Building an SDK v0.1.24 – Balancer Relayers and Pool Migrations

What Is A Relayer?

A relayer is a contract that is authorized by the protocol and users to make calls to the Vault on behalf of the users. It can use the sender’s ERC20 vault allowance, internal balance and BPTs on their behalf. Multiple actions (such as exit/join pools, swaps, etc) can be chained together which improves the UX.

For security reasons a Relayer has to be authorised by the Balancer DAO before it can be used (see previous votes for V1 and V2) and even after authorisation each user would still be required to opt into the relayer by submitting an approval transaction or signing a message.

How It Works

Contracts

The Balancer Relayers are composed of two contracts, BalancerRelayer, which is the single point of entry via the multicall function and a library contract, such as the V3 VaultActions, which defines the allowed behaviour of the relayer, for example – VaultActions, LidoWrapping, GaugeActions.

Having the multicall single point of entry prevents reentrancy. The library contract cannot be called directly but the multicall can repeatedly delegatecall into the library code to perform a chain of actions.

Some psuedo code demonstrating how an authorisation, exitPool and swap can be chained and called via the multicall function:

const approval = buildApproval(signature); // setRelayerApproval call
const exitPoolCallData = buildExitPool(poolId, bptAmt); // exitPool call
const swapCallData = buildSwap(); // batchSwap call

const tx = await relayer.multicall([approval, exitPoolCallData, swapCallData]);

Approval

A user has to approve each Relayer before they can use it. To check if a Relayer is approved we can use hasApprovedRelayer on the Vault:

const isApprove = await vault.hasApprovedRelayer(userAddress, relayerAddress)

And we can grant (or revoke) approval for a given relayer by using setRelayerApproval:

const approvalTx = await vault.setRelayerApproval(userAddress, relayerAddress, isApprove);

A Relayer can also be approved by using the setRelayerApproval function from the BaseRelayerLibrary contract. Here a signed authorisation message from the user is passed as an input parameter. This allows an approval to be included at the start of a chain of actions so the user only needs to submit a single transaction creating a better UX.

Chained References

Output References allow the Relayer to store output values from once action which can then be read and used in another action. This allows us to chain together actions. For example we could exit a pool, save the exit amounts of each token to a reference and then do a batchSwap using the references as input amounts for each swap:

An OutputReference consists of an index and a key:

struct OutputReference {
  uint256 index;
  uint256 key;
}

Where the key is the slot the value will be stored at. Index indicates which output amount should be stored. For example if exitPool exits to 3 tokens, DAI (index 0), USDC (1), USDT (2), we would want to use index 0 to store DAI, 1 for USDC, etc.

Example Use Case – Pool Migration

Intro

Balancer aims for the best capital efficiency for LPs so it made sense to offer the option to migrate from the old “staBal3” pool consisting of DAI, USDC and USDT to a new “boosted” stable pool which is more capital efficient because it uses yield bearing assets.

To migrate between these pools would take multiple steps:

  1. unstake from staBal3 gauge → staBalBpt
  2. exitPool from staBal, staBalBpt → DAI, USDC, USDT
  3. join the bb-a-usd2 pool by using batchSwaps
    1. DAI → bbausd2Bpt
    2. USDC → bbausd2Bpt
    3. USDT → bbausd2Bpt
  4. stake bbausd2Bpt in gauge

This would be quite an ordeal for a user to do manually but the Relayer can be used to combine all these actions into a single transaction for the user.

Details

As this is a well defined one off action we decided to add this function to the SDK as a “Zap” under a Migrations module. The user can call the staBal3 function to get all the call data required to call the tx:

{ to, data } = migrations.stabal3(
  userAddress,
  staBal3Amount,
  minBbausd2Out,
  isStaked,
  authorisationSignature
);

Behind the scenes all the call data for each step is crafted and the encoded multicall data is returned:

calls = [
        this.buildSetRelayerApproval(authorisation),
        this.buildWithdraw(userAddress, staBal3Amount),
        this.buildExit(relayer, staBal3Amount),
        this.buildSwap(minBbausd2Out, relayer),
        this.buildDeposit(userAddress),
      ];

const callData = balancerRelayerInterface.encodeFunctionData('multicall', [
      calls,
    ]);

buildSetRelayerApproval allows the user to pass the approval signature if this is their first time using the relayer. This allows us to approve and execute the migration all in a single transaction.

