Skip to content

Testing your bot

Once you have initialized your bot, it’s now time to test it. The code for a simple Forta detection bot can be found in the src/agent.ts file. The entry point for your bot will always be a file named agent.ts (or agent.js/ if using Javascript/Python, respectively). At the end of this file, you will find:

export default {

We are exporting 2 functions inside of an object: handleTransaction and handleBlock. These functions are where the logic of your bot will live. As blocks and transactions are mined to the blockchain, these functions will be invoked with blockchain data to allow the bot to scan for certain conditions and return any findings. You can export either one or both of these functions based on your requirements.

Let’s take a closer look at the handleTransaction function:

const ERC20_TRANSFER_EVENT = "event Transfer(address indexed from, address indexed to, uint256 value)";
const TETHER_ADDRESS = "0xdAC17F958D2ee523a2206206994597C13D831ec7";

const handleTransaction: HandleTransaction = async (txEvent: TransactionEvent) => {
  const findings: Finding[] = [];

  // filter the transaction logs for Tether transfer events
  const tetherTransferEvents = txEvent.filterLog(ERC20_TRANSFER_EVENT, TETHER_ADDRESS);

  // for each Tether transfer event
  tetherTransferEvents.forEach((transferEvent) => {
    // extract transfer event arguments
    const { to, from, value } = transferEvent.args;
    // shift decimals of transfer value
    const normalizedValue = value.div(10 ** TETHER_DECIMALS);

    // if more than 10,000 Tether were transferred, report it
    if ( {
          name: "High Tether Transfer",
          description: `High amount of USDT transferred: ${normalizedValue}`,
          alertId: "FORTA-1",
          severity: FindingSeverity.Low,
          type: FindingType.Info,
          metadata: {

  return findings;

The signature of this function is (txEvent: TransactionEvent) => Promise<Finding[]>. That is, it accepts a TransactionEvent as an input, and returns a Promise of an array of Finding objects. In this simple example, we check whether there are any Tether token transfer events above 10,000 USDT. If so, we flag the transaction by creating a Finding object. We then return what we found in the findings array. Pretty straightforward.

Manual testing

Now let’s run this bot locally with some real data from Ethereum mainnet to see how it behaves. We can begin throwing blockchain data at our bot and observe the output with the command:

$ npm start

npm scripts

The package.json file includes a set of npm scripts which invoke the forta-agent CLI tool. When invoking npm start to run the bot, we are using the forta-agent run command.

This will run blocks and transactions against your bot as they are mined. By default, blockchain data is pulled from the Cloudflare Ethereum gateway. You can also specify a JSON-RPC provider in the forta.config.json file (located in ~/.forta) by uncommenting the jsonRpcUrl property and setting it to a HTTP provider (e.g.

Since our transfer value threshold is pretty high (10 thousand), we may not flag a lot of transactions. To quickly make changes and see them take effect, try changing the threshold to a lower number and save the agent.ts file. The bot should automatically restart with your new changes.

It is also worth mentioning that bots are long-running processes. This means you can maintain state in-memory across blocks and transactions if needed. See the high transaction volume bot as an example of a stateful bot.

Getting test data

If you are writing a bot targeting a particular protocol or contract, you likely already have a wealth of data on the blockchain which you can use to test your bot. By visiting a block explorer (e.g. Etherscan), you can browse the history of transactions on a contract.

For example, you can visit the Tether token page on Etherscan and see a list of transfers. From there you can easily pick out a transaction (e.g. 0x338c6d7095228544f27ba8479aea6cadbe5aea98806a651f66ef30b3cd7e1813) and run it against your bot using:

$ npm run tx 0x338c6d7095228544f27ba8479aea6cadbe5aea98806a651f66ef30b3cd7e1813
You could also run your bot against all the transactions in a block using:

$ npm run block 13682565

Also, if you visit the transaction's details page on Etherscan, you can see more information such as the block number, amount of gas used and which function was invoked. The logs generated by the transaction can also be viewed under the Logs tab.

Trace data

Detection bots can use trace data to get further insights into a transaction e.g. which contract function calls were made internally. These are also known as "internal transactions". Forta scan nodes currently provide trace data only for Ethereum mainnet through the TransactionEvent.traces field (for all other chains, the traces are an empty array). These traces are fetched using the trace_block RPC method of the OpenEthereum trace module.

Not all detection bots will require trace data, but depending on the presence of trace data your detection bot may behave differently (e.g. the TransactionEvent.filterFunction utility method will use trace data to filter internal function calls if they are available). To enable trace data locally during development, set the traceRpcUrl in your forta.config.json to a RPC provider that supports the OpenEthereum trace module (e.g. typically a paid provider like Alchemy). It is also worth mentioning that in production, detection bots cannot query for trace data via the scan node's jsonRpcUrl (unless the bot provides its own RPC endpoint).

Automated testing

A complete bot testing strategy will include automated unit tests that can quickly verify the behaviour of the bot. For your convenience, unit tests are included in the starter projects as examples. We use the jest testing framework in the Javascript/Typescript projects, and pytest in the Python project. These are only suggestions and you should feel free to use whichever testing framework you prefer. You can run the included unit tests with the following command:

$ npm test

When writing unit tests, you can easily create mock transactions and blocks using the SDK methods createTransactionEvent and createBlockEvent. See here for an example. Also, you can easily write tests for bots that detect log events or function calls by mocking out the SDK methods filterLog and filterFunction. See here for an example.

Advanced testing

For more advanced testing involving simulated transactions, check out the Advanced testing pattern.

Code review

We strongly recommend conducting code reviews within your team as a best practice. This will help ensure that any bugs are identified and any edge cases are covered by your bot.

Best practices

To learn more about bot development best practices, see the best practices section. Be sure to check out useful libraries for developing your bots as well. There are also sections describing more advanced bot development patterns like hiding sensitive data, consuming bot alerts, publishing private alerts, transaction simulation and querying other chains.

Once you have tested and reviewed your bot, you can move on to deploying your bot.