HomeHealthCryptocurrency and Blockchain safety due diligence: A information to hedge threat

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain safety due diligence: A information to hedge threat

Blockchain expertise has skilled exceptional adoption in recent times, pushed by its use throughout a broad spectrum of establishments, governments, retail buyers, and customers. Nonetheless, this surge in blockchain use and cryptocurrency funding has raised considerations amongst governments and regulatory our bodies. The decentralized nature and cross-border capabilities of blockchains, together with an increase in scams, hacking incidents, and different illicit actions have underscored the necessity for scrutiny. This concern is heightened by the absence of complete regulatory measures.

This weblog offers steering for each people and organizations on the necessities of threat due diligence when contemplating the adoption or funding in blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and tokens. You will need to notice this steering is not meant as monetary recommendation. As a substitute, its primary objective is to assist customers determine and avoid scams and investments that will entail substantial dangers. However, for monetary recommendation that’s custom-made to particular person conditions, readers are inspired to hunt the counsel of a professional skilled.

The heightened threat related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies for adopters and buyers may be attributed to a normal lack of information and transparency in relation to their cybersecurity elements and dependability. Including to this threat is the rise of distinctive assault sorts particular to the blockchain atmosphere, which differ from conventional safety points. Blockchain safety, by its very nature, usually diverges from commonplace cybersecurity practices originating from its decentralized, immutable, and cryptographic nature.

This divergence has led to the emergence of latest threats that aren’t generally identified amongst many customers. Examples embody 51% assaults, sensible contract vulnerabilities, Finney assaults, and Vector76 assaults, which aren’t usually coated by standard cybersecurity measures. Most assaults on blockchains revolve round sensible contract and consensus mechanism exploitation which aren’t current in up to date IT or OT centralized digital environments.

To higher emphasize the necessity for in-depth understanding of the safety and reliability options of blockchains and cryptocurrencies, we’ll study two real-world blockchain assaults. These assaults led to appreciable monetary repercussions, serving as cautionary tales in regards to the potential dangers concerned. These incidents embody the Poly Community Cross Chain Contract Exploitation and Ethereum Basic 51% assault.

Case 1: Poly Community Cross Chain Contract Exploitation

The Poly Community hack occurred on the August 10, 2021, with $600 million stolen in additional than 12 totally different cryptocurrencies. The hackers exploited a bug to mismanage entry rights between two sensible contracts dealing with token transfers between totally different bridged (linked) blockchains and divert the funds to a few malicious pockets addresses.

The attacker exploited the performance “EthCrossChainData,” which information a listing of public keys that authenticate the information coming from the blockchain, permitting the attacker to switch the record to match its personal non-public keys and redirect funds to the chosen malicious wallets. This type of hacking incident may need been prevented with the implementation of thorough vulnerability assessments of the supply code. A notable difficulty is the inadequate data supplied to buyers and adopters relating to the inherent dangers related to cross-chain transactions. These dangers stem from the advanced coding essential to execute such operations, usually not absolutely understood by these concerned.

Case 2: Ethereum Basic 51% Assault

The Ethereum Basic blockchain suffered 4 “51% assaults,” through which a single entity gained management over a lot of the community’s computing energy by introducing many community shoppers/nodes with excessive computational capability overshadowing the computational energy of authentic nodes. This opened the door for adversaries to control community transactions and steal Ethereum Basic cash. Traders and adopters are sometimes unaware of the dangers entailed in proof-of-work consensus mechanisms that facilitate low hashrates.

The hashrate originates from the processing energy of validator nodes that lend their computational energy to validate and safe blockchain transactions. Within the case of a low hashrate, attackers can exploit the community by overpowering it. This may have a major affect for buyers, as they will lose a major quantity of their cash. Such incidences could possibly be mitigated by monitoring the hashrate of the blockchain community to implement proactive measures as soon as the hashrate falls underneath a threshold, all whereas monitoring on-chain exercise for double spend makes an attempt.

Blockchain Evaluation Methodology

Adopters, buyers, and enormous organizations are primarily involved with deciding on digital property which are dependable and safe to safeguard towards the lack of worth, whether or not by means of fraud or different unexpected issues. Due to this fact, we’ll concentrate on presenting an empirical methodology to mitigate related dangers. It goals to information the choice of dependable, and safe blockchains, cryptocurrencies and tokens, offering a framework for safer funding and adoption choices.

