AI-powered Security Intelligence Platform for the Blockchain
What pain point does Sentinel Protocol solve?
Sentinel Protocol , by the Uppsala Foundation, is a blockchain-based cybersecurity hive mind that empowers security experts and crypto services around the world with timely threat data supported by AI, for a united and solid defence against hacks, scams and frauds.
Sentinel Protocol can be seen as 'The Guardian of your Digital Assets' , bringing ultimate security to the crypto universe through its integrated security intelligence solutions for the blockchain. Sentinel Protocol will be the 2nd ICO that is launched based on the ICON blockchain, after Bluewhale.
The decentralized nature of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, and the rise of crypto payment services such as TenX, have allowed each and every one of us to be our own bank.
With this great power naturally comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, there are many crypto investors and institutions that do not have the means, or are just too complacent, to take the necessary precautions to secure their digital assets.
To illustrate this problem, a massive USD $1.2 billion worth of digital assets have been stolen from just these few reported incidents:
With that kind of money at stake, you would think by now more is being done to improve the security of digital assets. But this is a very difficult problem to solve, with too many attack vectors for 1 person or 1 crypto exchange to ward off 100% on their own.
Sentinel Protocol aims to empower everyone in the cryptocommunity to share this heavy burden of digital asset security.
Sentinel Protocol is the 1st of its kind Security Intelligence Platform for Blockchain (SIPB) that leverages both cutting-edge AI technologies and the decentralized nature of the blockchain to help everyone defend against cyber threats.
Sentinel Protocol's key features
1. Collective Intelligence of Cybersecurity Experts (The Sentinels)
There is currently no motivation for cybersecurity experts and research institutes around the world to share their data in a collective effort to keep out cyber threats.
Built upon the blockchain's decentralized attributes, Sentinel Protocol has developed an incentive mechanism to reward and thus encourage the sharing of critical security data that will help guard against cyber attacks and trace the perpetrators. Even if you are not a security expert, you may be rewarded for providing useful details on hacking incidents.
As Sentinel Protocol is a decentralized solution, it has many participating computer nodes all over the world, greatly increasing its resilience against cyber attacks and ensuring that their shared database is running 24/7.
2. Machine learning / Artificial Intelligence
Sentinel Protocol will use advanced Machine Learning algorithms that engages in user/platform usage pattern modelling, to quickly detect abnormal online behaviour, assess the level of risk, filter malware and scam addresses, thereby preempting potential cyber attacks. As part of this Fraud Detection System (FDS), shared intelligence from cybersecurity experts is also employed to perceive suspicious activity.
3. Distributed Malware Analysis Sandboxing
Sandboxing is a fancy name for the intensive testing of potentially harmful computer applications in simulated virtual environments. Sentinel Protocol's offering is decidedly more effective due to its wide distribution/spread of computer nodes, allowing sandboxing to be available and affordable to all. Once again, the collective intelligence from shared cybersecurity resources is used to conduct a robust risk assessment of the application before it is opened or executed by a user.
Main weapons in the Sentinel Protocol arsenal:
Use case example?
a) For the everyday crypto investor
Tom is a typical retail investor who wants to participate in a new ICO called 'Moonstone'. At the time of launch, the 'Moonstone' website was compromised and the actual ETH contribution address was changed. Tom did not realize this change. He also did not bother to verify the authenticity of the address, and was about to send 100 ETH over through his S-Wallet. Fortunately for him, the S-Wallet was able to immediately detect that the given ETH address was blacklisted, and had been used in previous scam attempts. The S-Wallet issues a critical warning to Tom, protecting him from losing 100 ETH to a phishing attempt.
b) For a crypto service or exchange such as Coincheck
One of Coincheck's employee's email was compromised, and the private key to NEM token funds on a 'hot' digital wallet was stolen.
