July 9th - August 20th 2021

Blockchain Cyberdefense Design

Design and implement a systematic way of extracting financial models from DeFi projects and detecting potential loopholes

top 3 teams win Prize from a pool of $1000 worth of crypto

Summer 2021 Design Challenge: Blockchain Cyberdefense


Join us on Friday, July 9 for the kickoff!

This year, Columbia Engineering and the Columbia IBM Center invite students to innovate on the recycling stream. Professor Ronghui Gu will be leading this challenge, with experts in blockchain, to guide students on projects aimed at reducing cyber attacks. We need data minded students interested in topics ranging from engineering to entrepreneurship to join us! Students may join as teams or as individuals to design and implement a systematic way of extracting financial models from decentralized projects and detecting potential loopholes. Prizes will be awarded to the best projects.

Can’t make these sessions but want to stay involved?

  • Join the Slack channel to connect with others and watch recorded events and lectures
  • Stay updated via email through our interest form here
  • If you have any questions about the design challenge, please contact Ivy Schultz (is2350@columbia.edu).

For Live Updates From the Blockchain Design Challenge

Challenge Timeline

Your Efforts Will Be Judged According to the Following Criteria:

  • July 9: 1– 4 PM Kickoff Meeting
  • July 16: 1 – 4 PM Guest Speaker & Presentation 
  • July 23: 1 – 2 PM Guest Speaker
  • July 30: 1 – 4 PM Guest Speaker & Presentation 

Challenge Goal

The growing adoption of DeFi (decentralized finance) poses new security risks as designing increasingly complex financial models is error-prone. A recent report shows that $100 million have been stolen from DeFi in 2020 due to loopholes in the financial model, such as unsound liquidation conditions, asset pricing, position management, etc. It is a grand challenge to detect loopholes in DeFi projects’ financial models. 

The goal of this bootcamp is to design and implement a systematic way of extracting financial models from DeFi projects and detecting potential loopholes. In this work we focus on unsound financial models, that is, we limit our scope to exploits where the attacker can mint, hold, or burn assets at the expense of traders and liquidity provider’s interests. The team can start by studying past attacks on DeFi projects and categorize loophole patterns. Build automated tools to extract financial models of the studied DeFi projects. Design and implement tools to encode and detect loophole patterns in the studied DeFi projects. Projects will be judged by a panel of experts from academic and business domains. The top 3 teams will be presented with prizes, with a total number added up to $1000 worth of crypto (for 3 groups).

Summer 2021 Teams


Team Eclipse Defender: based on the Eclipse attack, our team would like to simulate some simple blockchain security issues via R or other platforms and discuss potential solutions. Team members: Sai Satwik Vaddi, Huanan Shen (Team Leader), Rahul Agarwal, Yuyang He, Wei Luo. 

Team Flash Loan Defense:  our goal is to defend against flash loan attacks. Team members: Deepak Dwarakanath ’21, Maximilian Elias Kiefer ’22, Shantanu Jain ’22, Venkat Ramamoorthi ’23. 

Team CyberCrew: a simulated decentralized exchange model that can defend triangular arbitrage. Team members: Cheng Gong, Matt David Goodman, Caleb Kauppinen, Lisa Jeong, Aditi Mutagi, Axel Ivan Ortega, and Tanvi Pande.

Team TokenTest: a PenTesting tool to test robustness of Bitcoin-like blockchains against deviant mining strategies. Team Members: Ketan Jog, Andrew Magid, and Oliver Li