The proposed methodology facilities round 9 elementary pillars: Blockchain Kind, Consensus mechanism, Group, Whitepaper, Supply code, Historic hacks and vulnerabilities, Pockets distribution, Governmental and Authorized Scrutiny and Liquidity. Though the attributes presently used to evaluate blockchains and cryptocurrencies are deemed enough, you will need to acknowledge that these standards are prone to evolve alongside the development of blockchain expertise and cryptocurrencies. Future adjustments and enhancements in these applied sciences may be inferred from new options that builders introduce to blockchain techniques and cryptocurrencies which are usually described of their whitepapers or on GitHub pages.

Blockchain Kind

Blockchain kind refers back to the entry rights and diploma of management that customers have over a particular blockchain. There are 4 primary forms of blockchains:

  • Public: Anybody can learn and write (transact) on a public blockchain reminiscent of Bitcoin. That is essentially the most accepted kind of blockchain by way of safety and reliability as all stakeholders have visibility on all transactions and on-blockchain information. Usually, public blockchains have additionally a excessive diploma of decentralization, which minimizes assaults associated to high-influence nodes within the community.
  • Non-public: Solely the proudly owning group(s) can learn and write on the blockchain and, normally, solely a handful of nodes can write on the ledger (e.g., Hyperledger). Though such networks are normally quicker than public blockchains, they aren’t clear, and stakeholders can manipulate blocks at will to the extent that they will even affect the immutability of blockchain by altering earlier transactions or delete blocks.
  • Consortium: Like non-public blockchains, consortium blockchains (e.g., Ripple) additionally supply little to no transparency and are sometimes extremely centralized. The one distinction is that consortium blockchains compromised of a number of organizations as an alternative of a single entity.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid blockchains inherit architectural designs from private and non-private blockchains (e.g., Komodo). The diploma to what traits a hybrid blockchain inherits relies on a particular answer and its objective. Normally, a big a part of the actions and transactions happen on the background as a part of a non-public ledger (blockchain), the place the outcomes of these actions are broadcasted on a public blockchain. Whereas hybrid blockchains enhance efficiency, they compromise the trustless and absolutely clear nature of user-blockchain interactions. In these techniques, customers are required to position full belief within the group(s) overseeing the non-public parts of the transactions.

In evaluating blockchain threat ranges, public blockchains usually current the bottom threat. Their open-source nature fosters transparency of their operations, making their processes and transactions extra seen and accountable. Hybrid blockchains carry a reasonably increased threat because of their semi-transparent nature, the place not all parts are publicly accessible or managed by customers.

Non-public and consortium blockchains characterize the best threat class. These blockchains require customers to position full belief within the controlling entities, as they lack the transparency and decentralization of public blockchains. This heightened threat is because of the potential for misuse or mismanagement by the controlling events.

To precisely decide the kind of blockchain and mitigate dangers, notably on the subject of token (creation of crypto tokens may be created with minimal effort making them supreme for scams), it’s advisable to undertake three methodologies:

  • Evaluation of the venture’s web site and related whitepaper describing the crypto venture to confirm its worth and reliability, an instance can be the Ethereum whitepaper.
  • Go to the GitHub web page containing the supply code of the cryptocurrency or token of curiosity to validate its opensource and clear nature, reminiscent of Ethereum’s GitHub
  • Use blockchain explorers to ensure that transactions within the blockchain of curiosity are seen and clear to customers. Web sites like Blockchain.com can be utilized to discover transactions.

Sometimes, all of the talked about sources must be accessible for public blockchain initiatives. If any of those sources is unavailable, the related dangers notably escalate.

Consensus mechanism

A consensus mechanism is a fault-tolerant algorithm utilized in blockchains to realize agreements on a single state of the community amongst distributed processes or multi-agent techniques, reminiscent of cryptocurrencies. Consensus mechanisms in cryptocurrencies are utilized by validating nodes (e.g., miners) to validate and settle for transactions originating from decentralized computing brokers. 4 forms of consensus mechanisms exist:

