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CertiK’s COO on the future of blockchain security and the normalisation of crypto-insurance

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CryptoSlate recently had the opportunity to chat with Daryl Hok, COO and Executive Vice President of global cybersecurity startup CertiK which provides end-to-end security solutions for the blockchain industry.

As the EVP & COO at CertiK, Daryl received a B.A. from Yale University and has previously held roles in Product Management, Corporate Development / M&A, and Business Development for companies like Fiscal Note and Signatory.

What is your professional background and how/when did you get into crypto?

After graduating from Yale University with a double major in Economics and Psychology (focusing on behavioral economics), I joined as one of the first employees at an AI-GovTech startup backed by Mark Cuban called FiscalNote. I actually first learned about Coinbase from the various policy and lobbying initiatives affecting virtual assets.

In 2017, while the ICO boom was happening, I was leading the Corp Dev team to close a $180M acquisition from The Economist Group. The negotiations were long and intense, but in between meetings, I found time to dive into the crypto space. Ever since, the blockchain bug latched onto me, and I joined CertiK as the COO with the mission of building the world’s leading blockchain cybersecurity company.

What is CertiK and what services does CertiK offer?

CertiK provides end-to-end security solutions for the blockchain world. We began with a focus on auditing blockchain projects and quickly became one of the most trusted auditors in the space. With tremendous growth these last few years, CertiK has since expanded to form pre-deployment auditing and penetration testing, to insurance alternatives, real-time on-chain monitoring, and a security oracle. In short: we protect project owners and token holders from everything but themselves.

One unique piece of technology is CertiK Chain, a first-of-its-kind security-focused blockchain. It’s designed for the trustworthy execution of mission-critical applications, including DeFi, NFTs, and autonomous vehicles. CertiK Chain integrates directly with a new, hyper-secure programming language called DeepSEA, which embeds formal verification to mathematically prove the correctness of code as its written.

What is the utility of the CertiK Token?

The CertiK token (CTK) is a utility token that powers the CertiK Chain. It’s also the native currency for CertiKShield: a decentralized discretionary mutual which provides reimbursement protection for digital assets. Both the purchase and the reimbursement are done in the CTK token, and collateral providers earn high yields for locking in their funds. Customers can also purchase audits, on-chain security monitoring, and other services with CTK at discounted rates.

Since the explosive growth of Defi, how does CertiK stay one step ahead of exploits?

This is a great question. It’s a bit like the Wild West, with the bad guys riding off into the sunset as the sheriff scrambles to catch up to them. At CertiK, we’re not interested in playing catch up.

Instead, we have an outstanding team of security engineers as well as an innovative toolset that allows for the detection of exploits before they happen. This multi-layered security stack includes pre-deployment auditing and penetration testing, on-chain monitoring, and reimbursement protection. It ensures that our clients are protected at all stages of the project lifecycle. 

How has the blockchain security space evolved in the last few years and what does the future of blockchain security look like?

When CertiK was first founded, auditing was considered above and beyond for a project to perform. Thankfully, with the efforts of ourselves and others, we’ve raised the standards to make auditing the norm. These days, audits are required for a project to be listed on any major exchange, and security-conscious users will ensure that a platform has been audited before committing any funds. That’s why we created certik.org to provide a public repository of audited projects for the community to verify.

The landscape of attack vectors has changed quite a bit over the past few years. While basic exploits still occur from coding errors such as reentrancy, those vulnerabilities are typically well known and easily avoided. Instead, many of the largest attacks that we’ve seen in the past 12 months have been exploits of a protocol’s financial logic – taking advantage of a very specific series of interactions in order to exploit a flaw. Flash loan attacks are an example of this sophisticated kind of attack that combines technical expertise with an understanding of inter-platform financial interactions.

The future of blockchain security requires an evolving set of defenses to counter the latest concoction of attacks. This may be in the form of more robust primitives and templates, more sophisticated tooling, or more dynamic strategies to mitigate risk. Crypto insurance or other forms of risk mitigation will likely gain popularity as a method of preparing for the unknown. As mainstream financial adoption of digital assets continues, so too will the adoption of mainstream financial standards. Like the evolution of audits, I believe that insurance will evolve to become part of the norm as well.

Why should a project or individual choose CertiK for insurance over its competitors?

As evident in the traditional insurance space, consumers have the option to choose among several different plans, each with bespoke aspects of reliability, coverage, methodology, and price.

CertiKShield leverages our company’s deep technical expertise to better inform policyholders and stakeholders. As a decentralized discretionary mutual, CTK holders are in charge of determining which claims to cover and which to reject. This gives the power to the people to establish flexible standards that can mold to the rapidly changing environment of blockchain.

CertiKShield is unique in many ways. Firstly, CertiK’s expertise as a leading security company enables detailed research reports to be released about specific claim proposals. These objective reports are released before voting on the claim takes place, allowing the community to be equipped with proper diligence to make a decision. Secondly, all purchased Shields are fully collateralized, so the funds needed to reimburse each active Shield are locked and set aside on-chain. The individuals who are providing the funds, called Collateral Providers, earn the fees paid by Shield Purchasers, creating a sustainable system for risk and reward. Finally, since CertiK Chain is interoperable as a bridge to many other protocols, the Shields offered on CertiKShield can span across protocols, including Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum, and many more.

