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21 March 2022

Elipmoc: Advanced Decompilation of Ethereum Smart Contracts

Smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain greatly benefit from cutting-edge analysis techniques and pose significant challenges. A primary challenge is the extremely low-level representation of deployed contracts. We present Elipmoc, a decompiler for the next generation of smart contract analyses. Elipmoc is an evolution of Gigahorse, the top research decompiler, dramatically improving over it and over other state-of-the-art tools, by employing several high-precision techniques and making them scalable. Among these techniques are a new kind of context sensitivity (termed “transactional sensitivity”) that provides a more effective static abstraction of distinct dynamic executions; a path-sensitive (yet scalable, through path merging) algorithm for inference of function arguments and returns; and a fully context sensitive private function reconstruction process. As a result, smart contract security analyses and reverse-engineering tools built on top of Elipmoc achieve high scalability, precision and completeness.

Elipmoc improves over all notable past decompilers, including its predecessor, Gigahorse, and the state-of-the-art industrial tool, Panoramix, integrated into the primary Ethereum blockchain explorer, Etherscan. Elipmoc produces decompiled contracts with fully resolved operands at a rate of 99.5% (compared to 62.8% for Gigahorse), and achieves much higher completeness in code decompilation than Panoramix—e.g., up to 67% more coverage of external call statements—while being over 5x faster. Elipmoc has been the enabler for recent (independent) discoveries of several exploitable vulnerabilities on popular protocols, over funds in the many millions of dollars.

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