Crypto exchange Coinbase used ChatGPT to audit smart contracts. What came of it?

Dmitry K
5 min readMar 24


ChatGPT is a trending artificial intelligence bot interface that is now being delegated to the most unusual tasks and asking curious questions. Cryptocurrency exchanges are no exception. The day before, the trading platform Coinbase used ChatGPT as an experiment to audit token smart contracts. It turned out that in most cases the bot produced almost the same results as regular auditors. How important could such a tool be in the future of the decentralized asset industry? I’ll tell you more about the situation.

I note that earlier the capabilities of the ChatGPT bot have already been used for the cryptocurrency industry. In the middle of the month, Cointelegraph journalists forced artificial intelligence to study recent articles, after which they asked them to share a list of cryptocurrencies for investing $ 100.

As a result, the bot offered to allocate half of the amount to Bitcoin, while Ethereum and Cosmos got $25 and $15, respectively. The rest of the amount was distributed between MANA and LINK tokens.

However, this experiment had many disadvantages. First of all, artificial intelligence cannot predict the future, so its advice is only a conclusion from the materials studied. In addition, the articles offered to the bot do not cover everything that happens in the digital asset market, so even such an artificial intelligence solution will be limited.

Be that as it may, it was fun to evaluate the possibilities of ChatGPT anyway. Therefore, Coinbase employees also used it.

How is the ChatGPT bot used

A note about the Coinbase experiment appeared on the official blog of the exchange. This is how analysts described the conditions set for artificial intelligence.

— If we were to simply ask ChatGPT to issue a risk score based on the smart contract security of a particular token, the tool would not have enough context information to provide a response that we could compare to a manual check. This is because ChatGPT and the live auditor will not evaluate the security of smart contracts in the same way. —

Indeed, when interacting with artificial intelligence, it is extremely important to clarify the conditions for performing the task. As practice shows, in order to obtain the desired result, it is necessary to gradually add new details to solve a specific task. Even if we are talking about generating a picture, it is worth looking at the intermediate result of the work of artificial intelligence, and then sharing new commands and conditions for the task.

The very evaluation of a smart contract for a certain token is a necessary step before adding a crypto asset to the exchange. The procedure also allows you to study the permissions that are necessary to interact with the smart contract. Thanks to this, it will be possible to make sure that, for example, it was not created by developers solely to steal user funds.

Description of the ChatGPT platform

To make the results more similar to the work of auditors, ChatGPT initially gave enough information about the algorithm for evaluating smart contracts by Coinbase analysts. After that, artificial intelligence conducted a study of twenty smart contracts of tokens, and in twelve cases, the results of the ChatGPT study almost completely coincided with the results of the auditors.

At the same time, among the eight cases where ChatGPT was wrong, five results were a critical mistake of artificial intelligence. In them, he designated high-risk assets as safe, which is unacceptable for the audit results.

With artificial intelligence, the problem of inconsistency is also relevant, since it can produce different results for the same query after a certain period of time. However, the Coinbase team is optimistic about the results of their experiment. ChatGPT could be used as an additional tool for auditors to cross-check their reports, experts say.

An analyst under the nickname Officer’s Notes in an interview with Decrypt supported the optimism of Coinbase experts. Here is his quote:

A speaker from BlockSec, a blockchain cybersecurity company, also commented on the Coinbase initiative. Here is a replica:

— We are not surprised because such smart contracts can also be automatically verified by other traditional programming tools. However, artificial intelligence cannot operate on the basis of complex business logic, which is the main attack vector and the main loophole that smart contract audits should focus on. —

Can artificial intelligence completely replace human auditors in the foreseeable future? Connie Lam, Head of Solutions Architecture at Certik, shared his opinion on this matter.

— Perhaps someday we will get there, but not in the near future. A complementary approach is more likely. There are things that people do better than machines, and vice versa. Tools help us create new things, but they don’t replace us. The invention of the calculator didn’t make accountants obsolete, it made them better at their job. —

Indeed, it can be assumed that in the future artificial intelligence will become an assistant for auditors who study smart contracts and other blockchain platforms. For example, it will be possible to shift routine tasks to it, such as searching for dangerous permissions and other things.

It seems that artificial intelligence is beginning to actively gain new positions, and representatives of the cryptocurrency industry recognize this. As can be seen from the Coinbase experiment, ChatGPT is already showing good results in complex work. Well, as the platform improves, its capabilities will certainly expand, which will also benefit the digital asset industry.

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Dmitry K

I work as a designer. I invest in cryptocurrencies and stocks of companies.