Exploring Aptos: The Founding Team Behind Aptos

Hello and good day Aptos Community.

The following is an article that I first wrote on my own blog and which I am sharing here. It is a dive into the founding members of the Aptos Network.

On February 24, 2022, Aptos CEO Mo Shaikh published an article on the Aptos blog entitled “The Genesis of Aptos” where he went on to introduce the Aptos Blockchain to the world along with the team that would be working on the project and their mission: to create universal and fair access to decentralized assets for billions of people.

When this article was written August 20th of 2023, the Aptos Labs and Aptos Foundation teams had grown to 168 and 18 respectively. As of February 9th, 2023, this number now stands at almost 200 for Aptos Labs and 28 for Aptos Foundation.

The difference between the two entities is that Aptos Labs is the research and engineering branch of Aptos and Aptos Foundation is the community and grants branch. They both work together to pursue the Aptos mission as laid out by Aptos CEO and founder Mo Shaikh. Both teams are full of talented professionals from different areas of Web2 and Web3, such as Software Engineering, Research, Human Resources, Community Management, Product Managers, Ecosystem Managers, Grant and Business Development leads and many more. All are focused and determined on making ground breaking technologies more accessible and practical for the everyday person doing everyday tasks.

Covering all of the over 200 current members of the steadily growing Aptos team would be voluminous, albeit informative. This article however will focus on the founding engineers and researchers that were outlined in “The Genesis of Aptos” article. Starting with Aptos CEO Mo Shaikh and CTO Avery Ching, these names include: Alden Hu, Alin Tomescu, David Wolinsky, Greg Nazario, Jake Skinner, Josh Lind, Max Kaplan, Mo Ahmed, Neil Harounian, Rati Gelashivili, Rustie Lin, Sasha Spiegelman, Sherry Xiao, Sital Kedia and Zekun Li.

Aptos CEO Mo Shaikh left with Aptos CTO Avery Ching right.

1.) Mo Shaikh

Aptos CEO Mo Shaikh has been in the blockchain industry since at least 2017, if not earlier. His previous professional experience is varied and extends from banking to real estate, investments, consulting, partnerships, advising and most recently blockchain. Mo and the Aptos team have been building the Aptos blockchain for 4 years before it was launched. The project was known before as the Libra/Diem project which had a wallet named Novi. An article from the New York times from 2018 entitled “A Blockchain Building in Bushwick” (saved: https://archive.ph/gXGe6) talks about Mo and his company Meridio which was based out of Brooklyn and had as its goal to introduce blockchain technology to the real estate market. Meridio itself is a project of Consensys which is a private blockchain software company based in New York. After this work, Mo eventually went on to focus on the precursor to Aptos which was Meta’s Diem and Novi projects. After the work in these projects was halted due to changes in the regulatory landscape, the work on Aptos was established utilizing the open source Diem technology along with the Move programming language which was designed at Meta. Some of the more well known VC firms invested in Aptos such as Andreessen Horowitz, Binance Labs, Multicoin Capital, Katie Haun, to name a few.

The following are some of the video interview appearances that Mo has done in the past couple of years since the introduction of Aptos as a new contending blockchain in the ever growing blockchain industry.

2.) Dr. Avery Ching

Dr. Avery Ching, the distinguished CTO of the Aptos Network , has over a decade of experience in software engineering management, having spent over ten years as a Principal Software Engineer at Facebook (Meta). During his tenure at Facebook from 2011 to 2021, Dr. Ching was instrumental behind the development of the platform’s Graph Search. Seeing a need for robust data-processing, he worked on the adoption of Apache Giraph. He had co-founded this work on Apache Giraph during his time at Yahoo. This work allowed Avery to delve into the vast network of data from Facebook, analyzing an impressive trillion edges, or connections, in under four minutes. Under Dr. Ching’s watch, Giraph was not only integrated but was also optimized to be four times faster than Facebook’s previous data system, Apache Hive. This was achieved using 200 commodity servers, setting new benchmarks in the tech world back around 2013. Avery continues expanding on this work ten years later with the Apache Software Foundation. His deep understanding of software engineering, combined with a vision for scalable solutions, positions Avery Ching and the team at Aptos as one of the blockchain networks that will help more users to experiment and use Web3 technologies.

The following are some of the video interview appearances that Avery has done in the recent past before and after the introduction of the Aptos Network on October 2022.

