Introducing the Superform Protocol

Introduction

Today, we introduce the first version of the Superform Protocol. Superform is the universal yield marketplace. It is the result of two years of research and building to solve some of the biggest problems in DeFi.

Whether you're a protocol attempting to distribute your vaults or a humble farmer looking for the best on-chain yields, the current experience is complicated and time-consuming.

  • For protocols, the journey beyond deploying a smart contract can be overwhelming: crafting a frontend, engaging users, and keeping everything alive, all while continuing to innovate.

  • For users, the barriers of entry imposed by liquidity fragmentation, complexity, and lack of sophisticated execution tools has even the biggest degens among us thinking twice.

Superform solves this. The protocol makes yield discovery, execution, and distribution across chains a seamless experience. Leading up to our launch we will continue to expound on the other components of Superform that make this all possible.

In this post, we will dive into the Superform Protocol. A suite of non-upgradeable, non-custodial smart contracts that act as a central repository for yield and a router for users.

What does Superform enable?

At its core, Superform enables two novel experiences:

  1. Developers: Deploy your vault once. Permissionlessly list it on Superform. Access users on all chains.

  2. Yield Seekers: Deposit into any vault, on any chain, from any chain, using any token.

Superform Protocol Overview
Superform Protocol Overview

How did we build it?

The engineering that enables Superform at scale is centered around three goals:

  1. Modularity: It must be possible to quickly and efficiently scale to new domains and infrastructure solutions.

  2. Abstraction: Chains, bridges, apps: Users shouldn’t have to deal with complexity - they should just access yield

  3. Standardization: Coalescing around industry standards improves composability and security.

Let's dig into the key components of the Superform Protocol.

Domain Abstraction

For protocols, it isn't straightforward which domain to deploy on. By deploying on a popular L1, protocols gain access to a larger community but at an increased cost per transaction. By deploying on an L2, costs decrease, but attracting users can be challenging.

Users are in a similar predicament. They can't continue to manage their funds on an L1 when costs are prohibitive and can't migrate to an L2 if protocols don't deploy there. Defecting to an L2 is sub-optimal for a protocol if users don't defect with it. Other protocols that stayed on L1 benefit from decreased competition for on-chain capital. The payout for users and protocols would increase if everyone defected to cheap L2s but the market can’t break equilibrium. This leads to a suboptimal status quo where protocols and users stay on expensive L1s. The current landscape offers multiple rollups and chains, but the transition has yet to actualize.

Superform breaks that status quo by abstracting away the domain. This makes it significantly less consequential where vaults are deployed and where users keep their tokens. Protocols can safely deploy on an L2 without worrying about losing users, and users can finally feel confident about embracing rollups.

Superform does not have a 'home chain.' It can be deployed on any EVM chain given that proper Arbitrary Message Bridge (AMB) support, sufficient bridge liquidity, and ERC-4626 vault opportunities are present. Superform Labs will initially deploy the protocol on Ethereum, Base, Arbitrum, Optimism, Polygon PoS, BNB Smart Chain, Avalanche C-Chain, and Fantom. Superform can expand to other domains in the future.

Improvements to the Cross-Chain Experience

To provide a streamlined cross-chain experience, Superform leverages liquidity infrastructure provided by Li.Fi and Socket, and data infrastructure provided by LayerZero, Wormhole, and Hyperlane. The experience is tailored for the Superform Protocol in three ways:

  1. Cross-chain intents: All transactions require only a single payment on the source chain, and Superform infrastructure processes the subsequent actions on destination chains.

  2. Multi-AMB architecture: Superform mandates that all cross-chain messages be sent across multiple AMBs to ensure valid payloads are delivered while limiting the additional cost to the user by splitting messages into payloads and proofs. This helps prevent a single corrupt AMB from exploiting the Superform Protocol.

  3. Optimized route generation and security: Superform has an additional layer of call data validation to ensure all data initially executed on the source chain and generated on the destination chain matches the user's request. The Superform contracts will only execute the data if it decodes properly.

Cross-chain Intents: Enabling Seamless Execution

A user on Superform could discover two attractive yield opportunities: Yearn yvDAI on Optimism and Morpho wstETH on Ethereum. They want to fund their deposit from Arbitrum using USDC. The protocol then constructs and executes their intent: "100 USDC on Arbitrum to deposit 50 DAI into Yearn yDAI on Optimism with max 0.05% slippage and .25 stETH into Morpho wstETH on Ethereum with max 0.3% slippage."

When calling SuperformRouter, these steps are executed:

  1. After validating the bridge transaction, tokens are sent through Socket or LiFi.

  2. A message is sent using a combination of LayerZero, Hyperlane, or Wormhole.

  3. The remaining payment is sent to PayMaster, which serves as a gas tank for the user to fulfill cross-chain actions.

Superform's network of keepers fulfills this intent once the payload has been received on the destination chain. This means users only need to sign one transaction regardless of how many chains or vaults they are interfacing with. If the user were ever to receive less than their intended amount of the token on the destination chain, keepers mark the deposit as failed and return the amount that can be claimed. Rigorous safeguards have been put in place to ensure the integrity of the keeper system. On-chain, keepers can only execute to and from tokens using parameters specified in the original payload the user submitted.

