Spendless Explainer

Posted March 11, 2021 by Victor


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 uses lending and interest protocols built on Ethereum to give users the ability to earn and automatically re-direct interest to the causes they support while keeping control over their money. Spendless is a user gateway to decentralized finance (DeFi).

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 (Compound, Aave), 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 Campaigns

We built Spendless to be the easiest way to access DeFi protocols to wake up your money and put it to good use supporting worthwhile causes. It's giving without spending.

earn and give

Our campaigns allow you to automatically generate interest and redirect it to the project they choose while keeping control of their funds. 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.

Campaigns allow you to wake up your money, start earning interest on it and seamlessly redirect that interest to make a worthy impact. We're live with four Spendless Campaigns that allow you to:

  • Plant trees in sub-Saharan Africa with Trees for the Future (https://trees.org)
  • Offset carbon emissions from air travel with Offetra (https://offsetra.org)
  • Archive the internet with Internet Archive (https://archive.org)
  • Support open source software and public goods with the Gitcoin Grants Matching Pool Fund (https://gitcoin.co)

    Under the hood, the money Legos powering Spendless Campaigns 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)

You have to pay the gas fees to deposit into a Spendless Campaign, but no additional fees are charged by Spendless or any of the underlying money Legos. If gas prices are high, you can wait for them to fall to deposit. It also makes sense to avoid making small, frequent transactions to minimize gas costs.

Impact Estimator

When you deposit, Spendless helps you see the bigger picture through our impact estimator checkout tool.


This planning tool accounts for the current interest rate your money can earn, the expected gas fees from the necessary transactions and gives you an estimate of the impact your money will generate in one year.



Spendless is a front end user experience - it does not build or maintain any of the smart contracts or protocols connected to our site. 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.

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.

Deposited funds are exposed to the risk of smart contract vulnerabilities in the rDAI, Compound and DAI smart contracts. Each of these smart 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.


Ask in our Discord server.