As the world embraces the potential of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, security remains a major concern. In 2022 alone, a staggering $3.8 billion was stolen through crypto hacks.

Among the hardest-hit targets were decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, which accounted for 82.1% of all cryptocurrencies stolen by hackers.

Source: Chainalysis

The trend of hacking and protocol exploitation has continued into 2023, some notable instances include the breaches of Atomic Wallet, where over $100 million worth of assets were stolen from its users, and Harmony’s Horizon Bridge, which suffered a $100 million hack.

Unfortunately, these stolen funds might never be recovered therefore prevention is actually the best way to solve this problem. 

One way to enhance the security of a project and assess for flaws, bugs, vulnerabilities, and the overall security of a protocol is through auditing.  

In a crypto/blockchain/smart contract audit, third-party entities thoroughly assess the security, reliability, and functionality of a cryptocurrency project, smart contract code, or blockchain infrastructure. 

Auditing firms review a project to identify potential vulnerabilities, risks, and weaknesses that could compromise the project, expose users to financial loss, or enable malicious activities. 

Afterwards, the auditor will share a report covering detected issues and their severity.  

These audits increase the level of security and credibility of a project, although audits may not guarantee exemption from getting exploited by hackers/malicious actors it is however reassuring to users that the project is at least doing their due diligence.  

So to help founders/teams vet their projects here are 10 blockchain/smart contract auditing firms: 

1. Hashlock: Leading the Charge in Smart Contract Security

Hashlock, Australia’s premier independent blockchain cybersecurity and smart contract auditing firm, stands tall as a trusted guardian in the Aussie Web3 landscape. Founded with a vision of fostering safe innovation, Hashlock’s commitment goes beyond just audits. Here’s why they stand out:

  • Comprehensive Security Solutions: Hashlock delves deeper than basic audits, offering a full spectrum of services tailored to your specific needs. From in-depth manual code analysis to community-driven audits, they ensure no stone is left unturned.
  • Collaboration is Key: Unlike traditional firms, Hashlock prioritizes open communication and collaboration. They work closely with clients throughout the process, ensuring a clear understanding and efficient resolution of vulnerabilities.
  • Proven Track Record: Hashlock boasts a portfolio of successful projects, both locally and globally. Their expertise has secured various protocols and business applications, fostering trust and confidence in the community.
  • Beyond Audits: Hashlock doesn’t stop at identifying issues. They actively assist with fixing vulnerabilities, offering on-chain monitoring, bug bounty management, and upgradeable security measures for long-term protection.
  • Community Focus: Hashlock actively participates in the blockchain community, attending events and fostering knowledge sharing. This commitment positions them at the forefront of industry developments and strengthens their understanding of evolving threats.
  • Transparency and Trust: Hashlock prioritizes client confidentiality, sharing findings privately in detailed reports. Upon client approval, reports can be made public, showcasing the project’s security and building trust with potential users.
  • Unrivaled Expertise: Hashlock’s team of highly specialized blockchain cybersecurity professionals, with backgrounds in manual analysis and community auditing, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.
  • Global Reach: Despite their Aussie roots, Hashlock serves clients worldwide, offering their expertise to secure the future of blockchain technology on a global scale.

If you’re seeking a reliable and collaborative partner to navigate the intricacies of smart contract security, Hashlock is the clear choice. Their comprehensive solutions, unwavering commitment to client success, and dedication to fostering a secure Web3 ecosystem make them a true leader in the Australian blockchain landscape.

2. ConsenSys Diligence   

Source: Consensys Deligence  

ConsenSys Diligence ensures that projects built on Ethereum are secure.

They achieve this through a combination of blockchain security analysis tools and a team of experienced smart contract auditors, ensuring that your project is ready for launch and built to protect users.

ConsenSys Diligence focuses on achieving technical excellence in the Ethereum ecosystem and encouraging best practices for security.

ConsenSys Diligence is the flagship cybersecurity product of ConsenSys, a blockchain technology solutions company based in New York, USA. It was founded by Joe Lubin, a co-founder of Ethereum.

