within the blockchain area, including the development of Smart Contracts, decentralized applications, etc.
How did you stumble across Humanode for the first time?
I came across a job offer where the Humanode team was looking for a researcher in cryptography. In the job post, the Humanode team named the areas that I feel have the most significant relevance today, such as Multi-party Computation, Homomorphic encryption, and Zero-Knowledge Proofs. It immediately caught my attention, and in two days, I read the whitepaper and all the material provided. I was excited by the idea of being involved in such an ambitious project.
What excites you the most about the crypto-biometrics space?
What remains to be done. It seems that what is being built is very new, and there is a whole world to explore with what we have named crypto-biometrics. I am excited about the idea of being involved, from the beginning, in an area so fertile and where there is so much to explore.
Since joining the team, what has been your focus in your role?
My approach has been to find the cryptosystem that best suits the requirements we have set ourselves: safe, efficient, having homomorphic properties to perform neural network calculations while preserving users' privacy. But in addition to this, it must be compatible with neural network algorithms, so I have also focused on integrating the details of the neural network to cryptography and privacy.
Please describe your work routine — where do you usually work and how do you set up your work environment?
I work from home. Due to the fact that the team is from all around the globe, and have major differences in time zones, we have had to adapt our daily meetings to a time when we are all connected. In my case, this implies that my workday starts at 7 am. In my case, the mornings are usually meetings with the team. Then in the afternoons, around 3 to 7 pm, are my most productive hours.
Aside from work life, what hobbies do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy taking a walk with my kids or playing with them. I'm also teaching my five years old boy to play chess. I also enjoy reading in my spare time.
Any books or movies you would like to recommend?
I'm reading Jules Verne with my kids right now. In general, I enjoy reading classic sci-fi books from authors like Isaac Asimov.
Any advice for people looking to embark on a career in crypto-biometrics?
In general, given the novelty of this area, the main characteristics that a person who wants to venture into this area must have are curiosity and love for research, while not losing focus on practical aspects such as efficiency and usability. Of course, experience with coding also plays a vital role. It is also essential to keep up to date with research and papers in scientific journals.