Team Information

CertiK HQ: New York, NY, US

CertiK is the premier blockchain cybersecurity company with leading Formal Verification technology to mathematically prove whether smart contracts and blockchain ecosystems are bug-free and hacker-resistant. CertiK believes that the success of blockchain ecosystems is contingent on trust, and the team’s mission is to raise the standards of blockchain security.



CertiK was founded in 2017 in New York City by active professors and researchers at Yale and Columbia University. The company leverages leading Formal Verification technology to mathematically ensure the highest level of security in smart contracts and blockchain ecosystems. CertiK’s current scope of service includes Smart Contract Auditing, Platform Security Customization Solution, Penetration Testing; Threat Detection, etc. CertiK was the first to introduce the DeepSpec technology (researched in collaboration with MIT, Yale, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania), delivering state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions to some of the largest blockchain projects across all major protocols.

As of now, CertiK has provided top-notch security audits to 150+ projects and has partnered with top digital assets exchanges and public chain platforms such as Binance, Huobi, OKEx, ICON and NEO as their security provider. With the mission of raising the standards of cybersecurity, CertiK is backed by prominent investors, including Binance Labs, Lightspeed, BitMain, Matrix Partners, and DHVC. In 2019, the DeepSEA language, a joint research project between CertiK, Yale University and Columbia University, has received grants from Qtum Foundation, IBM Blockchain and Ethereum Foundation.


Back in 2018, CertiK reached an official partnership with ICON, envisioning a higher standard of blockchain security. According to the ICON team, cooperating with CertiK led to a more trustworthy ICON ecosystem, as their on-chain DApps will soon be able to submit their SCOREs to CertiK for an almost entirely automated smart contract audit.

Going forward, CertiK will continue empowering the ICON community by leveraging customized verification services and security solutions. CertiK will also be able to bring in its current client base and partners to participate in the development of the ICON project and community, stimulating synergies among various roles in a decentralized world with great trust.


The ICON project aims to integrate different blockchains and facilitate value exchanges by implementing mass adoption of blockchain technology. To realize this goal, a universal trust network empowered by robust security standard is essential. The CertiK team leverages leading Formal Verification technology to mathematically prove blockchain ecosystems and smart contracts are trustworthy, such endeavors align with ICON’s vision. CertiK firmly believes that the intrinsic value of a hyperconnected blockchain world will only be fully realized within the trust of the community. As CertiK proceeds with safeguarding ICON project, the team found endless potential of ICONSENSUS towards popularizing blockchain technology.  


The CertiK team will act as a security partner, true supporter and companion of ICON project through the following initiatives:

  1. Q2, 2019: Participatie in ICON’s ecosystem as a trusted security provider

  2. Q2, 2019: Offer consultancy over security perspective to promote stability and trustworthiness to the community.

  3. Q2, 2019: Engage with community members and other P-Reps to represent ICON’s value

  4. Q3 2019: Develop a customized Formal Verification framework to mathematically prove that ICON’s on-chain smart contracts and DApps are secure

  5. Q4, 2019: Help ICON project reach high level of security by leveraging CertiK’s latest technologies and products such as Autoscan and DeepSpec


Expected Network Information

United States Amazon Web Service (AWS)

Instance Type: C5.9 Large; CPU Model: Intel(R), Xeon(R), Platinum 8124M CPU @3.00GHz; vCPU (core): 36; RAM: 72G; Disk: 500G NVMe SSD (EBS Bandwidth 4.5 Gbps); Netrowk: 10 Gbps

Team Members

Prof. Zhong Shao, CO-Founder, President Team Member

Zhong Shao is Thomas L. Kempner Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Computer Science at Yale University. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Princeton University in 1994. During his early career, he was a key developer of the SML/NJ compiler and the main architect of its FLINT certifying infrastructure. In recent years, Shao has been a leading figure working on the highly visible research fields on cybersecurity, programming languages, operating systems, and certified software. He and his FLINT group at Yale have developed the world’s first hacker-resistant concurrent operating system CertiKOS—a major milestone toward building cyber-physical systems that are provably free from software vulnerabilities. Shao is the author or co-author of 90 articles in top scientific journals and conferences. LinkedIn:

Prof. Ronghui Gu, Co-Founder, CEO Team Member

Ronghui Gu is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Yale University in 2016, where his dissertation won the Distinction Dissertation Award at Yale and was nominated for the ACM Dissertation Award. He obtained his B.S. from Tsinghua University in 2011. Prof. Gu is an expert in formal verification of system software. He was the primary designer and developer of CertiKOS, the world’s first fully verified concurrent OS kernel. His OSDI16 paper on CertiKOS has been nominated and selected for publication in the Research Highlights section of the CACM. LinkedIn:

Muhan Zou, EVP, CSO Team Member

Muhan Zou serves as the founding member of CertiK from company inception, where he contributes with both his engineering abilities and team leadership. Muhan has years of experience in designing and developing enterprise level SaaS products. Prior to joining, he worked as the engineering lead at Comcast to monetize large-scale ads and settop-box/linear raw data into business insights deliverables. He also worked as a full-stack engineer at Oracle where he built the social cloud platform after obtaining his MA in Computer Science from Yale University. LinkedIn:

Daryl Hok, COO Team Member

Daryl Hok spearheaded Corporate Development at FiscalNote, a global machine-learning legal tech company, where he accelerated growth by completing 3 acquisitions in 12 months, including a $180M purchase from The Economist Group. He was also the Product Manager responsible for ideation and release of a SaaS product with several million USD in recurring revenue, along with the development of the core data infrastructure. He obtained a dual BA in Economics and Psychology from Yale University, with concentrations centered around behavioral economics LinkedIn:

Yvan Nasr, Head of Business Development Team Member

Yvan Nasr led various Product and Business Development initiatives at Samsung Electronics and was the driving force behind Barclays Bank’s digital transformation in key European markets - UK, Spain, Italy. Prior to obtaining his MBA, Yvan also led the growth of Europe’s largest retail holding, Kingfisher PLC, diversifying the brand’s global footprint and product ranges in key Middle Eastern and Asian markets. Recently, he was the Head of Partnerships at Hosho, a blockchain cybersecurity startup. He obtained his MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. LinkedIn:

Dr. Zhaozhong Ni, VP of Engineering Team Member

Zhaozhong Ni was an engineering lead at Google and HP / 3PAR and a researcher at Microsoft Research. He is an expert in systems software and formal verification and has extensive experience in building operating systems kernels and mission-critical enterprise systems. Dr. Ni was a founding member of gVisor, Google’s new security-focused OS with cloud-scale production. He holds multiple patents on distributed storage systems. He obtained his BS from Tsinghua University in 2000 and his PhD in Computer Science from Yale University in 2006. LinkedIn:

Dr. Vilhelm Sjöberg, Principal Scientist Team Member

Vilhelm Sjöberg is a former associate research scientist at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. He is an expert in software verification, programming languages, and type systems. Currently he is interested in language support for layered verified systems like CertiKOS. Dr. Sj¨oberg is the winner of 2016 ACM SIGPLAN John C. Reynolds Doctoral Dissertation Award. LinkedIn:

Dr. Kai Yan, CBO Team Member

Dr. Kai Yan has extensive experience in business growth, economic research and financial markets. He previously worked as an economist at the International Monetary Fund and a strategist at a hedge fund. At the IMF, he worked with global regulators to devise new regulations around an improved banking system. While working at a hedge fund, he was responsible for designing and executing trading strategies. Dr. Yan obtained his BA in Economics from Peking University and his PhD in Economics at Yale University. LinkedIn: