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Augur Core v2 Audit


The Augur team asked us to review and audit their Augur Core v2 project. We looked at the code and now publish our results.

The audited commit is 9a33c3269e812d0cb66d49b61a72db58e32e4749 and all contracts in the AugurProject/augur/packages/augur-core/source/contracts/ folder were in scope, with the following exceptions and caveats.

  • Contracts TestNetReputationToken.sol, TestOrders.sol, ERC820Registry.sol and reporting/DisputeCrowdsourcer.sol were left entirely out of scope.
  • All contracts in the trading directory were treated differently, as we did not perform our standard audit in full-depth due to the time requirements imposed on this particular audit. In this case, we only focused specifically on changes implemented since the last audited version and on particular major threats identified by the team.

Before moving to the full list of issues found in the project, some introductory remarks about the project’s current status are in order.

First, the entire Augur Core v2 project is still under heavy development, so major features such as the DAI integration are still to be included in the protocol, and were therefore not reviewed.

Second, while the Augur team was responsive and helpful enough throughout the audit, we found documentation for all current (and future) changes in v2 to be meager (as highlighted in several parts of the report), which hindered the auditing process to some extent, considering the difficulties entailed by auditing code with little specifications on its intention. Great efforts must be made in terms of end-user documentation before releasing the final version of the protocol. By going through and explicitly documenting all functionality in the contracts, the Augur team may surface unintended code or comments that were simply left over from v1 and are not meant to exist in v2.

Finally, it is necessary to stress that the audit performed does not include any migration mechanisms from Augur’s current live version on mainnet to the to-be-deployed second version of the protocol.

Next, our audit assessment and recommendations, in order of importance.

Update: the Augur team applied several fixes based on our recommendations. We address below the fixes introduced as part of this audit.

Critical severity

[C01] All CASH tokens approved to Augur can be emptied

A MarketFactory has a createMarket public function that allows anyone to create a new Market. After creating the market, and before initializing it, the factory first transfers all its REP token balance to the market. Then, it calls the given IAugur contract to execute a “trusted transfer” of CASH tokens, for an amount given by _universe.getOrCacheValidityBond() (being _universe the address of a potentially user-controlled IUniverse contract).

In a scenario where a victim has approved N CASH tokens to the Augur contract, and the MarketFactory is registered as a trustedSender in such Augur contract, an attack vector has been identified where tokens approved by the victim to the Augur contract can be freely emptied by an attacker, sending them to any newly created market.

All the attacker needs to do is call the createMarket function of the trusted MarketFactory with the following relevant parameters:

  • _universe: an address of a contract controlled by the attacker that implements the getReputationToken function and getOrCacheValidityBond function
  • _sender: address of the victim that approved N “Cash” tokens to Augur contract

As a consequence:

  1. The require in line 16 of MarketFactory.sol passes regardless of how many tokens the MarketFactory contact owns.
  2. The require in line 17 of MarketFactory.sol makes a trustedTransfer of CASH tokens. The amount of tokens to be transferred is controlled by attacker, as attacker controls _universe.getOrCacheValidityBond().
  3. Upon its trustedTransfer function being called, the Augur contract recognizes MarketFactory as a trustedSender, and executes a transferFrom from the victim’s address, to the market’s address, of as much tokens as the attacker set.
  4. Finally, back in the MarketFactory contract, the created market is initialized.

As a result, the victim lost all CASH tokens approved to Augur, which were freely moved by an attacker to the newly created market. It is important to highlight that in the issue “CASH tokens can be stolen from the Market contract” a related attack vector is thoroughly described, where the attacker is able to actually steal the tokens moved to the market.

Even if a user approves a certain amount of tokens to a contract (e.g. the Augur contract), under no circumstances should those tokens be allowed to be moved at the will of a potentially malicious external actor. Therefore, consider implementing the necessary restrictions in the MarketFactory contract to prevent a scenario as the one described above. Related unit tests to thoroughly cover such dangerous cases must also be implemented.

Update: fixed in 814b390 by checking that the universe address passed into the createMarket function is a known universe, thus eliminating the possibility of it being malicious.

[C02] CASH tokens can be stolen from the Market contract

By exploiting the critical vulnerability described in “[C01] All CASH tokens approved to Augur can be emptied”, any malicious user can move all CASH tokens approved to Augur, sending them to Market contracts. But the attacker does not directly benefit from the attack.

However, a severe attack vector has been identified in the Market contract that would allow the attacker to actually steal all tokens previously moved to the Market contract. Therefore, this issue should be considered as an extension of “[C01] All CASH tokens approved to Augur can be emptied”. Following, we set out to describe step by step how an attacker can leverage a malicious universe and the lack of input validations to finally move the CASH tokens to any address in their control.

Once the approved CASH tokens are moved to the Market contract (described in “[C01] All CASH tokens approved to Augur can be emptied”), the MarketFactory contract calls the market’s initialize function. This means that:

Now, when the market’s endTime passes (this parameter is attacker-controlled too, and set during initialization), the attacker can either submit an initial report or just wait the 24 hours until public reporting is allowed. In any case, the Market has to be reported as “Invalid”.

  • 2.1) Regardless of when the attacker submits the initial report, the transfer operations in lines 151 and 152 or line 154 of Market.sol will move 0 REP tokens, as _initialReportStake is the same as repBond and repBond was set to zero (see 1.4).
  • 2.2) In line 140 the disputeWindow of the Market is initialized by the attacker-controlled universe.
  • 2.3) In line 141 (then lines 46 and 47 of InitialReporter.sol) the attacker gets registered as the owner and actualReporter of the InitialReporter contract.
  • 2.4) Then, in line 50 of InitialReporter.sol the payoutNumerators is set to the attacker-controlled _payoutNumerators, such that payouNumerators[0] > 0, so the Market is reported as “Invalid”. From now on, the function getPayoutNumerator(0) (inherited from the BaseReportingParticipant contract) will always return a value greater than zero.
  • 2.5) In line 51 of InitialReporter.sol the size is set to zero.

Finally, the attacker calls the finalize function on the Market contract.

As explained, by combining the vulnerability reported in the issue “[C01] All CASH tokens approved to Augur can be emptied” with the correct execution of the steps above, any malicious user can effectively steal CASH tokens that are approved to the Augur contract. While initially the attack here described seems to be prevented by properly verifying the legitimacy of the universe address set in the Market contract, a thorough review of the entire attack vector, which includes complex interactions between the Augur, MarketFactory, Market and InitialReporter contracts, is in order, so as to determine the most appropriate course of action to mitigate the critical vulnerability.

Update: the Augur team correctly pointed out that this attack is not actually possible because the transaction will be reverted upon calling the logInitialReportSubmitted function in the Augur contract (which checks that the passed universe address is legitimate).

[C03] Anyone can remove all market’s dispute crowdsourcers

After an initial report is done, the tentative outcome for an Augur market can be disputed by any REP token holder during the market’s dispute round. Such dispute consists of staking REP tokens on an outcome other than the market’s current tentative outcome. A dispute is considered successful when the total amount of dispute stake on some outcome meets the dispute bond size required for the current dispute round. It is important to highlight that dispute bonds do not need to be paid in their entirety by a single user; instead, users can crowdsource them.

