Say for example you have this simple contract:

contract Example {
   function sayHello() constant returns (string msg) {
      return "hello";

And I make a message call:


Since it's a constant (read only) message call, according to the docs, a from address is optional. Since a from is not required, does this mean anyone can call the function - no signature validation is performed?

1 Answer 1


You're correct, anyone can call the function and no signature validation is performed.

They are performed locally without broadcasting to any other nodes. These constant message calls also don't appear to be in the core protocol itself and not mentioned in the Yellow Paper. Happy to correct this part if needed and a further example is pyethereum doesn't implement eth_call.

  • This seems to be something that at least should be emphasized more in the docs. For example, if the return value is actually something in contract state, the contract author could be unknowingly exposing information to unintended readers under the assumption that Ethereum is magically verifying the sender.
    – dbryson
    Feb 28, 2016 at 5:48
  • 1
    Yes, it could be emphasized more. At a simpler level though, everything on the blockchain, which includes contract state, can be accessed by the public (some may take more effort, reverse engineering, parsing blockchain data/db files but it's all public) and exposed.
    – eth
    Feb 28, 2016 at 6:18
  • 2
    Note, it's not actually that hard to access contract state. eth.getStorage() can retrieve all storage variables, not just public ones. There is NO private data on the blockchain Feb 28, 2016 at 7:20
  • There is no private data, but position indexes need to provided when using eth.getStorageAt and isn't straightforward when the indexes are scattered instead of next to each other.
    – eth
    May 27, 2016 at 22:16

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