Lightweight group information specification


A recurring difficulty when building and reviewing algorand applications is the lack of clear information about transactions groups. Most of the user interactions with an application requires execution of multiple contracts. The current standards only give specifications to describe a single contract. Lack of this information about the transaction groups and the logic-sigs required for a transaction makes it difficult to use and reason about the application.

To ease this, we propose the creation of a lightweight group information specification.

Motivating example

For example, a function foo in contract A might require some validation to be performed in a function bar in contract B. To ensure the call of, might check is executed using the following patterns

B is a logic sig, A checks that is executed by using logic-sig address:

def assert_B_bar_is_called() -> Expr:

return Assert(Txn.sender() == B_BAR_LOGIC_SIG_ADDRESS)

B is an application:

def foo(b_bar: abi.ApplicationCallTransaction):
    return Seq(
            b_bar.get().application_id() == B_APP_ID,
            b_bar.get().application_args[0] == MethodSignature("bar()"),
        # [...]

However it is difficult to reason for developer, security reviewers and tools to understand the relation between the function calls.

This pattern is frequently used, for example in:

Proposal summary

We propose the creation of a lightweight group information specification using the ARC-4 specification as:

  • The group information specification contains a list of ARC-4 contract descriptions of every contract in the project/protocol.
  • Each ARC-4 contract description is updated as following:
    • Every transaction argument description will have two fields “has_logic_sig” and “logic_sig_name” that will be filled if that transaction is signed with a logic-sig.
    • Every application call transaction type argument will have the “application_name” field.

This will help developers and reviewers to understand the interactions between the applications. In addition the information can be used by automated tools (ex tealer) to be more accurate.

In the long term, this format might even be implemented as code notation for high level language. For example, pyteal could use an annotation that allows developers to assign the reference to the “router” object of the target application for application call transaction type arguments.

The implications of the above approach need to be investigated. We are opening this issue to receive feedback from the community.

Proposal draft

The following describe an example of what the group information could look like, but is not final and might require iteration

In order to cover all general use cases, the following specification can be considered:

  • The group specification will have a list of group-transactions. A group transaction is a list of transactions.
  • Each transaction has following fields:
    • txn_idx: used to reference the transaction within the group transaction.
    • txn_type: The transaction type.
    • has_logic_sig: True if the transaction will be signed using a logic-sig.
    • logic_sig: The name of the logic-sig contract and the function if has_logic_sig is True.
    • application: The name of the application contract and the function if txn_type is appl.
    • absolute_index: The index of this transaction in the on-chain group transaction(Txn.group_index()) if it is fixed.
    • relative_indexes: Relative indexes of other transactions in the group from this transaction.


  - - txn_idx: T0
      txn_type: appl
      has_logic_sig: true
        contract: B
        function: bar
        contract: A
        function: foo
      absolute_index: 0
  - - txn_idx: T0
      txn_type: appl
        contract: B
        function: bar
    - txn_idx: T1
      txn_type: appl
        contract: A
        function: foo
      absolute_index: 1
        - target_txn_idx: T0
          relative_index: -1 # B bar is previous transaction

We would love to receive community’s feedback on this idea proposal.


  • Josselin Feist / montyly (Trail of Bits)
  • Vara Prasad Bandaru / S3v3ru5 (Trail of Bits)

Hi! You should definitely join the Algorand Discord server and participate in active discussions there about standards similar to/overlapping with your proposal.