During the dispute round, a Market keeps track of contributions to each possible outcome by instantiating DisputeCrowdsourcer contracts, storing references to them in the crowdsourcers collection. These DisputeCrowdsourcer contracts act as escrows for the staked REP tokens for each possible outcome, and are expected only to be cleared (via the clearCrowdsourcers function) when either the crowdsourcing for a particular dispute bond finishes or existing crowdsourcers need to be disavowed during a fork. However, as the clearCrowdsourcers function is public, anyone can, at any time, silently delete all crowdsourcer addresses registered in a Market contract. This renders the entire disputing process pointless, as anyone can just delete all crowdsourcers before a dispute bond is about to be filled, thus avoiding any dispute over the market’s tentative outcome.

Consider restricting the visibility of the clearCrowdsourcers function to private. Furthermore, to prevent this issue from being reintroduced in future changes to the code base, consider adding related unit tests.

Update: fixed in 99d06e8 by restricting the clearCrowdsourcers function’s visibility to private.

[C04] DisputeCrowdsourcer contract does not allow for the purchase of overload tokens once its size is filled

The DisputeCrowdsourcer‘s contribute function is expected to mint DISP tokens for contributors until the funding goal is reached. After the funding goal has been reached, further contributions are rewarded with “overload tokens” to enable participants to quickly raise the dispute stakes without waiting through multiple dispute rounds. This mechanism prevents malicious parties from dragging out disputes.

However, in line 78 of DisputeCrowdsourcer.sol, size.sub(_curStake) will inevitably revert if _curStake is larger than size. size is the funding goal of the DisputeCrowdsourcer and is the threshold at which DISP tokens stop being minted, replaced by the minting of overload tokens. The value of _curStake is calculated by the getStake function which sums the total supply of all DISP and overload tokens. As a consequence, only the first purchase of overload tokens that brings the total stake above the funding goal will succeed. Every subsequent attempt to contribute to the tentative outcome (i.e. by purchasing overload tokens) will revert because the total number of overload tokens and DISP tokens will exceed the funding goal (i.e. size).

Consider refactoring the contribute function to handle the described scenario, where the total number of overload tokens and DISP tokens exceeds the funding goal, so as to ensure disputes cannot be easily dragged out by malicious parties.

Note: The DisputeCrowdsourcer contract is not within the scope of this audit but has many interactions with the contracts covered by this report.

Update: fixed in 2ea5753 by removing the concept of overload tokens.

[C05] Unfillable orders can be placed to constrain or halt markets

In the FillOrder contract, the fillOrder function calls tradeMakerTokensForFillerTokens in the Trade library located in the same file. The tradeMakerTokensForFillerTokens function makes a transfer of longShareToken and shortShareToken to the _longBuyer and _shortBuyer respectively. Either the _longBuyer or the _shortBuyer will be the order creator depending on the direction of the trade. Both transfers will trigger the tokensReceived hook on the recipient if the recipient is an ERC820-registered contract. This means that if the order creator is a contract that reverts when tokensReceived is called, the order will be unfillable because it will cause fillOrder to revert.

According to Augur v2 whitepaper, “Orders are never executed at a worse price than the limit price set by the trader, but may be executed at a better price.” An unfillable order may severely limit or completely disable a market because it must be filled before an order with a worse price can be filled. This applies to orders on both sides of the order book.

Any malicious user can exploit this vulnerability by placing an unfillable order at a price they do not want the market to trade above or below (depending on the direction of the order), thus creating an artificial ceiling or floor on the market. Furthermore, just by placing two unfillable orders, one long, one short, with a very tight spread, the attacker can effectively halt all trading operations in any Augur market.

Consider using the trustedFillOrderTransfer function instead of transfer, both in line 197 and line 199 of FillOrder.sol, to ensure the ERC777 hooks are not called, which should mitigate the described critical vulnerability.

Update: fixed in 98a3f36 by modifying transfers of Augur’s Share tokens to no longer call the ERC 777 hooks.

[C06] Affiliate’s fees can be withdrawn in an invalid, finalized Market

The Market contract implements the recordMarketCreatorFees function, which can only be called by “known fee senders” and is in charge of calculating the amount of fees to be assigned to the creator and the affiliate (if exists). When the market is finalized, the function takes care of calling the distributeMarketCreatorFees function. This last function either:

In case (B), the amount of CASH tokens sent to the fee pool does not include any affiliate fees (they are always subtracted from marketCreatorFeesAttoCash in line 300). That means that the transfer of CASH tokens in line 321 does not actually transfer the affiliate’s fees to the pool, and therefore an affiliate can still call withdrawAffiliateFees to cash out the fees.

In a scenario where addresses controlled by the market creator are set as the affiliate address in trading operations, and the affiliateFeeDivisor is set to 1 (so that in line 298 the _affiliateFees are as high as possible – equal to marketCreatorFees), then the market creator will not lose any fees if the market ends up being invalid, as they will be able to get away with all affiliate fees by calling the withdrawAffiliateFees function.

Similar to what is currently done with market creator fees, consider implementing the necessary changes in the distributeMarketCreatorFees function to effectively send all affiliate fees to the fee pool if the market is invalid. Unit tests to cover this sensitive scenario are in order, which should prevent this issue from being reintroduced in future changes to the code base.

Update: fixed in 8707454 . Affiliate fees are now transferred to the dispute window for invalid markets.

[C07] All dispute bonds can be held hostage or permanently frozen when a Market is in a forking universe

When a non-forking market is in a forking universe, its disavowCrowdsourcers function must be called either directly or through the migrateThroughOneFork function before dispute bond holders can redeem and migrate their REP tokens to a child universe. This is due to the fact that the DisputeCrowdsourcer contract must be disavowed or the market must be finalized before redemption is allowed, and the market cannot be finalized in a forking universe.

In the disavowCrowdsourcers function, a transfer of REP tokens is made to the repBondOwner address. As the REP token is similar to an ERC777 token, its transfer function will call the tokensReceived hook on the repBondOwner address if it is an ERC820-registered contract.

A malicious repBondOwner account could leverage this hook to revert any calls to the tokensReceived function, rendering it impossible to successfully call the disavowCrowdsourcers or migrateThroughOneFork functions on that market. As a consequence, this attack will effectively freeze all dispute bond funds and therefore prevent the market from being migrated to the winning fork. It would be trivial for the malicious repBondOwner account to only release funds when a ransom has been paid to the contract which can then be collected by the attacker. This can also be exploited just as a griefing attack to cause Augur reporting participants to lose funds.

When making ERC777-like transfers, consider strictly implementing the withdrawal payments pattern (a.k.a. “pull style” payments) or ensuring the ERC777 transfer hooks are not called to mitigate attack vectors associated with making calls to external addresses.

Update: fixed in c6eed38. The transfer of REP token in the disavowCrowdsourcers function no longer calls the ERC 777 hooks.

