What is a Gasless Swap and How Is It Possible? (Zero Fee Trading?!)

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By Kate
Estimated reading: 6mins
What is a gasless swap

Running out of gas while exchanging digital assets is quite a painful question for many traders who rely on DeFi solutions. Some blockchains offer a gasless swap to bypass this problem.

Such an approach implies covering the fees with the portion of the token that you receive when you make an exchange. In addition, it often enables traders to significantly reduce those fees in comparison with other methods.

Read on to find out how the gasless swap works, which platforms support this option, and how to make use of it from a practical point of view.

What is a Gasless Swap?

Applied to the blockchain, the term “gasless swap” refers to a method of executing transactions without having to directly pay gas fees in the native cryptocurrency of the given network.

The point is, in order to send funds, users have to pay gas to miners and validators who process and validate transactions. In the case of the Ethereum network and any ERC20 tokens, the gas fee is paid in ETH. 

Okay, but why do the fees get so high? Well, there are a few reasons for that:

  1. Ethereum architecture. The network has switched to the Proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, but this has only resolved the problem of excessive electricity consumption. The implementation of sharding is expected to reduce the fees, but there is still no exact eta when it’s going to happen.
  2. Complex smart contracts. Oftentimes, smart contracts in DeFi require multiple transactions to complete the operation. On each of these operations, users have to pay network fees. As a result, the final sum may get really high.
YCharts: Ethereum network fees hover around 1 USD per transaction, yet sometimes they spike up to almost $4.

Centralized exchanges cover these fees on behalf of their users and charge them much more humble maker and taker fees instead. 

Yet, the users of DEXes are devoid of this option as they rely on smart contracts or switch funds directly without any centralized intermediate. In addition, traders always have to stay alert and make sure that they have sufficient balances in their wallets to cover these fees.

This is exactly the problem that the gasless swap technique addresses. It enables users to pay these fees using another asset or via outsourcing this aspect to some third-party service. Thus, users no longer have to keep the native crypto at hand to make a transaction which makes their trading experience much smoother.

How Do Gasless Swaps Work?

There are a few different mechanisms that make gasless swaps possible. We are going to review some of the most popular options below.

1. Relayers or sponsors.

This approach implies outsourcing transaction fees to some third-party relayers who act as intermediaries between users and the blockchain network.

What these relayers do is cover the gas fees on behalf of users and take a small fee from the output token that is not native to these networks.

Some examples of projects that offer such a solution include Symbiosis, Biconomy, and Kromatika.

2. Flashbots and MEV Solutions

Flashbots is an RnD company that focuses on improving the efficiency of the Maximum Extractable Value (MEV) market.

There are some projects that rely on its open-source code specifically to enable gasless swaps on Ethereum. 

For example, Aurox bundles transactions off-chain and directly submits them to miners through a private Flashbot. It sponsors this transaction on behalf of users and extracts the value of the fee from the final sum that users get to their wallets.

Another example of a gasless swap feature with MEV protection is available on a DeFi platform 1inch. Its Fusion upgrade released in December 2022 makes trading on the platform much more cost-efficient by totally removing transaction fees.

3. Layer 2 solutions

Finally, users can rely on layer 2 solutions for Ethereum. Although they act in a different way and do not enable totally gasless swaps, they are still quite efficient when it comes to reducing gas fees. 

Layer 2 implies processing a bundle of transactions off-chain with near-to-zero fees and submitting the final sum on-chain in a single transaction. Thus, users have to pay a network fee only once at the final stage.

Which Blockchains Have Gasless Swaps?

Ethereum is not the only platform that struggles with high transaction fees. 

Other networks launched as Ethereum alternatives have come to this stage, too, as the number of their user base has grown immensely over the past years.

Let’s see what solutions they have come up with.

Polygon Gasless Swaps

Just like any other blockchain, Polygon requires paying gas to confirm any transaction. To facilitate the process for those who don’t have any MATIC at hand, Polygon has released a “Swap for gas” feature.

With its help, it’s possible to swap your current ETH for gas on the Polygon network with just a few clicks of a mouse. At the same time, the transaction doesn’t require paying any gas at all.

Alternatively, you may try a third-party solution called Zeroswap. It acts as a relayer and enables gasless swaps on a number of different blockchains including Polygon.

Polygon enables its users to swap ETH for gas to cover transaction fees 
BSC Gasless Swaps

Launched in parallel with Binance Chain, BSC features the same high throughput indices. At the same time, it is compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine which opens up much broader possibilities for dApp developers.

In general, the fees on BSC are quite moderate. Yet, sometimes they experience high spikes as well.

The project itself doesn’t offer any solution for gasless swaps so far. But the aforementioned Zeroswap and Biconomy do the job just fine.

Ycharts: the fees on Binance Smart Chain exceeded $1 per transaction at their peak

How To Perform a Gasless Swap

CoWSwap is one of the few decentralized exchanges that have already implemented gasless swaps into their workflow. We’ve reviewed in detail how it works in one of the previous articles.

Let’s see how CowSwap implements the gasless swap in practice. The process is quite simple:

  1. Open the Swap page on CowSwap exchange.
  2. Connect your wallet. The service supports not only web wallets such as Metamask and Coinbase. You may also connect your hardware wallet such as KeyStone or Ledger for higher security.
  3. Select the assets you want to swap and put in the amount. The app will automatically deduct the fees from the final sum that you will get and display the numbers accordingly.
  4. Finalize the transaction by signing it with your private keys.
Cowswap fees
With CowSwap, you don’t have to worry that you won’t have enough funds to cover the fees as they are deducted from the final sum automatically

Will Gasless Swaps Come To PulseChain?

Unfortunately, PulseChain doesn’t support gasless swaps at the time of writing. 

Yet, there are pretty high chances that the project team will get to implementing this technology - provided that there will be obvious demand from end-users and that such an innovation will be technically possible.

Gasless swaps represent quite a nice alternative to traditional methods of swapping cryptocurrencies. Therefore, neglecting end-user requests would be a step backward for any project.

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Disclaimer:Please note that nothing on this website constitutes financial advice. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided on this website is accurate, individuals must not rely on this information to make a financial or investment decision. Before making any decision, we strongly recommend you consult a qualified professional who should take into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation and individual needs.

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Kate is a blockchain specialist, enthusiast, and adopter, who loves writing about complex technologies and explaining them in simple words. Kate features regularly for Liquid Loans, plus Cointelegraph, Nomics, Cryptopay, ByBit and more.

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