3.) Alden Hu

Alden Hu works as a software engineer at Aptos Labs. He has done work on Diem and the Move programming language before working on Aptos core and other aspects o development within Aptos, such as the Aptos Improvement Proposals

4.) Dr. Alin Tomescu


Dr. Tomescu has been studying and working in the field of Computer Science for over 15 years. Through the years, he has led research on anonymous cryptocurrencies, tree-based vector commitments, constant-sized vector commitments, threshold cryptography, Verkle trees, transparency logs, and append-only logs on top of Bitcoin. He is currently a Research Scientist at Aptos Labs, focusing on efficiently storing authenticated dictionaries on disk, so as to remove the main bottleneck of block validation in blockchain systems. Alin is also very interested in authenticated data structures, especially if based on more exotic primitives, such as constant-sized polynomial commitments. Before Aptos Labs, Dr. Tomescu was a Postdoctoral Researcher and then a Research Scientist at VMware Research and prior to this, he was a PhD student at MIT, becoming an applied cryptography researcher.

Thus, Dr. Tomescu’s primary expertise and research activities revolve around cryptographic techniques, blockchain technologies, and advanced mathematical structures to improve the efficiency, security, and transparency of data storage and transaction systems.

The following are videos where Dr. Tomescu can be seen speaking on the topics he has worked on and researched through the last several years before and after his work with Aptos Labs.

5.) Dr. David Wolinsky

Dr. Wolinsky spent 15 years at academia through the University of Florida and then Yale University as a postdoctorate researcher and then a research scientist. From 2001 to 2011 he studied computer science and then spent several years doing post doctoral research work before joining with Facebook. His PhD work focused on network virtualization and grid computing, including novel cloud computing techniques allowing the combination of resources across clouds into a common LAN using virtual networking. During his time as a Research Scientist at Yale, Dr. Wolinsky explored new research areas in security, privacy, and anonymity, working on tools such as anonymous group communication systems, improved scalability solutions, zero-knowledge proofs, anonymous and biometric authentication, to name a few of his varied research concentrations.

Dr. Wolinsky’s work was at the intersection of anonymous computation and decentralized systems. His research eventually overlapped with blockchains in the security research domain. Dr. Wolinsky eventually joined Facebook and became a part of the early efforts on Libra, Facebook’s entry into the blockchain space. Dr. Wolinsky was able to work on everything from ecosystem to application development in the Libra project. After Facebook was ultimately unable to go ahead and launch that project, work eventually began on what became an effort to bring some of the best aspects of Web2 to Web3 with the Aptos project. March of 2022 was the launch of the Aptos devnet and it was a major milestone as the team had spent three to four years working on Libra and the Virtual Machine and it had not been utilized to the fullest in an open, real ecosystem. Within weeks, the Aptos tech stack grew exponentially as DApps, DeFi, wallets, NFTs, explorers and more were built on top of Aptos by eager devs from all over the world. This excitement made Aptos one of, if not the largest Layer 1 launch to date.

The following is a video where Dr. Wolinsky gives an interview concerning the technology behind the Aptos Network and the Move programming language.

6.) Greg Nazario

Greg is a Founding Engineer at Aptos Labs. He has over 8 years of experience in maintaining large scale centralized and decentralized distributed systems. He has also done work with cloud based software as a service solutions along with ledger and networking solutions as applied to blockchains. Greg is one of the hosts of the weekly Aptos Twitter Space titled “Move Mondays”, where ecosystem and project leaders join in on discussions regarding the Aptos space in general.

Greg can be heard breaking down complex concepts in Aptos development in both the official Aptos discord server as well as during the several Move Monday Aptos Twitter Spaces which were a regular occurrence through the pre launch and post launch of the Aptos mainnet. Greg can be seen daily in the Aptos server helping out new and experienced developers building on Aptos in the dev discussion channel as well as on the X platform making educational posts on the finer technical aspects of developing on the Aptos blockchain.

7.) Jake Skinner

Jake works as the Creative Director for Aptos Labs and as such, he is responsible for maintaining a cohesive look and feel of a project along with directing the entire creative process, from graphic designers to copywriters, content strategists, artists and designers of different types.

The brand design of Aptos is certainly appealing and highly attractive as it displays artistic depictions of waves, sea, ocean and movement, as if to supplement the technical aspects found within the blockchain through the Move programming language.

8.) Dr. Josh Lind


Dr. Lind is a founding engineer at Aptos Labs. Prior to this, he was a Research Scientist working at Novi, a project of Meta, on the Diem blockchain. He completed a PhD at Imperial College London in the Large-scale Data Systems group as well as the Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering. Josh is also the primary author and lead for Teechain Network which is a secure, high-performance off-chain payment network for blockchains. Dr. Lind’s PhD focused on improving the security and privacy of large-scale distributed systems, thus his present focus is on improving the security, privacy and performance of blockchains and their cryptocurrencies.

Dr. Lind can be seen in the following interview by popular blockchain security company Certik discussing security in Aptos with fellow Aptos Labs team member Dr. Wolfgang Grieskamp, who is the Lead for Move language and tools and who won the European Association for Programming Languages and Systems (EAPLS) Best Paper Award 2022 for the paper “Fast and Reliable Formal Verification of Smart Contracts with the Move Prover”. The Move Prover can automatically validate logical properties of Move smart contracts while offering a user experience similar to a type checker that would be found in compiler design.

