Beyond Ethereum Auditing Smart Contracts on Alternative Blockchains

As blockchain technology evolves, auditing smart contracts on alternative platforms beyond Ethereum, such as Binance Smart Chain, Polkadot, and Solana, presents new challenges and opportunities, requiring auditors to adapt to diverse consensus mechanisms, programming languages, and standards to ensure the security and functionality of decentralized applications.

December 23, 2023


In the rapidly evolving landscape of blockchain technology, Ethereum has long been a dominant player (see our last article), especially in the realm of smart contracts. However, the emergence of alternative blockchains has expanded the horizon for developers and auditors alike. This article delves into the nuances of auditing smart contracts on these alternative platforms, a critical endeavor for ensuring the security and functionality of decentralized applications (dApps).

Background: The Expansion Beyond Ethereum

Ethereum’s pioneering role in introducing smart contracts is undisputed. Its Solidity programming language and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) set the standard for smart contract development. However, scalability issues and high gas fees have paved the way for new blockchains offering varied consensus mechanisms, programming languages, and enhanced capabilities. Platforms like Binance Smart Chain, Polkadot, and Solana, each with unique features and languages like Vyper and Rust, present fresh challenges and opportunities for smart contract auditors.

Diverse Blockchain Ecosystems and Their Auditing Challenges:

- Blockchain Variability: Unlike Ethereum’s uniform environment, alternative blockchains often employ different consensus mechanisms (Proof of Stake, Delegated Proof of Stake, etc.), affecting transaction validation and block production. Understanding these nuances is crucial for auditors to assess security risks appropriately.
- Programming Languages: Beyond Solidity, languages like Rust (used in Solana) and Go (in Hyperledger Fabric) require auditors to adapt their expertise. Each language has its peculiarities in terms of syntax, error handling, and security concerns.
- Smart Contract Standards: Different blockchains have their own standards akin to Ethereum’s ERC-20 and ERC-721. Auditors need to familiarize themselves with these standards to ensure compliance and identify deviations that could lead to vulnerabilities.

Emerging Technologies and Tools in Smart Contract Auditing:

- Cross-Chain Compatibility Tools: As dApps increasingly operate across multiple blockchains, tools that facilitate cross-chain interactions become essential in auditing. Auditors must assess the security of bridging protocols that enable asset transfers between different blockchains.
- Advanced Static Analysis Tools: New tools are being developed to analyze smart contract code on various blockchains, extending beyond Ethereum’s Solidity. These include updated versions of tools like Slither and Mythril, now accommodating different programming languages and blockchain architectures.
- Automated and Manual Testing: The balance between automated testing (for broad vulnerability detection) and manual, in-depth analysis (for nuanced understanding) remains a cornerstone of effective auditing, regardless of the blockchain platform.

Case Studies in Multi-Blockchain Auditing:

- Auditing DeFi Protocols on Binance Smart Chain: Analyze a case where a DeFi protocol on BSC was audited, focusing on how the BSC’s consensus mechanism and the BEP token standards influenced the auditing process.
NFT Marketplace on Solana: Explore the challenges faced while auditing a Solana-based NFT marketplace, emphasizing the peculiarities of Rust and the blockchain’s high throughput capabilities.
- Cross-Chain dApp Security: Review a case study of a dApp operating across Ethereum and Polkadot, highlighting the complexities of ensuring security and functionality in a multi-blockchain environment.

Expert Conclusion

Auditing smart contracts on alternative blockchains requires a broad skill set and an understanding of diverse ecosystems. The transition from Ethereum-centric auditing to a more inclusive approach that encompasses various blockchains is not just beneficial but essential for auditors. It ensures the robustness and security of a much wider range of dApps, catering to the decentralized world’s growing complexity and interconnectedness.

What TRUSTBYTES recommends:

For Web3 security experts and smart contract auditors, it is imperative to:

- Continuously update their knowledge base and skills to cover a variety of blockchains.
- Engage in community forums and discussions to stay abreast of the latest security challenges and solutions in the multi-blockchain space.
- Consider specialized training or certification programs that focus on emerging blockchain technologies and auditing methodologies.

The blockchain universe is rapidly expanding, and with it, the domain of smart contract auditing is becoming increasingly intricate. Staying informed and adaptable is key to mastering this dynamic field.

For further insights on the Web3 security space and engagement with top-tier smart contract auditors in the industry, join our TRUSTBYTES Discord.

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