Some of the major clients Dligenece have audited are Uniswap, Aave and Ox Exchange. 

See their list of audits and report here

3. SlowMist

Source: SlowMist

SlowMist is a blockchain security firm established in January 2018 and based in China. 

SlowMist offers a variety of services that include but are not limited to security audits, defense deployment, AML (Anti-money laundering) software and vulnerability monitoring (Vulpush).

Slowmist is a proven answer for anyone seeking top-notch blockchain auditing companies with the advantages of more than security audits. 

They provide services such as threat intelligence, security consultancy, and bug bounties.  

SlowMist has worked with various projects such as Binance, OKX, Huobi, Pancakeswap, and

SlowMist supports the following chains, Ethereum (All EVM chains), EOS, Fabric, Solana, VeChaina and ONT.

One notable SlowMist service is MistTrack, a system that tracks the movement of stolen funds. Since its launch, it has served over 60 customers and recovered over $1B in stolen funds.  

4. Hacken 

Source: Hacken  

Hacken is an international cybersecurity company founded in 2017 in Ukraine, and it currently has its headquarters located in Estonia

Hacken provides cybersecurity services to technological businesses and crypto communities worldwide, offering a highly competitive suite of professional solutions

Some of the services they offer are smart contract audit, blockchain protocol audit, dApp audit, bug bounty, penetration testing, tokenomics audit and design, among others. 

Hacken supports various chains such as Ethereum, EVM chains, Solana, Polygon, Avalanche, NEAR, Fantom, and BNB.

The company has worked with over 80 projects, including renowned names like Avalanche, Huobi and  Kyber. 

See Hecken’s full is of audited projects here.

5. OpenZeppelin 

Source: OpenZeppelin 

OpenZeppelin is a US-based cybersecurity technology and services company established by Demian Brener and Manuel Araoz in 2015 with a mission to protect the open economy.

They offer open-source frameworks products, namely “Contracts” and “Defender,” that enable the construction of secure smart contracts.

Contracts” is a library of modular, reusable, secure smart contracts for the Ethereum network, written in Solidity. 

Projects can leverage standard, tested, and community-reviewed contracts and reduce their attack surface by reusing audited code.

On the other hand, “Defender” is a platform that automates Ethereum operations and delivers high-quality products faster.

OpenZeppelin also carryout comprehensive security audits and has secured hundreds of billions of dollars in funds for some of the most prominent crypto organisations such as the Ethereum foundation, Aave, Coinbase, etc. 

OpenZeppelin primarily supports the Ethereum Blockchain, providing valuable tools and services to enhance security and reliability within the Ethereum ecosystem.

6. Certik  

Source: Certik 

Founded in 2018 by professors from Yale University and Columbia University, CertiK’s mission is to secure the web3 space.

CertiK utilises best-in-class formal verification and AI technology to secure and monitor blockchains, smart contracts, and Web3 apps. 

Certik offers a range of security products such as Layer-1 and smart contracts audit, KYC, bug bounty, penetration testing, on-chain monitoring and insights.   

Certik supports all chains and has worked with Aave, Yearn, Polygon, etc. 

7. ChainSecurity 

Source: ChainSecurity 

The Switzerland-based blockchain cybersecurity company has been operational since 2017. 

They identify security vulnerabilities and verify the functional correctness of smart contracts and blockchain projects on Ethereum. 

The ChainSecurity team consist of  PhDs and graduates in blockchain security from the renowned university ETH Zurich, Switzerland. The company was acquired by PwC Switzerland in 2020. 

They have worked with over 85 crypto organisations some of their major clients are Curve,  Rarible, Kyber Network and Lido.

See their full list of audits and reports here

8. Trail Of Bits 

Source: Trail of Bits 

Trail of Bits is a cybersecurity research and consulting firm that serves clients in the defence, tech, finance, and blockchain industries.

Founded by Alexander Sotirov and Dan Guido in 2012, Trail of Bits has provided cybersecurity services for big names like Airbnb, Adobe and Mircosoft. 

The US-based company offer three main services: software assurance, security engineering and research and development. Blockchain auditing falls under their software assurance service. 

