Batch Swaps

ZSwap’s batch swaps conceptually decompose into two parts: the DEX and AMM mechanism itself, and the batching procedure, which allows multiple users’ swaps to be batched into a single trade executed against the trading function. This section focuses on the batching procedure, leaving the mechanics of the trading function for later.

Penumbra V1 provides swaps wherein the user publically burns their input assets, and privately mints the output assets. In a future upgrade, Penumbra will use sealed-bid batch swaps, protecting the privacy of the input assets to the trade, described further in the section below.

Swap actions

First, users create transactions with Swap actions that burn their input assets. This action identifies the trading pair by asset id, consumes of types from the transaction balance.

Rational traders will choose either or , i.e., trade one asset type for the other type, but the description provides two inputs so that different swap directions cannot be distinguished. The Swap action also consumes fee tokens from the transaction’s value balance, which are saved for use as a prepaid transaction fee when claiming the swap output.

To record the user’s contribution for later, the action mints a swap, and a commitment to the swap is added to the state commitment tree.

The swap commitment commits to:

  • the asset types and ,
  • , the input amounts of types and respectively,
  • the diversified transmission key , diversified basepoint , and clue key of the claim address,
  • , the prepaid fee amount that will be used for the swap claim and its asset ID ,
  • the rseed, used for deriving the (rseed1, rseed2) values used for each individual output note.

The swap commitment is generated using rate-7 Poseidon hashing with domain separator defined as the Fq element constructed using:

ds = from_le_bytes(BLAKE2b-512(b"penumbra.swap")) mod q

The swap commitment is then constructed using the above domain separator and hashing together the above contents along with an inner value computed using rate-4 poseidon hashing:

swap_commitment = hash_7(ds, (rseed, f, t_f, B_d, pk_d, ck_d, inner))

inner = hash_4(ds, (t_1, t_2, \Delta_1, \Delta_2))

The Swap action includes a SwapPayload with the encrypted swap and the swap commitment.

Batching and Execution

In this description, which focuses on the state model, we treat the execution itself as a black box and focus only on the public data used for swap outputs.

Validators sum the amounts of all swaps in the batch to obtain the combined inputs . Then they execute against the open liquidity positions, updating the positions’ state and obtaining the effective (inclusive of fees) clearing prices ( in terms of ) and ( in terms of ).

Since there may not be enough liquidity to perform the entirety of the swap, unfilled portions of the input assets are also returned as . The batch swap is always considered successful regardless of available liquidity; for a batch swap where no liquidity positions exist to execute against, and .

Each user’s inputs to the swap are indicated as and their share of the output indicated as . Their pro rata fractions of the total input are therefore .

Each user’s output amounts can be computed as

Claiming Swap Outputs

In a future block, users who created transactions with Swap actions obtain assets of the new types by creating a transaction with SwapClaim actions. This action privately mints new tokens of the output type, and proves consistency with the user’s input contribution (via the swap) and with the effective clearing prices (which are part of the public chain state). The SwapClaim action is carefully designed so that it is self-authenticating, and does not require any spend authorization. Any entity in possession of the full viewing key can create and submit a swap claim transaction, without further authorization by the user. This means that wallet software can automatically claim swap outputs as soon as it sees confirmation that the swap occurred.

Like a Spend action, the SwapClaim action spends a shielded swap, revealing its nullifier and witnessing an authentication path from it to a recent anchor. However, it differs in several important respects:

  • It derives the swap commitment in-circuit, making those variables available for later proof statements;

  • Rather than contributing to the transaction’s value balance, it constructs two output notes itself, one for each of and proves that the notes are sent to the address committed to by the and in the swap plaintext;

  • It demonstrates that the output notes were minted using the correct trading pair and clearing prices, i.e. those for the block in which the swap was executed in;

The SwapClaim does not include a spend authorization signature, because it is only capable of consuming a swap, not arbitrary notes, and only capable of sending the trade outputs to the address specified during construction of the original Swap action, which is signed.