When the attacker starts withdrawing funds, the sharing of timely threat information and submission of relevant security data will allow all other exchanges, crypto wallets, payment services and even ICO projects within the Sentinel Protocol ecosystem to quickly identify and trace stolen funds and hacker addresses. These stolen funds are in a way tagged with the 'Mark of the Sentinel' , effectively making the funds illegitimate in everyone's eyes and thus much harder to launder.
Even if the hackers split stolen funds into thousands of sub-addresses, Sentinel Protocol will still be able to trace them to their root address.
Read more about how the NEM hack could have been tackled.
Do they have a MVP (minimum viable product)?
Sentinel Protocol does not have a live MVP to be shared with the public yet. Due to the sensitive nature of their cybersecurity service and proprietary AI technology, it may not be as open sourced as other projects for the time being. Their portal sub-directory is currently offline and you can only submit your email for updates.
We sincerely hope that the team will provide to the public some semblance of a working product prior to the crowdsale, to make their proposition much more convincing.
The closest thing to evidence of a MVP is this Youtube video which shows a demo of their MVP during the ICON mainnet launch.
What is the token's utility?
There are 2 different digital tokens existing in the Sentinel Protocol ecosystem.
The first is the platform reputation point called Sentinel Point (SP). An important concept dictating how these SPs are awarded and who are eligible to earn them is the consensus mechanism concept of Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS).
Delegated Proof of Stake
DPoS is a system in which only qualified entities/nodes are specially delegated/selected to be representatives for consensus on the blockchain.
In the case of Sentinel Protocol, only individuals or institutions with cybersecurity expertise will be specially delegated by the Uppsala Foundation to carry the coveted title of Sentinel, acting as elite members tasked with protecting the rest of the crypto community. In most cases, only Sentinels will be able to earn SPs.
White hat hackers and cybersecurity experts who have answered the call to become Sentinels, provide meaningful contribution to the safety of digital assets - such as submitting security data, advice, research and analysis to help prevent hacks and scams. Each action is known as a Proof of Protection (PoP) . As a reward for their efforts, they receive Sentinel Points (SPs).
As part of the peer review-based Proof of Protection (PoP) reputation system, Sentinels are assigned into special groups of 7, with 3 Sentinels on standby. These 7 Sentinels in each group run routine tasks eg. validate transactions, generate blocks and update the threat database, and render higher level assistance when necessary. The 3 reserve Sentinels on standby help prevent DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks - multiple spam attacks on a program or website that cause it to exceed its bandwidth and stops normal operations for users.
Sentinel contribution/Proof of Protection examples include, but are not limited to:
*The 3 human figures in the diagram represent 1 Sentinel entity (which could be an individual or an institution).
The Sentinels' reputation is always at stake. If they fail to carry out their duties properly, they get a poor reputation score, and run the risk of being disqualified as a Sentinel. Those that excel in their duties gain a better reputation score and earn more SPs.
As such, Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) and Proof of Protection (PoP) together form an efficient consensus mechanism and incentivized reputation system which keeps the Sentinels in check and motivates them to enhance their cybersecurity efforts.
Sentinel Points (SPs) are not for sale, only earned through PoP.
SPs are valuable because they can be converted into UPP tokens. UPP tokens can in turn be bought and sold on the open market i.e crypto exchanges.
SP holders are also entitled to receive UPP tokens generated through an automated vesting schedule. According to the whitepaper, vesting amount will be proportional to the SPs each entity holds, relative to the total SPs generated via Proof of Protection (PoP) done in a certain period of time. This UPP token generation model is designed to reward early contributors to the Sentinel Protocol.
UPP tokens are ERC-20 tokens based on Ethereum. Once ICON's mainnet has stabilized, UPP tokens will be converted into ICON-based tokens through a special process. ICON has been selected due to higher (expected) speed and scalability compared to Ethereum, as well as the promise of cross-chain interoperability.