buildWithdraw and buildDeposit handle the gauge actions. The initial call is to withdraw from the staBal gauge and the final call deposits the bbausd2 bpt into the new gauge. We withdraw directly to the Relayer address rather than the users. The gauges return the tokens to the caller, so sending them to the user costs more as we need to manually transfer them:

gauge.withdraw(amount);
// Gauge does not support withdrawing BPT to another address atomically.
// If intended recipient is not the relayer then forward the withdrawn BPT on to the recipient.
if (recipient != address(this)) {
    IERC20 bptToken = gauge.lp_token();
    bptToken.transfer(recipient, amount);
}

Skipping this has two benefits. Firstly it saves gas by avoiding an extra transfer. It also avoids approval issues as now the Relayer is just using its own funds. The final deposit uses the userAddress to send the staked tokens from the Relayer back to the user.

buildExit creates the exitPool call:

// Ask to store exit outputs for batchSwap of exit is used as input to swaps
    const outputReferences = [
      { index: assetOrder.indexOf('DAI'), key: EXIT_DAI },
      { index: assetOrder.indexOf('USDC'), key: EXIT_USDC },
      { index: assetOrder.indexOf('USDT'), key: EXIT_USDT },
    ];

    const callData = Relayer.constructExitCall({
      assets,
      minAmountsOut: ['0', '0', '0'],
      userData,
      toInternalBalance: true,
      poolId: this.addresses.staBal3.id,
      poolKind: 0, // This will always be 0 to match supported Relayer types
      sender,
      recipient: this.addresses.relayer,
      outputReferences,
      exitPoolRequest: {} as ExitPoolRequest,
    });

Output references are used to store the final amounts of each stable token received from the pool. We have precomputed the keys by using the Relayer.toChainedReference helper, like:

const EXIT_DAI = Relayer.toChainedReference('21');
const EXIT_USDC = Relayer.toChainedReference('22');
const EXIT_USDT = Relayer.toChainedReference('23');

These will be used later as inputs to the swaps.

Also of interest is the fact we set toInternalBalance to true. The Balancer V2 vault can accrue ERC20 token balances and keep track of them internally in order to allow extremely gas-efficient transfers and swaps. Exiting to internal balances before the swaps allows us to keep gas costs down.

Because we have previously exited into internal balances we also don’t have to worry about the users having previously approved the Relayer for the tokens:

if (fromInternalBalance) {
// We take as many tokens from Internal Balance as possible: any remaining amounts will be transferred.
uint256 deductedBalance = _decreaseInternalBalance(sender, token, amount, true);
// Because deductedBalance will be always the lesser of the current internal balance
// and the amount to decrease, it is safe to perform unchecked arithmetic.
amount -= deductedBalance;
}

if (amount > 0) {
token.safeTransferFrom(sender, address(this), amount);
}

so the amount will be 0 and the safeTransferFrom call will not be executed.

buildSwap – We can join bbausd2 using a swap thanks to the PhantomBpt concept so here we create a batchSwap call that swaps each stable token to the bbausdBpt and we use the output references from the exitPool call as the input amounts to the swap (which is great as we don’t need to precompute these).

const swaps: BatchSwapStep[] = [
    {
      poolId: this.addresses.linearDai2.id,
      assetInIndex: 1,    // DAI
      assetOutIndex: 2,   // bDAI
      amount: EXIT_DAI.toString(),
      userData: '0x',
    },
    {
      poolId: this.addresses.bbausd2.id,
      assetInIndex: 2,  // bDAI
      assetOutIndex: 0,  // bbausd2
      amount: '0',
      userData: '0x',
    }
    ...
    {
      poolId: this.addresses.linearUsdc2.id,
      assetInIndex: 3,  // USDC
      assetOutIndex: 4, // bUSDC
      amount: EXIT_USDC.toString(),
      userData: '0x',
    },
    ...

