Hi, my name is Brendan and I'm a software engineer. Most of my experience is in cryptography but I'm trying to branch out. This is my blog where I write about stuff related to that. I'm also on GitHub, Twitter, and have an email.
Some of my projects include...
- UtahFS - (Go) an encrypted storage system that provides a user-friendly FUSE drive backed by cloud storage.
- Messaging Layer Security - (spec) a protocol based on tree structures that enable asynchronous group keying with forward secrecy and post-compromise security.
- Cheap Transparency Log - (Go) a CT log implementation designed to use very cheap cloud infrastructure.
- IPFS Gateway Validator - (JS) A browser extension that validates resources served from an IPFS gateway.
- bn256 - (Go) an implementation of cryptographic pairings and GLV (lattice) reduction. 10-20x faster than the next-best implementation in the same language.
- FourQ - (Go) a fast elliptic curve. Arithmetic is done on a quadratic extension of the integers modulo the Mersenne prime 2127-1.
- OpenWhiteBox - (Go) implementations of several interesting mathematical primitives and prior work in white-box cryptography. Original constructions and cryptanalyses. [ Paper ]
- caesar - (Coffee) implementations of a few unusual cryptographic primitives.
Some fun things I built are...
There's no silicon in Silicon Valley28 Feb 2022
A long time ago, I read (what I think was) a blog post about how war is waged in the modern world that stuck with me. I've tried pretty hard to find it again but haven't been able to, so this blog will be my attempt to remember and think through the same points.
Wrapping my Head Around Bonds6 Feb 2022
I’ve been learning about bonds and wanted to do some simulations and look at real data to try to understand them better.
Why San Francisco should Ban Bikes2 Feb 2022
During my time in San Francisco, I've witnessed multiple bicycle accidents and had my own near-misses. I've also had a lot of fun facetiously claiming that the city should ban bicycles and trying to start arguments with people about it. While doing that, I might have accidentally convinced myself that it actually makes sense. Here's why,
Derivatives for Banking Better7 Aug 2021
When I was doing the research for my last blog post, I was reading the website for Pacific Coast Banker's Bank and saw that one of the products they offered under "Loan Hedging" was called a back-to-back swap for converting fixed-rate loans to floating-rate. I had no idea what that was and I couldn't see what problem it solved, but I thought it sounded cool at least.
Reading Sterling's 10-Q18 Jul 2021
Today I decided to read Sterling Bank's most recent 10-Q, to get a better understanding of how a savings and loan bank works. This blog goes through it at a high-level with commentary and graphs.
The Death of Cars18 Apr 2021
Something that's a lot of fun for me is finding convincing visions of the future that are also dystopian. The best example of this I've found recently occurred to me while I was listening to a Tesla earnings call, where Elon Musk justified Tesla's market cap with recurring revenue from the future robo-taxi industry. Musk's theory of the future, and it's dystopian ending, goes like this:
The Opportunity for Crypto26 Mar 2021
I used to work on the Crypto Team at my company, and while I was there I got introduced to a lot of different crypto projects and asked to evaluate if they were something it made sense for us to support. The answer was usually no.
Twitter's @bluesky Project1 Feb 2021
More than a year ago, Jack Dorsey that he would be funding a project called @bluesky, which would work with the crypto community to create a decentralized standard for social media. He gives a lot of motivation for the project, particularly focusing on the lack of consumer choice in content moderation and amplification. Fundamentally, the core insight of the project is that social media companies are currently a vertical integration of two different services:
Architecture of TPB and WikiLeaks19 Jan 2021
For obvious reasons, I recently got interested in how to build websites that are widely accessible but also resistant to censorship. Naturally, my first instinct was to run off and come up with my own blue-sky designs of the most resilient, censorship-resistant website in the world. But censorship is not new and I realized it would be smart to learn from the past: in particular, The Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks, which both continue to operate even under immense pressure to shutdown.
ISAs vs Income-Based Repayments10 Jan 2021
In my last post, I discussed Income Share Agreements (ISAs), including their many downsides and how they’re prone to being more expensive than traditional loans. In this post, I wanted to discuss something that I think is a much safer solution to the same problem: Income-Based Repayments (IBR) for a loan.