Building a Blockchain Project? 11 Steps To Turn It Into an Unhackable Fortress

Unhackable Fortress

Many believe that the security of a blockchain project is a matter of sheer luck, a flip of the cyber-coin that decides your fate. But through my experience, I've come to realize that it's far more predictable and preventable than you might think.

There is a specific process successful crypto projects go through that transforms them into an impregnable fortress.

Knowing these steps and following them will bring more predictability and piece of mind than you could ever imagine possible.

Together, we'll unveil 11 steps that the industry leaders use so that you can safeguard your crypto project.

Step 1: Wise Architecture Choices: Crafting Resilience

When building on existing blockchain infrastructure, your architectural choices are akin to the blueprint of your fortress. Start by selecting a blockchain platform that aligns with your project's goals and security requirements. Carefully consider the consensus mechanism and data storage solutions available on the chosen platform. Your choices here lay the foundation for the security of your project.

Next, identify the main elements of the system you're going to build. What are business requirements, what actors can you identify in the system, what action will they take and what will they interact with? What events will occur? Going through this process will help you discover blind spots and consider edge cases you haven't thought about.

Step 2: Threat Modeling: Anticipating the Adversary

Thread modeling is a process of identifying what assets you want to protect and from whom. It forces you to question your assumptions. By thinking like a hacker, you can anticipate their moves and strengthen your defenses. Begin by identifying valuable assets in your blockchain project. Understand who might want to compromise them and why. This analysis will guide you in prioritizing security measures based on real-world threats.

For example, if your project involves handling valuable tokens or sensitive user data, consider the potential motivations of attackers. Are they after financial gain, data theft, or disruption of your services? Understanding their objectives allows you to tailor your security measures to protect your project's most critical assets effectively.

Step 3: Building it Right

At this stage, you might intuitively think about hiring software engineers. Undoubtedly, you're going to need some but there is another equally critical person to hire - a security researcher. Here is why.

Security consultants work hand in hand with your engineers ensuring your project is fortified from the ground up. They save you a fortune on engineers sharing cutting-edge knowledge and experience, spotting vulnerabilities others might miss, reviewing the code continuously, embedding security into development early, and catching and fixing issues while they're manageable.

They also help your team of engineers to make wise choices about which third party libraries to use to speed up the development process and avoid known vulnerabilities or supply chain issues.

Step 4: Incident Response Planning: Preparedness for the Unpredictable

As the saying goes, hope for the best, plan for the worst. Even within the most secure fortresses, incidents occur. Having a well-defined incident response plan ensures that you can contain and mitigate any breaches swiftly, minimizing damage and downtime. Establish clear procedures for identifying, reporting, and responding to security incidents in the context of building on existing blockchain infrastructure. Define roles and responsibilities within your team, including incident responders and communication channels.

Consider a scenario where a vulnerability in a smart contract is exploited, resulting in unauthorized token transfers. An effective incident response plan would outline the steps to identify the breach, halt further unauthorized transfers, and initiate recovery procedures. It's essential to rehearse these procedures with your team to ensure a rapid and coordinated response when an incident occurs.

Step 5: Auditing - Ensuring Every Brick is in Place

Regular auditing is akin to having an inspector check your fortress for weaknesses when you build on established blockchain networks. It involves a comprehensive review of your code, smart contracts, and configurations to identify vulnerabilities or deviations from security best practices. Use automated code analysis tools to scan for common issues as soon as you start the development. Engage third-party auditors with expertise in blockchain security to perform thorough assessments. Make auditing an ongoing process as you develop and update your project.

Auditing is especially critical in the context of smart contracts Smart contracts execute autonomously and irreversibly on the blockchain, making any vulnerabilities or bugs potentially catastrophic. Auditors examine the code logic, token handling, and potential attack vectors to ensure the contract's integrity and security. Regularly scheduled audits, especially during code updates and before contract deployments, help maintain the highest level of security.

Step 6: Penetration Testing: Ethical Intrusion

Penetration testing is akin to hiring a friendly attacker to assess your fortress's defenses when you build on existing blockchain infrastructure. Ethical hackers simulate real-world attacks to identify vulnerabilities that might not be apparent in routine checks. Engage professional penetration testers with blockchain expertise to conduct rigorous assessments. Regularly schedule these tests and address vulnerabilities promptly. This proactive approach strengthens your security by addressing weaknesses before malicious actors can exploit them.

