Interview with Seth Hornby, CEO of Zenchain
Zenchain — A Pioneer in Blockchain Applications
Hey, Seth. So just to let our readers know, I got connected with you over LinkedIn because I needed some advice for the incorporation process of our company, and I thank you for being so helpful.
So I figured that an interview to know all about Zenchain would be very fitting. Frank Amato, one of our newly acquired investors had only great things to say about you and MonitorChain. So let’s dive in.
First of all, Seth, can you tell us about yourself, your story and how you ended up cofounding Zenchain?
As a tech entrepreneur in the field of security and PC software development for the past decade, blockchain and cryptocurrency have been areas that I have had a substantial interest in over the past several years. I am a strong advocate for decentralization and the financial evolution that cryptocurrencies represent. After the sale of our PC security software company, Safebytes, in 2018, myself and several former colleagues including our CTO Nikola Davidovic decided to venture into building decentralized applications and tools to benefit the cryptocurrency community. After some initial exploratory project development, we stumbled across the concept for MonitorChain that we strongly believe addresses some serious issues in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and have focused our efforts over the past year as a result.
You’ve got a couple of products already, including Lendcoin, MonitorChain, and a Telegram anti-phishing bot. Can you expand on each of them? Also, are you creating an ecosystem of interconnecting products, or standalone products, and what’s their main purpose individually, or all together?
Being new entrants to the space, and thus relatively unknown, we really wanted to provide value to the community beyond just build a for-profit product, which is the reason we built our Telegram anti-phishing bot. We created it in response to the plague of phishing scams that were occurring in Telegram channels, especially those for ICOs. It is open source and fully available free of charge, and we highly recommend anyone who intends to offer an ICO/STO use it to help protect their prospective investors from being scammed. Lendcoin is a platform we had begun building initially, and in the process of developing it a massive hack occurred impacting a dozen ERC20 tokens — the batch overflow exploit — that resulted in losses of millions of dollars with the response from exchanges very inadequate. We gave some serious thought to what we would do if we were running our lending platform or an exchange and a similar event occurred and realized there was nothing at all on the market to solve this massive security risk, and thus, the idea for our flagship product, MonitorChain was born.
So MonitorChain in a nutshell, what is it?
MonitorChain is an automated security platform that provides instant notification of security incidents such as exchange hacks, token exploits, and trading fraud. Essentially what it does is detect the signs and symptoms of what occurs in these events the moment they happen, monitoring things like large transfers, balance mismatches, and supply changes, rather than other security detection which is far more reactive. The advantage to MonitorChain is that for exchanges, token creators, and traders/investors, you get notified of a potential hack or fraud *before* the ensuing price crash and lost funds and allowing for proactive protection.
Diving a little deeper into MonitorChain, you mention the importance of instant alerts of hacks and thefts for exchanges. Is this a solution to a problem, or an extra service for exchanges or users?
This is a problem that has unfortunately been running rampant for years, with the losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies. Despite assurances from exchanges and the teams issuing ICOs, this is a massive problem that remains unresolved. We have regularly seen response times to hacks, theft, and fraud take not only hours but days in some cases, with disinformation and confusion leading to delayed action. While MonitorChain currently is a service for exchanges and token creators, we will be launching a freemium version for individual users in the coming weeks for those who wish to be the first to know when these catastrophic events occur.
What’s been the greatest challenges to overcome, and what’re your greatest achievements since the beginning of MonitorChain?
In such a new and evolving industry like blockchain, there are plenty of challenges to overcome, and we faced many technical hurdles in building MonitorChain, though we are extremely proud to have built a fully working DApp that solves an existing product in the market without having done an ICO or raised any external funding. Our greatest achievements would have to be MonitorChain being the first to detect several major scams with our reporting of the issues contributing to putting a stop to the losses being suffered by exchange traders and token holders.
What are you working on right now, and which projects are you looking to take on for the next couple years that tie in with the direction of the crypto industry?
Right now our focus is exclusively on MonitorChain as we intend to scale it to blockchains beyond Ethereum and integrate with as many exchanges and coins as possible to improve security across the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem. This is a driving passion for us and we plan to give it the long term attention it deserves.
Who are you partnering with at the moment, and what kind of partnerships would you be interested in, to grow your impact in the industry?
With MonitorChain our key targets for partnership are the major exchanges trading Ethereum tokens. We already have several important contracts in place, but we are always looking to connect with exchanges, as they represent the primary user group for MonitorChain since they not only benefit from receiving its security notifications but are also able to take prompt preventative action as a result to protect their users.
Where can we follow you or Zenchain online, or otherwise support your business?
You can follow us online on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you like MonitorChain, we always appreciate anyone who will recommend us to the exchanges they use. For personal users, we also offer free access to our alert feed upon request, so don’t hesitate to contact us.