I have contract method transferFrom that failed when I calling it the site's from backend, but in the same time it works from Remix.

Both calls are performed through Metamask. Initially I thought that it could be related to gas amount but when I called method from Remix and specified gas amount that was used for failed transaction - it works, so I have no idea what is the problem.

Here is failed transaction that called using this code:

Eth.contract._approve(toAddress, fromAddress, amount)
.then(async result => {
  const tx = await Eth.contract.transferFrom.sendTransaction(fromAddress, toAddress, amount);

  return res.json({success: true, data: {from: fromAddress, to: toAddress, amount: amount, tx: tx}});
.catch(error => {
  return res.boom.badImplementation('Unable to approve transfer ' + amount + ' tokens to the address ' + fromAddress, {success: false});

_approve is special function in the contract that accessible only for contract owner and has 3 parameters insteand of 2 required by ERC20 interface.

And here is working transaction that is called from Remix with the same contract loaded.

2 Answers 2


Finally I got it. Issue is unrelated to the contract code except couple of require statements inside it.

Methods transferFrom relies on internal approved member that contains alloed amount to transfer between 2 accounts. It was done to merge duplicated functionality of methods transfer and transferFrom (see ERC20 Token interface). But it was mistake.

On the site's backend called consequently 2 methods using await:

  • approve
  • transferFrom

But when approve was already awaited and response received it wasn't actually mined by the network and approved mapping does not contains required amount. Thus statement require(approved[_from][_to] >= _amount) failed.

Solution: do not merge logically unmergeble.


Using transferFrom involves three accounts:

  • owner: Account who has the tokens
  • recipient: Account that will receive tokens
  • sender: Account making the transaction

Now the sequence should be

  1. the owner has to approve the sender

    token.approve(sender, amount, { from: owner });
  2. The sender can make the transfer

    token.transferFrom(owner, recipient, amount, { from: sender });
  • This is exactly what I did, just omitted approve step. Approved correct amount, as I mentioned this call works when performed through Remix.
    – Alex G.P.
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 2:01
  • @AlexG.P. In your code it doesn't have the transaction options ie the last parameter { from: sender }, without that you are sending the transaction from the default account.
    – Ismael
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 2:19
  • it does not works. By default I have only one wallet/address as all transactions sender - it is contract owner/creator. I updated post with full approve-transfer code. Approve and transfer performed by contract creator, so it is the same as you specified. And it does not helps.
    – Alex G.P.
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 5:13
  • Moreover, as you can see the same transaction with the same transaction initiator works perfectly from remix.
    – Alex G.P.
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 5:14
  • 1
    Both transactions are identical, in geth vm trace they have a similar start, make two external calls, the failed tx makes a revert around step 1050 but the successful keep going until step 2190. Without the contract code is impossible to say anything more.
    – Ismael
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 5:58

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