In the Relayer VaultActions contract we can see how the swap amounts are set to the value stored in the reference:

for (uint256 i = 0; i < swaps.length; ++i) {
	uint256 amount = swaps[i].amount;
  if (_isChainedReference(amount)) {
	  swaps[i].amount = _getChainedReferenceValue(amount); //e.g. EXIT_DAI
  }
}

And finally (😅) we use another output reference to store the total amount out of bbausd2:

const outputReferences = [{ index: 0, key: SWAP_RESULT_BBAUSD }];

This is used as an input to the final gauge deposit to make sure we stake all the BPT that we have received and that should conclude the migration! You can see this in action on a local fork (yay no real funds required!) by running the integration test here.

Conclusion

The Balancer Relayer is probably not that well known so hopefully this has given a good overview of some of its functionality and flexibility. There’s a lot of room for experimentation and improvement of UX for complex operations so its worth investigating!

Photo by Austrian National Library on Unsplash

🤓 Geeking Out On Uniswap 🦄

Uniswap is a simple smart contract interface for swapping ERC20 tokens and in general it’s pretty awesome. The story behind it is really inspirational to me and just recently Hayden Adams tweeted that $10million of liquidity was added in a 24 hour period – surely pretty succesful by any measure!

Some of the features of Uniswap include:

  • Supplies on-chain liquidity to other smart contracts
  • Ease of use
  • Gas efficiency (10x less than Bancor)
  • Decentralised/censorship resistant

And just as a reminder:

Liquidity describes the degree to which an asset or security can be quickly bought or sold in the market at a price reflecting its intrinsic value.

Investopedia

Each Uniswap pool holds Eth and another token and trades are exectuted against these reserves.

By supplying tokens to the pooled reserve (being a liquidity provider) you get a proportional share of transaction fees via a liquidity token.

Prices are set automatically using eqn: x * y = k or in terms of tokens: eth_pool * token_pool = invariant.

The invariant is constant during trades but DOES change when liquidity is added or removed from pool. (So not really an invariant?!)

Liquidity Tokens

Liquidity tokens are minted to track the relative proportion of total reserves that each liquidity provider has supplied.

Fees are taken during a token swap and are added to the liquidity reserves. Since total reserves are increased without adding any additional share tokens, this increases that value of all liquidity tokens equally. This functions as a payout to liquidity providers that can be collected by burning shares. (It’s also the reason that the invariant increases at the end of every trade)

When a liquidity provider joins the pool the amount of liquidity tokens minted are calcualted by:

(Initial pool liquidity is equal to initial Eth value provided)
total_liquidity = self.totalSupply
eth_reserve = self.balance - msg.value
liquidity_minted = msg.value * total_liquidity / eth_reserve

Liqudity tokens can be burned at any time to return a proportional share of the markets liquidity to the provider:

removeLiquidity(amount...):

total_liquidity = self.totalSupply
token_reserve = self.token.balanceOf(self)
eth_amount = amount * self.balance / total_liquidity
token_amount = amount * token_reserve / total_liquidity

self.balances[msg.sender] -= amount
self.totalSupply = total_liquidity - amount
send(msg.sender, eth_amount)
return eth_amount, token_amount

Exchanging

Eth -> Token: Traders Eth is added to pool and Token is removed. So Eth amount increases, token amount decreases. Token becomes more expensive.

Token -> Eth: Traders Token is added to pool and Eth is removed. So Eth amount decreases, token amound decreases. Eth becomes more expensive.

Arbitrage

Arbitrage seems to be the key to so many DeFi applications! I think the following is nice description of what it is:

Arbitrage trading is a strategy that can be best understood as a trader that takes advantage of the price differential that exists between two markets. In the case of cryptocurrency, this price differential can be found in the differences in price of a digital asset between cryptocurrency exchanges. If a trader identified an opportunity for arbitrage trading, then they would purchase a digital asset in one exchange, and then sell it on another cryptocurrency exchange.

Mycryptopedia

To me it’s all about icentives – basically in the form of greed! There’s always someone looking to make money from an opportunity. In this case they execute a trade to make a profit but by making they trade they change the price which basically corrects it to the market price – that’s cool!

For example:

  • the global price of ETH-USD moves enough away from the pool price, an arbitrage opportunity exists and is corrected
  • When the initial liquidity is provided the exchange rate is set. If the ratio of liquidity provided isn’t realistic arbitrage traders will correct at the expense of initial liquidity provider.