[C08] Fork reputation goal threshold can be decreased during fork

Once a universe is forking, all REP token holders are expected to migrate out their entire REP balance to one of the child universes. The migration of tokens can be accomplished calling the migrateOut or migrateOutByPayout functions in the ReputationToken contract corresponding to the forking universe. These will then trigger the burning of REP tokens in the forking universe, and by calling the migrateIn function of the child universe’s REP token, the corresponding REP tokens will be minted in the child universe. The forking stage will be considered finished either when a certain amount of REP tokens have been migrated (i.e. forkReputationGoal tokens) to a child universe (which will be considered the winning child universe), or when a fixed amount of time has passed (i.e. when the system’s time is greater than forkEndTime).

While the forkReputationGoal was expected to be a fixed threshold during a fork, an attack vector has been identified in a second-generation forking universe where any malicious user can turn the forkReputationGoal into an ever-decreasing moving target, thus dangerously allowing a holder of tokens to potentially manipulate the outcome of a fork in an unintended way.

Consider a Universe B, winning child of a locked Universe A that forked in the past (i.e. in Universe B, augur.getTimestamp() >= parentUniverse.getForkEndTime() equals true). Now consider that the Universe B is forking to several universes, but still has not settled on which child universe is the winning one; that is, users are actively migrating their Universe-B-REP tokens to one of the many child universes by calling the migrateOut function of the Universe-B-REP token. Therefore, the total supply of Universe-B-REP tokens is decreasing (because Universe-B-REP tokens are burned).

The ReputationToken contract implements the updateTotalTheoreticalSupply function that can be called by anyone at any time. In our scenario, calling this function will always execute line 157 of ReputationToken.sol, thus updating the totalTheoreticalSupply of Universe-B-REP tokens to the last registered totalSupply of tokens. This means that, as the totalSupply of Universe-B-REP tokens is decreasing due to tokens being migrated and burned, the totalTheoreticalSupply will also decrease each time updateTotalTheoreticalSupply is called after at least one Universe-B-REP token is migrated out to a child universe.

The Universe contract implements the updateForkValues function that can be called by anyone at any time, and updates the forkReputationGoal with the last registered value of totalTheoreticalSupply. In our scenario, if the updateForkValues function is called in Universe B after calling updateTotalTheoreticalSupply in the Universe-B-REP token, then the forkReputationGoal threshold will be decreased, as the totalTheoreticalSupply was decreased (explained in previous paragraph).

As a consequence, any user can leverage the migration of Universe-B-REP tokens to effectively turn the forkReputationGoal threshold of Universe B into a moving target, thus each time requiring less and less tokens for a child universe to be considered the winning universe, not only because the amount of REP migrated is increasing (which is expected), but also because the threshold is being lowered.

Consider analyzing the need of having a public function that updates critical system parameters such as updateForkValues. If it is to remain public to be called from off-chain clients, then its execution during a fork should be halted, making sure it is called one last time before entering the fork stage. As a starting point, one potential (untested) solution for this issue could be adding a require(!isForking()) statement at the beginning of the updateForkValues function, and adding a call to it in the fork function of the Universe contract. Regardless of the course of action taken, thorough unit tests to cover the described scenario should be included to prevent this issue from being reintroduced in future changes to the code base.

Update: fixed in a9560f4. The fork reputation goal threshold can no longer be changed once a fork has begun.

High severity

[H01] Implementation of EIP 777 does not fully match the specification

The following mismatches between the EIP 777 specification and the related implementation contracts (i.e. ERC777Token, ERC777BaseToken, ERC777TokensRecipient and ERC777TokensSender) were identified.

  • In ERC777Token, the following functions are missing from the ERC777 interface: name(), symbol(), totalSupply(), balanceOf(address), granularity(), burn(uint256,bytes) and operatorBurn(address,uint256,bytes,bytes). It is worth highlighting that burn(uint256,bytes) and operatorBurn(address,uint256,bytes,bytes) are the only functions never implemented in child contracts.
  • In ERC777Token, ERC777TokensSender and ERC777TokensRecipient, all function and event parameters defined as type bytes32 should be defined as bytes.
  • In ERC777Token, the authorizeOperator(address), revokeOperator(address), send(address,uint256,bytes) and operatorSend(address,address,uint256,bytes,bytes) functions return a success bool while the EIP 777 standard does not specify a return value for any of those functions.
  • The ERC777BaseToken contract does not implement the burn(uint256,bytes) and operatorBurn(address,uint256,bytes,bytes) functions, which as mentioned, are missing from the ERC777Token interface. Augur developers acknowledge this situation in an inline comment.
  • The ERC777BaseToken contract implements a public sendNoHooks function that allows the caller to transfer tokens bypassing the tokensReceived and tokensToSend hooks of the sender and receiver, a feature completely opposite to the EIP 777 specification.
  • The mint function of VariableSupplyToken does not call the callRecipient function of ERC777BaseToken, thus never calling the receiver’s tokensReceived hook. According to the EIP 777 spec, calling such hook is a MUST when minting tokens.
  • The Minted event defined in ERC777Token is never emitted when minting tokens in the mint function of VariableSupplyToken. According to the EIP 777 spec, emitting such event is a MUST when minting tokens.
  • According to the spec, the tokensToSend hook MUST be called before the token’s state is updated. Similarly, the tokensReceived hook MUST be called after the token’s state is updated. However, the function transferFrom of the StandardToken contract modifies the token’s state (i.e. the allowances) before the tokensToSend hook is called.

Many of these particular noncompliances seem to be known by Augur’s development team, who still decided to move forward with their custom implementation of EIP 777. This kind of decisions come with trade-offs. While the deviations from the spec may be more suitable for the Augur protocol, they might potentially cause errors in clients interacting with Augur that expect a fully-compliant implementation of the EIP 777. Therefore, it is advisable to either avoid calling the implemented token ERC777 altogether (its similarities and differences with the standard spec could be described in end-user documentation), or instead fully comply with the EIP’s specification by following OpenZeppelin’s ERC777 implementation, released in the 2.3.0 version.

Update: in an attempt to fix this issue, where the mint function of the VariableSupplyToken was modified to call the ERC777 tokensReceived hook, a critical regression error has been introduced. The migrateBalanceFromLegacyRep function of the OldLegacyRepToken contract must be called for every token holder to complete the migration, and as mint now calls the tokensReceived hook, any holder can revert attempts to mint new tokens for them. As a result, malicious tokens holders can prevent the migration from finishing (i.e. potentially never allowing the isMigratingFromLegacy flag to be set to false).

[H02] EIP 820 implementation must be updated to EIP 1820

EIP 1820 has superseded EIP 820, the former being the latter’s adaptation for Solidity 0.5, due to a bug that was found in ERC820 which would prevent certain calls made in the staticcall to never return a true.

Therefore, consider updating the specification to ERC1820. This will update the insize parameter of the staticcall from 0x08 to 0x24. Contracts in ERC820Implementer.sol, IERC820Registry.solERC820Registry.sol, ReputationToken.sol, DisputeWindow.sol, and a number of other contracts using the ERC820 registry must all be updated to reflect the changes.

Update: the ERC820 contract has been replaced with the ERC1820 contract in 484e3ac.

