Jutta Steiner: Secure Smart Contract Development | Summary and Q&A

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March 1, 2023
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a16z crypto
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Jutta Steiner: Secure Smart Contract Development

TL;DR

Smart contract development is not easy or secure, requiring careful threat modeling, auditing, and testing to mitigate vulnerabilities and ensure code quality.

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Key Insights

  • 📱 Smart contract development is a challenging and costly process, requiring thorough threat modeling, testing, and auditing.
  • 👨‍💻 Security should be considered at every level of an organization, from code development to governance and crisis communication.
  • 🎨 Interoperability and security challenges arise when deploying multiple chains, and careful design considerations are necessary to mitigate vulnerabilities.
  • 🤗 Open-source development and collaboration are crucial in building secure blockchain systems, as they foster collective efforts to solve security issues.

Transcript

thank you really excited um to be here with you today unfortunately in this remote capacity and it's a bit odd past midnight here in an empty office that's been empty now for two and a half weeks already but we do what we can so let's get started so I've been involved with crypto and security Now for more than seven years I think um joined the ethe... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How can smart contract developers ensure their code is secure?

Smart contract developers should engage in thorough threat modeling, testing, and auditing processes to mitigate vulnerabilities and ensure code quality. They should also establish strong security practices and foster a security-conscious culture within their organization.

Q: Is it advisable to roll your own blockchain?

Rolling your own blockchain is a complex and risky endeavor. It requires a deep understanding of blockchain architecture and security considerations. It is generally recommended to use existing frameworks, like Polkadot Substrate or Cosmos SDK, to ensure better security and interoperability.

Q: What are the challenges of implementing on-chain governance and how can they be mitigated?

Implementing on-chain governance introduces new social attack vectors and challenges in ensuring security. Governance processes must consider the motivations and behaviors of various stakeholders. To mitigate risks, projects should apply diverse voting mechanisms, maintain crisis communication procedures, and learn from other industries' best practices.

Q: How can security be aligned with the incentives of code reviewers and contributors?

Incentivizing code reviewers and contributors can be achieved by developing strong governance structures and establishing reward systems, such as treasury dials or token-based incentive mechanisms. Additionally, implementing strict review processes, anonymous feedback collection, and checks and balances can help address potential vulnerabilities introduced by trusted contributors.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Smart contract development is a complex and costly process that requires thorough security measures due to the irreversible nature of blockchain transactions.

  • Issues in smart contracts often stem from memory safety, malicious input, accidental access controls, and design decisions, making thorough threat modeling and testing crucial.

  • Open-source development and strong security culture are essential for preventing and addressing security issues in smart contracts.

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