On Monday, Tokenverse conducted a virtual interview with Dmytro Budorin, the cofounder and CFO of Hacken. On the cusp of their ICO, Budorin discussed with us how the idea of Hacken came about, and how it plans to become the medium of cooperation between the blockchain community and global cybersecurity experts. Read the transcript below:
Tokenverse: Welcome Dmytro! Thank you for giving us an opportunity to learn more about the Hacken project. To start things off, tell us about yourself. How did you get involved in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space?
Dmytro Budorin: Thanks a lot! It is very inspiring that you are interested in our project! Briefly about myself: I love math and challenges. I won the regional Olympics in Kyiv and got started very early at Deloitte – I was the youngest there when I started. I spent eight years at Deloitte in different positions, mostly participating in challenging projects and innovations. My biggest achievement at Deloitte was winning the annual CIS idea challenge with the BIG data project. We implemented a SAP plugin that allowed us to collect and analyze very useful data.
Next, I left Deloitte, where I was in a senior manager position, and went to work for Ukrainian government. My first project in my new position was to make an organizational restructure in one of the military companies, which we successfully did in one and a half years.
Another major goal was to establish cybersecurity center. We created the project, hired people, and started the work, but in order to scale it we needed funds. Bureaucracy and other obstacles were making the process very inefficient, and I started to look for alternative methods, which is how we came to realize the huge Ukrainian cybersecurity potential.
I started to learn about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. From the first day of studying I understood that blockchain is going to change the world. I also found out that blockchain is weak in attracting new people to it, especially talented cybersecurity professionals. After long discussions with experts and my partners, we started to feel confident that we could create a project that would merge cybersecurity professionals and white hat hackers with the blockchain community. We designed the main features of the ecosystem and brought them to the public in the form of a white paper. When we received 95% positive comments, we decided we were ready to get Hacken started.
TV: What is Hacken? And why should people and projects in this particular space (and outside) pay attention to this platform?
DB: Hacken is an ecosystem. It’s based on a Hacken token (HKN) that basically serves as a payment for the unique services our platform provides, and it is the only payment tool we utilise. The fundamental idea behind the whole project is that every owner of a token becomes a member of a community. The mission of this community is to improve the security of applications and websites, figure out vulnerabilities in code and infrastructure, and improve the prestige and recognition of the white-hat hacker profession. Hacken receives synergy of growth, which in turn grows its value, through:
- growth of cryptocurrencies
- growth of the cybersecurity market
- burning principle
All members of the community will benefit from the ecosystem development, and will push it to develop with their energy.
TV: Were there any particular events that spurred Hacken’s development? DAO hack and resulting Ethereum network split, ICO subterfuge, massive breaches of citizen information, etc.?
DB: Hacken resulted of the merging of three cybersecurity companies. All of us were receiving a lot of requests for blockchain security. But of course the most critical event was parity hack. Some of our friends lost their money, but at the same time another our friends, Aleksey Matiiasevich, has rescued more than a million USD in that case. That event was the trigger for us to make the final decision to move on the project.
TV: Interesting. Unfortunately, these exploits will continue to happen, which makes projects like Hacken incredibly important for projects and end-users alike. While Hacken is clearly being developed within the context of blockchain and crypto, will the services of white hats and pen testers be available to any software project, blockchain-related or not?
DB: Absolutely! We provide full service for our clients. Apart from the products, wallets, crypto exchanges, codes and their interconnection, we also have an internal team that provides coding services to eliminate found vulnerabilities. Our niche is SME and blockchain clients
TV: A very topical niche these days. How does Hacken provide these services? Give us a rundown of how Hacken is structured.
DB: Imagine a workshop studio that you can enter only with a membership card – that’s the Hacken token. You bring us a sort of product, a chair, let’s say. You want to sit safely, so you come to us to find out if there are any faults in your chair, unstable joints or maybe a loose nail that you’ve missed. Your order is not going to a specific master. Any professional can provide the service you’re looking for, and openly announce it in the studio. And then you decide who provided the service best. And then you reward the skilfull professional with payment in HKN, because he is a member of this club, too.
TV: Great analogy. Can you go into detail on the HKN token and its role in the project (burning model, etc.)?