[H03] Affiliate fees are not accumulated in multiple trading operations

In Augur v2, market creators can set an affiliateFeeDivisor value which corresponds to the proportion of market creator fees that will be assigned to the market’s affiliate when trading occurs.

For this purpose, the Market contract implements the function recordMarketCreatorFees, which can only be called by “known fee senders” and is in charge of calculating the amount of fees to be assigned to the creator and the affiliate (if exists). As trading can occur multiple times in a market, this function is expected to be called multiple times with fees for creator and affiliates accumulating each time, and it should distribute the fees to the corresponding parties only when the market is finalized.

However, while the fees are correctly accumulated for market creators, affiliates’ fees are instead overwritten (i.e. they are assigned to the affiliateFeesAttoCash mapping while they should be added using affiliateFeesAttoCash[_affiliateAddress] = affiliateFeesAttoCash[_affiliateAddress].add(_affiliateFees); ). As a consequence, if more than one trading operation of shares occurs in a market involving the same affiliate address, the affiliate will receive less fees than expected once the market is finalized.

Consider accumulating affiliate fees the same way market creators fees are currently accumulated. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to include unit tests that cover the described scenario, so as to make sure this issue is not reintroduced in future changes to the code base.

Update: fixed in 1b07fa4. Affiliate fees are now properly incremented.

[H04] Reentrancy vulnerabilities in Market contract

In the Market contract there are two reentrancy issues that allow for the removal of all of the contract’s REP tokens. In the contract’s current state, neither of these issues are exploitable because the contract never holds a REP token balance beyond the repBond being transferred in both instances.

In the disavowCrowdsourcers function, the repBond is transferred to the repBondOwner before the repBond is set to 0. Because it is an ERC777-like transfer, the tokensReceived hook is called on repBondOwner if repBondOwner is an ERC820-registered contract. Should the repBondOwner address actually be an attacker-controlled contract, it could reenter the Market contract by calling back into the disavowCrowdsourcers function from the tokensReceived hook and continue to do this until all REP tokens are drained from the market.

A similar issue was identified in the distributeInitialReportingRep function. In this case, the attacker could call the doInitialReport function which calls the doInitialReportInternal function, which in turn calls the distributeInitialReportingRep function, finally executing an ERC777-like transfer to the designated reporter address. In a scenario where the designated reporter address is a malicious attacker-controlled contract, it could reenter the Market contract by calling back into the doInitialReport function and continue to do so until all REP has been drained from the market.

Despite neither of these vulnerabilities being exploitable, as in the current implementation the amount of REP held in a market is limited to the repBond, precautions should be taken to prevent an exploitable vulnerability from being introduced in the future. In this regard, consider always following the Checks-Effects-Interactions pattern to mitigate the chances of calls to external addresses resulting in an exploitable reentrancy vulnerability.

Update: fixed in c6eed38. Transfers of REP tokens in the Market contract no longer call the ERC777 hooks.

[H05] Not following the Checks-Effects-Interactions pattern

Solidity recommends the usage of the Check-Effects-Interactions Pattern to avoid potential vulnerabilities, such as reentrancy. In several locations throughout the Augur code base (e.g. in Market contract functions distributeInitialReportingRep, distributeMarketCreatorFees and disavowCrowdsourcers), calls to external, potentially attacker-controlled, contracts are made before making the necessary checks and modifications in the contract’s storage. This can potentially expose serious reentrancy vulnerabilities, as discussed in the “[H04] Reentrancy vulnerabilities in Market contract” issue.

Strictly following the Check-Effects-Interactions pattern is of utmost importance in systems like Augur where most of the token transfers involve ERC777-like tokens, which explicitly call hook functions in the sender and receiver of each transfer operation. Therefore, the development team must ensure all interactions with external contracts are performed after all checks and state changes are made.

Update: Some instances of this issue have been fixed in 9f6ca45.

Update: [H06] Legacy REP tokens can be migrated to child universes

When reviewing the originally reported “[L07] REP token allows migration of legacy tokens after universe fork”, finally identified as a non-issue, the Augur team uncovered a serious vulnerability that would allow legacy REP tokens to be migrated to child universes in v2. In Augur team’s words: “This would allow v1 REP tokens to abstain from v2 forks safely and therefore bypass the v2 use-or-lose mechanism”.

The fix entails allowing the migration of legacy REP tokens only in Genesis universes, and it was implemented in 48744d6.

Medium severity

[M01] Missing docstrings throughout

Most of the contracts and functions in Augur’s code base lack documentation. This hinders reviewers’ understanding of the code’s intention, which is fundamental to correctly assess not only security, but also correctness. Additionally, docstrings improve readability and ease maintenance. In general, docstrings should explicitly explain the purpose or intention of functions, the scenarios under which they can fail, the roles allowed to call them, the values returned and the events emitted.

Consider thoroughly documenting all functions (and their parameters) that are part of the contracts’ public API. Functions implementing sensitive functionality, even if not public, should be clearly documented as well. When writing docstrings, consider following the Ethereum Natural Specification Format (NatSpec).

Update: fixed across a series of commits.

[M02] Missing error messages in require statements

Most require statements in Augur contracts are lacking error messages. Consider including specific and informative error messages in all require statements, as they greatly improve code readability, making the code base more self-explanatory.

Update: partially fixed across a series of commits.

[M03] Undocumented mathematical operations to compute Augur payouts

The Augur platform relies on a number of complex economic incentives to effectively align users’ behavior, thus preventing misuse and attacks on the system. Such incentives are mostly based on stakes and fees that users and stakeholders deposit and receive in several different scenarios. Intending to make the platform as transparent as possible, the Augur team has implemented most of the calculations for fees, bonds, stakes and payouts in their smart contracts. However, such sensitive operations were found to be undocumented, rendering them extremely hard to follow and understand. Refer to the reported issues “[M01] Missing docstrings throughout” and “[L02] Use of magic constants” for related problems.

While attempts to map all calculations spread throughout the code base to the Augur’s in-progress v2 whitepaper were made, still the manual process was unreliable and error-prone. Assessing for correctness becomes difficult when there is no way to straightforwardly understand the intentions behind each calculation, regardless of their simplicity.

Some examples of this issue can be found in:

Consider thoroughly documenting all sensitive calculations made in the code base, making explicit the rationale behind them where appropriate. As a starting point, this can be done in inline comments and docstrings; although it is highly advisable to include references to external more-detailed end-user documentation for v2 once it is ready. All of this will greatly improve the readability of the code, which should add to the platform’s transparency and the users’ overall experience.

Update: fixed across a series of commits.

[M04] Undocumented REP price auction mechanism

The Auction contract, together with the AuctionToken contract, implement the logic behind the built-in auction-based REP price oracle introduced in Augur Core v2. Although the logic appears to be fairly straightforward, no detailed documentation (apart from the unit tests) was found regarding how the auction is expected to work. The lack of explicit explanations about the functions’ intended behavior and the rationale behind arithmetic operations (observed throughout the entire Augur code base, as more generally described in “[M01] Missing docstrings throughout” and “[M03] Undocumented mathematical operations to compute Augur payouts”) prevent us from thoroughly assessing the correctness and security of these important mechanisms that will govern the REP price in the future.

