Quoting from solidity doc:

In such a context, there is usually very little gas available to the function call (to be precise, 2300 gas), so it is important to make fallback functions as cheap as possible. In particular, the following operations will consume more gas than the stipend provided to a fallback function (updating state variable a to 100):

  1. Writing to storage
  2. Creating a contract
  3. Calling an external function which consumes a large amount of gas
  4. Sending Ether

So ideally I should not use complex logic in fallback function. And fallback function can not use more than 2300 gas.

I gave this a try.

pragma solidity ^0.4.18;

contract TestFallback{
    uint public a = 0;
    uint public loopsize = 100;

    function updateLoopSize(uint _size) public {
        loopsize = _size;

    function() public payable{
        uint i = 0;
        for (i=0; i<loopsize; i=i+1){
            a +=1;

I called the fallback function with loopsize = 100. The function executed successfully with following gas consumption:

gas : 3000000; transaction cost : 585049; execution cost: 563777

Now, this confused me with the paragraph I just read. I even tried making calculations as well as token transfers in fallback function. They consumed more than 100,000 gas but executed successfully. So what am I missing?

  1. Can I use complex logic inside fallback function?
  2. If I need to execute some function (like send tokens) as soon as the user's pay ethers to smart contract, what are possible approaches apart from writing the logic in fallback function.

PS: For second query, I don't think making a payable function will help. As in that case users have to call a specific method of smart contract. But I want that user's just send Ethers from any wallet and recieve assets. (User's don't need any abi to send eth to contract)

  • 1
    you say it should not be more than 23000 gas but in the doc it says it is 2300 gas. Feb 22, 2018 at 8:19

2 Answers 2


The fallback function is just like any other function: it gets as much gas as you pass to it.

What's different about the fallback function is that it's the one invoked when someone does a simple ether transfer, e.g. msg.sender.transfer(amount) in a smart contract, or a transfer from an exchange, etc. In those cases, very little gas is sent along, so if you want those cases to succeed, you should be careful about what you put in the fallback function.

I think there are other reasons to avoid the fallback function, notably around helping to prevent mistakes. See https://programtheblockchain.com/posts/2017/12/16/be-careful-when-using-the-solidity-fallback-function/.

  • I understand that while sending normal wallets/exchanges pass 21000 gas which won't be sufficient to execute the complex logic written in fallback function. But I send gas manually to the limit required by fallback, it will execute successfully. Then what is the point of mentioning in doc about 2300 gas? Feb 22, 2018 at 8:26
  • The reason it's mentioned is because it's a common problem and the authors of the documentation would like to make you aware of it so you can avoid it.
    – user19510
    Feb 22, 2018 at 8:28
  • Also if you could suggest something on second part of the question. Feb 22, 2018 at 8:29
  • If you read the blog post I linked to, my recommendation is to do what you rejected in your P.S.
    – user19510
    Feb 22, 2018 at 8:29
  • 1
    Thanks for your inputs. But I am not much clear with what is written in the documentation. It is specifically mentioned that there is only 2300 gas available to fallback function, which would confuse anyone that we can only use 2300 gas in fallback fn. Feb 22, 2018 at 8:38

The problem with the 2300 gas is when the call originates from a smart contract.

If you trigger the transaction manually you are able to control the gas required for the fallback function so there will be no problem.

But if you trigger a .send() or .transfer() from a smart contract, the destination fallback function will be called with only 2300 gas limit.

If you call your function from a smart contract it will fail.

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