The Sentinel Portal, TRDB, API Integration and other basic services will be provided to the public for FREE. But it is mandatory for UPP digital tokens to be used as a cryptocurrency payment to access Sentinel Protocol’s more advanced and premium features:
How will UPP grow in value?
UPP tokens are utility tokens needed as currency within the Sentinel Protocol platform. Greater adoption of the platform will naturally increase the purchase and the value of the tokens.
Who are willing to purchase more UPP tokens so that they can use Sentinel Protocol’s advanced features such as machine learning-based anomaly detection or distributed sandboxing?
Individuals or companies that have a lot of digital assets under management and are motivated to pay good money to procure the highest level of security to protect their funds. Examples include: Crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, ICOs accepting money and payment services.
These advanced features will be more effective when more cybersecurity experts and agencies are incentivized to participate in the Sentinel Protocol platform. When the security solutions provided on the platform are more robust, there will be a natural increase in crypto businesses and individuals coming on board to use its API integration to beef up their cybersecurity.
Token Sale mechanics
Full Token sale details aren’t out yet. Will update when it’s ready. For now, it appears contribution will be accepted in ETH, since UPP is an ERC-20 token. Take part in the ongoing Pre-Sentinels recruitment program now.
What are the team's credentials?
The Uppsala Foundation is the company and team behind Sentinel Protocol and the namesake of their UPP token.
Cast into the spotlight after their Kyber Network Developer Competition win in Korea, and being finalists in the Global Blockchain Competition , the team is revealed to be a hardworking, respectable outfit that goes the extra mile to participate in blockchain competitions to prove their worth.
The team has vast cybersecurity experience, and some of them have worked together for over 5 years.
CEO Patrick Kim himself had worked in Cisco, Paolo Alto Networks, F5 Networks and Darktrace - all well-known enterprise security companies. Many team members also share similar professional experiences. For instance, Head of Operations HM Park and Chief Evangelist John Kirch both also worked at Darktrace before.
The Darktrace connection is interesting due to the company's use of machine learning in cybersecurity, and we are sure the Sentinel Protocol team will bring over some of its best practices to their own AI solutions.
Head of Marketing Karly Choi has prior experience in cybersecurity companies, having worked for Cloudbric. She is a regular presence on Telegram and roadshows, faithfully answering the community's questions.
How reputable are their advisors?
There are currently no advisors listed on their website. But we believe they will announce their advisors soon before the main sale. With their excellent cast of investors and partners, we are not worried about them securing good advisors. It is very possible that someone from Kyber Network or ICON comes on board as an advisor.
Current and potential partners?
#HASHED has invested in some of the top ICOs in the world, including Kyber Network, OmiseGO, Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange and ICON . We believe that as one of the key projects being accelerated by the top Korean crypto investment fund, Sentinel Protocol has definitely passed the due diligence of blockchain, cybersecurity and investment experts.
#HASHED is also in the esteemed company of other well-known funds Hyperchain Capital and Kenetic Capital , and blockchain project partners such as top korean crypto wallet CoinManager. Overall, Sentinel Protocol has a pretty solid lineup of investors and partners.
Since they are sharing the same office building as TenX - the leading crypto wallet and debit card service provider - we hope Sentinel Protocol will one day walk a few steps to knock on their neighbour's door and discuss a potential partnership.
How good is their Marketing and PR?
Sentinel Protocol's Whitepaper is easily understood. They also have a good-looking website with a succinct summary on its key features, advantages and benefits.
We especially like the section on "What people had to say" which boasts social proof in the form of very positive comments from well-known individuals in the crypto space, such as
Simon Kim, CEO of the famous Korean crypto investment fund #HASHED :
“Sentinel is an essential blockchain project as it can cultivate trust even outside the blockchain environment where hacking and fraud are rampant.”
The team has been making an effort to spread awareness, with global roadshows and events lined up, even attending most of them with the popular ICON foundation team.
They have also been very friendly and responsive on Telegram, encouraging everyone, especially those with cybersecurity knowledge, to participate in the Pre-Sentinels program.