Consider thoroughly documenting the entire REP price auction mechanism, both in docstrings and external end-user documentation. This should greatly add to the project’s maintainability and transparency, helping future developers, users and auditors evaluate the code’s level of security and correctness.

Update: fixed by removing th Auction contract in f641c42 .

[M05] Lack of input validation

Several functions in the Augur code base lack explicit checks of user-controlled parameters. While this practice is often used as a way to reduce gas costs, under no circumstances should the lack of input validation undermine security nor functionality. Some examples of issues of varying severity that steam from unsanitized input are “[C01] All CASH tokens approved to Augur can be emptied”, “[L04] Externally-owned accounts can be registered as contracts in the Augur contract” or even “[M08] Factories may unexpectedly fail to create proxies”.

Consider implementing require statements where appropriate to validate all user-controlled input. Including clear user-friendly error messages (as reported in “[M02] Missing error messages in require statements”) is highly recommended as well.

Update: input validation has been implemented across a series of commits.

[M06] Lack of event emission when market’s dispute phase starts pacing on

Following what is stated in Augur’s whitepaper, if a market’s tentative outcome is disputed with a bond greater than 0.02% of all REP but less than 2.5% of all REP, then the market enters the waiting for next fee window to begin phase, before undergoing another dispute round. The purpose of this is simply to slow down the dispute process as the bonds get larger, therefore giving honest participants more time to crowdfund the larger dispute bond.

The Market contract implements such behavior toggling a boolean flag called disputePacingOn, which once set to true, will prevent further contributions to the market’s current tentative outcome. However, the Market contract never emits an event in such scenario.

Considering how important and sensitive this stage in a market’s dispute phase is, consider defining and emitting an event in order to effectively notify off-chain clients about it.

Update: fixed in 27be8c5 . The DisputeCrowdsourcerCompleted event now logs a flag that indicates whether the market’s dispute phase is pacing on.

[M07] Unchecked return value in Ownable contract

In the Ownable contract‘s transferOwnership function, the abstract internal function onTransferOwnership is called but the boolean value it returns is never checked. Hence, if a subclass of Ownable were to return false from onTransferOwnership to prevent ownership transfers, all transfers would still succeed.

In the Augur code base, there are no contracts currently using onTransferOwnership to prevent ownership transfers. Yet, it is advisable to either check the return value in a require statement (to prevent introducing issues in future changes) or remove the return boolean value altogether.

Update: fixed in 5bc7904 . The internal onTransferOwnership function no longer returns a boolean flag.

[M08] Factories may unexpectedly fail to create proxies

Augur’s factories are CloneFactory contracts in charge of creating clones of minimal proxies (following EIP 1167). The target addresses of such proxies are queried from the Augur contract by calling its lookup function with a particular key.

A problem may arise when a key has not been registered in the Augur contract, since the lookup function always defaults to return the zero address in such case. This address will then be set as the target address of the created minimal proxy, which will therefore attempt to delegate all calls to the zero address. After wrapping the proxy with the corresponding interface, all factories call the target’s initialize function and expect a boolean value in return. As this value will not be present in the data returned by the proxy’s target contract, the transaction will be unexpectedly reverted without a clear nor informative reason.

Consider implementing, in all factories, the necessary validations on the address returned by the lookup function to make sure it is different from the zero address, thus avoiding unexpected failures in Augur’s factories.

Update: The Augur team decided not to move forward with our recommendation, since the transaction is reverted when calling the initialize function on a clone that points to the zero address.

[M09] Calls to sellCompleteSets function in FillOrder contract can be unexpectedly reverted

In the CompleteSets contract, the sellCompleteSets function is used to burn a complete set of outcome tokens in exchange for the underlying CASH token for a given market. This function is used by the FillOrder contract’s fillOrder function when the parameter _ignoreShares is set to false.

The sellCompleteSets function, in line 100 of CompleteSets.sol, calls the destroyShares function which then calls the VariableSupplyToken contract’s burn function, that in turn calls the ERC777 hook on the _sender if the _sender is an ERC820-registered contract. This can be leveraged by a malicious _sender by reverting transactions when sellCompleteSets is called. This includes any calls to the fillOrder function when the _ignoreShares parameter is set to false.

Consider not calling the ERC777 token hooks when outcome tokens are burned by the sellCompleteSets function. This will eliminate the risk of a malicious party unexpectedly reverting transactions.

Update: Fixed in c6eed38 . The call to the VariableSupplyToken contract’s burn function no longer triggers the ERC777 hook.

Low severity

[L01] Lookup key strings are not centrally defined

Known Augur contracts are tracked in the registry mapping of the Augur contract. New entries can be added by a privileged address via the registerContract function, and the lookup function acts as a public getter to query the registry providing a string-type key. While this registry is used by several different contracts to get the addresses of legitimate Augur contracts, the strings used as keys to query the registry are not centrally defined. The identified strings are: "ReputationTokenFactory", "AuctionFactory", "MarketFactory", "DisputeWindowFactory", "CompleteSets", "UniverseFactory", "CreateOrder", "CancelOrder", "FillOrder", "Trade", "ClaimTradingProceeds", "Orders", "Time", "Cash", "ProfitLoss", "Map", "Market" and "ShareToken".

This issue does not pose a security risk, but the approach taken is very error-prone and difficult to maintain. Therefore, consider factoring out all mentioned constant strings to a single library, which can be then imported in the necessary contracts. This will ease maintenance and make the code more resilient to future changes.

Update: the Augur team decided not to move forward with our recommendation, arguing that centrally defining the constants would add unnecessary complexity and some additional gas costs related to the resulting size of the contracts.

[L02] Use of magic constants

There are several occurrences of magic constants in the Augur code base, an issue deeply related with what is being reported in “[M03] Undocumented mathematical operations to compute Augur payouts”. These values make the code harder to understand and to maintain.

The following is a non-extensive list of some locations in the code where magic constants can be found:

Consider defining a constant variable for every magic constant (including booleans), giving it a clear and self-explanatory name. For complex values, or in cases where defining a constant variable does not seem appropriate, consider adding an inline comment explaining how they were calculated or why they were chosen. All of this will allow for added readability, easing maintenance.

Update: fixed in fe4ccb2 by defining new constant state variables and adding explanatory inline comments in the Universe and Reporting contracts.

[L03] The Cash contract should not be an ERC777 token

The Cash contract inherits from the VariableSupplyToken contract which is an ERC777 token (although with several major deviations, as reported in “[H01] Implementation of EIP 777 does not fully match the specification”). Augur’s contracts are built to be able to use any ERC20 token (such as DAI) as the “Cash token”, which is used for trading as well as other purposes. Should the Cash token be implemented as an ERC777 token in production, it would potentially render other Augur contracts vulnerable to serious unexpected exploits such as reentrancy and denial of service attacks. Therefore, consider removing all ERC777 functionality from the Cash contract to avoid any unexpected behaviors, clearly documenting that the Cash token should not implement ERC777-related features, but only ERC20.

Update: fixed in c0ad321 by turning the Cash contract into an ERC20.

