With over $65 million in bug bounties since 2020, one must wonder why this lucrative field in cryptocurrency has steadily progressed and attracted new people of interest. In this article, Alex Reinhardt aims to explain what Bug bounties are, why people engage in them, and most importantly, why crypto companies set them out to be solved or hunted.
A crypto bug bounty is an experimental initiative provided by a decentralized application of cryptocurrency tokens to reward bounty hunters who discover, report, and sometimes solve software bugs in the internal codes of these Blockchain-based projects.
They are created to support and strengthen the software programs that run their system and also help reduce the vulnerability of the entire management. Most bug bounty programs include overall or end-to-end auditing or testing to ensure the viability of the entire system. Developers of these apps can put out a bounty program on the strength of their dApps protocols, their consensus mechanisms, their platform’s security, their cryptographic process, and more. Bug bounty hunters make as low as $100 to as high as $2,000,000 if they successfully hunt or solve a bug.
Bug bounty programs can be categorized into two main types: Private and Public bug bounty programs.
Private Bug Bounty Programs: As its name implies, the general public cannot access private bug bounty programs. They are only sent out strictly by invitation to the desired hackers as chosen by the company. Alex Reinhardt lists one example of a private bug bounty program: Apple’s $200,000 bug bounty program for any that can point out a loophole in their iOS secure boot firmware components. However, this bug bounty program is only meant for specific cyber security researchers chosen by Apple.
Public Bug Bounty Programs: Public bug bounty programs are sent out to the public, targeting every ethical hacker in the hemisphere. It is open, and anyone can join, regardless of status or skill. Popular public bug bounty programs include those listed in Immunefi and HackerOne.
Security is an inherent factor in software development, as a simple loophole or a malware attack can cause irrevocable damage to the entire system, putting users and developers at risk. If a software program becomes compromised, its integrity, ability to authenticate, and way of safeguarding data and information reduces, and people would be wary of using them.
For large companies like Ethereum, Polkadot, and the like, bug bounty programs are important as they help them keep their security in check. Although hundreds of security researchers and cyber security agents work for these organizations, Alex Reinhardt highlights that companies must keep the role of a bug bounty program. These decentralized platforms churn out new updates and products almost every month, leaving them little to no chance of verifying the safety of the preexisting program they once set out.
To focus on new programs and at the same time keep the security of the older ones heightened, they set out bug bounty programs for skilled non-workers. In exchange for their skills and effort, a reward is set out. Alex Reinhardt outlines that it also helps to deter the efforts of ethical hackers who would love to destroy such platforms. Rather than executing their malicious intent of hacking into these programs and causing havoc, they can join the programs because of the cash rewards behind them.