1 Executive Summary
In January 2020, Thesis asked us to conduct a security assessment of tBTC: a trust-minimized, redeemable, Bitcoin-backed ERC20 token. tBTC utilizes and builds on functionality provided by Summa and the Keep Network.
This document is a standalone summary. The full report can be found here.
We performed this assessment from February 03 to March 27, 2020. The assessment primarily focused on tBTC alongside its associated components. The engagement was conducted by Martin Ortner and Alexander Wade over the course of twelve person-weeks.
In addition to the review of tBTC, a review was performed of the cryptographic constructions and algorithms used in the Keep Network. A complete report of this portion of the engagement can be found here.
We analyzed code located in the following repositories at the provided commits:
Third party dependencies not explicitly mentioned in the above list (e.g.
summa-tx/relay-sol) were out of scope for the audit.
tBTC interacts with the Keep Network via customized interfaces from
keep-network/keep-tecdsa, which itself uses
keep-network/sortition-pools. The keep random beacon used for signer group election (
keep-network/keep-core) builds on an implementation of BLS signatures on the altbn128 curve. The source code is located in five repositories with the following dependencies as seen from the tBTC solution:
Together with the client, it was established that the main focus for the review would be the smart contracts in the listed repositories, with a secondary focus on reviewing the keep client (located in
A complete list of files in scope can be found in the Appendix.
Given the limited time available and ongoing development on some components in scope, we elected to begin with a top-down approach centered around tBTC as the focal point. We started by understanding the architecture and design of high-risk components first, before diving into various system components to verify security assumptions.
Our primary objectives were to:
- Ensure that the system is implemented consistently with the intended functionality, and without unintended edge cases.
- Identify known vulnerabilities particular to smart contract systems, as outlined in our Smart Contract Best Practices, and the Smart Contract Weakness Classification Registry.
- Ensure that there is no way to break the TBTC-BTC peg and that it is as difficult as possible to abscond with deposited funds for the backing ECDSA keep.
We also sought opportunities to improve the quality of the code either by reducing the complexity, or improving clarity and readability.
1.3 Audit Log - Phase 1
The primary engagement (Feb 03 - Feb 28) was scheduled as follows:
|Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|- ramp up
- tBTC Deposits
|- tBTC Deposits
- ramp up keep
During the first week, our efforts were directed towards tBTC: understanding the intention of its design and how it uses
bitcoin-spv to validate spv proofs and other Bitcoin transaction information. This involved defining key risk factors and potential vulnerabilities requiring further investigation. Key findings were shared with the client in an end-of-week sync meeting.
By the end of the first week, the tBTC codebase was modified from its initial audit commit to the revision v1-audit. The client also provided a frozen codebase for keep-network/keep-core. keep-network/keep-tecdsa was still undergoing changes.
During the second week, we reviewed changes made to tBTC during the previous week. We also began a more detailed review of the tBTC codebase; in particular, tBTC Deposit flows and the investigation of potential vulnerabilities. Key findings were shared with the client in an end-of-week sync meeting and filed in the client repository where applicable. keep-network/keep-tecdsa was still undergoing changes by the end of week two.
The audit team informed the client that given the size and complexity of the audit there might not be enough time to cover all parts of the initial scope. Together with the client, it was determined that we would spend the next week finishing the review of tBTC Deposit flows before transitioning our review to
During the third week, we reviewed tBTC Deposit flows and started transitioning from tBTC to
keep-core, maintaining a focus on the functionality of
keep-core that was most relevant to tBTC.
The audit revision for the
keep-tecdsa codebase was provided in the second half of the week and tagged as keep-tecdsa#v0.8.0. Additionally, the sortition-pools#v0.1.1 repository referenced by
keep-tecdsa was added to the audit’s scope.
The cryptographic review that was planned to start this week had to be delayed due to availability problems with our cryptographer. The review of the keep client was temporarily set out of scope to ensure sufficient attention was given to the smart contracts. Key findings and questions were shared immediately via the client collaboration channel and discussed in an end-of-week sync meeting.
During the fourth week, we focused on
keep-core and the now frozen
keep-tecdsa implementation. The week was kicked off by the client providing a walkthrough of the relevant code of
keep-tecdsa. Key findings and questions were shared immediately via the client collaboration channel and discussed in an end-of-week sync meeting. The preliminary report outlining recommendations and findings was prepared towards the end of the week targeting delivery for the following Monday.
A two-week hiatus allowing the client to address discussion points, recommendations, and issues found during the audit was planned from March 02 to March 13.
The engagement was scheduled to be continued for a final two-week review from March 16 to March 27.
1.4 Audit Log - Phase 2
The final phase of the engagement was scheduled as follows:
|Week 1||Week 2|
|- review fixes made during hiatus
|- surface-level review of
- finalize report
During the first week after providing the initial report, we focused on continuing our efforts with
keep-core and reviewing the feedback and fixes that were provided for the initial report. A secondary goal was to start reviewing the client implementations in
keep-core. The client provided a high-level walkthrough of the keep client codebase and the audit team shared the sources for the tBTC state diagram (see Security - tBTC). The audit codebase was updated to the following revisions:
tbtc: fbb2018c41456d19ec20eb28a17070ee2b10eb5d (noted above)
keep-tecdsa: 2aab1f755e437d6e816c34a4fd354025cea5de3a (v0.10.0-rc)
keep-core: 9f8b13fe54cc627548746d7e64b77d6aa50b94e1 (v0.11.0-rc) (provided on friday)
sortition-pools: no update provided
bitcoin-spv: no update provided
During the second week, we continued with our focus on
keep-core and started reviewing the client logic that is interacting with the smart contracts. The final report outlining recommendations and findings including client feedback and a review of provided fixes was prepared towards the end of the week targeting delivery for the following Monday. In addition to that the cryptographic review was finalized and prepared for the delivery on Monday.
Appendix 1 - Files in Scope
Our review covered the following files at the outset:
|File Name||SHA-1 Hash|
|File Name||SHA-1 Hash|
|File Name||SHA-1 Hash|
Appendix 2 - Disclosure
ConsenSys Diligence (“CD”) typically receives compensation from one or more clients (the “Clients”) for performing the analysis contained in these reports (the “Reports”). The Reports may be distributed through other means, including via ConsenSys publications and other distributions.
The Reports are not an endorsement or indictment of any particular project or team, and the Reports do not guarantee the security of any particular project. This Report does not consider, and should not be interpreted as considering or having any bearing on, the potential economics of a token, token sale or any other product, service or other asset. Cryptographic tokens are emergent technologies and carry with them high levels of technical risk and uncertainty. No Report provides any warranty or representation to any Third-Party in any respect, including regarding the bugfree nature of code, the business model or proprietors of any such business model, and the legal compliance of any such business. No third party should rely on the Reports in any way, including for the purpose of making any decisions to buy or sell any token, product, service or other asset. Specifically, for the avoidance of doubt, this Report does not constitute investment advice, is not intended to be relied upon as investment advice, is not an endorsement of this project or team, and it is not a guarantee as to the absolute security of the project. CD owes no duty to any Third-Party by virtue of publishing these Reports.
PURPOSE OF REPORTS The Reports and the analysis described therein are created solely for Clients and published with their consent. The scope of our review is limited to a review of Solidity code and only the Solidity code we note as being within the scope of our review within this report. The Solidity language itself remains under development and is subject to unknown risks and flaws. The review does not extend to the compiler layer, or any other areas beyond Solidity that could present security risks. Cryptographic tokens are emergent technologies and carry with them high levels of technical risk and uncertainty.
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