Tally SafeGuard Audit


The Tally team asked us to review and audit a set of contracts with the final goal to improve common governance contracts and give them more flexibility. We looked at the code and now publish our results.

System overview

The system relies on three main contracts:

  • A SafeGuard contract template. This contract is the admin of a Timelock contract, and adds a layer of modular roles over the Timelock‘s actions. This contract defines several roles that have separate responsibility and access over the state of a proposal (queueing, cancellation and execution).
  • A SafeGuardFactory contract deploys a new SafeGuard and a corresponding new Timelock contract. Then it sets the timelock address inside the SafeGuard contract and registers the new SafeGuard into the Registry.
  • A Registry which holds a list of deployed SafeGuards with their corresponding version number.

The SafeGuardFactory will basically spawn a new SafeGuard whenever it is called. A SafeGuard is a wrap around Timelock operations that adds different and separated roles for each action. Roles are structured through the use of OpenZeppelin’s AccessControlEnumerable contract giving more flexibility and compatibility to the multisig wallets and business use cases where several addresses can have the same shared role.

Update: In the PR #10, the Tally team has decided to remove the Registry contract. The list of deployed safeguards is now stored within the SafeGuardFactory contract, in the safeGuards enumerable set, along with their version stored in the safeGuardVersion mapping.


The SafeGuard contract defines the following roles:

Update: The CREATOR_ROLE role has been removed as a fix for the issue L02.


We audited commit b2c63a9dfc4090be13320d999e7c6c1d842625d3 of the safeguard repository. In scope are the smart contracts in the contracts directory. However, the mocks directory was deemed as out of scope.


The system is not meant to be upgradeable. The Registry address is set in the constructor of the SafeGuardFactory and each SafeGuard can have the Timelock set only once. This means that if a new Registry is deployed a new SafeGuardFactory must be deployed too. If the Timelock implementation changes, the old SafeGuards will become obsolete, and new ones will have to be deployed.

Moreover, the system heavily relies on the implementation of a Timelock contract that was deemed out of scope for this audit. The team has not yet finalized the implementation of the Timelock contract. At the time of writing this report, the Compound’s implementation of timelock is being used in the project.

The codebase has been audited by two auditors during the course of one week and here we present our findings.

Critical severity


High severity

[H01] ETH can be locked inside the Timelock contract

The Tally team originally based their implementations on the ground of the GovernorBravoDelegate Compound contract.

During the course of this audit, the Tally team discovered a limitation in Compound’s governor where ETH sent directly to the Timelock is not available for use by governance proposals, and although it is not permanently stuck, requires an elaborate workaround to be retrieved.

This is because the governor implementation requires all the value of a proposal to be attached as msg.value by the account that triggers the execution, not using in any way the Timelock ETH funds.

The same issue was later identified in the SafeGuard implementation and the team is aware of the issue and it is in the process of fixing it.

While fixing the issue, consider using the approach adopted by the OpenZeppelin library for the same issue.

Update: Fixed in commit 7337db227edda83533be586135d96ddac4f5bf29.

[H02] SafeGuardFactory can be freezed

The Registry contract is intended to keep track of all the SafeGuards that the SafeGuardFactory produces. It has the external register function which is used for this purpose.

At the same time, the SafeGuardFactory has, in its constructor, the assignation of the local registry value to the input value. There’s no possibility to change the value of the registry variable and for this reason, if a new Registry gets deployed, a new factory must be deployed too.

The SafeGuardFactory has the createSafeGuard function, in charge of first deploying a new SafeGuard, then a new Timelock with the address of the SafeGuard as admin, then setting the timelock variable of the SafeGuard contract and finally registering the SafeGuard in the registry.

The issue is that any call to createSafeGuard can be forced to fail by an attacker who can directly register the deterministic address of the new SafeGuard prior to its creation. Whenever a contract creates a new instance, its nonce is increased, and the address of where the new instance of the contract would be deployed can be determined by the original contract address and its nonce. Therefore, an attacker can precalculate many of the addresses where the new SafeGuards will be deployed and register those addresses in the Registry by calling the register function. This would result in the calls to createSafeGuard to revert since the Registry already contains the address.

To avoid having external actors calling publicly the Register contract, consider restricting the access to the register function to accept calls exclusively by the SafeGuardFactory.

Update: Fixed in PR #10. The Tally team has removed the Registry contract.

Medium severity


Low severity

[L01] Commented out code

The Registry contract includes a commented out line of code. To improve readability, consider removing it from the codebase.

Update: Fixed in PR #10 and commit 7fd27df16fc879d990d36a167a0b6e719e578558.

[L02] SafeGuard’s admin can assign the role of creator to any address

The SafeGuard contract defines the role of a CREATOR_ROLE which, as the name suggests, is assigned to the creator of the safeguard.

However, by invoking the grantRole function of the AccessControlEnumerable contract in the OpenZeppelin contract library, an admin can grant this role to any address. This could cause confusion because the creator of the SafeGuard can only be the SafeGuardFactory.

Throughout the codebase, this role has been used only to restrict users from interacting with the setTimelock function of the SafeGuard contract. By design, the system ensures that setTimelock function can be called only once, from within the SafeGuardFactory contract.

