Reserve Protocol aims to establish a robust and stable asset-backed currency platform. However, this necessitates the implementation of an additional layer of smart contracts, introducing an extra level of smart contract risk.
The Reserve Protocol team is aware of these tradeoffs and has prioritized security by undergoing multiple audits conducted by the world's leading security firms.
Smart contract security audits
|Trails of Bits
In addition to undergoing numerous audits, the Reserve Protocol team would like to motivate the community to undertake their own audits and will reward individuals who responsibly disclose any vulnerabilities they find.
Bug bounty of $5,000,000
Reserve Protocol has partnered with Immunefi for establishing a bug bounty program. See additional details of the program, or report any findings here:
Reserve protocol risks
This section is dedicated to explaining risks associated with using the Reserve Protocol. Whenever you interact with the Reserve Protocol, you as the user assume the risk of doing so. We believe that making best efforts to comprehensively outline risks creates accountability and empowers users. Any time you are uncertain about a particular risk, we invite you to ask on Discord.
We encourage all users to familiarize themselves with these risks and continually stay updated about changes that may affect the protocol.
Reserve protocol risks - Smart contracts
The Reserve Protocol is built using smart contracts. If there were undiscovered bugs or vulnerabilities in these contracts, they could be exploited leading to loss of user funds. Although the protocol's contracts have undergone 6 (soon to be 7) security audits, no audit can guarantee complete security.
Smart contract-related risks can manifest in a variety of ways. A number of pertinent examples and categories are detailed below.
Reserve uses oracles to fetch real-time price data. If these oracles fail or deliver incorrect information, or if the usage of oracles on Reserve is otherwise incorrect, it could impact the protocol's ability to maintain accurate accounting and lead to other operational disruptions. For example, if Chainlink misreports the price of USDC, an RToken may consider a collateral asset to have defaulted and attempt to swap to emergency collateral, potentially at a loss.
Sandwich attacks and MEV
MEV searchers are constantly scanning the Ethereum blockchain to look for profitable opportunities to extract value. When interacting with AMMs (such as Curve Finance for trading RTokens), users should exercise caution and consider the slippage, which dictates the degree to which searchers can extract from users’ transactions. There are other ways for users to independently seek MEV protection, such as through the Flashbots RPC.
The Reserve Protocol team has deployed a suggested governance system for RTokens (Governor Alexios), which enables fully onchain governance to RTokens. The scope of the powers are broad, so it is possible for governance attacks to happen. These potential attacks could involve an attacker accumulating enough governance power to enact a malicious upgrade allowing them to steal funds.
This type of attack is mitigated through the existence of special roles; however, these special roles must be wielded effectively and benevolently in order to offer meaningful protection. When using an RToken, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with who holds each of these special roles, which you can do on the Details + Roles page and the Governance page on Reserve Register (eUSD example: Details + Roles, Governance).
Collateral asset risks
It is possible for stablecoin (and other) issuers to impose restrictions on transferability, through blacklists. Although commonly intended to target sanctioned individuals, it is possible for these powers to extend to DeFi protocols. Additionally, stablecoin issuers are relied on for maintaining healthy reserves of real world assets. The strategies used to maintain these reserves may sometimes fail, or the custodians themselves may not always act in good faith. The best way we are aware of to familiarize yourself with the risks for any given underlying stablecoin is to review the report on that asset published on Bluechip, if they cover that asset.
RTokens inherit the weighted price of all of their backing collateral assets. Where one or more underlying assets deviate in price (even where they are meant to be pegged), the aggregate price of the RToken will be affected. Fluctuations in RToken price should be anticipated where volatile collateral is present.
A slightly distinct price consideration involves that of the RSR overcollateralizing RTokens. Based on the amount of RSR that must be sold to re-collateralize a default, significant market movements may neutralize the effectiveness of the overcollateralization stemming from a weaker mark to market price.
Reserve Protocol RTokens leverage assets from external protocols, like Compound, Aave, Flux, and many more. Users therefore assume all of the risks of these underlying protocols (smart contract, governance, or otherwise) when holding RTokens.
Reserve protocol risks - Interfaces
Front-end operator risks
The Reserve Protocol can be interacted with directly through its smart contracts, or through third party-created user interfaces. Reserve Register, for example, is run by a third party company, and has not yet undergone a technical audit. Users must always be vigilant for malicious or compromised frontends, such as in Badger’s case. Even in normal operation, bugs in front-end code may be responsible for requesting erroneous transactions which could result in user losses.
