October 4, 2022
How Does SKALE Offer Zero Gas Fees?
One of the most significant issues surrounding blockchain technology is the concept of scalability. If the future is Web3, how can we ensure that blockchains are robust enough for mass adoption?
SKALE’s unique architecture not only addresses Ethereum’s scalability issues but also skyrocketing gas fees when the Ethereum network is bustling, as SKALE offers zero gas fees to end users. Volatility in gas fee costs can affect entire Web3 ecosystems, including developers, users, NFT creators, and beyond. It’s an issue that also plagues other blockchains besides Ethereum.
What is SKALE’s Architecture?
SKALE is a modular blockchain network that serves as a storage and execution layer for Ethereum. Instead of providing a single Layer 2 blockchain, SKALE provides the resources for independent, Dapp specific blockchains that are interoperable and fully customizable to specific use cases. Ultimately providing devs and users with individual Layer 2 capabilities on their own terms, and more importantly without gas fees.
In other words, there is not a single SKALE blockchain, but a Web3 multi-chain network that hosts many blockchains.
SKALE, like all blockchains, has an integrated on-chain payment method which pays validators to validate blocks and secure the network. Most blockchains make end users pay validators via transaction/gas fees which introduces friction and inhibits growth. SKALE, in contrast, enables the applications to pay validators directly in advance which subsidizes the gas fees for users.
Let’s dive deeper into how SKALE Network can offer zero gas fees to its users.
How Zero Gas Fees Work on SKALE (Subscription Model)
One way that SKALE can offer zero gas fees is through a subscription model similar to AWS for each SKALE chain.
A subscription fee model supports the resources needed to operate a chain on the SKALE Network. In this model, an entity like a developer, protocol, or consortium can allocate SKL tokens to Dapp-specific blockchains offering instant finality and a minimum of 397 TPS per chain.
For developers, this is a game-changer. They can define their SKALE chain by choosing needed protocols or additional security measures - and pay a flat monthly fee to host and develop Dapps on that chain. Developers can then adjust compute resources for SKALE chains as needed or simply sign-up for more SKALE chains if they want to scale their Dapps as they grow.
The subscription fee model per SKALE Chain unlocks easier go-to-market opportunities, higher adoption rates, and allows for free transactions for end-users.
How Zero Gas Fees Work on SKALE (Validator Model)
The entire economic model of SKALE Network is designed around availability and performance. SKALE operates on a pooled validation model, employing random selection and frequent node rotation. This model makes it exceedingly difficult for malicious actors to infiltrate or exploit the SKALE Network.
Since the network is Ethereum-native, it also benefits from the additional reliability and security of the Ethereum ecosystem. Over 25 SKALE contracts run on the Ethereum Mainnet and operate critical functions of the SKALE Network, such as chain creation, validator registration, node selection, node rotation, staking, bounty payments, and more.
The SKALE token, or $SKL, is the native token of the SKALE Network and is a hybrid token representing the right to work as a validator, stake as a delegator, or access resources. However, it is separate from SFuel (which we will discuss shortly).
Every node in the SKALE Network has the same potential to receive rewards based on performance metrics, including uptime, latency, and serving as a good actor. Validators must meet a minimum bonding requirement, and validators can self-delegate or accept delegation from other token holders.
Once validators stake SKALE tokens ($SKL), they get rewarded in SKL to secure the network. Validator rewards are distributed evenly among nodes. Validators can maximize their rewards by meeting performance targets instead of optimizing rigs for cryptographic performance.
Thanks to these validators, the SKALE Network can prioritize transaction speed, security, and scalability while providing end-users with zero gas fees.
How Does SKALE Differ from Other EVM-based Blockchain Networks?
There are many EVM-based blockchain networks such as Binance Smart Chain, Polygon, Fantom, and Avalanche. These blockchains require network transaction fees (gas fees) which cost the end-user money per transaction.
These gas fees are calculated in the native token of that particular blockchain. For example, the Binance Smart Chain requires gas fees paid in $BNB, Binance’s native token. Similarly, Polygon requires gas fees to be paid in $MATIC, its native token. SKALE is different and offers a frictionless user experience as users don't need SKL tokens to participate in the network.
While many EVM blockchains offer specific advantages or features, the SKALE Network is currently the only EVM blockchain that can genuinely offer zero gas fees. This not only addresses volatility but scalability as well.
What is sFuel?
SKALE can operate without the traditional gas fees associated with most blockchains. This is possible because of SKALE FUEL, or sFUEL. Unlike Ethereum “gas,” sFuel is technically valueless. sFuel can be considered a free gas token with no economic value.
sFuel acts as “gas” for the SKALE Network, but it is not considered a native token such as SKL. For example, since sFuel is valueless, it cannot be purchased or found on exchanges, and there is no cost for using sFuel for transactions.
Here are some more relevant details about how sFuel works:
- sFuel can be obtained for free via a faucet.
- sFuel is used to power all SKALE chain operations and transactions.
- sFuel is chain-specific and is not transferable between two different SKALE chains.
- sFuel is valueless and cannot be purchased.
sFuel doesn’t just help address gas fees but also improves the SKALE Network’s protection against DDoS attacks. With a limited amount of sFuel, SKALE can limit transactions and prevent malicious attacks.
Comparison of sFuel vs. Zero Gas Fees
So how exactly does it all work? The truth is that sFuel might be valueless, offering zero gas fees to end users, but “fuel” is still required to fund contracts and conduct transactions. SKALE fuel, or sFuel, also helps to prevent DDoS attacks and spam transactions on the network.
In short, SKALE is gas free but not gasless. This is why we describe SKALE as having zero gas fees rather than just stating it is gasless.
Thanks to SKALE, users don’t have to pay gas fees for each transaction. In fact, they don’t have to pay at all! What happens when users need more sFuel for whatever reason?
SKALE users can attain sFuel for any supported chain. An sFuel Station has been built by an active, contributing community member of SKALE called Dirt Road Dev which ensures users can always obtain sFuel as needed.
You can connect your wallet and fill up on sFuel at the sFuel Station at this link! Watch this video for more information on how the sFuel station works.
sFuel will be distributed by SKALE chain owners as needed, and every SKALE chain will have its own standard of sFuel. You can think of the sFuel Station as an aggregated and decentralized proof-of-work community location enabling any SKALE chain owner to provide access to that chain’s sFuel “faucet.”
SKALE is designed to be as robust as possible, and sFuel makes it so that SKALE Chains can be frictionless, customizable, and scalable while remaining decentralized. For true mass adoption, blockchains cannot be exceedingly difficult or expensive to use.
Compared to other EVM blockchains, SKALE has much more to offer regarding elasticity, scalability, security, and stability. However, the fact that SKALE offers zero gas fees may be the most revolutionary feature.
The rise of Ethereum has been responsible for so much Web3 innovation, but gas fees have plagued the ecosystem for several years. The SKALE Labs team is confident that the SKALE zero gas fee blockchain network will prove integral to building Web3, gaming ecosystems, NFTs, the metaverse, and beyond. This is a feature that no other EVM-compatible blockchain currently supports. While other blockchains contribute to Ethereum network congestion, SKALE offers real value and reduces congestion.
SKALE recently celebrated 38 million zero gas fee transactions with over $476 Million saved in gas fees and counting!
With more scalability and interconnectivity than ever, the fact that sFuel costs nothing to the end-user means less friction and more accessibility for Ethereum and Web3 ecosystems.