llia Polosukhin is Co-Founder of NEAR Protocol, a decentralized developer platform powered by a sharded smart contract blockchain. NEAR’s vision of a scalable, robust, and highly usable blockchain began in 2018 when they couldn’t find a protocol that met the needs of builders. NEAR Protocol launched its mainnet in 2020 and is focused on scaling to global mainstream adoption. Illia has more than 10 years of industry experience, including 3 years at Google where he was a major TensorFlow contributor and managed the team building question-answering capabilities for the core Google search, as well as an author of several notable research papers. Illia has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg, TIME, Wired, New York Magazine, Forbes, and TechCrunch.