Can GPT-4 Be Used to Fix Ethereum Smart Contract Vulnerabilities?

Secure and easy to develop Smart Contracts could be a road to adoption.

A child pulling down a cover from GPT-4 sculpture.
  • GPT-4 has already shown its usefulness in reviewing Smart Contract Code.
  • An exploited Solidity Smart Contract was fed into the AI, where it promptly pointed out all the vulnerabilities.
  • There is still a long way to go for AI to reach its potential, but it is showing promise for use in the blockchain space. 

Blockchain technology is notoriously difficult to hack; more often, it is vulnerabilities arising from human error that hackers exploit. However, as new Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology emerges, these exploits could be spotted earlier and avoided. 

The successor to the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, GPT-4, was released Tuesday, March 14, with many more features and increased potential. GPT-4 can respond to image prompts, process up to 25,000 words and write captions and descriptions– it can also identify and fix Smart Contract vulnerabilities. 

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Conor Grogan, the Director of Coinbase, took to Twitter to test GPT-4’s potential to review Solidity Contracts. He imputed a contract exploited in 2018 and explicitly asked the AI to spot vulnerabilities. GPT-4 quickly highlighted several security vulnerabilities and pointed out surface areas where the contract could be exploited. 

The AI concluded its review of the contract by stating: “Overall, this contract should not be used, as it contains vulnerabilities and is based on an illegal scheme.”

A Road to Mass Adoption?

The contract that Grogan fed into the AI was one that was hacked via the vulnerabilities that ChatGPT pointed out. The exploit happened on the Proof of Weak Hands (PoWH) coin, which was created and advertised – tongue-in-cheek – as an autonomous and self-sufficient Ponzi scheme.

This coin was admittedly never aimed at shaping the crypto ecosystem, but the negative impact of the 866 ETH hack would not have helped progress the ecosystem. Exploits and hacks are well-known for setting back the progress of the crypto space, but if GPT-4 can simply and safely review and fix contracts, better code could emerge.

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Grogan added: “I believe that AI will ultimately help make Smart Contracts safer and easier to build, two of the biggest impediments to mass adoption.”

As of late, hacks and exploits have befallen the DeFi space; notable ones include the Wintermute Hack, Nomad Bridge hack, Beanstalk Farms Hack, and Wormhole Bridge Hack. User confidence has dropped away in DeFi due to the many exploits, but if GPT-4 helped build safe and secure DeFi protocols, adoption might be more significant. 

The potential of GPT-4, and other AI models, remain hypothetical in these early stages. Additionally, it should be remembered that these AIs also have their issues. There have already been instances where the AI has been caught making things up and presenting them proudly as fact. 

On the Flipside

  • In reviewing the Smart Contract vulnerabilities, the AI even went so far as to point out a specific way to exploit the contract Grogan fed it. This indicates that AI could be used equally for nefarious purposes.

Why You Should Care

Any tools that make blockchain protocols safer and easier to build will indeed lead to more adoption and a better ecosystem. However, utilizing multiple nascent and emerging technologies is evidence of Web3 in action. 

Read more about the Top 5 DeFi exploits of 2022:
Top 5 Hacks That Rocked DeFi in 2022
Read more about Banking options for crypto companies following the U.S. banking collapse:
U.S. Banking Collapse: Crypto to Be Served by HSBC, Santander & Deutsche Bank in Europe.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Darryn Pollock

Darryn Pollock is a South African-born, UK-based journalist and content writer for DailyCoin with a focus on regulation and legislation revolving around the cryptocurrency space. He has covered the evolving crypto regulatory space, and examined how the US has approached law-making to offer protection in the growth of innovation. Darryn values traditional journalistic principles of truth, accuracy, independence, fairness, and impartiality, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Law from Rhodes University in South Africa.