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PolySwarm Documentation


Welcome to the PolySwarm documentation website. This is a public resource designed to help Experts, Arbiters, Ambassadors, and others get to know PolySwarm products. Let’s get started by taking a look at what a microengine is and what its role is in the PolySwarm marketplace.

Background on Microengines

Microengine Architecture

Microengines are Security Experts’ representatives in the PolySwarm marketplace; they encapsulate security expertise in the form of signatures, heuristics, dynamic analyses, emulation, virtualization, a combination of these things or perhaps something else entirely. If you have unique insight into a particular malware family, file format or category of malicious behavior, you are encouraged to encapsulate your knowledge into a PolySwarm Microengine, hook it up to the PolySwarm network and (potentially) earn passive income for your insight!

Microengines respond to Bounties and Offers in the PolySwarm marketplace, determining whether a suspect file is malicious or benign and stake a certain amount of Nectar (NCT) tokens alongside that assertion. Security Experts maintain and tweak their Microengines in response to new threat information and new analyses tools, vying against one another to stay at the forefront of their area of expertise.

Microengines’ Role in the PolySwarm Marketplace

In the PolySwarm marketplace, Ambassadors ask the market for a crowdsourced opinion on a suspect artifact (file) through the Wild-West style PolySwarm Bounty mechanism. Ambassadors may also ask specific Experts via Offer channels; Offers will be discussed in a later tutorial.

At a high level:

  1. An Ambassador “bounties” a suspect artifact.
  2. Microengines hear about this new artifact by listening for Ethereum events (optionally via polyswarmd).
  3. Each Microengine decides if the artifact at hand is within their wheelhouse of expertise.
  4. If the Microengine has insight on the artifact, it produces an assertion + a stake of NCT on that assertion.
  5. The Ambassador can see all assertions and returns a verdict to their customer.
  6. Some time passes.
  7. Arbiters offer ground truth regarding the malintent of the artifact. Correct Microengines are rewarded with the escrowed funds of incorrect Microengines.

For full details on this process, please refer to the PolySwarm whitepaper for now - more documentation is forthcoming!