2019 was a great year for Quantstamp. We released a book on smart contract security, helped push forward the DeFi movement through some key audits, launched our Bounty Protocol, expanded our presence into new markets, and more.
Publishing Fundamentals of Smart Contract Security
It was a lot of work, but we were very proud to release Fundamentals of Smart Contract Security earlier this year. We’re so thankful for the Quantstamp community, investors, advisors, professors and friends who've supported our mission and made this possible.
As the seminal book on smart contract security, we were grateful to be able to share our team’s knowledge through this book and move closer to our vision: helping the first billion people use blockchain securely. If you haven’t already, be sure to purchase your copy on Amazon.
In April, Quantstamp audited Nuo Network, a debt marketplace that connects lenders and borrowers from around the world using smart contracts. This was one of our first DeFi audits, one of many to come.
Backed by ConsenSys Ventures, Nuo Network revolutionized decentralized lending by using lending pools. This approach makes things much easier for both borrowers and lenders, who no longer need to match loans with each other.
Later in the year, we audited PoolTogether, a Decentralized Finance (DeFi) project which leverages blockchain technology to facilitate better outcomes for people. PoolTogether is a no-loss-lottery. If you do not win the weekly lottery, you still keep the money you spent on the ticket.
The way this works is that the money spent on lotto tickets enters a pool that is lent out on Compound. When a winner is selected, the winner only receives the interest generated from Compound. If you lost this week’s lottery, your funds are automatically entered into next week’s lottery. Users can withdraw their funds at any time.
The no-loss-lottery is only PoolTogether’s first product. They are considering creating a product that would allow wealthy individuals to donate interest generated off of their wealth to charity.
More recently, we’ve been securing next generation of decentralized finance applications by our work to help secure rDAI. rDAI is a DAI-like token that lets users keep a stable balance while directing the interest on that balance wherever they want. That interest can be used to support charities or nonprofit organizations, pay friends, or even invested in promising new DeFi projects.
This past month, we secured Sablier. We are moving towards a future where employees are streamed payments the moment they generate value for their employers. Sablier is pushing DeFi forward by allowing employees to receive a “continuous” salary.
In most jobs, employees front-load their labor, and their employers are indebted to their employees until the next pay period. Most companies settle their debts with their employees every 1 to 2 weeks; however, there are situations where employees urgently need to pay for something like rent or food, but they must wait until payday to receive money owed to them.
Sablier allows employers to make a one-off deposit and pay their workers on a continuous basis. Employers can allow their employees to withdraw money owed to them on a per-minute basis or even shorter.
Sablier suggests that continuous payments are ideal for freelancing, subscriptions, taxes, consultancy, rent and car parking. We are excited to see what Sablier can achieve in 2020.
Moving DeFi Forward
Sablier, rDai, Nuo and PoolTogether are part of Decentralized Finance, a movement to replace traditional financial products and services such as checking and savings accounts with decentralized applications built on blockchain platforms such as Ethereum. Top DeFi Projects like these are choosing Quantstamp to make sure users funds are safe in the DeFi applications they create.
DeFi is this year's killer app for blockchain technology. The total value of digital assets locked in DeFi is currently over $600 million US dollars and has doubled since the beginning of 2019 despite the bear market. DeFi is changing the way we think about payments, savings, generating passive income and more; however, it will fail to realize its full potential unless users feel confident that their assets are safe while using DeFi.
Security is a legitimate concern. In 2017, over a quarter billion dollars worth of digital assets were lost or stolen due to bugs in blockchain applications. Quantstamp will continue securing the future of finance by working with leading DeFi applications in 2020.
As we move into 2020, Ethereum has just undergone the Istanbul upgrade. This update enables near-term scalability improvements while we wait for ETH 2.0 As Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire explains:
“With the Ethereum Istanbul hard fork, zero-knowledge Rollups are now possible and will allow Layer 2 scaling on Ethereum supporting upwards of 3000tps (larger than Visa) while maintaining decentralization and privacy. This is a big win for ETH-based stablecoins, [like USD Coin (USDC)].”
We are also excited about cross-chain developments happening on Ethereum and other platforms.
In April we audited Kava Token. Kava is a cross-chain CDP platform built on Cosmos. Similar to how MakerDAO allows users to collateralize ETH to create DAI, Kava allows users to collateralize other assets including BTC, ATOM and BNB into CDPs to create stablecoin balances.
Besides Kava, more platforms for other assets are emerging such as RSK and Echo. These platforms allow Bitcoin - the largest crypto-asset by volume and liquidity - to be used for DeFi. While DeFi has experienced explosive growth in 2019, we think it’s just getting started.
Latest Release of the Quantstamp Decentralized Security Network
In June, we released the latest version of the Quantstamp Decentralized Security Network. With open source code available on Github, this version of the protocol allows anyone to run a node and help secure smart contracts on a decentralized security network.
The Quantstamp Security Network V2 allows users to run decentralized scans on smart contracts for potential vulnerabilities and store a decentralized report of the results directly on the Ethereum blockchain.
This latest update features an enhanced user interface and features a decentralized design. Anyone interested in running a node just needs to follow these instructions.
The Quantstamp Decentralized Security Network was also profiled when Quantstamp won the Blockchain in Cybersecurity Use Case Awards this fall.
Another whitepaper goal for Quantstamp was a decentralized bounty protocol. We delivered on this promise with an open source bounty protocol anyone can build on. It uses cryptoeconomic incentives to create a decentralized marketplace where bug bounty hunters can get paid to find vulnerabilities in smart contracts that automation cannot detect. It uses the power of smart contracts and cryptocurrency to leverage software engineering talent from around the world to add an essential layer of infrastructure for blockchain security.
Expanding our Presence in New Markets: Dubai & Japan
With Japan being an important market in digital payments, we were excited to expand our presence there in 2019. As blockchain technology is adopted in the financial world, smart contracts will play an increasingly important role. The market for smart contract-driven applications in Japan is strong and has the potential for even more growth in the future. Following investment from Nomura Holdings and Digital Garage, Quantstamp established a limited liability company, Quantstamp Japan GK, to assist Japanese startups and enterprises in using blockchain technology securely.
Dubai is aiming to cement its reputation as a global leader in technology innovation and the smart economy. With this in mind, we were honored to win first place at the Smart Dubai Global Blockchain Challenge. Organized by Smart Dubai and Dubai Future Accelerators, the Smart Dubai Global Blockchain Challenge is part of the government’s Blockchain Strategy 2020, where blockchain will be used to enhance the quality of life of its citizens. We delivered on this goal by working with the RTA on blockchain technology prototypes, and are currently working with other companies in the region to leverage blockchain to improve the lives of citizens in Dubai.
Doing Our Part to Change the World
Earlier this year, we were proud to be involved in a joint effort among multiple agencies–including the World Economic Forum–to explore the potential of blockchain to reduce corruption in corporate procurement in Colombia. It’s estimated that 20-25% of funds are lost to corruption globally at the government level, so this is a really exciting application of this technology.
Another great initiative Quantstamp participated in was an alliance to unveil the first social impact stablecoin on Binance. The Binance Charity Foundation’s Pink Token Care Project was launched with the aim to increase opportunities for women in underdeveloped countries by providing them with feminine care products. With the stablecoin being tied to a years’ worth of these products, the Pink Care Token Project provided a tangible example of using blockchain technology to create concrete improvements in society.
We had the opportunity to work on exciting and meaningful projects throughout 2019 and are incredibly thankful to the Quantstamp community and their continued support. We look forward to what 2020 holds and hope you’ll continue to follow our journey as we tackle new and exciting milestones in the coming year.