[L04] Externally-owned accounts can be registered as contracts in the Augur contract

The registerContract> function in the Augur contract is a privileged function (only called by the uploader address) in charge of registering contract addresses in the registry mapping, by associating the address with a given key. However, while the function is only intended to register contract addresses, there is currently no validation on whether the address provided is either a contract or an externally-owned account.

While this issue does not pose a security risk, consider using the exists function of the ContractExists utility library to ensure the address being registered is indeed a contract.

Update: fixed in eb10e94 by using the exists function to validate the address being registered is indeed a contract.

[L05] Redundant Mint and Burn events in VariableSupplyToken contract

In the VariableSupplyToken contract, consider reusing the Burned and Minted events inherited from the ERC777Token contract, thus removing the defined Burn and Mint events.

Update: fixed in 484e3ac . The Burn and Mint events in the VariableSupplyToken have been removed and the burn and mint functions now call the inherited _mint and _burn functions.

[L06] LegacyReputationToken’s decimals public getter does not return uint8

The ERC20 specification specifies an optional getter for the token’s decimals, which must return a uint8 type. While the LegacyReputationToken does implement this getter, it returns a uint256 instead. Consider changing it to uint8 to be fully ERC20 compliant. If uint256 was used intentionally to match the currently deployed REP token implementation, consider thoroughly documenting that reasoning.

Update: fixed in 43a8d57 . Now the decimals public getter returns a uint8 type.

[L07] REP token allows migration of legacy tokens after universe fork

The ReputationToken contract implements the migrateFromLegacyReputationToken function that allows users to migrate legacy reputation tokens in. However, there is no validation in place to prevent this migration from occurring in a REP token whose universe has forked and that fork has already finished.

To prevent unexpected locking and loss of tokens, consider implementing the necessary validations in the migrateFromLegacyReputationToken function to ensure no legacy tokens can be migrated to a REP token of a locked universe whose fork period has finished.

Update: this has been identified as a non-issue by the Augur team, since even after a fork users should be able to migrate to the Genesis universe. Yet, our report led the Augur team to uncover a serious vulnerability which we included in this report, for the sake of completeness and transparency, in the new “[H06] Legacy REP tokens can be migrated to child universes” issue.

[L08] Getter for REP total theoretical supply may be inaccurate

The ReputationToken contract implements the getTotalTheoreticalSupply public getter function to retrieve the value of the token’s totalTheoreticalSuppy. While the totalTheoreticalSuppy is a fixed value in the genesis universe, it is variable in a child universe whose parent universe fork is already finished. However, for the totalTheoreticalSupply to change, the updateTotalTheoreticalSupply function must be manually called. Therefore, if the total supply of REP tokens has changed over a period of time during which the updateTotalTheoreticalSupply function was never called, the value returned by the getTotalTheoreticalSupply function will be outdated and potentially inaccurate.

Consider implementing a more general approach to always keep in sync the totalTheoreticalSupply with the total supply of REP tokens in a child universe whose parent’s fork has already finished, as described in the reported “[L09] System relies on off-chain clients calling unrestricted functions to stay up-to-date” issue. For this case in particular, the updateTotalTheoreticalSupply function could be called before returning the totalTheoreticalSupply inside the getTotalTheoreticalSupply function.

Update: fixed in 48744d6 . The getTotalTheoreticalSupply function now calculates and returns the updated value of the total theoretical supply of REP tokens.

[L09] System relies on off-chain clients calling unrestricted functions to stay up-to-date

The Augur system relies on off-chain clients to call unrestricted functions in order to update and sync system parameters. In particular, public functions whose purpose is to update state, like updateTotalTheoreticalSupply and updateForkValues may be dangerous if called at an unexpected time. If the contract relies on a certain state during various stages of execution, having these functions available to be called by anyone may result in an undesired state change that may render the system inconsistent or vulnerable to an attack. Consequences of this issue can be seen in “[C08] Fork reputation goal threshold can be decreased during fork” or “[L08] Getter for REP total theoretical supply may be inaccurate”.

Consider removing any state variables used to store dynamically calculated values such as totalTheoreticalSupply in the updateTotalTheoreticalSupply function and forkReputationGoal and disputeThresholdForFork in the updateForkValues function. Instead, access these values through getter functions that recalculate the values as needed. This will guarantee they are up to date and accurate and remove any dependencies on off-chain systems.

Update: fixed in 48744d6 by removing the totalTheoreticalSupply state variable from the ReputationToken contract and modifying the getTotalTheoreticalSupply to recalculate and return the updated value of the total theoretical supply of REP tokens every time it is called.

[L10] Current Market owner may not receive no-show bond after initial report

All market creators stake a no-show bond (paid in REP tokens) upon creating a market, which is to be automatically returned if the designated reporter reports a tentative outcome within the first 24 hours after the market’s end time. When a Market is initialized, the owner and repBondOwner state variables (the first one inherited from the Ownable contract) are set to the market creator’s address (see lines 78 and 79).

In a scenario where the ownership of a market has been transferred by calling the transferOwnership function and the designated reporter effectively shows up, the no-show bond is going to be still transferred back to the original owner of the market, tracked in the repBondOwner state variable, and not to the current owner of the market. This behavior is inconsistent with what occurs in the InitialReporter contract, where the stake received after the initial report is awarded to the current owner of the contract, and not to the original (i.e. the actual reporter).

Should this be the system’s expected behavior, consider explicitly documenting such sensitive scenarios to raise end-user awareness. Adding related unit tests to increase coverage is advisable too.

Update: fixed in 142ed41 by adding a new transferRepBondOwnership function that must be called manually by the address in repBondOwner to transfer the ownership of the REP bond. However, the added function does not emit an event to notify off-chain clients of such sensitive change.

[L11] Unnecessary code repetition in Auction contract

The Auction contract implements the functions getAuctionStartTime and getAuctionEndTime, which implement the exact same logic except for line 244. Therefore, to favor simplicity and modularization, consider factoring out the repeated logic into a private function.

Update: this issue is no longer valid as the Auction contract has been removed in f641c42.

[L12] Unnecessary code repetition in CompleteSets contract

The CompleteSets contract includes the functions publicSellCompleteSets and publicSellCompleteSetsWithCash, which implement the exact same logic, both calling the sellCompleteSets function. Similarly, the functions publicBuyCompleteSets and publicBuyCompleteSetsWithCash also behave the same, in this case calling the buyCompleteSets function. Therefore, so as to favor simplicity, avoid confusions and reduce the code’s attack surface, consider removing one in each pair functions.

Update: fixed in ebed2db by removing the publicSellCompleteSetsWithCash and publicBuyCompleteSetsWithCash functions.

[L13] Outdated ReentrancyGuard contract in use

The ReentrancyGuard contract currently in use is out of date. While its nonReentrant modifier works as expected, consider updating the contract to the latest version in order to benefit from an optimized gas usage for small transactions. Refer to OpenZeppelin’s issue #1056 for more details about such gas savings.

Update: the Augur team decided not to implement our recommendation because the latest version of the ReentrancyGuard contract has an additional local variable which causes stack depth issues in some of their contracts.