However, we have a small gripe on their use of acronyms, in particular 'TRDB'. The Decentralized Threat Reputation Database is already a mouthful to begin with. Providing an acronym is great, but in this case it ends up being confusing, as going by the leading alphabets, it should be DTRD instead (which of course doesn’t sound smooth either).
There are already many other acronyms to remember, such as SIPB (Security Intelligence Platform on Blockchain), DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake), PoP (Proof of Protection) and FDS (Fraud Detection System).
We don't think the point here is to scare away hackers away with complex nomenclature.
We propose a much simpler 3-lettered DTD – Decentralized Threat Database or TDB - Threat Database, both of which are much easier to remember and still explain literally what the service is about.
Similarly, we find the naming of the UPP currency token rather strange. Uppsala is a city in Sweden, and also the place where the Sentinel Protocol idea originated - hence the inspiration behind the company's name. But it has absolutely nothing to do with the tech or the token architecture and only serves to further confuse participants. Ideally, there should be a clear distinction between Uppsala the security company and Sentinel Protocol the actual product/service.
It is understandable that the label ‘Sentinel Point’ is already used for the reputation score layer, and in order to prevent confusion, another name is required for the digital currency token to be used for advanced features on the platform.
We believe the team should follow DigixGlobal’s (DigixDAO and DigixGold) lead and christen both digital assets 'Sentinel-something'. We recommend Sentinel Point (SP) and Sentinel Security Token (SST), to keep the Sentinel Protocol branding more consistent and memorable.
(Example only) Putting these terms together:
Cybersecurity experts/Sentinels that contribute to the TDB – Threat Database, earn Sentinel Reputation Points (SP), and these SPs can be later converted to SST (Sentinel Security Tokens) that can be used as payment for more advanced features on the Sentinel Protocol, or traded on the open market.
But don’t take our word for it; this is just our opinion. As a way to engage the community on this topic, and achieve consensus, a Twitter and Telegram poll could be organized to vote for the name for the token.
For easier dissemination of information and to aid visual learners, there is a desperate need for a Youtube introductory video on their website.
Subsequently, an infographic contest can be held as well to turn the complex mechanics of the Sentinel Protocol project into a simple, easily digestible visual illustration.
Lastly, the concept of 'The Sentinel' - a soldier that stands guard and watches for enemy threats - is a very powerful symbol that should be used prominently in their marketing. A good graphic designer should be hired to produce an eye-catching Sentinel icon (separate from the official project logo) for maximum impact. Currently, the Sentinel Protocol logo is cool, but doesn't remind someone of an actual 'Sentinel' watchdog.
How hyped is this project?
Most of the hype is due to their association with the ICON and Kyber Network projects.
Currently, Sentinel Protocol only has a mere 2600 supporters on Telegram . There is a possibility that they have a stronger hidden presence in Korea, but for the English-speaking community, this is a very small group.
Although it is clear that Sentinel Protocol has raised the bulk of the money they need through their private sale, it is important to eventually ramp up engagement not only with their exclusive club of accredited investors and cybersecurity firms, but also with the general crypto community as well.
Cybersecurity experts are needed to be Sentinels, while general crypto investors could be Sentinel Protocol evangelists - sharing about Sentinel Protocol's services and how to prevent cyber threats. Without some level of hype, this project runs the risk of remaining inside a very niche, technical field, within an already tiny subculture of cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
Risks and concerns? Competitors?
Although product execution is key, and the team appears very capable, there must be clearer examples of Sentinel Protocol’s competitive advantage against potential competitors.
Right now most competitors are centralized security databases, but in future with blockchain technology becoming more commonplace, what will stop these existing, established companies from putting ‘blockchain’ at the back of their name and decentralizing their processes as well?
