How is Ante different?
How Ante fits into the existing DeFi landscape

Ante's "Anti"-Definition

Ante is not:
  • an auditing service;
  • an "economic analysis" service;
  • a bug bounty program;
  • "hack insurance"
Ante is a protocol built for protocols (and their users) to increase DeFi safety by making trust explicit.
Ante is a way for protocols to show users they are aligned.
Ante is complementary to existing DeFi security, marketing, and trust services. Ante makes it easy to gather on-chain, transparent, real-time feedback about the community's trust in a protocol.

Comparisons to existing mechanisms

Below, we compare Ante to existing ways protocols can signal trustworthiness.
Note: we think all of the services below are valuable and important to building safe and secure DeFi. Our analysis is meant to emphasize Ante's strengths, not to put down other services. In particular, we love and applaud the work done at:
  1. 1.
    (Audits) Trail of Bits: a leading security firm (for almost a decade) that made a static analyzer we love, slither
  2. 2.
    (Analysis) Gauntlet Networks: with an agent-based simulation platform
  3. 3.
    (Bug Bounties) Immunefi: with several million dollars of live bounties
  4. 4.
    (Protocol "Insurance) Nexus Mutual: with a first-in-class on-chain mutual approach to protocol security
Audits & Analysis
Bug Bounties
Protocol Insurance
Audits & Analysis
  • Costs $50k–$200k+
  • Takes weeks/months to obtain (waitlist, delay)
  • May only cover (outdated) code at time of hire
  • No up-front costs (just gas and ETH stakes)
  • Can be written in 10 min
  • Can verify code invariants in real-time and give immediate feedback about community trust
Bug Bounties
  • Requires trusting administrators with discretionary payouts
  • No payouts to risk-averse users on failure
  • Limited guarantees that bounties are worth a security expert's energy
  • Fully self-serve (protocols write & stake tests) with automated payouts
  • Skeptical early users can challenge on Ante and claim staker funds on failure
  • Objective level of community engagement (staking and challenging)
Protocol "Insurance"
  • Hard to find underwriters for new protocols
  • Frequently gated listings
  • Payouts determined by voting, with limited guarantees of protection
  • Protection of last resort, but doesn't enhance underlying smart contract integrity
  • Free to use, write your test and encourage the community to stake
  • Self-serve "Listing" on Ante
  • Ante payouts are unambiguously settled by blockchain state, with transparent flow of Ante Pool funds
  • Incentivizes protocols to take code seriously and for users to review protocol code

A hypothetical case study

Suppose there are two lending protocols.
Protocol A is requires that borrowers post collateral that is 150% of the value of their borrowing. Protocol A uses Ante and its team writes an Ante Test that verifies that the debt-to-collateral ratio holds. Protocol A also stakes capital behind these Ante Tests.
Protocol B is a fork of Protocol A with the same collateral requirement but does not use Ante.

Using Ante increases user trust and protocol adoption

Protocol A has signaled alignment with users and trustworthiness in the soundness of its smart contracts. Writing and staking Ante Tests tells the community at least 3 things about Protocol A:
  1. 1.
    Its smart contract is written correctly and that the team does not believe that its collateral model will break;
  2. 2.
    The team is willing to lose its own money if it wrote sloppy code; and
  3. 3.
    The team is serious about properly written code, so much so that it has taken the time to write on-chain tests.
In deciding where to put its capital, a liquidity provider (LP) sees that Protocol A allows for real-time on-chain verification of loan collateral balances. Furthermore, if the LP was only cautiously trusting of Protocol A, the LP could also challenge the Ante Test and receive a payout if the collateral invariant ever failed.
Protocol A signals its alignment with liquidity providers, and, in light of this, Protocol B's decision to not use Ante is a glaring omission. Protocol A has a significant edge over Protocol B in both its public perception and fundamental economics. Over time, this will drive users to Protocol A over Protocol B.

How does Ante screen out incompetent or dishonest teams?

First, teams need to be skilled enough to know what Ante Tests to write and to write reasonable code. Ante Tests are short smart contracts when compared to most protocol code, so a community security expert can call out useless Ante Tests at a glance. That means it's faster to call out dodgy teams.
Second, an Ante Test needs staking to be perceived as a credible commitment from a team. A non-serious team likely would not stake crypto behind its own (sloppy) Ante Tests that it writes because of the likelihood of loss to challengers.
Finally, if a shady team writes a valid Ante Test but tries to pull its stake right before a planned theft, Ante's design locks stakes for a day before allowing withdrawal, meaning that if the Ante Test fails during that time, their funds are still forfeited to challengers.