[L14] Inconsistent use of afterInitialized modifier in contracts

Several contracts in Augur’s code base are intended to be deployed behind the EIP 1167 minimal proxy contract. Therefore, to be able to replace the constructor function, they all inherit functionality from the Initializable contract. It provides two modifiers beforeInitialized and afterInitialized, which are used to allow / deny access to a function based on the initialized boolean flag, which can be toggled to true (and never be set back to false) by calling the internal endInitialization function.

An inconsistent use of the afterInitialized modifier was found throughout Augur’s contracts. Where in many contracts afterInitialized seems to be correctly used to label every function that can only be called after initialization (e.g. in DisputeWindow), in other contracts (e.g. Market) the afterInitialized modifier is never used.

Consider making the necessary changes in the contracts to consistently use the afterInitialized modifier, adding related unit tests that prevent developers from reintroducing this kind of issues. Thorough testing is in order should the development team decide to remove the afterInitialized modifier from all functions in contracts that are deployed through factories (which call the implementation’s initialize function), so as to ensure behavior is not affected and security not compromised in any sense.

Update: fixed in aff5118 by removing all afterInitialized modifiers.

[L15] Multiple unused return values

In multiple locations in the Augur code base, there are private and internal functions that return boolean values indicating the function’s success. However, the functions often either revert or return true and their return values are not checked. Many public functions in the Augur code base also follow this pattern but the Augur team clarified that the return values of the public functions are intended for off-chain systems. Consider removing any unnecessary return values to avoid confusion about their intended purpose.

Update: Fixed in 2921365 by removing several unused return values.

[L16] Multiple getters for the same state variable

Several contracts in the Augur code base contain multiple public getter functions for the same state variable. For example:

  • In the ERC777BaseToken contract, there are multiple getter functions that return the token’s total supply. Namely,supply (automatically generated by Solidity) andtotalSupply.
  • In theAugur contract, there are multiple getter functions that get the contract registered with a given key. Namely,registry (automatically generated by Solidity) andlookup.

To favor encapsulation and explicitness, ensure that there is at most one publicly exposed getter for each contract state variable.

Update: fixed in 66745b6 by restricting the visibility of supply and registry.

[L17] Not using safe arithmetic operations

Several arithmetic operations in the code base are not using the available SafeMathUint256 and SafeMathInt256 libraries that would prevent arithmetic issues. See for example line 455 in Market.sol, line 147 in Universe.sol or lines 245, 246, 249 and 250 in Orders.sol.

While this issue does not pose a security risk, as no exploitable overflows or underflows were detected in the current implementation, this may not hold true in future changes to the code base if unit testing is not effectively covering all cases.

Given that arithmetic operations on integers may overflow / underflow silently, causing bugs, consider using the existing SafeMathUint256 and SafeMathInt256 libraries for all arithmetic operations. Unit tests to ensure correct behavior are of utmost importance in cases where safe arithmetic operations are not used in favor of gas efficiency.

Update: fixed in b138335 for all of instances of the issue that we pointed out as examples.

[L18] Undocumented assembly blocks

The CloneFactory contract in CloneFactory.sol includes a function createClone with an assembly block. Even though the function is taken from EIP 1167 where the functionality is documented, assembly is a low-level language that is harder to parse by readers. Consider including extensive inline documentation clearly explaining what every single assembly instruction does. This will make it easier for users to trust the code, for reviewers to verify it, and for developers to build on top of it or update it. Note that the use of assembly discards several important safety features of Solidity, which may render the code less safe and more error-prone. Hence, consider implementing thorough tests to cover all potential use cases of the createClone function to ensure it behaves as expected.

Update: fixed in fe274f5 by adding explanatory inline comments for each assembly instruction.

[L19] Outdated and inaccurate README file

The file in the augur-core repository is out of date and inaccurate. It does not reflect the v2 changes, some of the suggested commands do not work, and the build is failing. In particular, some of the identified issues are:

README files on the root of git repositories are the first documents that most developers often read, so they should be complete, clear, concise and accurate. To define the structure and contents of this file, consider following Standard Readme. Furthermore, it is highly advisable to include instructions for the responsible disclosure of any security vulnerabilities found in the project.

Update: fixed in c629b50 by updating the README file where appropriate.

[L20] Outdated test coverage report

The test coverage report has not been updated for Augur Core v2 code base. Without this report it is impossible to know whether there are parts of the code never executed by the automated tests; so for every change, a full manual test suite has to be executed to make sure that nothing is broken or misbehaving.

Consider updating the test coverage report, and making it reach at least 95% of the source code.

Update: fixed in 88e7aa0 by revamping the entire test coverage setup.

Notes & Additional Information

Update: several of the following soft recommendations have been implemented across various commits.


  • The Cash contract should be renamed to CashMock to denote it is just a testing contract with no relevant functionality for the Augur system. Moreover, consider moving it to a mocks folder.
  • TheTimeControlled contract implements functionality to handle a private timestamp. On the assumption that it is just a mock contract used for testing purposes (as it does not implement any security validations), consider renaming it to TimeControlledMock to explicitly denote it is not going to be used in production. Additionally, consider moving it to a mocks folder.
  • In the Market contract, consider renaming theAPPROVAL_AMOUNT constant to MAX_APPROVAL_AMOUNT or similar, so as to better denote it represents the maximum amount of tokens that can be approved.
  • In the Market contract, consider renaming the distributeMarketCreatorFees function to distributeMarketCreatorAndAffiliateFees or similar, to explicitly denote the function also takes care of distributing the affiliate’s fees when appropriate.
  • In the Auction contract, consider renaming the auctionOver function to isAuctionOver, so as to better denote it returns a boolean flag indicating whether an auction is over or not.
  • In the Auction contract, inside the initializeNewAuction function, consider renaming the _currentAuctionIndex local variable to _newAuctionIndex, which should prevent confusions with the currentAuctionIndex state variable. This will add to the code’s readability, avoiding expressions such as require(currentAuctionIndex != _currentAuctionIndex);.
  • In the Auction contract, consider renaming the getRoundType function to getCurrentRoundType.
  • In the DisputeWindow contract, consider renaming the functions buy and redeem to buyParticipationTokens and redeemParticipationTokens respectively.
  • In the Universe contract, consider renaming the createChildUniverse function to getOrCreateChildUniverse, as it does not always create a child universe, but under certain circumstances just retrieves an existing one.
  • In the Universe contract, consider renaming the mappings validityBondInAttoCash, designatedReportStakeInAttoRep and designatedReportNoShowBondInAttoRep in order to make them more self-explanatory. The naming should denote that they contain stake and bond values for different dispute windows.
  • For consistency in naming in the Augur contract, consider renaming the function disputeCrowdsourcerCreated to createDisputeCrowdsourcer.
  • In the Augur contract, consider renaming the isValidMarket function to isKnownMarket. This should avoid confusions between the notion of a legit Augur market (which is what the function verifies) and the potential valid or invalid outcomes of a market.
  • Consider changing the ERC20Token contract to be an interface, then renaming it to IERC20 to explicitly denote it is an interface. For consistency, this change should also be reflected in the file’s name.
  • The _amountToMint parameter in the burnForAuction function of the IV2ReputationToken contract should read _amountToBurn.


