REVERT instruction

FinalStandards Track: Core
Created: 2017-02-06
Alex Beregszaszi (@axic), Nikolai Mushegian <nikolai@nexusdev.us>
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1 min read

The EIP-140 proposal introduces the REVERT instruction in the Ethereum Virtual Machine, which allows for the stopping of execution and the ability to revert state changes without consuming all provided gas. It also provides the ability to return a reason for the aborting of an EVM execution, which was not previously possible. This aims to improve the functionality of smart contracts by providing a more efficient and informative way to handle errors and abort transactions.

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Simple Summary

The REVERT instruction provides a way to stop execution and revert state changes, without consuming all provided gas and with the ability to return a reason.


The REVERT instruction will stop execution, roll back all state changes done so far and provide a pointer to a memory section, which can be interpreted as an error code or message. While doing so, it will not consume all the remaining gas.


Currently this is not possible. There are two practical ways to revert a transaction from within a contract: running out of gas or executing an invalid instruction. Both of these options will consume all remaining gas. Additionally, reverting an EVM execution means that all changes, including LOGs, are lost and there is no way to convey a reason for aborting an EVM execution.


On blocks with block.number >= BYZANTIUM_FORK_BLKNUM, the REVERT instruction is introduced at 0xfd. It expects two stack items, the top item is the memory_offset followed by memory_length. It does not produce any stack elements because it stops execution.

The semantics of REVERT with respect to memory and memory cost are identical to those of RETURN. The sequence of bytes given by memory_offset and memory_length is called "error message" in the following.

The effect of REVERT is that execution is aborted, considered as failed, and state changes are rolled back. The error message will be available to the caller in the returndata buffer and will also be copied to the output area, i.e. it is handled in the same way as the regular return data is handled.

The cost of the REVERT instruction equals to that of the RETURN instruction, i.e. the rollback itself does not consume all gas, the contract only has to pay for memory.

In case there is not enough gas left to cover the cost of REVERT or there is a stack underflow, the effect of the REVERT instruction will equal to that of a regular out of gas exception, i.e. it will consume all gas.

In the same way as all other failures, the calling opcode returns 0 on the stack following a REVERT opcode in the callee.

In case REVERT is used in the context of a CREATE or CREATE2 call, no code is deployed, 0 is put on the stack and the error message is available in the returndata buffer.

The content of the optionally provided memory section is not defined by this EIP, but is a candidate for another Informational EIP.

Backwards Compatibility

This change has no effect on contracts created in the past unless they contain 0xfd as an instruction.

Test Cases



  • return 0x726576657274206d657373616765 as REVERT data,
  • the storage at key 0x0 should be left as unset and
  • use 20024 gas in total.

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Further reading
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