Do you have any blockchain and/or crypto predictions for 2021 and beyond?

We’ve already seen some big leaps in these areas, but I believe 2021 has much more in store for multi-chain interoperability, NFT business models, and widespread stablecoin adoption / substitution of today’s “digital” fiat. With respect to security, I’d predict that various forms of insurance and their alternatives will gain more mainstream traction, as users begin to seek out methods of avoiding getting rekt. In a similar vein to on-chain lending, decentralized insurance alternatives like CertiKShield will gain popularity, especially for the higher volume projects.

Infrastructure projects will grow in importance as blockchain interoperability increases. The average user doesn’t want to worry about whether one type of crypto is compatible with a certain wallet or exchange; over time, this will get obfuscated for the user while the magic happens in the backend. 

Finally, I think we’ll see more publicly-traded companies following the lead of MicroStrategy, Square, and Tesla in holding Bitcoin as a treasury reserve asset as the dollar and other fiat currencies weaken as a result of continual printing.

All in all, 2021 is shaping up to be an exciting year for crypto.

What is your most controversial opinion relating to blockchain and/or cryptocurrency?

There’s a troubling amount of cognitive dissonance in the space, even among supporters of the same cryptocurrencies. For instance, with respect to bitcoin, there are a number of companies and individuals who focus on the efficiency of transfers to make bitcoin a more spendable currency, but that misses the point of where bitcoin has evolved its identity to become seen as a store of value. The original bitcoin whitepaper defines a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system,” but over the past ten years, the identity of bitcoin has evolved.

While it’s great that major public companies like Square are investing in bitcoin, statements such as CEO Jack Dorsey’s classification of bitcoin as a potential “native currency” of the internet are detractions from the core philosophy that bitcoin is meant to be stored, not spent. Of course, the two use cases of bitcoin, one as a currency and one as a store of value, are not mutually exclusive, but as described by Gresham’s Law in Economics, why would someone actively choose to spend something they believe will appreciate in the future (in this case, BTC)? If given the option, rational BTC hodlers would rather pay with stablecoins or other non-appreciating cryptocurrencies, not one they believe will moon over time. For that reason, the narratives of bitcoin as a currency, and in particular, the belief that BTC must be widely accepted and lightning-fast to succeed, are red herrings to the success that it has had (and will continue to have) as a store of value meant to be held, not transferred.

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Source: https://cryptoslate.com/certiks-coo-on-the-future-of-blockchain-security-and-the-normalisation-of-crypto-insurance/

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Where can you find the lowest fees on the crypto exchanges?

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A trader in any market, be it stocks, currencies or cryptocurrencies that are currently trending, is surrounded by a multitude of additional costs. These are all kinds of commissions, spreads, swaps, etc. And if you plan your trades incorrectly, such costs can “eat up” the lion’s share of profits or even reduce them to zero (see our crypto currency converter for comparison).

Fees on cryptocurrency platforms

When using the services of a cryptocurrency exchange, a trader has to pay a number of commissions. The most common types of these on the trading floor are:
1. Transaction Fee. This is the most common commission that is charged for deposits or withdrawals at the exchange.
If a cryptocurrency exchange only supports the deposit or withdrawal of cryptocurrencies, then the trader only pays the commission charged by the miners for such transactions. The amount of the commission is usually insignificant in this case.
For transactions with fiat currencies, you have to pay a commission for the use of the payment system. At the same time, the amount of the commission varies depending on the system chosen (bank transfer or something else). In addition, the degree of verification of the merchant account usually also affects the amount of the commission.
2. Commission for closing a trade. This commission on cryptocurrency exchanges is calculated directly when trading, when placing an order. Usually the level fluctuates in the range of 0.1-0.25%, but on some platforms it can even be more than 1% of the trading volume.

Maker and taker

A maker is a trader who opens sales transactions. The name comes from the English word “to make” (to do something). It is assumed that the maker brings his assets to the stock exchange, that is, “makes the market”.
A taker is a trader who buys something. It is assumed that the taker reduces the liquidity of an asset class on the market because after the purchase the asset moves to an external account and is therefore no longer on the market. is available.
Since the maker provides liquidity and the taker takes it away, the amount of the commission for the maker is usually lower than for the taker.
However, there are cryptocurrency exchanges where there are no commissions at all for placing orders. Such sites are becoming increasingly popular, but the liquidity in their trades often leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, to compensate for the lack of trading commission, such sites often charge excessive transaction fees.