Bridge Validator Overview
Bridge Validator Overview

Multi-AMB Architecture: Bolstering Cross-Chain Security

The debate over the best Arbitrary Message Bridge (AMB) for security, flexibility, and alignment is ongoing. They all have tradeoffs and users will value certain features of each option. Superform, being infrastructure-agnostic, utilizes multiple AMBs to enhance security. At launch, Superform supports LayerZero, Hyperlane, and Wormhole.

Messages are validated through a primary AMB sending the full payload and at least one other AMB providing a proof via CoreStateRegistry. The proof, sent in parallel with the payload, is ~1/10 the size of the message, improving security with minimal cost increase. Superform's modular design allows for future AMB additions and adjustable quorum for proof requirements, enhancing cross-domain support in a diversifying blockchain landscape.

An example setup includes Wormhole as the primary AMB, with LayerZero and Hyperlane providing proofs. The user can choose to specify the primary AMB or default to the fastest or cheapest option.
An example setup includes Wormhole as the primary AMB, with LayerZero and Hyperlane providing proofs. The user can choose to specify the primary AMB or default to the fastest or cheapest option.

Improvements to the Yield Experience

Today, yield standardization is progressing but hasn't been fully taken advantage of, and most yield remains non-composable across chains. Superform improves the experience in a few key ways:

  1. Manage your yield with SuperPositions: When depositing into a vault, the vault shares will be minted and locked in the Superform contract on the vault's chain. Back on the source chain, the depositor will be minted SuperPositions, a 1:1 representation of the vault shares.

  2. Support diverse yield with adapters: Superform will support ERC-4626 yield opportunities at launch. The DeFi community can write custom adapters ('Forms') to enable more yield types to be accessible on Superform.

Managing your Yield: SuperPositions Offer Ultimate Flexibility

SuperPositions are ERC-1155 tokenized representations of yield positions minted through Superform. A SuperPosition can represent a vault on any chain. For example, depositing into a vault on Arbitrum from Optimism will result in a SuperPosition minted on Optimism. SuperPositions make yield positions cross-chain, allowing users to manage their yield from any chain.

However, we know that not everyone will want to hold SuperPositions. You can mint yield your way:

  • Mint an ERC-1155 SuperPosition to the chain you deposited from (default), allowing you to use Superform to its fullest extent.¬†Ideal for UX.

  • Retain¬†the original ERC-4626 vault share on the destination chain, allowing you to use the ERC-4626 at your discretion.¬†Ideal for same-chain composability.

  • Transmute¬†an ERC-1155 SuperPosition to an ERC-20 SuperPosition for composability.¬†Ideal for cross-chain composability.

SuperPosition NFT
SuperPosition NFT

Yield Support: Adding Forms

Previously, the lack of vault standardization hindered building a yield marketplace like Superform, requiring custom implementations for each protocol. The ERC-4626 Tokenized Vault Standard, first introduced nearly two years ago, has transformed the vault landscape. Now, a substantial portion of DeFi TVL is accessible through ERC-4626 vaults: $2.4bln in native implementations and ~$10bln through adapters, with more on the way.

Superform’s base ERC4626Form implementation can't support all yield. For example, implementations such as time-locked or permissioned vaults need custom adapters. This is why Superform has the concept of Forms. Forms serve as adapters to support any conceivable type of yield.

When a vault gets listed on Superform, it is combined with a Form to create a Superform via SuperformFactory. Superforms serve as the contract that Superform Core interacts with to make deposits or withdrawals. At launch, Superform will support the base ERC-4626 vaults via ERC4626Form. Additionally, two more Form types, one for time-locked vaults and the other for permissioned vaults, are in development. We encourage the community to develop new Forms for increased yield support. Forms aim to unlock a broad swath of yield rather than one-off protocols. For example, EIP-7450: Asynchronous ERC-4626 Tokenized Vaults and EIP 7535: Native Asset Tokenized Vault are perfect candidates for building Forms around.

Listing vaults on Superform is as simple as calling list(vaultAddress, formImplementationId) on any chain. This makes the vault instantly accessible to all Superform users across chains.

Security

The Superform Protocol is currently undergoing a security review process. Superform Labs has worked with two independent auditors and a gas auditor. The next step in Superform's security journey launches with a Cantina security competition next Monday, November 27th. The competition will be live from November 27th until December 11thand distribute $140,000 of prize money among valid bug reports.

Join the Superform discord to stay up to date: https://discord.gg/superform

Dive Deeper

  • Our developer docs are now live! Check them out at¬†docs.superform.xyz.

  • For an overview of Superform, read our¬†intro post.

  • We'll also be hosting a Discord Seminar in the¬†Cantina¬†Discord on¬†Monday, November 27th at 10am EST to answer all your questions while you hack away.

Superform App Waitlist

Wen launch? Soon. If you tried out the Superform Beta last January or are a DegenScore Beacon Holder, you will have access on day one. All other signups will be let off the waitlist on a rolling first come, first serve basis.

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