They provide security audits for blockchain, software hardening, infrastructure security, threat modelling, and cryptographic review. 

So far, Trail of Bits has conducted smart contract audits for industry giants such as, LooksRare, Acala, and Balancer. 

Trail of Bits doesn’t just understand Blockchain security, they also build industry-leading tools that find and help fix vulnerabilities.  

One such tool is Manticore, a versatile emulator capable of handling multiple contracts and transactions. Complementing Manticore, the company has developed other notable tools including Ethersplay, Slither, and Echidna.

Chains supported by Trail of Bits include Ethereum, Polkadot, Arbitrum, Polygon Tezos, etc.

9. Quantstamp

Source: Quantsamp

Quantstamp is a leader in blockchain security. The company was founded in 2017 and has since worked with over 500 startups and organizations.

They have successfully secured over $200 billion worth of digital assets, including layer-1s such as Ethereum 2.0, Solana, and Cardano.

In addition, Quantstamp has provided security for protocols like Maker, Curve, and OpenSea. 

The team at Quantstamp consists of security professionals who bring experience from organizations like Microsoft, BMW, and the Ethereum Foundation. 

They have developed industry expertise by auditing leading NFT and DeFi protocols and implementing blockchains for governments, NGOs, and private industries. Quantstamp supports every chain.

10. PeckShield

Source: PeckShield  

PeckShield was founded in 2018 by former Qihoo 360 Chief Scientist Xuxian Jiang.

The Chinese-based audit and security firm consist of seasoned security professionals and senior researchers from world-leading security groups at companies such as Qihoo 360, Microsoft, Intel, Juniper, Alibaba, etc. 

The company gained significant traction due to its discovery of the Ethereum smart contract BatchOverflow loophole

The firm is a leader in providing complete security solutions for blockchain users and has audited big names in the industry such as Aave, EOS, Tron, and more. 

With a focus on delivering end-to-end protection for all blockchain users, the company offers various services, such as penetration testing, threat monitoring and CoinHolmes.

PeckShield support multiple chains including Ethereum, BNB Chain, EOS, Tron, Harmony, and NEO.

11. Halborn 

Source`A : Halborn 

Halborn is a US-based cybersecurity company protecting blockchain organizations from cyber attacks founded in 2019 by renowned ethical hacker Steven Walbroehl and growth hacker Rob Behnke. 

Halborn specializes in analyzing and testing blockchain applications for security vulnerabilities and design issues by performing manual and automated testing, they ensure that the smart contract application is ready for mainnet. 

They serve as a third-party partner that continuously assesses an organization’s most vital assets, drive maximum automation and provides world-class cybersecurity consulting. 

The firm specializes in chains such as Ethereum, Solana, Terra, Cosmos Tendermint, and Algorand. Some of their clients include BlockFi, ApeCoin, Avalanche and Polygon. 

Alongside smart contract audits, the firm also provides Advanced Penetration Testing and DevOps & Automation.  

Closing Thoughts 

The history of the largest protocol exploits serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of smart contract audits.

Source: rekt

While it is true that even audited protocols can be compromised, the top three largest exploits were all associated with unaudited protocols.

This highlights the importance of subjecting projects to rigorous auditing processes to minimize potential risks. 

For teams and developers launching a project, the responsibility doesn’t end with the audit reports. It is essential to address and rectify the issues identified by auditors promptly.

Also, implementing an active bug bounty program can leverage the expertise of diverse security professionals who can thoroughly assess the project from different angles, further fortifying its security measures.

Remember, the success and sustainability of projects depend not only on their fundamentals or innovations but also on their commitment to robust security practices and risk mitigation strategies.

Embracing a security-first approach and partnering with reputable crypto/blockchain/smart contract auditing firms can pave the way for a thriving and secure future in the ever-evolving landscape of crypto/web3. 

Also Read: Upgrading BNB Network: ZhangHeng Hard Fork Unveils New Features

[Editor’s Note: This article does not represent financial advice. Please do your research before investing.]

Featured Image Credit: ChainDebrief 

Author: Godwin Okhaifo