Web3 Innovators

How can we secure DeFi?

March 29, 2023 Conor Svensson Season 6 Episode 9
Web3 Innovators
How can we secure DeFi?
Show Notes

In the ninth episode of our new season of Web3 Innovators, our host Conor Svensson is joined by Arthur Gervais, Associate Professor of Information Security at University College London

Episode highlights:

  • How doing his PhD on blockchain increased Arthur’s interest in the space
  • The growth of Bitcoin technology within the academic world
  • The research he and his PhD students are doing, looking at how challenges are evolving over time
  • The disconnect between the academic and the practitioner communities
  • The differences between the technology which may be valuable in practise and what academics are focusing on
  • Applying existing understandings and lessons learned from the regular Finance domain to their research
  • The lending and borrowing side of DeFi
  • The topics they are working on for their next paper
  • How we can mitigate the risk of security exploits
  • Where Arthur sees DeFi in 10 years

Key Takeaways:

  • In many cases we are more fascinated by interesting problems that bring new security properties about. And blockchains and particular proof of work, at that time was such a technology, right? It solved the double spending problem in a new way that we haven't thought about before. And this in itself was already groundbreaking. - Arthur
  • With DeFi and the advent of Ethereum and more aggressive smart contracts in general. We found this great new playground. Now we have an expressive language and we can play on that. - Arthur
  • I feel this is where, for me, most of the exciting opportunities lie on the research side, what is unsolved and how can we solve it? Arthur
  • The decision trade table they created is designed to help classify protocols into different models,  it's a tool that brings a lot of power. It's an enabler for anyone to try out these protocols, and it's an enabler for attackers too. - Arthur
  • Security is all about having multiple walls and having multiple layers of protection, right? Your iPhone, for example, doesn't have only one feature to protect you from somebody hacking your phone, right? - Arthur


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