I've created a test ERC20 token like at https://theethereum.wiki/w/index.php/ERC20_Token_Standard. I've sent some test ether to the contract and can verify my account has some of the token, eg with the following command (calling the "balanceOf" function):



{ [String: '7000000000000000'] s: 1, e: 15, c: [ 70 ] }

After that I want to send some of the token to another account. My transfer function is as follows:

function transfer(address _to, uint256 _value) returns (bool success) {
           require(balances[msg.sender] >= _value && _value > 0);
           balances[msg.sender] = balances[msg.sender].sub(_value);
           balances[_to] = balances[_to].add(_value);
           Transfer(msg.sender, _to, _value);
           return true;

(I'm using the SafeMath.sol contract at https://github.com/OpenZeppelin/zeppelin-solidity/blob/master/contracts/math/SafeMath.sol)

Running the following command to execute the transfer function and send some of the token to my second account:

contractInstance.transfer.call(web3.eth.accounts[1], 0.005)



So the transfer isn't being executed. What might the issue be here?

  • I've also unlocked the web3.eth.accounts[0] account before trying to execute the transfer function
    – ZhouW
    Aug 2, 2017 at 8:40
  • Also note that your implementation violates the specification in that “Transfers of 0 values MUST be treated as normal transfers and fire the Transfer event.”
    – kirelagin
    Feb 8, 2018 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


Three possible issues I spotted taking a quick glance.

Your second argument is "0.005", which is not an int, so it won't be possible to cast it to a uint256 as you requested. If you followed the tutorial, you probably also used 18 decimals to define your contract's token-decimals. You'll need to multiply "0.005" by 10^18. quick trick: as 1 ether is also 1*(10^18) wei, you can just replace your "0.005" with web3.toWei("0.005").

In your call function, also provide an object to specify the sender.

{ from: web3.eth.accounts[0] }

Also, when calling non-constant methods, you don't need the .call part, so this should work.

contractInstance.transfer(web3.eth.accounts[1], web3.toWei(0.005), { from: web3.eth.accounts[0] })
  • The final command works: contractInstance.transfer(web3.eth.accounts[1], web3.toWei(0.005), { from: web3.eth.accounts[0] })
    – ZhouW
    Aug 2, 2017 at 9:30
  • Just a quick unsolicited comment: the fact that you can send 0.0005 to a function that expects an int is why we want strongly typed languages and why Javascript sucks. Aug 2, 2017 at 11:07

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