Dev Update: Formal Methods

I’m becoming a member of Ethereum as a proper verification engineer. My reasoning: formal verification is sensible as a occupation solely in a uncommon scenario the place

  • the verification goal follows quick, easy guidelines (EVM);
  • the goal carries numerous worth (Eth and different tokens);
  • the goal is difficult sufficient to get proper (any nontrivial program);
  • and the group is conscious that it’s necessary to get it proper (possibly).

My final job as a proper verification engineer ready me for this problem. Moreover, round Ethereum, I’ve been taking part in with two initiatives: a web based service known as Dr. Y’s Ethereum Contract Analyzer and a github repository containing Coq proofs. These initiatives are on the reverse extremes of a spectrum between an computerized analyzer and a guide proof growth.

Contemplating the collective influence to the entire ecosystem, I’m interested in an computerized analyzer built-in in a compiler. Many individuals would run it and a few would discover its warnings. Then again, since any shocking habits may be thought-about a bug, any shock must be eliminated, however computer systems can not sense the human expectations. For telling human expectations to the machines, some guide efforts are needed. The contract builders must specify the contract in a machine-readable language and provides hints to the machines why the implementation matches the specification (typically the machine desires an increasing number of hints till the human realizes a bug, often within the specification). That is labor intensive, however such guide efforts are justifiable when a contract is designed to hold multi-million {dollars}.

Having an individual devoted to formal strategies not solely provides us the power to maneuver sooner on this necessary but additionally fruitful space, it hopefully additionally permits us to speak higher with academia with a purpose to join the varied singular initiatives which have appeared prior to now weeks.

Listed below are some initiatives we wish to deal with sooner or later, most of them will in all probability be carried out in cooperation with different groups.


  • extending the Solidity to Why3 translation to the total Solidity language (possibly swap to F*)
  • formal specification of Solidity
  • syntax and semantics of modal logics for reasoning about a number of events


  • making a map of formal verification initiatives on Ethereum
  • accumulating buggy Solidity codes, for benchmarking computerized analyzers
  • analyzing deployed contracts on the blockchain for vulnerabilities (associated: OYENTE tool)


  • present a human- and machine-readable formalization of the EVM, which may also be executed
  • creating formally verified libraries in EVM bytecode or Solidity
  • creating a formally verified compiler for a tiny language
  • discover the potential for interaction-oriented languages (“if X happens then do Y; you can only do Z if you did A”)

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