Cybersecurity in crypto is a mess right now—there's another big hack nearly every week. Cybersecurity firm Forta aims to take this on by attempting to build a crypto-first version of centralized cyber firms like CrowdStrike or Palo Alto Networks. And to do it, Forta is releasing its own FORT token, intended to increase the incentives for security researchers to monitor blockchain networks.
Forta Foundation's ecosystem lead Andy Beal explained in an interview with Decrypt that Forta takes a decentralized approach to security by working with a loose federation of researchers who deploy bots to patrol various corners of the blockchain world.
Beal said the bots are deployed by a network of nodes to act as a kind of security camera network to monitor for abnormal activities. If a bot encounters something suspicious, it relays the information to a node, which in turn triggers an alarm.
A number of major blockchain projects—including Lido, Compound and Polygon—are already using Forta to monitor their activities on Ethereum, Avalanche, and various sidechains.
Beal says blockchains evolve so rapidly that it doesn't make sense to rely on centralized cybersecurity giants in the way that the Web 2.0 world does. But to ensure the node operators act in the best interest of the network, Forta is introducing incentive systems like the FORT token.
Previously, anyone could participate on the Forta Network and run their own "detection bots" at essentially no cost. But that, as you might expect, led to spam on the network and caused undue strain on its resources. Forta claims its new token solves all that.
But is now the right time to launch a new token, given current crypto market conditions?
"During bear markets, there’s always a welcomed shift back to building," Beal answers, "and the FORT token will allow the Forta Network to continue growing and attracting quality contributors."
Forta is open source and, for now, free for anyone to use. In time, though, Beal says the company will introduce a fee structure so that node operators get paid.
Forta began as a project within the blockchain cybersecurity startup OpenZeppelin, but recently spun out and is exploring a DAO to become more decentralized. Last September, Forta raised $23 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain Capital and others.