Protocol Labs

Protocol Labs makes internet protocols: IPFS, Filecoin, and more.

Research Scientist, ConsensusLab at Protocol Labs

Remote - Research Development / Remote
Job Type
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About the role

We are seeking an experienced and self-motivated distributed systems researcher to join us in understanding how to globally scale decentralized systems. 


ConsensusLab is a newly formed group in Protocol Labs Research that focuses on consensus and related distributed computing problems that lie at the heart of decentralized systems. We help engineering teams by addressing key bottlenecks in operational systems and networks (such as Filecoin, IPFS and libp2p) and collaborate with academia and the wider open-source community to deliver world-class research in understanding how decentralized systems scale and interconnect. 

Consensus Research at Protocol Labs has delivered significant impact to our operational systems and today, these power the largest Decentralized File Storage Network in the world that continues to rapidly grow.

Learn more about this work through one of the following lectures:

Research at Protocol Labs

This isn't an ordinary Research Scientist position.  Your expertise is mostly driven by both a hunger to learn and a need to work toward solving important problems.  Our research scientists are granted both the freedom to develop their knowledge by working on novel applications, and a responsibility to contribute those skills toward advancing the flagship projects of Protocol Labs.  You’ll feel at home working with us if your knowledge and optimism enables you to name a few unusual possible approaches when you’re first presented with a problem that people often consider intractable.

We understand that networks are more than the sum of their parts.  Your interest in distributed systems is likely matched by a conviction that some systems should be decentralized, in spite of inherent difficulties in doing so.  Maybe you agree that the internet is as important as it is fragile and novel improvements in robustness, fault tolerance, consensus, security, performance, and availability, are required to protect and improve it.  We seek distributed systems researchers who can discover, conceive of, incorporate, and implement novel distributed and decentralized systems.

As Research Scientist at ConsensusLab you will…

  • Participate in cutting-edge research in distributed systems.
  • Develop novel systems and protocols; study and learn from existing ones.
  • Study potential improvements or new parts of systems like IPFS, libp2p, and Filecoin.
  • Work with the development team on turning the research into implementations.
  • Quantify performance, security, and other properties of existing and proposed systems; suggest improvements based on the data.
  • Collaborate with academia and broader community in exploring new and out-of-the-box approaches to designing and implementing next-generation decentralized systems. 
  • Work in a fully asynchronous and remote team.

You may be a fit for this role if you have...

  • PhD degree in Computer Science or related field, or equivalent practical experience.
  • Programming experience and proficiency in one or more of the following: Go, Rust, C, C++, Python.
  • Experience in deploying and evaluating the performance of (large-scale) distributed systems. 
  • Experience contributing to research communities and/or efforts, including publishing papers at top conferences.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Solid background in security and networking. 
  • Pragmatic “get it done” attitude, coupled with critical thinking and capability of providing constructive feedback. 

Bonus Points If...

  • You have a record of demonstrating state-of-the-art innovation in distributed systems with a proven publication record or project history. Potentially including but not limited to distributed data structures, (Byzantine) fault-tolerant consensus protocols, peer-to-peer connectivity, distributed execution, distributed file systems, distributed databases, novel network architectures or protocols, systems based on specialized hardware, etc.
  • You believe that if you can’t explain something to a six-year-old, then you don’t understand it yourself, and your experience mentoring or writing position papers, technical explainers or blog posts demonstrates that you enjoy testing your understanding against this metric. 
  • You’ve demonstrated the ability to design and execute on a research agenda.
  • You have experience setting up or managing research collaborations or contractors.
  • You have designed a protocol that is today in production and serving a need.

What’s it like to work at Protocol Labs?

Protocol Labs mission is to improve humanity’s most important technology, the Internet. We build protocols, systems, and tools to improve how it works. Today, we are focused on how we store, locate, and move information. Our projects include IPFS, Filecoin, libp2p, and more.

As a distributed team, we hire anywhere in the world, and at various levels of experience (entry, senior, staff). We look for people with unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds.

We have a great benefits package, including parental leave, contributions to your retirement, competitive pay, and unlimited time off. For U.S.-based employees, we also provide platinum-level health, dental, and vision coverage for you and your family.

Why you should join Protocol Labs

Protocol Labs is an open-source R&D lab. We build protocols, tools, and services to radically improve the internet. Our products serve thousands of organizations and millions of people.

Our projects include IPFS, Filecoin, libp2p, Sourcecred, and many more. Today, we are focused on the Web3 space. Our projects center on distributed systems, cryptocurrencies, cryptography, and game theory. Long term, we hope to establish a lab capable of repeatable innovation, and we aspire to R&D breakthroughs that make human existence orders of magnitude better.

We are a fully distributed company. We have over 100 team members, we work with thousands more in open source, and we collaborate with 100+ organizations.

See our projects: and our labs: