Zellic Blog

Ante x Zellic: Audit incentive alignment

The first audit firm to stake ETH behind the effectiveness of an audit.

Zellic becomes the first audit firm to stake ETH behind the effectiveness of their audit. There has been a recent uproar in the crypto community about auditor incentives. Incentive misalignment occurs when auditors get paid even if they miss bugs or the protocol gets hacked later.

Not all audit firms suffer from hacks equally. High-tier audit firms are the most levered towards their customers’ outcomes. This is because high-tier audit firms differentiate themselves on quality. The reputational damage from a hack harms the community’s trust in them, damaging future business. Meanwhile, low-tier audit firms adopt a volume-centric business model, and thus less sensitive to customer outcomes.

At Zellic, we believe in our audits. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of quality. And we don’t just talk the talk: we back this commitment with financial incentives. We’ve always been willing to put money where our mouth is.

Now, we’re taking it even one step further. To signal our confidence behind our audit of Ante Finance, we are staking ETH on two core invariants of the Ante Protocol. These invariants were identified during our audit and should never be violated. If these security invariants are violated, Zellic will directly lose up to 10 ETH.

Staking creates a deep alignment between auditors and protocols. When invariants break and Ante Tests fail, the auditor’s stake is paid out to challengers (e.g., protocol users). In the future, we believe strong incentives are necessary for auditors to truly stand behind their customers.

The Ante tests can be found here and here.

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