Consider removing the CREATOR_ROLE role from the SafeGuard contract and using the onlyOwner modifier in the setTimelock function.

Update: Fixed in PR #10.

[L03] Incorrect interface definition and implementation

The ISafeGuard interface does not define the queueTransactionWithDescription function implemented in the SafeGuard contract, and at the same time, it defines the __abdicate, __queueSetTimelockPendingAdmin and __executeSetTimelockPendingAdmin functions but they are not implemented.

To improve correctness and consistency in the codebase, consider refactoring the ISafeGuard interface to match exactly the SafeGuard implementation.

Update: Fixed in commit 7fd27df16fc879d990d36a167a0b6e719e578558.

[L04] Missing docstrings

Some of the contracts and functions in the code base lack documentation. For example, some functions in the SafeGuard contract.

Additionally, some docstrings use informal language, such as the one above the setTimelock function in the SafeGuard contract.

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. They should explicitly explain the purpose or intention of the 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: Partially fixed in PR #10. Proper docstrings have been added to various functions throughout the code base. However, in addition to the current changes, consider making the following changes:

  • Add description as the @param in the docstring above queueTransactionWithDescription function
  • Add @param in the docstring above the createSafeGuard function in SafeGuardFactory contract
  • Add @return in docstrings above the functions in SafeGuardFactory contract.

[L05] Useless or repeated code

There are places in the codebase where code is either repeated or not needed. Some examples are:

  • Lines 29-32 of the Registry contract are useless, because the _add function of the EnumerableSet contract already performs these checks against the values already being set.
  • Lines 62, 67, 73 and 78 of the SafeGuard contract are all repeating the same exact operation. Consider encapsulating it into an internal function to avoid duplicating code.
  • Lines 62-63 and 67-68 of SafeGuard are repeated. Consider encapsulating them into a single internal function.
  • The usage of gasleft to specify how much gas should be forwarded in the call of the function executeTransaction is unnecessary. This is because, at that point of execution, the entire gas left will be used to continue the execution. If this is not for expliciteness, consider removing the gas parameter from the call.

Consider applying the suggested fixed to produce a cleaner code and improve consistency and modularity over the codebase.

Update: Fixed in PR #10 and commit 7fd27df16fc879d990d36a167a0b6e719e578558.

Notes & Additional Information

[N01] Inconsistent style

There are some places in the code base, where differences in style affect the readability, making it more difficult to understand the code. Some examples are:

  • The Registry contract uses different styles for docstrings in the entire contract.
  • The SafeGuard contract is emitting an event when queueTransactionWithDescription is called but no events are emitted in other functions dealing with transactions.
  • In the SafeGuard contract, sometimes value is used as named parameter and sometimes _value is used.

Taking into consideration the value a consistent coding style adds to the project’s readability, consider enforcing a standard coding style with help of linter tools, such as Solhint.

Update: Fixed in PR #10 and commit 7fd27df16fc879d990d36a167a0b6e719e578558.

[N02] Missing license

The following contracts within the code base are missing an SPDX license identifier.

To silence compiler warnings and increase consistency across the codebase consider adding a license identifier. While doing it consider referring to spdx.dev guidelines.

Update: Fixed in PR #10 and commit 7fd27df16fc879d990d36a167a0b6e719e578558.

[N03] OpenZeppelin Contract’s dependency is not pinned

To prevent unexpected behaviors in case breaking changes are released in future updates of the OpenZeppelin Contracts’ library, consider pinning the version of this dependency in the package.json file.

Update: Fixed in PR #10.

[N04] Solidity compiler version is not pinned

Throughout the code base, consider pinning the version of the Solidity compiler to its latest stable version. This should help prevent introducing unexpected bugs due to incompatible future releases. To choose a specific version, developers should consider both the compiler’s features needed by the project and the list of known bugs associated with each Solidity compiler version.

Update: Fixed in PR #10.

[N05] Typo

At various instances throughout the code base, the word role is misspelled as rol. One such example is in the docstring within the constructor of the SafeGuard contract.

Consider correcting these typos to improve code readability.

Update: Partially fixed in PR #10. While the spelling of role has been corrected, the comment “set admin role the an defined admin address” should be “set admin role to a defined admin address”. Additionally, “execute” is misspelled in the SafeGuard contract on line 69, line 82, line 96 and line 110 and “available” is misspelled on line 70, line 83, line 97, line 111. Also, consider replacing informal words such as “gonna” in SafeGuard contract with formal alternatives such as “going to”.

[N06] Declare uint as uint256

There are several occurrences in the codebase where variables are declared of uint data type instead of uint256. For example, the eta variable in the QueueTransactionWithDescription event of the SafeGuard contract.
To favor explicitness, all instances of uint should be declared as uint256.

Update: Fixed in PR #10 and commit 7fd27df16fc879d990d36a167a0b6e719e578558.

[N07] Unused import

The SafeGuard contract imports the console contract but never uses it.
To improve readability of the code, consider removing any unused imports.

Update: Fixed in PR #10.


One high and several other minor vulnerabilities have been found and recommendations and fixes have been suggested.