Cryptocurrency platforms with minimal fees

The following platforms differ from crypto exchanges in that they have minimal commissions:
ü Binance has the lowest fees among the most popular platforms – at 0.1%, and if you use the exchange’s own tokens, they are even lower.
ü On the HitBTC website, the commission for placing an order for both the maker and the taker is 0.1%.
ü On Bitfinex, the trading commission for the maker is 0.1% and for the taker 0.2%.
ü On io, a maker pays between 0% and 0.16% for placing an order, for a taker the commission is between 0.1% and 0.2%.
ü There is no trading commission for makers on the GDAX and itBit platforms. For takers it is 0.25%.
ü On the Livecoin exchange you will find an option with a commission-free deposit in fiat currency (via the capitalist system). When the trading volume is small, the trading commission is 0.18%.

Under the supervision

There is a wide variety of cryptocurrency platforms offering digital asset trading – from humble exchanges that focus on the local market segment and have different reputations to the top giants that are analogous to the NYSE, LME or the NASDAQ are in the cryptocurrency world. Therefore, every trader can choose an exchange with acceptable commission fees for himself. We wish you every success in such an exciting business as trading in cryptocurrencies.

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Capitalizing on Blockchain’s Promise, Unicly Delivers NFT Fractionalization

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Unicly’s decentralized and permissionless protocol empowers the community to fractionalize, combine, and trade non-fungible token collections through sharding, improving overall NFT accessibility and fungibility through its novel design.

Accompanying Unicswap DEX Attracts Millions In Liquidity

Non-fungible tokens have become all the rage as platforms onboard high-profile artists, entertainers, and evangelists seeking a new way to monetize their collectibles, creations, and works of art.

Yet, the eye-popping auction figures aside, NFTs represent one blockchain area that largely remains inaccessible to wider audiences as surging prices concentrate overall ownership. Moreover, this nascent market’s dynamics don’t correspond to the fungible token market characterized by high liquidity among popular tokens.

By definition, a non-fungible token is not designed to be easily exchangeable. Because an NFT is unique, it ordinarily has a single buyer, contributing to an absence of market depth and almost no real-time liquidity. Accordingly, building an efficient secondary market is difficult, especially given that NFTs all have different values and varying levels of demand.

Despite these very real obstacles, Unicly, led by pseudonymous founder 0xLeia, has unleashed a platform that can fractionalize NFT ownership. Besides granting NFT holders a new channel for monetizing their existing NFT holdings, the protocol can provide liquidity to whitelisted collections while promoting more widespread adoption and participation.

Transforming Non-Fungible into Fungible

Unicly has developed an innovative approach for improving NFT fungibility. Unlike other projects in the space, this anonymous, self-funded initiative has introduced sharding to the equation. Sharding effectively splits a blockchain network into multiple parts to process transactions quicker while adding scalability.

In Unicly’s case, each NFT gallery can be a shard, distancing itself from other competing solutions which shard each NFT individually. The new protocol will allow users to create and fractionalize NFT collections from NFTs minted in either of Ethereum’s ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards. Each collection is independently named and configured before settings, including token supplies and tickers, are determined for each gallery.

Once the corresponding NFTs are moved from a user’s wallet to smart contracts, uTokens (with the ticker mentioned above) are issued. After a preset percentage amount of uTokens are staked, the collection is unlocked for bidding.

Building Up NFT Liquidity

Secondary market liquidity has been the Achilles heel of NFT trading platforms, but Unicly has devised a cunning answer where others have failed. Taking a page out of decentralized finance’s book, the platform has introduced Unicswap, a fork of the popular Uniswap protocol. This AMM DEX helps users stake their uTokens and other cryptocurrencies to farm UNIC, the native Unicly token, through liquidity pooling.

Since unveiling the mainnet just days ago, the platform has already garnered significant popularity. According to figures, Unicswap attracted $3.5 million worth of liquidity to whitelisted pools in just four days. Additionally, 24-hour volume of $1 million puts competition SuperRare squarely in Unicly’s sights. After reaching nearly one-quarter of the competing platform’s monthly transaction volume in mere days, the total capitalization of NFTs in Unicly’s marketplace has now topped $20 million.

Proving beyond a doubt that its model is valuable, some significant collections have already joined the platform. uMask, a collection of 85 hashmasks, has reached a value of approximately $16 million, marking a 16-fold increase in the valuation from its original listing at $1 million. The first gallery listed on the platform, uUNICLY experienced similar exponential growth after listing 3 branded NFTs, rising from $300 to an astounding $180,000.

Another gallery, titled uLEIA, was built as an homage to the anonymous founder of the protocol by combining 0xLeia’s profile picture with AI-generated content. The platform has also appealed Chris McCann, a National Geographic award-winning photographer who listed his uCM collection of NFTs and other noteworthy collections from DokiDoki, MoonCats, WAIFU, and Nubians.

Taken together, Unicly’s fresh approach to NFTs is already demonstrating that a better model for community engagement and egalitarian participation exists, thanks in large part to sustainable incentives and valuable user-centric features.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/company/capitalizing-on-blockchains-promise-unicly-delivers-nft-fractionalization/

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Riot Blockchain Bitcoin production jumps 80% over pre-halving levels

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The company said it held more than $94 million in crypto as of March 31, all from Bitcoin it has mined.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/riot-blockchain-bitcoin-production-jumps-80-over-pre-halving-levels

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