  • Proof-Based mostly (Pox): There are two primary forms of proof-based algorithms, proof-of-work (PoW) and proof-of-stake (PoS).
    • Proof-of-Work: A decentralized consensus mechanism that requires miners to make use of their computational energy to validate transactions and mine new tokens in a blockchain community. That is achieved by fixing an arbitrary mathematical puzzle that forestalls fraud on the community. Proof-of-work is extensively utilized in cryptocurrency and is mostly a safe methodology for validating blockchain transactions. Nonetheless, the safety and reliability of such networks are closely reliant on the computational energy (hash-rate) and decentralization diploma of mining nodes. If the aggregated computation energy of miners is low or extremely centralized, it’s attainable that attackers overpower the safety of the community and harm the integrity and reliability of a blockchain by manipulating transactions which might incur vital disruptions together with lack of cash.
    •  Proof-of-Stake: Like proof-of-work, mining nodes in proof-of-stake blockchains validate block transactions in a decentralized method. Nonetheless, as an alternative of verifying transactions in proportion to the processing energy a miner holds on this case is relative to the share of the overall cash {that a} miner holds. Though, this improves power consumption and lowers mining prices, it poses vital safety dangers within the case the place a small variety of mining nodes personal the biggest share of cash in a community or the place the biggest holders collude to control the blockchain for revenue, reminiscent of value manipulation or apply insurance policies in a blockchain that may in the end profit the most important stakeholders.
  • DAG: Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAG) is an alternative choice to conventional consensus blockchain mechanisms that goals to enhance velocity, scalability and cut back prices. The principle distinction from different blockchains is on the information construction. As a substitute of storing information/transactions on a blockchain and passing this data to all of the nodes within the community, DAG networks can carry out point-to-point transactions with out broadcasting it to the community for verification because of their tree-like construction and high-connectivity between nodes. Though DAGs are simpler than legacy blockchains, they’re additionally weak to a number of assaults that may harm the integrity of a community because of the low quantity of authentications and transactions on the community, together with manipulating nodes within the community, leaving them vulnerable to numerous conventional networking, and blockchain-specific assaults.
  • PBFT (Sensible Byzantine Fault Tolerance): The principle goal of PBFT algorithms is to resolve whether or not to simply accept a chunk of knowledge that’s submitted to a blockchain or not. Every node within the community maintains an inside state. When a node receives a transaction, they use the message along with their inside state to carry out a computation. This computation will consequence into the choice in regards to the message. The choice is then shared with different nodes within the community. The ultimate resolution is decided based mostly on the overall choices from all nodes. In comparison with proof-of-work, a excessive hash price is just not required for verification as PBFT depends on the variety of nodes confirming a transaction. As soon as enough responses are reached, the transaction is verified as a legitimate transaction. Like proof-of-work, PBFT is usually a safe medium for verification solely when enough nodes exist within the community which are operated by totally different events.

The choice of a consensus mechanism Is a fancy activity, as every has its benefits and drawbacks by way of safety and reliability. In precept, proof-of-work is safe when a blockchain community is populated with many miners sustaining a excessive hash price for verifications, making it restrictive for adversaries to make use of their very own hash price towards the authentic customers and take over blockchain transactions.

Web sites reminiscent of Blockchain.com can present data on the hash price of varied blockchains. When it comes to proof-of-stake blockchains, they will solely keep their safe operations when there’s a wholesome distribution of the cryptocurrencies or tokens to numerous wallets and customers (the tactic to audit crypto distributions is visited later within the paper). DAG mechanisms are very vulnerable to man-in-the-middle assaults aiming to control the integrity and availability of transactions. PBFT mechanisms are usually secure, however vulnerable to assaults when small variety of nodes function in a blockchain community, permitting potential adversaries to implement assaults that may affect a lot of the community stakeholders, reminiscent of Sybil assaults, and make choices for the complete community.


This issue evaluates the openness of the workforce behind a blockchain, cryptocurrency or token. Whereas blockchain and cryptocurrencies essentially help decentralized and semi-anonymous transactions, the anonymity of the event workforce can markedly elevate the chance of financial loss because of a scarcity of accountability. This anonymity heightens the hazard of fraudulent actions reminiscent of rug-pulls or value manipulation.

Respected digital forex tasks usually disclose their workforce’s identities and credentials, offering assurance to customers and buyers in regards to the legitimacy of their venture. It must be easy to analysis a crypto venture’s workforce. Elevated issue find details about the workforce considerably raises the chance related to investing in or adopting the venture. Fundamental analysis on a crypto workforce may be carried out utilizing the next assets:

  • Social Networks (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Fb, Reddit, and so forth.).
  • YouTube
  • Cryptocurrency-related boards and communities reminiscent of Bitcointalk and CryptoCompare.
  • Podcasts and interviews with the operators.

It’s also essential to think about how lengthy the workforce has been operational. A shorter operational historical past suggests the next threat. As an illustration, if all social media and YouTube content material associated to the workforce have been created throughout the previous 5 days, and there’s little proof of great venture improvement, this might point out a possible rug-pull situation.


Whitepapers and roadmaps are essential, serving because the bedrock for comprehending, assessing, and partaking in varied crypto tasks. A whitepaper serves because the foundational doc, providing an in-depth exposition of the venture’s technical underpinnings, its mission, the issue it intends to deal with. It covers the cryptocurrency’s technical elements, consensus mechanism, safety features and tokenomics, thus equipping potential buyers and builders with a deeper understanding of the venture. These paperwork are instrumental in fostering transparency, which in flip cultivates belief and credibility — necessities in a sector brimming with innovation and funding prospects. For buyers, whitepapers and roadmaps are vital instruments for evaluating dangers and making choices.

