This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Cybersecurity series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and cybersecurity.
In this interview we speak with Michael Shaulov, CEO and Co-Founder of Fireblocks, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the cybersecurity business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Fireblocks? Why and how did you begin?
MS: In 2015, I sold my company, Lacoon Mobile Security to Checkpoint for $100M (creator of the Firewall) and joined Checkpoint to lead the Mobile and Cloud Security team. In 2017, the infamous Lazarus Group hacked into four South Korean exchanges and stole $200M of Bitcoin. We were part of the Checkpoint task force that investigated the massive cyber breach. Through that, two things became obvious to us: the shift and motivation of cybercriminals from hacking traditional finance to digital assets, and the complexity and the lack of solutions for securing digital assets in an enterprise environment. Idan, Pavel and I each spent the last twenty years transforming how cybersecurity is being applied to mobility, cloud, and critical infrastructure so the next obvious challenge was clear, to secure the blockchain. The market was rapidly shifting towards the digitization of assets and was an area in which existing security solutions were insufficient. So we teamed up to create Fireblocks — an easy to use digital asset security platform that helps financial institutions protect digital assets from theft or hackers by securing the private keys, API credentials and eliminates the need for deposit addresses.
2. Please describe your use case and how Fireblocks uses blockchain:
MS: Institutions managing digital assets today need to maintain operational efficiency while keeping assets secure. Some institutions manage assets on exchanges and in hot wallets, which puts them at risk of hacking attacks or insider threats. Others store assets in cold storage, but it takes days to move those funds, limiting their ability to capitalize on market conditions. Fireblocks enables the secure transfer of digital assets across exchanges, wallets, custodians, and counterparties. Utilizing breakthrough multiparty computation (MPC) and patent-pending chip isolation technology (SGX), we eliminate the risks associated with having a single point of failure and allow financial institutions 24/7 access to their funds.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
MS: Galaxy Digital, a multi-service merchant bank dedicated to the digital assets and blockchain technology industry is an early customer of Fireblocks. They have a trading operation that consists of moving digital assets throughout a global network of trading venues and custodians with idiosyncratic policies. Galaxy utilizes Fireblocks to help eliminate insider and cyber risk by running their investing and trading activities through our platform allowing a more secure and efficient global trading operation.
4. What other blockchain use cases in cybersecurity are you excited about?
MS: One of the main issues today is how quickly information about threats is propagated between security vendors, how a security vendor shares new information about an attack and how they’re being compensated for that information. Right now the ecosystem is broken, because there is an abuse of the information and small vendors and security researchers are not compensated for their effort and their findings. Leveraging blockchain can introduce a much more fair, faster and efficient system for this information to propagate which will eventually increase the security of endpoint, network, and cloud systems. This will make sure security vendors and researches receive the rewards and recognition for their efforts.
5. Where will Fireblocks be in 5 years?
MS: Fireblocks aims to secure all digital assets from hacks, being the main enterprise solution across exchanges, OTCs, brokerages, and custodians. We are confident that our platform will become the go-to solution for institutions that are serious about securely moving their digital assets.