In brief

  • OpenZeppelin is a security audit firm for Ethereum smart contracts.
  • It has created the Defender platform so developer teams can build atop secure code.
  • The platform is already being trialled by prominent DeFi protocols.

Security audit firm OpenZeppelin has released free software for automating DeFi operations on the Ethereum blockchain.

Defender—which OpenZeppelin says is already being used by Aave, Compound Labs, dYdX, and Balancer—allows teams to build applications “on top of self-managed secure transaction infrastructure (private relayers)” as well as automate smart contracts “in minutes rather than months.”

The whole idea, OpenZeppelin said, is to bypass the need to recreate the wheel with every decentralized finance project. When teams build their own tools or cobble together existing code, they also create the potential for risk, especially if they’re moving fast to get the product to market. 


According to OpenZeppelin CEO Demian Brener, Defender is “the first platform to provide one easy place for teams to automate all of their smart contract operations with built-in security best practices.”

It’s not unheard of for Ethereum-based decentralized finance applications, which bring traditional banking services like lending and savings interest without a financial institution as a centralized intermediary, to get caught out by unaudited smart contracts.

Yam Finance, an experimental protocol which at one point had about $400 million worth of tokens locked into it, imploded after a bug was found in a smart contract, necessitating a whole new version. The total value locked in DeFi protocols is currently north of $11 billion, according to DeFi Pulse

“Working with high-value smart contracts can be stressful,” said Props CTO Peter Watts, who has tested the platform. “OpenZeppelin Defender relieves that stress by dramatically reducing the room for human error, making smart contract management simple and safe.”

According to OpenZeppelin, Defender works with smart contracts spanning layer-1 and layer-2 solutions, as well as sidechains.


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