Some Examples With Numbers

Invariant is set on initial deposit to a new pool. For example 10 ETH and 500 FUN are deposited into new ETH/FUN pool. Invariant is set to:

ETH_pool * FUN_pool = invariant
10 * 500 = 5000

Now for an ETH -> FUN trade:

Buyer sends 1ETH

Fee = 1 ETH / 400 = 0.0025 ETH (0.25% fee)

ETH_pool = 10 + 1 - 0.0025 = 10.9975

FUN_pool = 5000/10.9975 = 454.65 (invariant/ETH_pool)

Buyer receives: 500 - 454.65 = 45.35 FUN

Fee is added back to pool:

ETH_pool = 10.9975 + 0.0025 = 11

FUN_pool = 454.65

New invariant = 11 * 454.65 = 5001.15

Executed price = 45.35 FUN/ETH

But now price has changed:

Fee = 0.0025 ETH
ETH_pool = 11.9975
FUN_pool = 5001.15/11.9975 = 416.85
Buyer receives: 454.65 - 416.85 = 37.8

Executed price = 37.8 FUN/ETH

Price Slippage

Price slippage refers to the difference between the expected price before a transaction is executed and the actual price at which it is executed.

Bancor Support

Easiest for me to think of spot price and actual price.

A trade that is large relative to the size of the total size of the liquidity pool will cause price slippage.

Same example as above: 
ETH_pool * FUN_pool = invariant
10 * 500 = 5000

Spot price for ETH -> FUN = 500/10 = 50

1ETH Purchase: Executed price = 45.35 FUN/ETH

10ETH Purchase: Executed price = 24.969 FUN/ETH

Fee = 10 ETH / 400 = 0.025 ETH (0.25% fee)

ETH_pool = 10 + 10 - 0.025 = 19.975

FUN_pool = 5000/19.975 = 250.31

Buyer receives: 500 - 250.31 = 249.69 FUN

Fee is added back to pool:

ETH_pool = 19.975 + 0.025 = 20

FUN_pool = 250.31

New invariant = 20 * 250.31 = 5006.2

Executed price = 24.969 FUN/ETH

Final Thought

I found this comment from Vitalik on this EthResearch post interesting:

The point is not for this kind of exchange to be the only exchange; the point is for it to be one type among many. It offers the benefits of executing a complete trade in one transaction, and extreme user-friendliness even to smart contracts, which are very real benefits and will at least sometimes exceed the costs of slippage to some users. I am ok with just accepting that this kind of approach will not be acceptable to whales who want to liquidate large amounts of things; that’s not the target market.

(A lot of this stuff came from the Uniswap White paper. Photo by James Lee on Unsplash)

Migrating SAI to DAI

I was using Dharma.io to earn interest on my SAI (formerly DAI). I found Dharma really nice to use and originally offered a good interest rate. Recently the rate had become less competitive and I was getting concerned (maybe unneccesarily?) about the lack of comms about migrating the SAI to DAI so I decided to take matters into my own hands especially now that the DAI Savings Rate has kicked in.

When I swapped I was getting 3.22% for SAI on Dharma.io. The DAI savings rate is 4% and looks like it might get raised to 6% soon so definitely worth the swap.

  1. Visit https://migrate.makerdao.com/
  2. Unlock SAI. This calls the approve function for the token. (Nice explanation here.)
  3. This had a gas cost of 0.002637ETH, $0.35.
  4. That was it – once I checked my account I could see DAI.
  5. Not to earn some interest.
  6. Click earn savings. This navigates to https://oasis.app/save.
  7. Deploy Proxy – Setting up your proxy will bundle multiple transactions into one, saving transaction time and gas costs. This only has to be done once.
  8. Gas cost: 0.007344ETH, $0.97
  9. Now wait for 10 confirmations.
  10. Approve Oasis for DAI.
  11. 0.00055ETH, $0.07
  12. Finally deposit the DAI.
  13. 0.002713ETH, $0.36

Total cost $1.75. And now it’s quite satisfying to watch my depost earn interest in real time!

(Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash)