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Crucial security errors that could invite malicious actors to a DeFi project

Lately, there has been a noticeable calm in the defi space. The stablecoin trading project Platypus experienced a flash loan attack on AAVE at the start of 2023, which cost them $9 million in assets. Things in the defi space appear to have calmed down since then.

Sadly, it is not appropriate to mistake the absence of any seismic security breaches during the last few months for a sign of marked progress in terms of safety.
Crucial security errors that could invite malicious actors to a DeFi project
Source: Freepik

Important mental errors that protocols need to be aware of

Defi procedures are nevertheless prone to security breaches, even though they don’t always make the news. These breaches are frequently the consequence of typical errors that the affected parties unintentionally make. There are two main instances of these errors that may result in security flaws.

The first is failing to keep an eye on news regarding possible vulnerabilities or exploits in forked defi protocols, which could have detrimental effects on the project and its users. Let’s say the problems with a recently created fork are not found and fixed. The security of the protocol might then be compromised by malevolent actors, resulting in monetary losses and sophisticated system manipulation.

The second major error is caused by the fact that defi projects frequently face tremendous pressure to enter the market as soon as possible. Because of the fast-paced nature of this industry, developers frequently skimp on careful planning and thorough security testing. The protocols created as a result are vulnerable to various security risks, including zero-day flaws.

A zero-day vulnerability arises when there is a fault in the underlying software that the vendor is not yet aware of. In such a scenario, an attacker can quickly and simply take advantage of the system’s vulnerabilities before any security mechanisms are put in place.

The gap: specialized knowledge of defi development

The TradFi sector has one significant advantage, despite the many issues it faces: a sizable pool of knowledgeable and competent individuals who are familiar with the subtleties of this particular market. In contrast, one of the biggest problems exacerbating the security concerns for this domain is the lack of such specific knowledge in defi.

Defi protocols, as I have repeatedly seen, frequently lack the oversight of product owners who are knowledgeable about the complexities of the cryptocurrency market as well as the subtleties of banking and economics.

One of two categories often describes most project teams. The first group consists of individuals who left the TradFi scene and are finding it difficult to adapt to the defi market’s rapid pace and incorporate it into their growth processes. Sometimes, this can lead to one of two unwanted consequences. Either the development process is hurried, resulting in a finished product that is half-baked and full of security holes, or it takes too long, causing the product to lose out on its share of the market.

On the other hand, there are some who have only ever worked in the cryptocurrency industry. As a result, they are unable to recognize the significance of numerous topics that TradFi’s experience and knowledge base could address. This frequently results in subpar security procedures for purposes other than smart contract audits and code quality. Risks related to the economy and market are not taken into consideration while identifying vulnerabilities.

A well-structured tokenomics model is essential to the defi space, and its developers would need to have a solid grasp of economics to design one. Unskilled developers might design token systems that are inefficient, which could result in problems like inflation, deflation, or an unequal distribution of economic incentives among users.

Consequently, the defi industry needs a diverse set of experts who can choose trustworthy oracles, comprehend liquidity management issues, handle interoperability with other blockchain platforms, and be aware of creating user-friendly interfaces that draw and keep users.

Getting ready for the future: Security despite worries about centralization

Unquestionably, the defi environment has been changing quickly, and the ecosystem as a whole has a lot of potential. But given the frequency of significant financial losses, it is imperative that urgent security concerns be taken seriously.

There have been worries about the entire ecosystem turning into an indirect TradFi counterpart even since defi first launched. Decentralization is a desirable idea, but putting it into practice has not been without its difficulties. Defi protocols have recently started imposing various restrictions and limits on certain actions that users can undertake in order to prevent falling victim to the same security issues.

Although these procedures may be perceived as restricting and an attempt to reinforce centralized control, they actually make a good deal of sense when serious security issues are involved. These steps become crucial as the business develops to boost the confidence of entrants, many of whom are traders and conservative investors from the TradFi environment

December 18, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Updated December 18, 2023 at 5:00 pm


Remember, investing in cryptocurrencies involves risks, and it’s important to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice before making any financial decisions. (Please keep in mind that this post is solely for informative purposes and should not be construed as financial or investment advice.)


DeFI stands for decentralized finance, offering open and accessible financial systems built on blockchain technology.

Yield farming involves earning interest by lending or staking cryptocurrencies.

Layer 1 blockchains are the primary networks (e.g., Ethereum), while layer 2 blockchains scale and improve performance on top of them.

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