As regulatory scrutiny escalates within the crypto world, whitepapers can signify a venture’s dedication to regulatory compliance, an more and more very important issue for long-term viability. A well-crafted whitepaper and roadmap thus empower buyers and customers to make knowledgeable selections, distinguish real tasks from fraudulent ones, and interact with the crypto group extra responsibly and knowledgeably.

Whitepapers must be simply accessible in a venture’s web site, such because the whitepaper for Avalanche. A whitepaper that’s not simply understandable or seems unexpectedly assembled, a situation now extra believable with generative AI, would possibly point out a doubtful venture.

Supply Code (GitHub)

Checking a cryptocurrency venture’s GitHub repository is significant for a number of causes. It affords perception into the venture’s improvement exercise and the competence of its improvement workforce. By inspecting the frequency and high quality of code commits, pull requests and difficulty discussions on GitHub, potential buyers and customers can gauge the venture’s dedication to ongoing improvement and the workforce’s potential to ship on their guarantees. A usually up to date and energetic GitHub repository is a optimistic signal, indicating that the venture is actively maintained and progressing in direction of its objectives.

GitHub additionally offers a stage of transparency and accountability that’s important within the cryptocurrency area. The open nature of GitHub permits anybody to scrutinize the codebase, which might reveal any vulnerabilities or safety points. It additionally permits the group to take part in code critiques, supply experiences and bug fixes, and recommend enhancements. This collaborative method enhances the venture’s safety and reliability. Conversely, tasks with closed or inactive repositories elevate pink flags, as they might be much less clear, or worse, probably deserted, or fraudulent. Acquiring entry to GitHub repositories must be a easy as a google search. The very best the variety of customers interreacting with the code and the longer the time of existence for a venture the best the boldness must be.

Historic hacks and vulnerabilities

This attribute considers if a blockchain, cryptocurrency or token was compromised or is weak to assaults. It’s regular to seek out {that a} crypto venture has been compromised at some extent of time, nonetheless, the exploitation methodology used for these assaults and weak code must be revised to make sure that the supply code is patched and secured. Within the case {that a} venture is just not involved with vulnerability administration and greatest safety practices, it renders the venture elevated threat because of a excessive probability of a future compromise.

To find out if a venture has a historical past of vulnerabilities and threats, a simple method is to seek the advice of information shops specializing in reporting on these points throughout the cryptocurrency sector. A major useful resource for this data is Rekt, protecting all reported exploitation throughout totally different blockchains and platforms. Extra sources that may additionally show helpful embody Cointelegraph, CryptoSlate and Substack.

Pockets Distribution

The pockets holder distribution describes the variety of cash or tokens held by every pockets for a particular venture. This metric solely applies for cryptocurrencies or tokens which are leveraging public or hybrid blockchains the place the transactions are publicly accessible. If a pockets holds a big distribution of a cryptocurrency or token, there’s a vital threat for community manipulation.

Such data may be discovered within the respective blockchains of curiosity (e.g., Etherscan for Ethereum) or in cryptocurrency and token value monitoring instruments reminiscent of CoinMarketCap. It’s essential to keep in mind that, in some instances, adversaries could break up their holdings of tokens throughout a number of wallets to offer the looks of decrease token accumulation in a community. It must be famous that addresses holding vital quantities of cryptocurrencies are sometimes related to exchanges or sensible contracts. It is a typical situation, and these addresses normally shouldn’t be factored into analytical assessments, except there’s cause to consider that an alternate or sensible contract tackle is working with malicious intent. Such nuances are essential in precisely deciphering the distribution and focus of tokens inside a community.

Governmental and Authorized Scrutiny

The exponential adoption of blockchain has seen extreme scrutiny by governments and regulators across the globe. Such case is the lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee towards Ripple, accusing the defendant of conducting an $1.3 billion unregistered securities providing.

Authorized and governmental scrutiny can considerably enhance the dangers of investing and adoption because of potential lack of worth. Such losses may be partial or full within the case the place a authorities orders an organization to stop operations (within the case of a centralized crypto venture). To reduce such dangers, adopters and buyers alike should warrant that their crypto venture of curiosity is just not a goal of governmental and authorized scrutiny. When vetting a cryptocurrency venture, it’s essential to think about the affect of sure governmental entities and organizations that play a major position in shaping international authorized frameworks and insurance policies for cryptocurrencies. These key entities usually set the requirements and laws that affect the crypto business, and consulting their pointers and insurance policies is a vital step within the analysis course of. These outstanding our bodies embody:

One other helpful supply to assist the reader higher perceive the present efforts on cryptocurrency regulation in numerous jurisdictions is the cod3x, crypto council for innovation and Atlantic Council.


