HomeEtherumLatest News on the Vyper Compiler

Latest News on the Vyper Compiler

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The Vyper Project was originally created by Vitalik as an improved version of the Serpent language with a focus on safety. However, after its initial development, Vyper lacked a dedicated maintainer. Fortunately, enthusiastic community members took up the project and continued its development. Earlier this year, the EF Python Team also became involved in the project again.

Recently, a preliminary security audit was conducted by the Consensys Diligence team on the Python-based Vyper compiler. You can read the audit results here.

The report highlights multiple serious bugs in the Vyper compiler and also notes a high level of technical debt in the codebase, which will make addressing these issues complex.

As the existing Python-based Vyper implementation is not yet ready for production, it has been moved out of the Ethereum GitHub organization into its own organization named vyperlang. The current maintainers plan to address the issues independently, and you can find the project here.

Meanwhile, our team is concurrently working on a Rust-based compiler. More information on that can be found below, but first, let’s dive into how we reached the current state.

Throughout this year, we collaborated with the project maintainers to improve the code quality and architecture of Vyper. However, after several months of work, we had doubts that the Python codebase could deliver on the promises of Vyper. The codebase contained a significant amount of technical and architectural debt, and it seemed that the existing maintainers were not primarily focused on addressing these issues.

Exploring Rust

In August of this year, we began exploring the creation of a Vyper compiler using a fundamentally different architecture. Our goal was to build a Rust-based compiler that leveraged the existing work done by the Solidity team and utilized the YUL intermediate representation. This approach would allow us to compile to EVM or EWASM. Furthermore, a Rust-based compiler can easily be compiled to WASM, making it more portable than a Python-based one. By building on top of YUL, we could achieve EVM and EWASM compilation without any additional effort, with the compiler only needing to handle the conversion from a Vyper AST to YUL.

By the time the Python Vyper audit was released, we had made substantial progress with our Rust-based Vyper compiler and were confident in its direction. The audit validated many of our concerns regarding the Python codebase.

The work continues

However, the maintainers of the Python Vyper codebase still intend to carry on with the project. While we do not plan to have ongoing involvement with the Python codebase, we wish them the best of luck. It is important to note recent events to avoid implying that the project is currently safe to use.

Currently, there are two “Vyper” compilers: our EF-supported Rust compiler, aiming to fulfill the original vision of Vyper, and the Python effort, which will independently pursue the same goals in the Python codebase. We hope to continue working together towards a unified “Vyper” with multiple implementations, and we will keep everyone informed about the project’s progress.

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