Massa — Meet the Founders

What started as a research project between three friends in 2017 became a reality in 2020 when Sébastien Forestier, Damir Vodenicarevic and Adrien Laversanne-Finot registered Massa Labs as a company.

Sébastien grew an interest in blockchain technology from 2017. Like many by this time, he noticed the scaling issues of existing blockchains. However, instead of focusing on centralized technologies to improve scaling, he started to think about a new sweet spot to the scaling trilemma, following the simple idea of parallelizing block creation. In March 2018, he published a first draft of theoretical ideas and first experimentations: “Blockclique: Scaling Blockchains through Transaction Sharding in a Multithreaded Block Graph”. The foundation of Massa was laid on: aiming at large scale with no tradeoff on decentralization. The article was continuously improved over the following years with contributions from the three founders.

Damir was the first to join the project initiated by Sébastien. Long-time friends since their studies together, Sébastien turned to him to work on what became known as the Blockclique technology — in particular on adapting Proof-of-Stake, on security analysis and real-time visualization. Adrien, who used to work with Sébastien in a team dedicated to robotics research, also joined the effort in 2018 to work on the scientific fundamentals of the project.

Sébastien Forestier — CEO

Sébastien Forestier

Born in 1991 in Marseille, he grew up in Aix-en-Provence. He first studied computer science at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Rennes, then cognitive science at ENS Paris. His huge interest in natural and artificial intelligence drove him to start a PhD at Inria in the Flowers team. There he did research on both how to improve the curiosity of robots using observations from human babies, and how to understand the mechanisms of curiosity-driven learning in infancy with the help of robotic experimentation. While working on these topics, Sébastien took a particular interest in blockchain technology which led him to develop the Blockclique technology. What first started as a side project is now powering the Massa blockchain.

  • His research publications can be found here.
  • The robotic experiments are featured in Neflix Babies series, episode “Movement”.

Damir Vodenicarevic — CTO

Damir Vodenicarevic

Born in 1991, in Yugoslavia — in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina –, Damir arrived in Marseille at the age of one. Growing up lacking resources, he resorted to gathering parts from scrap yards to build and repair: that’s what gave him the taste for computer science and electronics. Damir studied Mathematics and Physics one year with Sébastien — they did a project on simulated genetic algorithms together — before specializing in Theoretical Physics while keeping a strong interest for biology (Gold Medal at the IGEM contest in 2013 for a scientific research using genetically modified bacteria to depollute the Seine river). After specializing in theoretical and experimental nanoelectronics, Damir did a PhD on the use of Physics to accelerate Machine Learning. He later worked for one of the leading fintech companies in the payments industry before joining the Massa project.

  • The articles he published as a researcher can be found here.

Adrien Laversanne-Finot — COO

Adrien Laversanne-Finot

Adrien, born in Paris, studied theoretical physics and mathematics in École Polytechnique before doing a PhD in theoretical Quantum Physics. During his PhD he developed a particular interest for machine learning, and naturally went ahead with a postdoc in this field, at Inria in the Flowers team. This is where he met Sébastien, working together as part of the same team, trying to understand what makes humans such good learners in order to design more efficient learning algorithms for robots. Adrien, as Sébastien, had the chance to observe the emergence of blockchain technology. Enthusiastic about Sebastien’s solution to the scalability trilema he decided to join the Massa project and to bring in his scientific skills.

  • The articles he published as a researcher can be found here .

Achievements: the beginning of the road

Sébastien, Adrien and Damir have been laureate of the i-Lab contest 2021 (23rd edition) organized by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in partnership with BpiFrance, and received a grant for Massa.

The team recently raised 5 million euros in a token private sale. Thanks to a limit on each contribution, this sale was one of the most distributed and fair private sales so far in the world of Layer-1 blockchains: the team received contributions from a hundred individuals and entities representing 18 countries, including many renowned backers in the blockchain industry.

In the meantime the Massa team has been growing fast, with now 12 professionals. Ten of them are focused on the development of the Massa software, including the smart contract engine, and two of them are dedicated to communication, marketing, partnerships and operations. The team is expected to grow to a size of 25 people by the end of Q1 2022.

Finally, the Massa community might have been the biggest achievement: at the time those lines were written, more than 10000 people joined our Discord, 2200 our Telegram, 2300 followed us on Twitter. And they bring more love to the Massa project everyday.

Useful Links about Massa:

With over 4000 nodes running constantly and a majority of the nodes being routable during the TEST.4.X episode, our testnet is already one of the most decentralized networks.

Massa is a truly decentralized blockchain controlled by thousands of people. With the breakthrough multithreaded technology, we’re set for mass adoption.