Suppose you've developed a decentralized application (DApp) that interacts with various smart contracts on the blockchain. Penetration testing would involve assessing the DApp's attack surface, including its frontend and backend components, APIs, and interactions with smart contracts. Testers attempt to exploit vulnerabilities such as input validation errors, authorization flaws, or smart contract vulnerabilities to assess the DApp's overall security posture.

Step 7: Deployment and Configuration: Setting the Ramparts

How you deploy and configure your blockchain project can impact its security significantly when building on existing infrastructure. I've seen projects that did everything perfectly and got hacked due to misconfiguration on the mainnet. Document your deployment and configuration procedures to ensure consistency and traceability.

Consider a scenario where you're deploying a decentralized exchange (DEX) on an existing blockchain network. Proper deployment and configuration are crucial to safeguard user funds and ensure a seamless trading experience. You'd need to configure access controls for administrative functions, secure private keys, and ensure that the smart contracts governing the DEX are deployed securely. Monitoring liquidity pools and ensuring timely software updates are also essential to maintain the DEX's security.

Step 8: Monitoring: Vigilance Never Sleeps

Continuous monitoring is crucial for early threat detection when building on existing blockchain infrastructure. It involves real-time surveillance of your project's activity, allowing you to spot and respond to anomalies promptly. Implement robust monitoring solutions that track system behavior, network traffic, and user activity within the established blockchain network. Set up alerts and thresholds to notify your team of suspicious activities. Regularly review and analyze logs to identify security incidents or potential threats. Effective monitoring ensures that you can respond swiftly to any security breaches.

Let's say you've built a decentralized finance (DeFi) application on a blockchain network. Continuous monitoring would involve tracking user transactions, contract interactions, and the behavior of external data feeds. Any unexpected deviations from normal patterns, such as large token transfers or unusual contract calls, could trigger alerts. Promptly investigating these anomalies allows you to mitigate potential threats, whether they involve attempted exploits, malicious activity, or unexpected errors in your DeFi application.

Step 9: Bug Bounty Program: Enlisting the Help of Allies

A bug bounty program invites ethical hackers and security enthusiasts to find vulnerabilities in your project in exchange for rewards. This crowdsourced approach can uncover hidden weaknesses. Define clear guidelines for your bug bounty program, including scope, eligible vulnerabilities, and rewards within the context of building on existing blockchain networks.

Promote your program within the cybersecurity community to attract skilled participants. Establish a responsible disclosure process and reward contributors promptly for their findings. Bug bounty programs not only improve security but also foster positive relationships with the security community.

Suppose you've developed a blockchain-based decentralized marketplace where users trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs). By launching a bug bounty program, you invite security researchers to identify potential vulnerabilities in your smart contracts, trading mechanisms, or user interfaces. Ethical hackers may discover and report issues such as token vulnerabilities, data exposure risks, or potential vulnerabilities in the NFT trading platform. Rewarding them for their contributions enhances your project's security and reputation.

Step 10: Active Attack Detection and Prevention: When Your Best Defense is Offense

Active attack detection and prevention systems provide real-time protection against known threats and emerging attacks when you build on established blockchain infrastructure. These automated systems act as the final guardians of your fortress. Some solutions allow you to detect the attack seconds before it happens and front-run it, potentially saving millions of dollars just before they were about to be stolen forever.

Step 11: Team OpSec: If You Get This Wrong, Nothing Else Matters

All of the above security measures won't matter if your team has poor operational security (OpSec) practices. You're literally one malicious pdf away from a hack and potentially a complete meltdown of your project. The same goes for your team members.

Educate your team about the importance of OpSec and establish clear guidelines for secure behavior. Emphasize the use of strong, unique passwords, two-factor authentication, and secure communication channels. Regularly train your team to recognize social engineering attempts and phishing attacks. OpSec is the first line of defense against human-related vulnerabilities and should be an ongoing focus in your security strategy.

Consider a scenario where you lead a team developing a blockchain-based voting platform. The security of the platform is paramount to ensure the integrity of elections. Your team's OpSec practices involve securely managing access to the platform's administrative interfaces, protecting sensitive voter data, and educating staff on potential threats such as phishing attacks targeting election officials. Effective OpSec measures are essential to maintaining trust in the platform's security and reliability.


Constructing an unhackable fortress for your blockchain project is a systematic process. By following these steps and embracing a security-first mindset, you can protect your venture and fortify it against the unpredictable world of cyber threats. Remember, security is not an afterthought but a foundation upon which your blockchain success is built. In the rapidly evolving landscape of blockchain technology, proactive security measures are the key to long-term success and user trust.

Related topics : Cybersecurity