This is the worst thing about Web3.
You visit a website, service, community, or game, hoping to check it out and maybe join. But before you can even walk through the door, the service asks you to connect a cryptocurrency wallet like MetaMask. It’s the digital equivalent of being able to shop at a store only after giving the store owner all of your bank details. It seems backward, unnecessary and dangerous.
It is also a serious obstacle to the adoption of web3.
“$2.7 billion worth of crypto was lost in 2022 due to hacking of smart contracts or protocol infrastructure,” said Delphi Digital, the “institution-grade” crypto research firm, recently. tweeted. “This represents a 63% increase over last year.”
What can you do?
Serial entrepreneur Alexei Dulub thinks he has the answer: web3 “antivirus”. Years of building blockchain and auditing smart contract solutions for clients through his outsourced software development company PixelPlex have taught him that web3 is riddled with errors. These errors can be exploited by hackers or simply by clever technologists who find ways to use smart contracts in ways their creators did not intend. Poorly written smart contracts have resulted in millions being shut down from both creators and customers, or millions simply being robbed.
Mistakes are one thing. In a way, smart contracts are literally written to steal your cryptocurrency, NFTs, or other valuable digital artifacts. And because we’re trained not to read the fine print of EULAs (End User License Agreements) and probably can’t read the code of smart contracts, we’re ripe for getting scammed.
“Do you know what you sign with Metamask? Dulub asked me.
The short answer, for me, is no.
This is where Web3 Antivirus comes in. Installed as a Chrome plugin, Web3 Antivirus activates when you’re about to sign a transaction, then pauses the transaction and scans for risk factors. Having a website that’s on what the company says are “thousands” of blocklists is one, as is code that requests access to all your crypto, or instructions that are hard-coded and don’t are therefore likely to act only in favor of the author of the smart contract.
After analyzing the smart contract, Web3 Antivirus then gives you insight into potential risks and allows you to make what Dulub says is a more informed decision on whether to proceed or not.
“The plugin also protects users against visiting phishing websites: it checks domain names against thousands of blocklists, identifies suspicious logic with its proprietary ML models, and notifies users if the website does not isn’t sure,” says Dulub.
Basically, according to the company, Web3 antivirus does not request access to your wallet, digital assets, or seed phrases (long crypto-style passwords) that protect your cryptocurrency.
It’s worth noting that the Chrome plugin, however, requires access to “read and change all your data on all websites” and manage your apps, extensions, and themes. These are probably necessary to do its job, but theoretically in the wrong hands it is clearly a security risk.
When I mentioned this, Dulub said it was one of the reasons the Web3 Antivirus tool is open source – anyone can see their code on GitHub – basically to show that the company hasn’t nothing to hide.
“The main goal of the solution is to help the web3 community save billions of dollars by making the decentralized ledger ecosystem a safer place to cooperate and work, which will benefit all stakeholders in the long run. term,” he added. “You don’t need to trust us, but at least you go into more detail.”
One thing is still unclear: monetization.
I asked Dulub how it plans to monetize Web3 Antivirus.
“Lots of ways,” he replied. “B2C [business to consumer] premium subscriptions for more details and financial risk assessment, B2B [business to business] SaaS models with pay-as-you-go and collaboration: When interacting with a protocol, a user can be informed of other available options. »
“An example: when purchasing a token on OpenSea, users may receive a message that there is a way to save on fees by using Sudoswap, Blur, or X2Y2 instead.”
The plugin is brand new, it has just been released. According to the Chrome Web Store, it has less than 100 users so far. However, it definitely fills a need in the market: the ability to get confirmation from a trustworthy third party that the smart contract you’re about to sign won’t drain all of your Ethereum. So, if it proves effective, there is definitely an opportunity for significant growth.
And it would be nice to know with some level of confidence that trading crypto, buying an NFT, joining a DAO, or playing a Web3 game is safe.
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