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Offer Safety

Zoe v0.24.0. Last updated August 25, 2022.

Definition: Offer safety means that the user is guaranteed to either get what they wanted or get back a full refund of what they offered.

For Zoe to enforce offer safety, the user must give Zoe a proposal. This is a description of both what they want and what they are offering, and when and how the user can exit the contract. Zoe uses this last to enforce payout liveness. The exit specification is optional, and defaults to OnDemand, meaning a user can exit the contract instance at their discretion.

For example, I want to buy an event ticket for which I offer $100. In Zoe, my proposal is:

  give: { Price: dollars100 },
  want: { Asset: ticket1 },

Asset and Price are the keywords of a contract. Keywords let contract users easily and consistently refer to parts of a proposal, payments escrowed with Zoe, and payouts received from Zoe.

For example, the user escrows assets with Zoe by submitting payments using keywords. In this example, I would send Zoe a $100 payment to escrow my offer, as Zoe immediately escrows the give:-specified payment.

After the user escrows, they get a promise for a payout from Zoe. This is the payout that offer safety is enforced over. The payout must be either what the user wanted (an event ticket in the above example) or a full refund of what they escrowed ($100 in this example).

We can enforce offer safety because Zoe controls the payout. In the example, if I try to buy my event ticket using a smart contract on Zoe, the contract can tell Zoe to update its bookkeeping to say I've bought a ticket. But, Zoe only actually updates its records and gives me an event ticket payout if that update is offer-safe and conserves total supply.

The offer safety enforcement code is in offerSafety.js. Tests, including edge cases, are in test-offerSafety.js.

Implementation Questions

Under offer safety, can I get a full refund and what I wanted?

Yes, you can get a full refund and what you wanted. Offer safety guarantees at least one is true. Both could also be true.

What if there are no rules under give?

If there are no rules or if give is omitted, then you get a full refund of what you put in, fulfilling offer safety. It's just the case that you put in nothing, so you get back nothing. However, you might also get what you wanted, depending on whether your offer of nothing for it is accepted.

What if there are no rules under want

If there are no rules or want is omitted, then you get what you wanted, in this case nothing. This fulfills offer safety.