Smart contract and blockchain security are serious concerns today. Mistakes in code and miscalculations can result in expensive problems down the line for ICOs. If code is not up to standard and a problem arises, money can get lost, or stuck in the blockchain forever. This is why companies turn to smart contract auditors to assess the reliability of their code. A smart contract audit looks for bugs and vulnerabilities before the code is deployed on the network.
Hosho is a company that does just that. One of the leaders in the field, Hosho provides smart contract auditing services from its office in Las Vegas. Armen Andonian, Head of Communications for CryptoFriends, an international blockchain and crypto events company, sat down with Hartej Sawhney, Co-Founder of Hosho. In his interview, Hartej shares how blockchain security and smart contract audits impact ICO projects and why a smart contract is an important step for a token sale.
AA: I am here with Hartej Sawhney, Co-Founder of Hosho, at the CryptoFreinds iGathering birthday party in Malta. Nice to meet you Hartej. Can you tell us a little bit about how you first got started in blockchain and crypto?
HS: Yes, sure! I read Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper in 2011, and we began whiteboarding instantly. We considered what the effects of a trustless, decentralized world would be, and became really, really excited.
AA: Awesome! You are the founder of Hosho, an ICO auditing company based in Las Vegas; can you tell us about Hosho and what it does exactly for an ICO audit?
HS: So, Hosho is actually a cybersecurity blockchain company. We focus on finding security vulnerabilities in smart contracts on any blockchain. Sometimes people write smart contracts for an ICO, and sometimes an entire business is run on a smart contract. Each line of a smart contract is code. We test that code, line by line, to ensure there aren’t any vulnerabilities in the contract.
We put a cryptographic sign of approval on the actual code, so cryptocurrency exchanges know there aren’t any hidden functionalities and governments feel good about these companies. We share our reports with governments, lawyers, investors, and cryptocurrency exchanges.
AA: That’s quite an important thing that you guys are doing because there is a big argument in the crypto space that some of these ICOs may not be legit. Basically, Hosho is legitimizing the ICO space.
HS: Absolutely! Yeah! People need to know that, in your whitepaper, you explain your vision for how a token is going to work in your ICO. You have to make sure that the actual code does what the words in your whitepaper say it does. People are making simple mistakes that are colossal.
For example, a whitepaper says 20 million tokens will be allocated, and the actual smart contract only allocates 12, so you have 8 million tokens missing. That is a huge mistake.
AA: Yeah, it’s very important for companies to get this right because money is on the line.
HS: Yes, exactly! If a smart contract gets hacked, you lose money and data. People would be losing actual money. If I told people that on their mobile phone or bank application got hacked, they’d be very scared because you are actually going to lose your money. That’s the key point we are trying to share: if you are writing a smart contract, make sure it gets audited. Give the process time.
People are more focused on raising capital, and they come to us without having a smart contract written, so I would encourage any ICO to first get their smart contract written. Next, the individual responsible for writing the smart contract and the individual writing the whitepaper should collaborate to ensure the smart contract delivers what the whitepaper says it does. Then, send the code to a professional third party with enough time for an audit before trying to launch the ICO.
AA: What you said makes a lot of sense. There has to be good communication within teams to get this stuff right.
HS: Yes! And for teams to actually solve problems, build a real business, and to get the tech itself built. People are more focused on the idea of a smart contract and raising capital rather than the bigger picture.
AA: Malta is now being referred to as the “Blockchain Island”. How do you see the country progressing in this space?
HS: Malta is doing what we wish many big governments were doing. As a smaller place, and a smaller government, they have a more free-market approach. It reminds me of how Hong Kong and Singapore were fishing villages: They encouraged free markets and entrepreneurship. Within 24 hours, I have met many people from the central government who are encouraging me to become Maltese, move the company here, and I truly believe that their level of growth every 24 hours in Malta is equivalent to a month for a bigger government.
Larger governments are becoming increasingly coercive, and Malta is the exact opposite. For such a small country to be operating at this pace is incredible. We are seeing similar things in Barbados and the Bahamas. The island nations definitely say,”bring us.”
AA: Yeah now could be their time.
HS: It would be incredible for it to be their time.
AA: Hosho is organizing Hoshocon in Las Vegas this coming October. Can you tell us a bit about Hoshocon and how it will differ from other blockchain conferences?
HS: Yes, absolutely! We are organizing HoshoCon to bring people from the industry together to engage in conversations around Blockchain Security. Hosho will attend close to 100 events in 2018, and we have yet to see an event that prioritizes discussions, or education, around security in the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency space. While this certainly means there will be programming around code, there will also be panels on legal, regulatory, and custody issues that arise from a lack of focus on security.
AA: That definitely sounds like a USP. Blockchain security comes up in articles sometimes online, but getting people together for a conference to discuss this would open an important dialog. Can you tell us about some of the speakers who will present there and what the general format will be?
HS: So, we will have a Blockchain track that includes talks and panels with important leaders in the space, like, Michael Perklin from ShapeShift, David Huseby from Hyperledger, Mikko Ohtamaa from TokenMarket, and Alena Vranova who co-founded Satoshi Labs and brought us the Trezor hardware wallet. This track will also include speakers like, Josh Klayman, considered one of the top 12 Blockchain lawyers in the world and Vikram Nagrani who leads the Blockchain team at Hassans International Law Firm out of Gibraltar.
Attendees will be able to talk with executives about their concerns with implementing Blockchain solutions, and learn how investors can approach security when considering an investment. The lineup is stacked, but we still have more to announce.
Also, we have a dedicated Security track that includes workshops and code challenges from elite DEF CON Black badge recipients and talks from world-class white hat hackers like, Anand Prakash, who is one of the best bug bounty hunters in the world.
AA: The line-up sounds pretty epic. You must be excited! Can you tell us a little more about the Hosho’s vision for the event?
HS: Yes, sure! For Hosho, this conference is about putting security, or lack thereof, front and center for those which have the ability to address it and present their solutions. Basically, it is a conference that Hosho itself would want to attend. The most exciting part is hearing our sponsors say they are coming in October to launch products and solutions that can start solving some of the vulnerabilities and hacks we read about. That is the exact result we want from HoshoCon, for companies to use this platform year after year to let the industry know they take security seriously and are being a part of the solution.
The event will take over the entire Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, complete with multiple breakout rooms, a keynote hall, a mentorship program, and 25,000 square feet of exhibitor space for companies to show the industry their problem-solving products and solutions.
AA: My final question is. The conference will be in Las Vegas, one of the most entertaining cities in the world. Will there be any cool surprises that attendees can expect when they attend Hoshocon?
HS: Yes, definitely! Hosho is based in Las Vegas, and we fully intend to live up to expectations. We will have after-hours networking in the world-renowned MTV Real World Suite – that has a bowling lane in it – a pool party, and nightly parties with music acts we bet will go down as the best lineup ever experienced at a Blockchain or Crypto conference.
AA: Sounds awesome! Wish you the best of luck with it! It’s been a pleasure.
HS: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Thank you!
AA: Thanks very much.
Armen Andonian is a public relations specialist and network builder in the field of blockchain technology with a passion particularly for how blockchain could impact and reduce global poverty levels. He writes on several different topics including international affairs, music, lifestyle, and technology.