What are RTokens?
RToken is the generic name for a stablecoin that gets created on top of the Reserve Protocol. RTokens are fully asset-backed by any combination of ERC-20 tokens and can be protected against collateral default by Reserve Rights (RSR) staking. Each RToken is governed separately.
Anyone can create an RToken
In a similar way as how anyone can create a new trading pair on Uniswap, anyone can permissionlessly create a new Reserve stablecoin (RToken) by interacting with Reserve Protocol’s smart contracts. The protocol applies a system of factory smart contracts that allows anyone to deploy their own smart contract instance.
Creating an RToken can be done either by interacting directly with the Reserve Protocol’s smart contracts or any user interface that gets built on top of it. The first user interface for these smart contracts will be released by ABC Labs the company that's leading protocol development. Besides the creation of RTokens, this user interface will also support exploring usage and stats related to RTokens, RToken minting & redeeming, and RSR staking.
Non-compatible ERC20 assets
The following types of ERC20s are not supported to be used directly in an RToken system. These tokens should be be wrapped into a compatible ERC20 token to be used within the protocol. A concrete example is the use of Static ATokens for Aave V2.
- Rebasing Tokens that return yields by increasing the balances of users
- Tokens that take a "fee" on transfer
- Tokens that do not expose the decimals() in their interface. Decimals should always be between 1 and 18.
- ERC777 tokens which could allow reentrancy attacks
- Tokens with multiple entry points (multiple addresses)
- Tokens with multiple entry points (multiple addresses)
- Tokens that do not adhere to the ERC20 standard in general
Advanced RToken parameters
When deploying an RToken, the deployer has the ability to configure many different advanced parameters. The following list goes into detail about what these parameters do and some of the factors the deployer should keep in mind to set them.
As many of these parameters concern the Protocol Operations, we advise reading through that section of the documentation first—as it will give the deployer the necessary context to fully understand all parameters.
The trading delay defines how many seconds should pass after the basket has been changed before a trade can be opened.
A collateral asset can instantly default if one of the invariants of the underlying DeFi protocol breaks. If that would happen, and we would not apply a trading delay, the protocol would react instantly by opening an auction. This would give only auctionLength seconds for people to bid on the auction, making it very possible for the protocol to lose value due to slippage.
The trading delay parameter may only be needed in the early days - before we get to a point where there is a robust market of MEV searchers. We expect that this parameter can be set to zero later on (once a robust market of MEV searchers is established).
The Reserve Protocol includes a generic trading system which can be integrated with any type of trading mechanism, but will only have an implementation for Gnosis EasyAuctions at-launch.
The auction length determines how long auctions stay open for. The situations to keep in mind when determining this value are:
- If it is set too low, back-to-back auctions may not give arbitrageurs enough time to complete arbitrage loops that involve centralized exchanges. We don’t want capital-constrained traders to have to sit out every-other auction.
- If it is set too high, fewer auctions will fill and the protocol will take more time holding the asset being sold. This is because the price can swing more than maximum trade slippage in the unfavorable direction.
Backing buffer (%)
As collateral tokens appreciate, RTokens can be minted by the protocol whenever it gathers the correct ratios of all collateral tokens. This is the most efficient form of revenue capture, because it requires minimal trading of the excess collateral (and thus, a minimal spend on gas fees and trading slippage).
When the protocol is able to gather all the required parts of an RToken, these parts (collateral tokens) get sent to the RevenueTrader contract, where it performs an internal mint to create more RTokens. These new RTokens are then used as yield for both RToken holders and RSR stakers.
The backing buffer parameter is a percentage value that describes how much additional collateral tokens the protocol should hold on to before sending collateral tokens to the RevenueTraders. If this were set to “0”, then it’s possible (though unlikely) that collateral could “take turns” appreciating, causing the protocol to forward individual collateral tokens to the RevenueTraders and never assemble it into new RTokens.
Max trade slippage (%)
The maximum trade slippage is a percentage value that describes the maximum deviation from oracle prices that any trade that the protocol performs can clear at. Oracle prices have ranges of their own; the maximum trade slippage permits additional price movement beyond the worst-case oracle price.
Setting this percentage too high could cause the protocol to take high losses if auctions are illiquid.
Minimum trade volume
The minimum trade volume represents the smallest amount of value that is worth executing a trade for.
Setting this too high will result in auctions happening infrequently or the RToken taking a haircut when it cannot be sure it has enough staked RSR to succeed in rebalancing at par.
