Skip to content

UMA Accelerating Distributor Incremental Audit

Table of Contents


From 2022-12-12
To 2022-12-15
Total Issues
9 (6 resolved, 2 partially resolved)
Critical Severity Issues
0 (0 resolved)
High Severity Issues
0 (0 resolved)
Medium Severity Issues
1 (0 resolved)
Low Severity Issues
4 (3 resolved, 1 partially resolved)
Notes & Additional Information
4 (3 resolved, 1 partially resolved)


We audited a subset of pull request #32 in the across-token repository at the dde7aedc766bf69f1cb0eb791b60259c705baa26 commit.

In scope were the following contracts:


The AcceleratingDistributor contract allows users to deposit certain tokens and receive rewards in the form of additional tokens. These rewards are distributed to users who have "staked" their tokens in the contract. To encourage users to remain staked for longer periods of time, the rate at which rewards are issued increases over time, up to a maximum value.

The pull request that was reviewed for this audit adds the ability to stake tokens into the AcceleratingDistributor contract on behalf of someone else, effectively donating tokens to another user's stake. To enable this feature, a new stakeFor function was added to the contract.

Medium Severity

Configuration update retroactively impacts users rewards

Updating the configuration of a staking pool using the configureStakingToken function in the AcceleratingDistributor contract will immediately affect the rewards received by all users who have staked in the pool. If the maxMultiplier or secondsToMaxMultiplier parameters are modified, users who have previously staked in the pool will see a change in their outstanding rewards. Specifically:

  • Increasing/decreasing the maxMultiplier parameter causes an immediate increase/decrease in outstanding rewards, respectively.
  • Increasing/decreasing the secondsToMaxMultiplier parameter causes an immediate decrease/increase in outstanding rewards, respectively.

This is a direct result of the calculations performed in the getUserRewardMultiplier function where the fractionOfMaxMultiplier variable is a function of the secondsToMaxMultiplier value, and the return value is a function of fractionOfMaxMultiplier and maxMultiplier. The getOutstandingRewards function returns a value called newUserRewards, which represents the rewards that a user has received. If this function is called immediately before adjusting the maxMultiplier or secondsToMaxMultiplier parameters, and then again immediately after adjusting these parameters within the same block, the newUserRewards value will be different in each case. In other words, adjusting these parameters will immediately affect the outstanding rewards received by a user.

Updating the baseEmissionRate does not have any immediate impact on outstanding rewards because within the baseRewardPerToken function, getCurrentTime() will be equal to stakingToken.lastUpdateTime since the _updateReward function is called by the configureStakingToken function prior to updating the parameters. Thus, the baseRewardPerToken function will return stakingToken.rewardPerTokenStored, not causing any immediate impact on the outstanding rewards.

Consider implementing a mechanism to checkpoint user rewards such that parameter changes do not retroactively impact outstanding rewards.

Update: Acknowledged, not resolved. Documentation was added to the configureStakingToken function in pull request #55 with commit 2110ce2. The documentation clarifies the consequences of updating the maxMultiplier and secondsToMaxMultiplier parameters, however no changes were made to contract to prevent parameter changes from impacting outstanding user rewards. The UMA team stated:

We decided not to implement this fix and instead are willing to live with the fact that the admin has full control over the contract's rewards and should set the stakingToken configuration reasonably so as not to cause unexpected reward drops for users. (Unexpected reward increases are ok). The admin already has full ability to drain all rewards (not principal!) from the contract so doing so by changing stakingToken configs doesn't strike us as a different risk profile.

Low Severity

Dangerous maximum values for reward calculations

The configureStakingToken function in the AcceleratingDistributor contract contains hard-coded upper limits that ensure maxMultiplier is set below 1e36 and baseEmissionRate is set below 1e27. However, these limits are many orders of magnitude above the intended operating parameters for the contract.

According to the Across documentation for rewards locking, the value of maxMultiplier should never exceed 3e18 for the initial reward locking program; 1e36 is many orders of magnitude larger.

The rewards locking documentation also states that the initial token supply for rewards is 75,000,000 ACX tokens. This equates to 7.5e25 wei, but the upper limit of 1e27 on baseEmissionRate allows a token emission rate per second that is two orders of magnitude higher than the total supply to be emitted.

Through an accidental or malicious administrative action, maxMultiplier and/or baseEmissionRate could be set to values that rapidly deplete the rewards pool, allowing some users to claim excessively large reward payouts until the error is discovered and corrected.

Consider setting the upper limits for maxMultiplier and baseEmissionRate much closer to the expected maximum operating values. For example, setting upper limits no more than 1 order of magnitude above the maximum expected values reduces risk while still allowing some flexibility to change the terms of the rewards program in the future.

Update: Partially resolved in pull request #4319 with commit 2e9794a. The maxMultiplier upper limit was reduced from 1e36 to 1e24, which allows for multiples of up to 1000000x the base reward rate, and the baseEmissionRate upper limit was reduced from 1e27 to 1e24, which allows for up to 1 million tokens/second to be emitted. These limits are substantially lower than the previous values, but are still high enough that security is being traded for flexibility.

Lack of input validation

The AcceleratingDistributor contract includes some functions that do not properly validate their input parameters. Specifically:

  • The stakeFor function does not check that the beneficiary address is not the zero address.
  • The unstake and _stake functions do not verify that the input amount is greater than zero.

