Bancor Network is a decentralized cross-chain liquidity network founded in 2016 by Eyal Hertzog, Galia Benartzi, Guy Ben-Artzi, and Yudi Levi. The project went live with the most prominent ICO at the time, raising more than $153 million worth of Ether. The platform works similarly to a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange with some minor differences in terms of the token exchange mechanics. The business is owned and operated by the Bprotocol Foundation, a Swiss non-profit, headquartered in Zug, Switzerland.
According to information on the Bancor Foundation’s website, the core idea behind the project is to implement the so-called “Bancor Protocol”, which dates back to 1944. It is named after the international trade balancing currency proposed by John Maynard Keynes at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. However, the applied model today is an evolved version of the international trade balancing currency introduced back then. The Bancor Foundation states that it is inspired by “the chance to redesign the global economy from the ground up” and driven by “the belief that freed of currency is a human right.” In other words, the Network’s main principle levitates around the idea of facilitating the ability for different user-generated currencies to convert with each other easily.
Bancor Network’s model is different from the way other decentralized exchanges operate because it follows the price formation rules of the Bancor Protocol. The protocol allows users to hold a particular token and convert it directly into another at an automatically calculated price. There are no bids or asks, as well as market makers or takers. The price is generated via a formula that takes into account the available liquidity and the current prices for the particular token on other exchanges.
The Bancor Network team is comprised of widely renowned individuals with substantial experience. The Network was lead by the well-respected international monetary policy expert Bernard Lietaer before his death on February 4, 2019. However, at the time of this writing, other prominent figures like Tim Draper, John Henry Clippinger, Brock Pierce, Yoni Assia, Guido Schmit-Krummacher complement the accredited team and the advisory board of the initiative.
When it comes to the employed security measures, it is worth noting that, as a decentralized cryptocurrency network, Bancor does not require KYC compliance from its users. Although this speeds up the process of token conversion, it slightly diminishes the security level of the platform. However, the Bancor Network’s team insists they have employed other strict security protocols to ensure that their customers are fully protected. At the time of this writing, it seems these measures hadn’t been as effective as initially intended, as the trading venue had been a subject of a massive hacker attack. On July 9, 2018, the exchange experienced a major security breach that resulted in the loss of $23.5 million. The Bancor Network’s team reacted immediately and was able to mitigate the losses by recovering approximately $10 million of the stolen funds. The attack’s target was one of the key accounts at the exchange – the one of the original creator of the Bancor token contract. No other user wallets were compromised in the theft. Following the hack, Bancor decided to increase the security of their main contract by granting its ownership to a multi-signature contract. That way, the team ensured that there is no single account with access to the whole network.
The breach was criticized by industry figures like Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin, the Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer, and bitcoin and security experts Andreas Antonopoulos, and Joey Krug.
Aside from that, there are multiple threads on Reddit and Bitcointalk describing issues, such as loss of funds or scam emails, intended to steal users’ tokens.