Detecting Token Systems on Ethereum

  • Michael FröwisEmail author
  • Andreas Fuchs
  • Rainer Böhme
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11598)


We propose and compare two approaches to identify smart contracts as token systems by analyzing their public bytecode. The first approach symbolically executes the code in order to detect token systems by their characteristic behavior of updating internal accounts. The second approach serves as a comparison base and exploits the common interface of ERC-20 , the most popular token standard. We present quantitative results for the Ethereum blockchain, and validate the effectiveness of both approaches using a set of curated token systems as ground truth. We observe 100% recall for the second approach. Recall rates of 89% (with well explainable missed detections) indicate that the first approach may also be able to identify “hidden” or undocumented token systems that intentionally do not implement the standard. One possible application of the proposed methods is to facilitate regulators’ tasks of monitoring and policing the use of token systems and their underlying platforms.


Smart contract Symbolic execution ERC-20 Token systems Ethereum 



We like to thank ConsenSys for the work on mythril. This work has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 740558.

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Copyright information

© International Financial Cryptography Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Fröwis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Fuchs
    • 2
  • Rainer Böhme
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversität InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany

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