Even though these issues do not pose a security risk, the lack of validation on user-controlled parameters may result in erroneous transactions. Consider implementing appropriate validation on the input arguments for the cases listed above.

Update: Resolved in pull request #47 with commit d38d4cd.

Missing or incomplete docstrings

Several functions and structs in AcceleratingDistributor contract lack complete documentation:

Incomplete documentation 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. When writing docstrings, especially for publicly-exposed functions, consider following the Ethereum Natural Specification Format (NatSpec).

Update: Resolved in pull request #53 with commit 95ae7ff.

Potential underflow error

In the AcceleratingDistributor contract, there is no lower bound on the maxMultiplier for a staked token. If a value lower than 1e18 is used, the return statement of the getUserRewardMultiplier function will fail due to underflow when evaluating stakingTokens[stakedToken].maxMultiplier - 1e18 even though the return value has a lower bound of 0. This would prevent users from staking tokens, claiming rewards, and withdrawing their staked tokens.

Consider refactoring the return statement of the getUserRewardMultiplier function such that it cannot fail due to underflow.

Update: Resolved in pull request #48 with commit 7bd053a. A lower limit of 1e18 has been placed on the maxMultiplier value.

Notes & Additional Information

Event parameter will always be zero

When the RewardsWithdrawn event is emitted from the withdrawReward function, the userRewardsOutstanding event parameter will always be zero. Since this is the only location in the codebase where the RewardsWithdrawn event is emitted, consider removing the redundant event parameter.

Update: Resolved in pull request #49 with commit f50c6ec.

Misleading documentation

In the AcceleratingDistributor contract, the following instances of misleading documentation were found:

  • Lines 165-166: The comment says "if the token is not enabled for staking then we simply send back the full amount of tokens that the contract has", but it is the lastUpdateTime value that is checked, not the enabled value. Consider changing "if the token is not enabled" to "if the token has not been initialized".

  • Within the across-token/test directory, the constants.ts file uses a maxMultipler value of 5 for testing. The associated comment says "At maximum recipient can earn 5x the base rate". However, the Across documentation for reward locking states that 3 is the maximum multiplier value. To avoid confusion, consider updating the test to match the official documentation.

Update: Resolved in pull request #50 with commit fe338bc. Regarding the suggested change to the constants.ts test file, the UMA team stated:

This is currently not implemented, because the current maxMultiplier of 3 represents current Across LP staking policy, rather than the technical constraints of the underlying contract.

Inconsistent ordering

In the AcceleratingDistributor contract, ordering generally follows the recommended order in the Solidity Style Guide, which is: type declarations, state variables, events, errors, modifiers, functions. However, within the contract, the event definitions deviate from the style guide, bisecting the functions. Additionally, the struct definitions occur after the rewardToken state variable is defined.

Furthermore, the ordering of functions is generally well structured with the exception of the public view getCurrentTime function, which is defined outside of the view functions section.

To improve the project's overall legibility, consider standardizing ordering throughout the codebase, as recommended by the Solidity Style Guide.

Update: Resolved in pull request #52 with commit be635c4. However, in restructuring the layout of the contract, the docstrings for the getCurrentTimestamp and the constructor were removed.

Typographical errors

Consider correcting the following typographical errors in AcceleratingDistributor.sol:

  • Line 122: "dont" should be "don't".
  • Line 123: "loose" should be "lose".
  • Line 158: "have. i.e" should be "have, i.e.".
  • Line 159: "cant" should be "can't".
  • Line 165: "if the token" should be "If the token".
  • Line 214: "if underflow" should be "on underflow" or "if underflow occurs".
  • Line 214: "cant" should be "can't".
  • Line 312: "any internal logic..." line is a copy-paste error from line 294.
  • Line 331: "users staking duration" should be "user's staking duration" .
  • Line 349: "last users average deposit time" should be "user's last average deposit time".
  • Line 352: Add a space before @return.
  • Line 352: "users average deposit time" should be "user's average deposit time".
  • Line 359: "users new average deposit time" should be "user's new average deposit time".

Update: Partially resolved in pull request #51 with commit 5254dec. The following typographical errors are still present:


No critical or high severity issues were found. Some recommendations were proposed to follow best practices and reduce the potential attack surface. We also recommend implementing monitoring and/or alerting functionality (see Appendix).


Monitoring Recommendations

While audits help in identifying potential security risks, the UMA team is encouraged to also incorporate automated monitoring of on-chain contract activity into their operations. Ongoing monitoring of deployed contracts helps in identifying potential threats and issues affecting the production environment.

  • Per the Across documentation, the reward locking program has an initial supply of 75,000,000 ACX reward tokens. The cumulative rewards will eventually approach this limit, requiring some action to be taken to reduce reward emission or replenish the reward pool with additional tokens. Consider monitoring the balance of ACX tokens remaining in the AcceleratingDistributor contract for planning purposes. Additionally, to ensure the outstanding rewards do not exceed the remaining balance of reward tokens available, consider periodically comparing the contract's ACX token balance to the total outstanding rewards across all accounts, reported per user via the getOutstandingRewards function.

  • To ensure no unexpected administrative actions are occurring, and to validate that correct values were used, consider monitoring the TokenConfiguredForStaking and RecoverToken events.