There are similar services that have a ‘shared cybersecurity intelligence’ philosophy. Familiar names to the crypto community would be Ether Address Lookup (EAL) and Cryptonite by MetaCert - both are browser security add-ons that help prevent phishing attempts based on a constantly updated shared database of blacklisted urls. MetaCert is also going to be launching an ICO.
Other famous blockchain projects focusing on cybersecurity are Quantstamp (also a #HASHED investment), PolySwarm, OpenZeppelin and Ambisafe. We do not consider good competitors a typical professional threat to Sentinel Protocol as we believe cybersecurity firms should work together as much as possible to protect the entire crypto universe. But from a crypto investment standpoint, there is some risk of other blockchain projects attracting value and resources away from Sentinel Protocol.
High dependence on other players in the ecosystem
Sentinel Protocol might be able to identify the threat, trace stolen funds and quickly relay information to other crypto exchanges. However, there is evidently a lot of trust put on these exchanges to do the right thing and immediately suspend the affected accounts or even full withdrawals. Centralized exchanges run a business after all, and they might be slow to react if they wish to mitigate profit loss as much as possible by not alarming their customers with sudden announcements or trading halts.
Laundering money through the dark web and privacy coins
Even if all mainstream exchanges adopt Sentinel Protocol's threat information exchange and decentralized security intelligence solutions, it is possible that hackers can still launder the money through the dark web.
Privacy-focused blockchains such as Monero and their recent code-fork spin-off Loki guarantee absolute transaction anonymity. We believe such privacy coins will pose a huge challenge for Sentinel Protocol, or anyone for that matter, to easily trace stolen funds.
Lack of real stress-testing with Sentinel Protocol
The Uppsala team with their Sentinel Protocol project has won and participated in a few blockchain competitions, but this just means their product concept is good and they are fantastic at pitches. But the SIPB itself has yet to test its mettle against actual real-life hacking attempts.
Evidence of actual use case
Sentinel Protocol should ally themselves with a well-known exchange as a show of confidence and strength to the community that their product is trusted by existing businesses with a lot of money on the line.
ICO cybersecurity auditor
Sentinel Protocol should partner with upcoming ICO projects to help them safeguard their assets. ICO projects will have to purchase UPP tokens from the open market to pay for Sentinel Protocol’s services. This is a similar revenue stream concept to what Quantstamp is already implementing. Perhaps safeguarding other ICOs on ICON Mainnet?
Endorsement by well-known white hat hackers
If increased adoption by cybersecurity experts and agencies is one of the team's main objectives, they should proactively approach 'celebrity' or reputable white hat hackers to be ambassadors/advisors to their cause. An example would be Ambisafe's Oleksii Matiiasevych, as well as the White Hat Group, who had collectively help save over USD $150million worth of users' crypto funds during the Parity multi-sig wallet hack. Endorsement by fellow peers in the cybersecurity space will provide a sense of legitimacy to the Sentinel Protocol project.
The crypto universe is an extremely perilous place. Exploits on poorly-coded websites and dApps, and man-in-the-middle (MITM) scams will always be constant companions in our journey to the moon.
Sentinel Protocol helps us sleep better at night with their suite of decentralized, AI-powered cybersecurity solutions. It is especially comforting to know that the world's top cybersecurity experts are being constantly incentivised to protect our digital assets.
Although not a perfect solution to all types of cyber threats, we believe Sentinel Protocol is largely very effective, and will play a crucial role in protecting the crypto community's digital assets. We hope that every centralized or decentralized exchange out there will become part of the Sentinel Protocol ecosystem.
Based on our Chainhammer scoring model, Sentinel Protocol is a respectable project and receives a Good score of 78.6%. The project would have scored much higher if its MVP was ready for live public testing on the website. The score also assumes the token sale mechanics (which are not announced yet) will be a fair one, and not raising an exorbitant amount of money.
We wish you good fortune in the years to come!
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Sentinel Protocol Details
Sign up to be a Pre-Sentinel
MVP demo at ICON Summit
Pitch at Kyber Network competition
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