Apostro is a recently established European startup building a risk management platform to improve the economic security of DeFi protocols. It offers a fresh approach to DeFi security by implementing proven risk management practices and tools from traditional finance.
Many DeFi projects have become victims of exploits, losing millions of USD worth of crypto every year. The first quarter of 2022 is already setting a new record with $1.3 billion stolen in illicit transactions. While the total value locked in DeFi has already surpassed $200 billion, loopholes in the infrastructure and deficiency of risk management tools allow bad actors to steal money. This stalls DeFi adoption as institutions and big players want more security assurances before considering the space as a safe portfolio diversification option.
Currently, DeFi protocols rely on audits of their smart contracts, but this practice is insufficient when dealing with economic threats. Stress testing and formal verification can simply miss a potential logic backdoor, which gives hackers a way to steal funds by exploiting economic opportunities rather than technical weaknesses.
To deal with such threats, Apostro is building a system that will analyse smart contracts’ business logic and typical interactions with the protocol by an average user. It will monitor all transactions to identify malicious behaviour that can cause damage to the protocol.
Apostro can also prevent or delay an exploit by complicating its execution by setting limits on the amount of available liquidity in one block or transaction. Simultaneously, it will alert the developers of any threats to a protocol’s security, allowing them to take necessary measures to mitigate the negative impact.
‘We help minimise the impact of economic attacks on DeFi systems. Technical attacks are more or less sorted out by now: there are many good auditors, and most issues are relatively easy to catch. With economic issues, however, there are no ideal solutions available yet,’ – states Tim Ismiliaev, founder and CTO at Apostro.