DB: First, the HKN token is a market-regulated token, and its price depends on demand. In addition, our platform has a unique “burning” principle. It involves various trigger mechanisms to eliminate 1% of the entire amount of HKN tokens over different specified time periods. By doing this, HKN will provide a mechanism to improve liquidity and decrease volatility for the clients and Blockchain and Cybersecurity Communities.
I should note that “burning” affects only the platform fees, thus reducing the amount of Hackens which we, the founders of the platform, own, not what our customers or clients own.
Here’s a great infographic we did to visualize the whole process:
TV: Thanks for the graphic, that’s clarifying. Now that we have a better idea of how Hacken is structured and the role of the HKN token, who would you say are the target users of the platform? And how would you describe the user experience when they participate, seeking help from cybersecurity professionals?
DB: The target users of the platform are the members of the Hacken ecosystem: namely, the owners of HKN, Cybersecurity experts at HackenProof, and Blockchain and Cybersecurity Communities. The clients of the bug-bounty service will receive a HackenProof Vulnerabilities and Countermeasures Certificate as the final product. It is a report on all the vulnerabilities discovered and resolved, with a timestamp for each event. The balance of transparency and privacy is crucial for us: clients can adjust their Blockchain sharing preferences and publish the certificate to the public, customers, investors or to whomever they designate.
Cybersecurity experts and hacking communities will get a chance to get well-paid for the services provided and work “clean” without financial constraints.
TV: How would a cybersecurity expert join the platform and enlist their services?
DB: The expert will have to register with our website. The registration will be then verified by our team. The purpose of the verification is only to check whether the registration was done in good faith. The verification does not check the professional skills of the expert.
After verification, the registered expert will be allowed to participate in public bug bounty programs. In order to participate in private bug bounty programs, the expert will need an invitation either from the client or our team.
TV: Does this verification involve a vetting process for these white hats? Something that will weed out bad actors from targeting vulnerable projects?
DB: There is very low risk that vulnerabilities found during bug bounty campaign would be used by black hat hackers. Bug bounty is about speed – because the code is tested by hundreds, 99.9% of bugs will be found by several hackers. If an expert decided to hide it, he or she would not earn remuneration, because someone else will report it. In addition, in half a year, when we have gathered data on the bug hunter leaders, we will have ratings of the best ones, and the client will be able to choose who will participate.
TV: It sounds like the very structure of Hacken sort of eliminates some of that risk. Interesting. Speaking of timelines, what is the development status of Hacken? And can you give us a brief glimpse into the future of the project? Events, partnerships, etc.?
DB: Right now the project is maturing. Within a week of the Hacken pre-sale in September, we managed to raise an equivalent of $650,000, [update: as of Tuesday, October 24th, Hacken has raised the equivalent of $900,000, including a 33 BTC prize at 10De pitch competition] and we will have our main token sale starting on October 31, 2017. This much-awaited Hacken Token Sale will last for one month until the beginning of the November, or when the max hard cap is reached. Now it is 20 million HKNs. Our development team will also release an alpha of the platform on 31st October. Tomorrow [October 24th] we’re closing the white list with over 1,000 contributors registered.
We have received a public pledge to join the Hacken Advisory Board from renowned experts of cybersecurity. After pitching our project to the stars of cyber-security, we were supported by Phil Zimmermann, Andrii Zamovsky, Moe Levin, Mike Costache and Brad Yasar, Patrick Salm and Yuri Olentir. It gives me and my team the confidence in achieving our ambitious goals. I am truly happy to see that experienced specialists believe in our mission, and support our patriotic dream of establishing Ukraine as an international white-hat hub.
Additionally we’ve established a bunch of strategic partnerships: TaaS, the first-ever tokenized closed-end fund dedicated to blockchain assets; SmartOne, the legal services marketplace for the crypto community; Confideal, a visual smart contract builder; Neuromation, a token designed for sophisticated crypto-investors who are interested in participation at discounted token value.
TV: Thanks for letting us pick your brain about this project, Dmytro. Sounds like a great solution to a very real problem. Best of luck in your endeavors!
Images via Hacken