Since Quantstamp was founded, we have secured over $200B worth of digital assets and worked with 200+ startups, foundations, and enterprises. 2021 was another exciting year: we saw the rise of NFTs and the evolution of the metaverse, an explosion in both L2 scaling solutions and L1 blockchains, and rapid growth for both our team and the overall industry. Here’s a look over the past 12 months and some of the amazing projects that have come our way in the journey to secure the decentralized web.
Year of the Metaverse
NFT growth in 2021 was impressive. According to DappRadar, NFT sales rose from $1.3B in Q2 to an incredible $10.7B in Q3. In what has been described as “the year of the metaverse,” this rapid growth makes sense: NFTs give users complete ownership of their virtual lands, assets, and spaces in the metaverse.
Earlier in the year, we were proud to secure the smart contracts involved in tokenizing one of the most valuable art projects in the NFT space. In January, the Metapalooza Launch Party marked the launch of B20, a tokenized NFT bundle by famed digital artist Beeple. The B20 token decentralized ownership of over 20 digital artworks by the American artist and was among the first of many metaverse projects that would emerge this year. In March, history was made when Beeple sold an NFT—The First 5000 Days—for close to $70 million at Christie’s Auction House, kicking off what would be described as an ‘NFT mania’.
Quantstamp was also honored to help secure Illuvium, an open-world RPG adventure game built on the Ethereum Blockchain. So far, we have completed three audits, including staking mechanisms, and look forward to future engagements with the talented Illuvium team.
Another notable audit was SuperRare, a curated digital art gallery and social network featuring some of the best and most exclusive NFT artists around. From collectible gifs to the biggest names in music, SuperRare lets NFT artists tokenize their art on the Ethereum blockchain, preventing forgery and providing an immutable record of ownership.
The L2s Scaling Ethereum
2021 was also a breakthrough year for L2 scaling solutions. Scaling has been a consistent issue for the Ethereum network, and a critical piece in achieving its vision of being scalable, secure, and decentralized. This summer, Quantstamp audited the native bridge for Arbitrum, an optimistic rollup. Arbitrum quickly captured the top spot among Ethereum's L2s, and with over $2B TVL, has been holding its position ever since.
Boba Network is another optimistic rollup-based scaling solution that has gained significant traction. Quantstamp is in the process of auditing Boba’s optimism-v2 repository, focusing on Boba-specific smart contracts such as the fast bridge and its associated liquidity pools.
In September, Quantstamp began a security engagement with Solana, a scalable Layer 1 blockchain that can support up to 50k transactions per second and 400ms block times without shards or roll-ups. Solana’s impressive speed comes from the fact that transactions are verifiable without all the nodes agreeing at the same time: one of Solana’s key innovations is Proof of History (PoH). Over the past few months, the ecosystem has seen many other projects emerge, including some Quantstamp has audited: Quarry, an app to discover, launch, and farm DeFi liquidity mines, and Hedgehog Markets, a prediction market on Solana.
Quantstamp also conducted several security engagements with the Flow blockchain ecosystem. Flow is the world’s fastest growing blockchain, originally created by Dapper Labs, which is most notably known as the creator of CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot. Flow made headlines multiple times this year, reaching a sales volume of $25B in the first six months of 2021. In addition to auditing Flow’s core smart contracts and programming language, we also conducted an audit of BloctoSwap, the first decentralized exchange (DEX) on Flow.
Another notable audit was Tezos domains, a distributed, open, and extensible naming system where users can choose human-readable names for their Tezos wallet addresses. Other L1 security engagements included Casper Network, Terra, and Avalanche C-Chain, the default smart contract blockchain on Avalanche.
Securing DeFi’s Biggest Projects
While NFTs may have “stolen the show” in 2021, the DeFi space continued to exhibit substantial growth and evolution, surpassing $100B TVL by the third quarter of the year. Among a variety of DeFi projects from DEXes to derivatives, Quantstamp helped secure several top players in the DeFi landscape including Maker, Compound, and Curve.
Quantstamp has done numerous audits in the past for Maker, so we were honored to work with them again; this time, making DeFi safer by enhancing liquidations.
MEV (Miner Extractable Value) was also a hot topic this year. With the rising impact of MEV on DeFi users, we were pleased to audit kCompound. kCompound is an innovative product by KeeperDAO that gives Compound borrowers automatic default protection via a “just in time” underwriter and preferred liquidation via the KeeperDAO Hiding Game.
Custody solutions will continue to play a pivotal role for organizations and institutional investors entering the DeFi space. Although Quantstamp has audited other custody solutions in the past, Anchorage Digital stood out as they made history this year as the first Federally Chartered Digital Asset Bank. In December, the firm closed a $350 million funding round, placing its value at over $3 billion.
The Quantstamp family has grown to over 35 people across various teams including engineering, communications, operations, and business development. One of the most exciting developments this year was our expansion into Germany. With a goal to hire 15+ engineers in 2022, this move allows us to more easily facilitate employment in Germany. Learn more about what it’s like to work at Quantstamp in this recent blog post.
Growing the Industry
Collaboration and knowledge sharing is a core value at Quantstamp, so contributing to growth within the space is important to us. This year, we were honored to present at a number of events including JamHacks, Waterloo’s largest high school hackathon, and HackaTUM, the official hackathon of the Department of Informatics of the Technical University of Munich. HackaTUM was especially relevant this year given our recent expansion into Germany.
We sponsored DLT Talents, a mentoring program aiming to bring more women into the blockchain space. And, in addition to the sponsorship, three of our team members participated on panels for two different cohorts.
Through our continued collaboration with the World Economic Forum, we co-authored a recent whitepaper on digital currencies.
As a team, we are honored to have earned the level of trust we have with our community and continue to work towards our vision to secure the decentralized internet.
2021 brought incredible growth for the space: NFTs, gaming, decentralized finance, and everything in between. While we were honored to work on some of this year’s most exciting projects and protocols, we know this is only the beginning. In 2022, we look forward to helping the startups, enterprises, and builders keep their innovative projects safe in our continued journey to secure the metaverse.