Setting this too low may allow griefers to delay important auctions. The variable should be set such that donations of size minTradeVolume would be worth delaying trading auctionLength seconds.
We expect auction bidders to pass-through any gas fees they pay during trading to the protocol. They are under competition, so those that do not will find themselves with less capital over time relative to those that do.
In order for the protocol not to take losses it’s important it knows that bidders will bid in the auction near market prices, which requires that gas prices are not significant relative to the volume of the auction.
Note: Every collateral in the basket should be a large enough portion of the basket that is worth trading at the configured minTradeVolume, even when we are only looking at 5% or 10% of its balance.
RToken max trade volume
This represents the maximum sized trade for any trade involving RToken, in terms of value.
It is important to remark that in addition to the RToken, each collateral plugin will also have its own max trade volume defined.
RToken supply throttles
In order to restrict the system to organic patterns of behavior, we maintain two supply throttles, one for net issuance and one for net redemption.
When a supply change occurs, a check is performed to ensure this does not move the supply more than an acceptable range over a period; a period is fixed to be an hour.
The throttling mechanism works as a battery, where, after a large issuance/redemption, the limit recharges linearly to the defined maximum at a defined speed of recharge.
Limits can be defined (for issuance and redemption) in rToken amounts and/or as a percentage of the RToken supply.
Issuance throttle amount
A quantity of RToken that serves as a lower-bound for how much net issuance to allow per hour. This quantity is defined in RToken amounts.
Must be at least 1 whole RToken. Can be set to a very high numer (e.g. 1e48) to effectively disable the issuance throttle.
Issuance throttle rate (%)
A fraction of the RToken supply that indicates how much net issuance to allow per hour.
Can even be set to 0, to solely rely on throttle amount.
Redemption throttle amount
A quantity of RToken that serves as a lower-bound for how much net redemption to allow per hour.
Defined in RToken amounts.
Must be at least 1 whole RToken. Can be set to a very high numer (e.g. 1e48) to effectively disable the redemption throttle.
Redemption throttle rate (%)
A fraction of the RToken supply that indicates how much net redemption to allow per hour.
Can be 0 to solely rely on the throttle amount.
Long freeze duration(s)
The number of seconds a long freeze lasts.
Long freezes can be disabled by removing all addresses associated to the role.
The unstaking delay is the number of seconds that all RSR unstakings must be delayed in order to account for stakers trying to frontrun defaults.
In the case of a collateral token default, RSR holders are not given a choice as to whether their RSR is used to cover the default, since selfish anonymous actors would often choose not to follow through. So, there must be a delay when withdrawing RSR from the staking contract.
In practice, whenever an RSR staker chooses to withdraw their RSR, they must submit a transaction, wait X amount of time, and then submit another transaction to complete the withdrawal. During the waiting period, their RSR continues to be subject to forfeiture in the case of a collateral token default, but stops earning its pro-rata share of the RToken’s revenue.
The goal of this delay is to make it so that at any point in time, staked RSR that has not had a withdrawal transaction initiated is at least X time away from being withdrawn.
Reward ratio (decimals)
The reward ratio is the percentage of the current reward amount that should be handed out per block.
Default value: 3209014700000 = a half life of 30 days at a period of 12s.
Mainnet reasonable range: 1e11 to 1e13
Use cases of RTokens
The RToken platform is a tool to aggregate relatively stable assets together to create basket-backed stablecoins. Our intention in the long-term is to facilitate the creation of an asset-backed currency that is independent of fiat monetary systems. We envision this becoming possible once enough asset types are tokenized.
We are laying the groundwork early, as not many assets are tokenized yet. Today, the main use-cases we see are (1) a more decentralized USD-backed coin, which reduces dependence on any one fiatcoin issuer, and (2) a single simple USD-based coin that packages the yield of DeFi protocols.
The main purpose of allowing and encouraging many RTokens is so that open exploration and competition can lead to the discovery of the best type of basket and governance system. There's a lot to explore, and it's better not to keep that under the control of the initial founding team. That said, we still anticipate a single dominant RToken emerging over time through that evolutionary process, and we think consolidation into one or two dominant options is a good thing, since simplicity and ubiquity are important for an asset to really be a currency.
We also can imagine fintech companies using the protocol to launch their own branded basket-backed stablecoins, though this wasn't the central intent of opening up the platform.
We don't expect lots of RTokens to be created right after protocol launch. Rather, we think that if one or two RTokens become large and known, that will inspire the creation of more over time.