Meet the Team - 5 Minutes with PhD Candidate Will Abramson

May 2019
Each week, we sit down with a member of the Blockpass team to learn where they come from, what their day to day looks like, and what they love about blockchain.

Where are you from and what is your background?
I’m originally from Ilkley, West Yorkshire. I went to York university to study computer science but I didn't particularly enjoy it; however, the best part was a placement at Lhasa Limited as a software developer where I learnt to code. I decided I wanted to become a software developer and after university I was offered a job at Lhasa which I accepted following a 6 month break for travelling. Part of my travels was for fun as a “digital nomad”, but in Chiang Mai I first came into serious contact with blockchain and got excited about it.


What are you currently working on in the BIL?
The area I'm currently working on is Delegatable Credentials and how they could be applied governance frameworks and how this would fit different industries.

Note: Will keeps a blog where he discuss his work at the BIL which you can find here.


What does a ‘typical’ day look like?
I don’t have too many typical days but I like to start early for a couple of hours in my office at home (a box room with no windows) - it’s good for reading papers or writing. I then head into the lab which is good for writing code. I also have a favourite coffee shop to work from called Round Square coffee.


How did you get involved with the BIL?
I first got involved with blockchain through attending meetups in Chiang Mai while travelling. After that I was hooked and spent spare time learning. I attended the Internet of Agreements where I heard Vinay Gupta give a talk on the importance of identity. This lead me to focus my efforts on understanding identity as I really believe it is a use case for the technology that could improve people's lives. I saw a tweet about an opportunity to work at the BIL and decided to apply. I quit my job after 8 months without knowing if I was accepted but determined to get involved in identity or blockchain space regardless. Fortunately it all worked out!


What is your favourite blockchain-related benefit?
I’m not sure really. I like being in a fast moving field with so many experts to talk with and discuss these problems. I feel lucky to be at the forefront of what I see as the next technological revolution. I’m excited to see where it goes.


What are you most excited to work on/develop?
I’m excited to become a leader in developing cryptography. I want to contribute code to the hyperledger ursa project but there is still a long way to go.


Where do you see blockchain/cryptography industry heading in the next five years?
I hope in the next 5 years people can truly say they can control their own identity; that they have the tools and are empowered to control their connections, credentials and data - and importantly to do so without requiring any third party input. That is ambitious and there is a long way to go but a lot of smart people are working in this space. I am optimistic. I also hope this tech impacts the global south, rather than just remaining a technology for the western world as that is where it could have the biggest impact.


If you could spend an hour with anyone in history, who would it be with and why?
It’s a bit random but the Duke of Wellington. I am really interested in that period of history and he was a fascinating figure of the time. I suppose for someone more related to my life I would be interested to talk with Einstein about Quantum Mechanics - an area I have a side interest in.