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Serokell has worked on optimization and software systems audit for BlockScout, the first open-source blockchain explorer for Ethereum-based networks.
POA Network is an open-source, public decentralized platform running on the Ethereum mainnet. The goal of this platform is to make the execution of smart contracts fast, secure, and easy.
Serokell worked on the indexation optimization of the tool and conducted a technical audit of the POA network software systems.
BlockScout: software system audit
POA Network is a large-scale decentralized finance platform based on the Ethereum blockchain. The company develops products and tools to improve interoperability, infrastructure, and transparency throughout the Ethereum ecosystem.
Serokell conducted an independent audit of the development practices followed by the team, studied the code, identified and mitigated a critical problem in the product.
How a slight delay turned into a serious problem
At first, the inhouse software system seemed to work fine. But, a slight delay in processing transaction information gradually turned into a serious problem. POA owners chose Serokell because of our experience in fintech, blockchain, and large-scale security systems.
We detected the following situation: the explorer was simply not able to register all the network changes in real-time.
Users had to wait 30+ seconds for every transaction to become visible. The delay became longer and longer.
Finally, the project reached the point where it would take a year to index all the transactions.
Serokell, as an external auditor, needed to analyze the solution and the development process to find a way to fight the critical delay of indexation without weakening the system.
Analyze the business demands and user’s expectations as well as check the documentation and code.
Accomplish the quality assurance review, inspect overall software development procedures.
Our company analyzed the project, conducted the audit, brainstormed the alternatives, and came up with an elegant solution that let the indexation be faster and the development more efficient and secure.
What we did
POA network is a massive project that grew from a testing platform for games to a multifunctional online environment. Our developers carefully studied the architecture of the project to find the bottlenecks.
In order to optimize the processes, Serokell conducted a technical audit, studied the history of the project, did code review, provided technical support and debugging. We wanted to make sure that the product was not affected by miscommunication or mismanagement.
“Bugs can lead to extreme financial losses. The DAO Hack lost more than 11.5 million Ether (US$70M at the time of the hack, now over $2B) and the 2nd Parity Hack lost US$200M of user funds.”
— Yos Riady, yos.io
Goals of the audit
1. Assess the state of the project as a whole.
2. Evaluate the management and development practices used by the team.
3. Identify existing or potential challenges.
4. Issue recommendations that would improve productivity of the whole project in the long run.
As a part of this audit, we participated in daily meetings of the development team and performed a series of interviews with people involved in the project. Additionally, we reviewed available communication records from Slack and GitHub and analyzed the current state and the VCS history of the codebase.
After a comprehensive investigation of BlockScout’s systems and processes, Serokell offered a fully-fledged approach to the problem.
Instead of indexing transactions individually, BlockScout would index them grouped by block. This sped up the indexing and provided the client with a fast and convenient tool to control blockchain operations.
As a result, the efficiency of BlockScout increased by more than 10 times.
Average block indexing time before optimization
Average block indexing time after optimization
The indexing of transactions now takes less than 5 seconds and processes transactions in real-time.
We didn’t just analyze the platform and offer a solution. During our audit, we discovered some inefficiencies in the codebase and bugs that needed to be fixed. The debugging was done by the common offer of POA network and Serokell developers.
We monitored our client’s business processes and have also issued some recommendations that can help them to improve the workflow and to avoid such situations in the future.
A third-party audit is necessary for projects of any size and complexity both for in-house and outsourced software development. This measure allows securing software and determines that it is error-proof and safe before launching.
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We would be happy to discuss your project and propose solutions.