Spendless Explainer

Posted January 27, 2021 by Victor

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How it works

Your money has great power on the Ethereum network - it can be put to work to automatically do things you want - like give to charity or grow your savings much faster than with a traditional bank - without having to spend anything.

Spendless curates experiences from high quality smart contracts and protocols built on Ethereum to give users the ability to do more with their money. Spendless provides a gateway to decentralized finance (DeFi) transactions.

What is DeFi?

DeFi consists of smart contracts that are open to anyone with an Ethereum wallet to access financial products. You can think of DeFi as a series of "money Legos" that interlock with one another to create new structures. These "money Legos" can be combined to form products for trading (Uniswap), borrowing (MakerDAO), lending (Aave, Cream), insurance, liquidity mining and yield farming, to name just a few. There are no custodians or middle-men in DeFi, and new products can integrate existing DeFi products without needing anyone's permission. This means users have access to powerful new financial tools but also have the responsibility to investigate any protocol before transacting with it. Here's a brief video explainer from Andreas Antonopolous:

Spendless Gateway

We built Spendless to be the easiest way to access DeFi protocols to wake up your money and put it to good use. We curate Spendless products from the massive universe of DeFi protocols to provide a user experience that is friendly, clear and sustainable. We avoid untested contracts, yield incentives that quickly dry up, and protocols that put user funds at economic risk.

Earn & Give

earn and give

Earn & Give allows you to wake up your money, start earning interest on it and seamlessly redirect that interest to make a worthy impact, such as by planting trees, offsetting carbon from air travel or archiving the internet. You simply choose a campaign that you want to support, deposit DAI by submitting an Ethereum transaction and immediately begin earning and redirecting interest on your deposit to the campaign. Then you can track the impact of your donated interest in real-time! You retain control over your principal DAI and can withdraw at any time by submitting a transaction.

The money Legos powering Earn & Give are:

  • A stablecoin (DAI)
  • A lending platform with dynamically generated interest (Compound)
  • A protocol for redirecting interest to another address while keeping control over the principal amount (rDAI)

None of these money Legos charge additional fees.

Earn & Save

earn and save

Earn & Save allows you to wake up your money and deposit it into an automated pool that seeks out the best yield strategies to generate earnings. The product uses Yearn's Vault smart contracts, which are:

Capital pools that automatically generate yield based on opportunities present in the market. Vaults benefit users by socializing gas costs, automating the yield generation and rebalancing process, and automatically shifting capital as opportunities arise. End users also do not need to have a proficient knowledge of the underlying protocols involved or DeFi, thus the Vaults represent a passive-investing strategy.

The money Legos powering Earn & Give are:

  • A stablecoin (DAI)
  • A deposit pool that generates yield from trading fees and rewards tokens that are sold for DAI (Yearn DAI Vault)
  • The protocol powering the Vault strategy (Curve) Yearn Vaults charge the following fees at withdrawal:
  • 0.5% withdrawal fee (from amount withdrawn)
  • 5% fee on additional yield (similar to a performance fee taking from profits)

Costs

Spendless does not charge any fees, but in order to make DeFi transactions, all users must pay an amount of "gas" to get the transaction included in the Ethereum blockchain. The gas fee is dependent on how complicated the transaction is and how congested the Ethereum network currently is. During times of high congestion, the gas fee can be 10 times higher (or more!) than at low congestion periods, so if you can wait for lower congestion, you'll pay less in fees. It doesn't matter how much you are sending - the gas fee for moving $10 in a DeFi transaction will be the same as moving $1,000, so you can save money by making a few large transactions instead of making lots of small transactions.

Recommendations

  • Wait for low congestion periods to submit your transaction - weekends are typically better than weekdays
  • Make infrequent large transactions and let your assets earn over time rather than make frequent small deposits and withdrawals

Impact Estimator

Spendless helps you see the bigger picture when you deposit into one of our products through our impact estimator checkout tool. This planning tool accounts for the product's current yield, the expected gas fees from the necessary transactions and any additional fees that are charged by one of the money Legos comprising the product, and gives you an estimate of the date when the interest earned will outweigh the fees incurred.
You can find the impact estimator on the deposit page for any Spendless product.

Risks

risks

Spendless is a curated user experience - it does not build or maintain any smart contracts or protocols but acts as a gateway for users. DeFi is a young industry and there are several categories of risk that users should be aware of before interacting with the Spendless smart contract gateway.

Important Notice

We have no power to recover, refund or return funds to users. We don't ever have control over your funds and have no power to affect the smart contracts on your behalf. Do not deposit more money than you can afford to lose.

Earn & Give risks

Deposited funds are exposed to the risk of smart contract vulnerabilities in the rDAI, Compound and DAI smart contracts. Each of these contracts has been audited, though audits are not guarantees of safety. Each smart contract is also subject to governance risks. Finally, if the DAI utilization rate in Compound nears 100%, users may not be able to withdraw and redeem their DAI until more DAI frees up.

Earn & Save risks

Spendless currently utilizes the V1 yDAI Vault, which has not undergone a formal published audit, although aspects of the code have been audited. Deposited funds are exposed to the risk of smart contract vulnerabilities in the Yearn contracts or in the underlying contracts that are utilized in the investment strategy. Additionally, the failure to maintain the USD peg of any one of the stablecoins utilized by the current yDAI Vault investment strategy (DAI, USDT, USDC and TUSD) could result in a total loss of funds even without a smart contract vulnerability. You can learn more about the Yearn Vaults here.

Questions?

Ask in our Discord server.