CVL2 Migration Guide

This section gives a step-by-step process for migrating your specs from CVL 1 to CVL 2. It only addresses the changes that are most likely to arise; for full details see Changes Introduced in CVL 2.

Here is an outline of the migration process:

If you have any questions, please ask for help!

Step 0: Install CVL 2

The certora-cli python package will use CVL 2 starting with version 4.0.0.

If you aren’t ready to migrate your specs yet, Certora will continue supporting CVL 1 for three months after the official release of CVL 2. You can keep using CVL 1 after the release of certora-cli-4.0.0 by pinning your certora-cli package to version 3.6.5:

pip install 'certora-cli<4.0.0'

If you want to switch between the two versions, see the instructions for setting up a virtual environment in Installing the beta version (optional).

Step 1: Skim CVL 2 changes

We recommend at least skimming Changes Introduced in CVL 2 to familiarize yourself with the changes introduced by CVL 2.

Step 2: Run the migration script

Certora has written a simple script to aid in the conversion from CVL 1 to CVL 2. You can download the script here.

The script will automatically modify all .spec files in a directory. The script will modify the files in place, so make sure that you commit your files before running it.

To run the script, place it in a file called and run it using the following command:

python3 -d <path> -r

Run python3 --help for further instructions.

The migration script only handles simple cases, and is not guaranteed to work. Some manual work and adjustment may be needed after running the script. The script may also make odd mistakes.

The script will attempt to make the following changes:

  • replace sinvoke f(...) with f(...)

  • replace invoke f(...) with f@withrevert(...)

  • replace f(...).selector with sig:f(...).selector

  • ensure that rules start with rule

  • replace static_assert with assert

  • replace static_require with require

  • add ; to the end of pragma, import, using, and use statements

  • add a ; to the end of a methods block entry if it doesn’t seem to continue to the next line

  • add function to the beginning of a methods block entry

  • add external to unsummarized or DISPATCHER methods block entries

  • change function f(...) to function _.f(...) for summarized external functions

In particular, as the script only consumes spec files, there are decisions that it cannot make, as they are based on the Solidity code. Some of those are listed here.

Step 3: Fix type errors

This is a good time to try running certoraRun on your spec. The command-line interface to certoraRun has not changed in CVL 2, so you should try to verify your contract the same way you usually would.

If your spec verifies without errors, move on to Step 4: Review your methods blocks! If certoraRun reports errors, you will need to fix them manually. Here are some of the more common errors that you may come across:

This section contains specific advice for these situations; if you come across problems that are not covered here, consult the Changes Introduced in CVL 2 or ask!

Syntax errors introduced by the migration script

The migration script is not perfect, and can make syntax mistakes in some cases, such as adding an extra semicolon or omitting a keyword. We hope these will be easy to identify and fix, but if you have syntax errors you can’t understand, consult Superficial syntax changes.

Type errors in arithmetic and casts

CVL 2 is more careful about converting between different integer types. See Changes to integer types in the changes guide for complete details and examples.

If you have errors that indicate problems with number types, try the following:

  • Try to change most of your integers to mathint. The only integers that should not be mathint are those that you are passing as arguments to contract functions.

  • If you have a type error in a havoc ... assuming statement, consider using the newer ghost variable syntax. This can avoid potential vacuity pitfalls caused by mixing to_mathint and havoc ... assuming.

  • If you need to compare two different types of integers with with a comparison like ==, >=, you probably want to convert them to mathint using to_mathint unless they are part of a havoc ... assuming statement or a require statement. See Comparisons require identical types for an example of why you might not want to use to_mathint.


The only place you need to_mathint is in comparisons! It won’t hurt in other places, but it is unnecessary.

  • If you need to modify the output of one contract function and pass it to another contract function, you will need to think carefully about how you want to handle overflow. If you think the computation won’t go out of bounds, you can use an assert_ cast to assert that the value is in bounds. If you want to ignore cases where the value goes out of bounds, you can use a require_ cast (but think twice first: require_ casts are dangerous!). See Changes to integer types for more details.


Use assert_ and require_ casts sparingly! assert_ casts can lead to unnecessary counterexamples, and require_ casts can hide bugs in your contracts (just as any require statement can).

  • You cannot use assert_ and require_ casts inside quantified statements. To solve that issue, you can introduce an additional universally quantified variable of type uint256, and require it to be equal to the expression using an upcast to mathint.

    For example, if there is a ghost array access forall uint x. a[x+1] == 0, rewrite it as follows:

    forall uint x. forall uint y. to_mathint(y) == x+1 => a[y] == 0

using statements

Multi-contract declaration using using statements are not imported. If you have a spec a.spec importing b.spec, with b.spec declaring a multicontract contract usage, which you need in a.spec, repeat the declaration from b.spec, and rename the alias.

The next minor version of CVL2 will improve this behavior.

Problems with certorafallback or invoke_fallback

CVL2 does not allow you to refer to the fallback function explicitly as it was seldom used and not well-defined. The most common use case for having to refer to the fallback was to check if a parametric method is the fallback function. For that, one can use the .isFallback field of any variable of type method.

See Changes to the fallback function for examples.

Step 4: Review your methods blocks

CVL 2 changes the requirements for and meanings of methods block entries; you should manually review all of your methods block entries to make sure they have the intended meanings. Here are the things to consider:

The remainder of this section describes these considerations. See Changes to methods block entries for more details.

If you have complex methods blocks, we encourage you to examine the call resolution tab on the rule report to double-check that your summaries are applied as you expect them to be.

internal and external methods

In CVL 2, you must mark methods block entries as either internal or external. Unlike Solidity, you cannot mark entries as private or public.

The Prover does not distinguish between private and internal methods; if you want to summarize a private method, use internal in the methods block.

To understand how to work with public Solidity methods, it is important to understand how Solidity compiles public functions. When a contract contains a public method, the Solidity compiler generates an internal method that executes the code, and an external method that calls the internal method.

You can add methods block entries for either (or both) of those methods, and they will have different effects. See Required internal or external annotation for the details.

Receiver contracts

In CVL 1, method summaries applied to all methods in all contracts that match the specified signature. In CVL 2, summaries only apply to one contract by default.

You specify the receiver contract just before the method name. For example, to refer to the exampleMethod method of the ExampleContract contract, you would write:

methods {
    function ExampleContract.exampleMethod(uint) external returns(uint);

If no contract is specified, the default contract is currentContract.

If you want to write an entry that applies to methods in all contracts with the given signature, you can use the special _ receiver:

methods {
    function _.exampleMethod(uint) external => NONDET;

Wildcard entries cannot specify return types. If you summarize them with a CVL function or ghost, you will need to supply an expect clause. See Summaries only apply to one contract by default for details.

Step 5: Profit!

Hopefully this guide has helped you successfully migrate to CVL 2. Although the functional changes in CVL 2.0 are relatively small, the internal changes lay the groundwork for many exciting features. We promise that the effort involved in migration will pay off in the next few releases!