Liquidity performs a vital position in assessing the reliability of cryptocurrency and token tasks. Low liquidity can considerably impede an investor’s potential to commerce, notably when attempting to exit their place (promote). Moreover, it leaves the crypto venture vulnerable to cost manipulation, as even a small quantity of capital can drastically have an effect on the value. This atmosphere is ripe for schemes like pump-and-dump or rug-pulls. Excessive liquidity, conversely, makes value manipulation tougher, requiring substantial capital to affect the market meaningfully.

Nonetheless, it’s value noting that low liquidity doesn’t all the time signify a scarcity of potential. Whereas it usually factors to a newly conceived venture missing substantial backing, some main crypto tasks started with restricted liquidity and organically grew over time. Due to this fact, liquidity must be thought of alongside different venture options for a extra complete analysis.

To evaluate the liquidity of a crypto venture, CoinMarketCap is a great tool. Key metrics to concentrate on embody the absolutely diluted market cap, which displays the overall worth of the cryptocurrency if all cash have been in circulation, and the circulating provide, indicating the presently accessible cash available in the market. Extraordinarily low values in both metric may pose vital dangers. Moreover, if the circulating provide is a small fraction of the absolutely diluted market cap, it might point out potential threat, as giant releases of cash into circulation may result in substantial value fluctuations and manipulation. Such particulars are sometimes outlined in a venture’s whitepaper and web site and must be rigorously reviewed.

Auditing Use Circumstances

To higher display the usage of the proposed auditing methodology and the necessity for due diligence in evaluating crypto tasks, we’ll apply this framework to a few hypothetical examples of cryptocurrencies and tokens. These instances will concentrate on public blockchains, as non-public or hybrid blockchains usually operate as “black containers.” In such blockchains, there’s restricted transparency relating to their inside workings, thus requiring the next diploma of belief.

Token “X” Coin “Y” Coin “Z”
Blockchain Kind Public Public Public
Consensus Mechanism Proof-of-Work (excessive hash price) Proof-of-Stake (low distribution) Proof-of-Work (low hash price)
Group Unknown Recognized Recognized
Whitepaper Sure – Low high quality, rushed, restricted worth Sure – good high quality Sure – good high quality
Supply Code

(Git hub)

Sure – Mission created 10 days in the past with solely two accounts linked to the venture Sure – greater than 1,000 energetic customers and builders Sure – greater than 500 customers and builders
Historic hacks & Bugs No Sure – however vulnerabilities fastened Sure – 51% assaults
Pockets Distribution 80% belongs to 2 non-public pockets addresses 40% belongs to a non-public pockets tackle Wholesome distribution, first 40 addresses maintain 11% of crypto
Governmental and Authorized Scrutiny N/A N/A N/A
Liquidity $90,000 $ 6,000,000 $ 100,000,000
  • The workforce is unknown.
  • Whitepaper reveals no innovation and no substance.
  •  Restricted monetary backing.
  • GitHub web page exists for simply two weeks with little following.
  • Majority of the tokens are distributed in simply two addresses, owned by the creators.


A high-risk funding that may be vulnerable to cost manipulation or a rug-pull.

  • Low liquidity mixed with a consensus mechanism tied to stake possession can enable menace actors to realize management over the community with a comparatively small funding.





The venture seems dependable and promising, but its low liquidity poses a threat to the safety of its consensus mechanism.

  • The community stays weak to assaults because of its historical past of 51% hacks and ongoing low hash price, with earlier problems with adversaries overpowering the community not but resolved.





The venture appears dependable; nonetheless, 51% assaults are nonetheless attainable that may result in lack of cryptocurrency.


The speedy growth of blockchain expertise has garnered consideration and concern from governments because of its decentralized nature and regulatory challenges. There may be nonetheless a necessity for corporations to concentrate on the dangers posed by these applied sciences, together with the specter of scams and distinctive blockchain vulnerabilities. We hope this submit serves as a information for secure adoption and funding, stressing the significance {of professional} recommendation for monetary choices. The intention is to teach a large viewers on navigating the advanced panorama of blockchain expertise safely and responsibly. At all times search professional steering, keep up to date with the newest developments, and prioritize safety in your blockchain endeavors.

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