Finally, the SwapClaim releases units of the fee token to the transaction’s value balance, allowing it to pay fees without an additional Spend action. The transaction claiming the swap outputs can therefore consist of a single SwapClaim action, and that action can be prepared using only a full viewing key. This design means that wallet software can automatically submit the swap claim without any explicit user intervention, even if the user’s custody setup (e.g., a hardware wallet) would otherwise require it.

Although sweep descriptions do not reveal the amounts, or which swap’s outputs they claim, they do reveal the block and trading pair, so their anonymity set is considerably smaller than an ordinary shielded value transfer. For this reason, client software should create and submit a transaction with a sweep description immediately after observing that its transaction with a swap description was included in a block, rather than waiting for some future use of the new assets. This ensures that future shielded transactions involving the new assets are not trivially linkable to the swap.

Sealed-Bid Batch Swaps

A key challenge in the design of any private swap mechanism is that zero-knowledge proofs only allow privacy for user-specific state, not for global state, because they don’t let you prove statements about things that you don’t know. While users can prove that their user-specific state was updated correctly without revealing it, they cannot do so for other users’ state.

Instead of solving this problem, ZSwap sidesteps the need for users to do so. Rather than have users transact with each other, the chain permits them to transmute one asset type to another, provably updating their private state without interacting with any other users’ private state. To do this, they privately burn their input assets and encrypt the amounts to the validators. The validators aggregate the encrypted amounts and decrypt the batch total, then compute the effective (inclusive of fees) clearing prices and commit them to the chain state. In any later block, users can privately mint output funds of the new type, proving consistency with the inputs they burned.

In a future version of Penumbra with threshold encryption, we would allow sealed-bid batch swaps. This section describes how the batch swap system described above would change.

Swap Actions

Swap actions would privately burn their input assets and encrypt the amounts to the validators. This action identifies the trading pair by asset id, consumes of types from the transaction balance, and contains an encryption of the trade inputs

Batching and Execution

Validators would sum the encrypted amounts of all swaps in the batch to obtain an encryption of the combined inputs , and then decrypt to obtain the batch input without revealing any individual transaction’s input . Then, this would be executed against open positions.

Privacy for Market-Takers

The sealed-bid batch swap design reveals only the net flow across a trading pair in each batch, not the amounts of any individual swap. However, this provides no protection if the batch contains a single swap, and limited protection when there are only a few other swaps. This is likely to be an especially severe problem until the protocol has a significant base of active users, so it is worth examining the impact of amount disclosure and potential mitigations.

  • TODO: on the client side, allow a “time preference” slider (immediate vs long duration), which spreads execution of randomized sub-amounts across multiple blocks at randomized intervals within some time horizon

  • TODO: extract below into separate section about privacy on penumbra

Assuming that all amounts are disclosed, an attacker could attempt to deanonymize parts of the transaction graph by tracing amounts, using strategies similar to those in An Empirical Analysis of Anonymity in Zcash. That research attempted to deanonymize transactions by analysing movement between Zcash’s transparent and shielded pools, with some notable successes (e.g., identifying transactions associated to the sale of stolen NSA documents). Unlike Zcash, where opt-in privacy means the bulk of the transaction graph is exposed, Penumbra does not have a transparent pool, and the bulk of the transaction graph is hidden, but there are several potential places to try to correlate amounts:

  • IBC transfers into Penumbra are analogous to t2z transactions and disclose types and amounts and accounts on the source chain;
  • IBC transfers out of Penumbra are analogous to z2t transactions and disclose types and amounts and accounts on the destination chain;
  • Each unbonding discloses the precise amount of newly unbonded stake and the validator;
  • Each epoch discloses the net amount of newly bonded stake for each validator;
  • Liquidity pool deposits disclose the precise type and amount of newly deposited reserves;
  • Liquidity pool withdrawals disclose the precise type and amount of newly withdrawn reserves;

The existence of the swap mechanism potentially makes correlation by amount more difficult, by expanding the search space from all amounts of one type to all combinations of all amounts of any tradeable type and all historic clearing prices. However, assuming rational trades may cut this search space considerably.1


Thanks to Guillermo Angeris for this observation.