9.) Max Kaplan

Max Kaplan is an entrepreneur and one of the Founding Engineers at Aptos Labs, previously working as a software engineer at Meta and several other companies. Max was one of the Aptos Labs team members to contribute to the recent Aptos Winter School in India teaching young developers about developing on Aptos.

10.) Mo Ahmed


Mo is one of the Founding Team members at Aptos Labs as well as the Lead Recruiter, focused on building the Aptos team of engineers, researchers, strategists, designers and dreamers building the Layer 1 Aptos blockchain.

11.) Neil Harounian


Neil is one of the Founding Team members at Aptos Labs and is responsible for Strategy.

12.) Dr. Rati Gelashvili

Dr. Gelashvili is one of the Founding Team members of Aptos Labs and is also a Blockchain Researcher there. He completed his PhD at MIT and his postdoctoral fellowship work at the University of Toronto where his work was on distributed computing, parallel and distributed algorithms and data structures. He has won awards due to his research for best thesis and best paper academically. Before Aptos, Dr. Gelashvili was working on a project called NeuralMagic where he was the Senior Algorithms Lead as well as the Engineering Team Lead in charge of designing and implementing algorithmically complex and high performance systems for running neural networks on CPUs. Following this, he worked as a Research Scientist at Novi, where his focus was theoretical foundations of blockchain systems and practical scalability of the Diem blockchain.

13.) Rustie Lin

Rustie Lin is one of the Founding Team members at Aptos Labs, with the role of Production Engineer. He was responsible for launching the Aptos devnet, as well as 3 incentivized testnets along with the mainnet. He also worked with node operators to better secure the network along with improving blockchain performance and reliability. Prior to this, he was a Production Engineer at Novi and Meta, where he worked on the Diem Core in the Novi Production Engineering team.

14.) Dr. Alexander Spiegelman

Dr. Spiegelman is one of the Founding Team members at Aptos Labs and has a role there as a Blockchain Researcher. He focuses on many different aspects of distributed systems, parallel programming, applied cryptography and game theory. Prior to Aptos Labs, he was a Researcher at companies such as Novi Financial, VMware, Yahoo and more.

The following videos show some of the talks that have been given by Dr. Spiegelman on consensus algorithms and protocols.

15.) Sherry Xiao

Sherry is one of the Founding Team members at Aptos Labs, and has a role as the leading production engineer focusing on the infrastructure for the Aptos Network. Before this, she was a Production Engineer at Meta, Instagram and she was also a research assistant working with large scale cloud computing. She is constantly working on updates regarding the Aptos Network and her updates can be found in the official Aptos discord server.

16.) Sital Kedia

Sital is one of the Founding Team members at Aptos Labs, with a present role there as a Founding Engineer. Prior to this, he was a Technical Lead at Meta for almost a decade, as well as a Graduate Research Assistant at Purdue University.

17.) Zekun Li

Zekun Li is one of the Founding Team members at Aptos Labs, with a current role of Software Engineer and Head of Blockchain at Aptos. Before this, he was a Software Engineer with Meta for several years and Instagram. He can be seen on the X app expanding on the finer technical aspects of the Aptos blockchain.

As we can see, Aptos has a strong Founding Team of Web2 and Web3 professionals and world class talents in software engineering, design and development. The future is bright for Aptos Labs and Aptos Foundation.

Original article


wow, a wealth of knowledge about APTOS in one place !
I will still need some time to see everything…
thank you for this detailed information!


A nice amount of information indeed. I figured if there’s anything important the community should learn about, its the founding team that made Aptos possible.
Thank you for checking the post out ! :slight_smile:


if you better understand the basic structure, you better understand the potential and can trust more, thanks again for the detailed information.


Thank you for commenting :slight_smile: . You are right in that a good understanding of the foundations of a project can help in seeing the great potential. Have a good weekend!


Good information. Thanks mate


Waooo Aptos team is full of great minds, no wonder it thriving daily.


Your continuous supply of valuable and crucial information about this splendid project is greatly appreciated. Thank you for all your efforts, sir.
Aptos :heart: to the mon​:rocket:


Nice detailed information,thanks for sharing


@Samrichy , @josyakin , @Ssimo7 , @rajas12 thank you for commenting and reading :scroll:


Incredible post! thanks so much for sharing!!!

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Thanks for commenting and reading @khadati


Great information

1 Like

Thanks for checking it out !

1 Like

Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for reading :slight_smile:

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will watch that podcast with Mo now, thanks for highlighting it to me :smiley:


Thank you for going through the post. There are alot of resources for most of the Aptos founding team but a couple of members don’t have as much info available about them so I wasn’t able to share as much about some of them as I would have liked to :nerd_face:


Wow, incredible post.


The team is awesome and well experienced.