Joseph Poon is an American academic specializing in solving problems related to blockchain scalability.
In January 2016, Poon co-authored a paper on a 2nd layer scalability solution for Bitcoin titled The Bitcoin Lightning Network: Scalable Off-Chain Instant Payments. Several companies began working on practical implementations of the Lightning Network shortly afterwards.
After authoring the Lightning Network paper, Poon and Vitalik Buterin co-authored a paper on a scalability solution for Ethereum titled Plasma: Scalable Autonomous Smart Contracts. Plasma theoretically allows decentralized applications built on Ethereum to move smart contract computation onto 2nd layer side chains, increasing the overall throughput of the main Ethereum chain without sacrificing its trustless nature.