Team AKASHA: Introducing Andrei Sambra

Team AKASHA: Introducing Andrei Sambra

By Andrei Sambra


March 04, 2021

Hello, everyone! My name is Andrei Sambra ☕️

I started my journey with AKASHA back in October 2018 when I was lucky enough to meet the team in person, as I was visiting Romania that summer. It really felt like we immediately "clicked". 💪

I am currently living in a nice little town right outside Paris, France, where I can see the Eiffel tower from my living room window (I was told I should be proud of this). Before France I lived in the United States of America (Boston), and before that France and Italy for a short period. I was born and raised in Romania. 🇷🇴

I suppose I am a bit of a nomad, though things are starting to calm down lately. I don't really see myself moving again in the near future. 🏡

I have always been a major supporter of decentralized technologies and privacy. It all started back when I was doing my PhD in France, on the subject of data ownership and interoperability for a decentralized social semantic web. Working with those technologies while at the same time participating in standards work at the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), put me on Tim Berners-Lee's radar. So right after I defended my thesis, he made an offer I couldn't refuse — to join him at MIT and work on what I liked doing best!

Needless to say, I accepted his offer and spent almost four years as a research associate, working with Tim on what later became known as the Solid project. During this time, I also joined the W3C officially as a team member, spending my time working on identity and semantic web standards. Oh, and I was MIT's representative at GovLab, a US think tank aiming to strengthen the ability of institutions – including but not limited to governments – and people to work more openly, collaboratively, effectively, and legitimately to make better decisions and solve public problems. It was a very busy period! 🤯

At AKASHA, my role is to help the team in any way possible. Some days this means working on AKASHA's long-term goals and strategy, while other days I help the dev team with backend and architecture work. My expertise revolves around identity, authentication, access control, and also privacy. Being a dynamic person, I like helping anywhere I can. 👷‍♀️

It helps that AKASHA's work is truly inspiring, as is the way we approach it. There is a certain pleasure in knowing I work for an organization that is only interested in the greater good while being extra careful how it reaches that goal. We don't cut corners and we don't sacrifice people's privacy. How many people can say that about their organizations? ✨

I'm pretty sure that if you're reading this blog, you probably already know why decentralization is important. Since about 99% of apps and services that exist today are centralized, it leaves us with a lot of new opportunities in almost every field. Executing on these opportunities is the tricky part. We need better technology but also better policy. GDPR is a great step in the right direction but we need more. We also need more standards if we ever hope to become interoperable in a new decentralized era. AKASHA is making huge leaps forward here, but it is obviously very challenging.

For example, to me, making a successful Web 3.0 social network means that people should not be able to tell it apart from a Web 2.0 one from the perspective of UX, but from a governance perspective the two should be worlds apart. The user experience should be so polished and the technology sufficiently developed so that nobody can really tell and care that it's specifically based on Web 3.0 technology. This isn't easy.

One of the major advantages of Web 3.0 is that it has replaced passwords with cryptographic keys which are far more secure, with most authentication steps being handled by your "wallet". Yet I believe the biggest challenge to a polished Web 3.0 experience comes from how we store these keys. Making sure that we have a secure yet easy to use key management system is very important. Unfortunately, there is no such system yet that meets both criteria. Whoever invents this will win the interwebz. 🎉

Aside from AKASHA, one of the other projects that I'm really excited about is Starlink. Although it comes with a lot of controversy, and I'm definitely not an Elon Musk fanboy, I am looking forward to seeing ubiquitous Internet access around the globe!

When I'm not working, I like to hike, mountain bike, and in general to spend a lot of time outside with my family. When that's not possible, I really like reading Sci-Fi and fantasy books, as well as watching movies. I also liked to travel a lot, though unfortunately, it is becoming almost impossible to do lately. ✈️

On a more serious note, I also give pro bono lectures at a French institute for young people with special needs, where I cover topics such as ethics and privacy in computer science, Web standards, open source software, and more. This is probably one of the most rewarding activities I have ever done in my life, and I always try to make it a priority in my schedule.

When looking at our Ethereum User Personas, I feel I'm somewhere in between the explorer and the technologist.

If you’re interested in joining us, you can find our job listings here. You can also join the conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Discord, and subscribe to our newsletter to make sure that you’re always kept up-to-date with what we are up to! 🤗

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