  • There is a typo in an inline comment in the Auction contract. In line 40, Indicies should read Indices.
  • There is a typo in an inline comment in the AuctionToken contract. In line 21, recieved should read received.
  • There is a typo in an inline comment in the ReputationToken contract. In line 62, tenative should read tentative.
  • There is a typo in an inline comment in the Universe contract. In line 84, occuring should read occurring.

Coding style

  • Following the Solidity Style Guide wherever possible is advisable. There are a few occurrences in the Augur code base where the guide is not strictly followed, the most relevant point to highlight being long function declarations that should be stacked vertically for readability; from the Solidity Style Guide, “keeping lines under the PEP 8 recommendation to a maximum of 79 (or 99) characters helps readers easily parse the code”. This can be consistently enforced across the entire code base by means of an automatic linter, such as Solhint.
  • In order to keep a consistent style throughout the project, consider prepending an underscore to the parameter newOwner in the transferOwnership function of the IOwnable interface, to match its counterpart _newOwner in the Ownable contract.
  • Consider removing the named return variable _market in the createMarket function of the MarketFactory contract, and instead declare it as a regular local variable in line 14 of MarketFactory.sol. This suggestion should be applied in all functions were named return variables are used.
  • The file OldLegacyRepToken.sol does not have the same name as the contract it contains; namely, OldLegacyReputationToken. According to the Solidity Style Guide: “Contract and library names should also match their filenames”. Consider changing the file’s name to OldLegacyReputationToken.sol to match the contract.
  • So as to explicitly denote their visibility and favor readability, consider prepending an underscore to the name of all internal and private functions.


  • The private redistributeLosingReputation function in the Market contract includes an inline comment that reads “We burn 20% of the REP to prevent griefing attacks which rely on getting back lost REP”. Considering that the following line just burns the entire REP balance of the market, further explanations should be added to better describe how that 20% is calculated, and how it matches the market’s balance at that point.
  • The public doInitialReport function in the Market contract allows a reporter to give a description for their report by providing a string in the function’s _description parameter. However, the given description is never actually stored in any contract, but just logged in an event by calling the logInitialReportSubmitted function of the Augur contract. The same is true for contributeToTentative and contribute functions, which only log the passed description calling Augur‘s logDisputeCrowdsourcerContribution function. Should this be the system’s expected behavior, consider documenting it and adding related unit tests.
  • To indicate the payout value for each outcome at market finalization, Augur uses an array called payoutNumerators. Although this fundamental data structure is extensively used across multiple contracts, its purpose nor its contents are ever clearly documented. An outdated description can be found in Augur v1 documentation, which should be modified to reflect the important changes that the payout array suffered in v2 (e.g. the “Invalid” outcome is now considered an explicit outcome). Therefore, for clarity, consider renaming this array to payoutsForOutcomes or similar. Furthermore, consider thoroughly documenting the purpose and contents of this data structure in Augur Core v2, either in external end-user documentation or in docstrings (refer to related reported issue “[M01] Missing docstrings throughout”).
  • The exists function of the ContractExists library will return false if it is called from the constructor of a contract, due to the fact that extcodesize is 0 during the execution of the constructor of a contract. Ensure to clearly document this behavior in the function’s docstrings, so as to prevent potential issues in future versions of the code base.
  • In the Auction contract, there is an inaccurate inline comment that reads: “This will raise an exception if insufficient CASH was sent”. As the operation it refers to will execute a transferFrom of CASH tokens, consider rephrasing the comment as “This will raise an exception if insufficient CASH was approved or the sender has an insufficient CASH balance”.
  • To avoid confusions, consider deleting the inline comment in line 17 of FillOrder.sol, and properly document it in the project’s backlog of issues.
  • The FXP formulas documented in inline comments in lines 386 and 394 of Universe.sol are incorrect and must be updated. Both formulas should have a parentheses after the initial previous_amount that encompass the remainder of the formula.

Code organization, simplicity and cleanliness



  • In line 236 of Market.sol, there is a check to ensure the market has not been finalized before executing the rest of the finalize function. Consider using require(!isFinalized()); for increased readability and to clarify intentions.
  • In line 243 of Market.sol, consider reusing the getWinningReportingParticipant getter to retrieve the last element in the participants array.
  • As it stands, the getWinningPayoutNumerator function in the Market contract will revert the transaction if the market is not finalized. As such behavior is uncommon for a simple getter function, consider removing the require statement and explicitly checking if the market is indeed finalized (using the isFinalized function) independently of the getWinningPayoutNumerator function.
  • We recommend turning all instances of the redundant require statements into modifiers. In general, this is advisable whenever the same code is used in more than one location in the same file, which should help abide by DRY programming principles. For example, in the Augur contract, all instances of require(msg.sender == uploader); could be replaced with an onlyUploader modifier.
  • In lines 359 and 449 of Augur.sol, consider reusing the isKnownUniverse function to verify that the address corresponds to a legit universe in the Augur system.
  • In several locations in the Augur code base, external functions are called from within the same contract. See for example the line 36 inCompleteSets.sol. This pattern is confusing and unnecessary to achieve the desired effects. Consider separating out functionality into internal functions that may be called from the different external functions rather than having external functions call each other. This will make the intended function permissions more clear and be more in line with the intended use of Solidity’s external and internal functions.


  • To favor explicitness, all instances of uint should be declared uint256 (e.g. see line 15 of ERC777BaseToken.sol).
  • Consider always explicitly casting all instances of this using address(this). Similarly, all typed variables that refer to a contract or interface should also be explicitly casted when used as an address (e.g. in line 164 of OldLegacyRepToken.sol, _token should be address(_token) and this should be address(this)).
  • In the getUint256Max function of the SafeMathUint256 library, consider changing the returned value from 0xffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff to 2 ** 256 - 1, which should greatly favor readability, making the code more self-explanatory and less error-prone.
  • In the Time contract, the return value for the getTypeName function is being implicitly type casted from a string to bytes32. Consider explicitly casting the string to bytes32 before returning it for increased readability and to clarify the intentions of the code.
  • The functions isMultipleOf and div of the SafeMathUint256 library, and div of the SafeMathInt256 library, allow the divisor b to be zero. Solidity automatically asserts when dividing by zero, but to favor explicitness, consider adding require statements that check the divisor is not zero. This pattern can be seen consistently applied in the div and mod functions of OpenZeppelin’s SafeMath library.


  • In the Auction contract, the tradeCashForRep function has an unnecessary payable modifier that must be removed to avoid locking Ether in the contract (as there is no functionality implemented to withdraw any Ether sent).
  • To improve gas efficiency, consider modifying the functions mul in SafeMathUint256 and mul in SafeMathInt256 to simply return 0 when the first parameter a equals 0. For reference, check the latest OpenZeppelin’s SafeMath library.


Originally, 8 critical and 5 high severity issues were found. After reviewing Augur team’s fixes based on our initial report, 1 critical issue was disregarded and 1 additional High severity issue was added. Several changes were proposed to follow best practices and reduce the potential attack surface.