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Building a Meta Transaction Relayer

Relayers serve to delegate gas fees to a web service, allowing users to transact on NEAR without the need to acquire the token themselves while still retaining the security of signing their own transactions. This guide will lead you through the components necessary to construct a relayer capable of handling meta transactions.

tip

If you're already acquainted with the technology and you just want to run your own Relayer, you can fast track to a complete Rust Relayer server open-source implementation.

How it works​

A basic relayer consists of a web server housing a funded NEAR account. This account receives an encoded signed transaction, which can subsequently be decoded into a SignedDelegate format and transmitted on-chain.

The client can then generate a SignedDelegateAction (a signed message that hasn't yet been sent), encode it, and transmit it to this server, where it will be relayed onto the blockchain.

relayer-overview-technical

Relayer (server)​

Here's a simple express endpoint that deserializes the body, instantiates the relayer account and then sends the transaction.

You can easily get the account object used to send the transactions from its private key using this snippet

info

The code in the example only works from the following versions onwards

"near-api-js": "3.0.4"
"@near-js/transactions": "1.1.2",
"@near-js/accounts": "1.0.4"

Client​

In this method we are creating an arbitrary smart contract call, instantiating an account and using it to sign but not send the transaction. We can then serialize it and send it to the relayer where it will be delegated via the previously created endpoint.

Relaying with wallets

At the moment, wallet selector standard doesn't support signing transactions without immediately sending them. This functionality is essential for routing transactions to a relayer. Therefore, to smoothly integrate relaying on the client side, it's necessary to be able to sign transactions without relying on wallets. Progress is being made to make this possible in the future.

Gating the relayer​

In most production applications it's expected that you want to be able to gate the relayer to only be used in certain cases. By taking apart the delegateAction object inside the SignedDelegateon the server this can be done simply.

export declare class DelegateAction extends Assignable {
senderId: string;
receiverId: string;
actions: Array<Action>;
nonce: BN;
maxBlockHeight: BN;
publicKey: PublicKey;
}

You can, for example, gate by some particular user or contract:

  const serializedTx: Buffer = req.body;
const deserializedTx: SignedDelegate = deserialize(SCHEMA.SignedDelegate, Buffer.from(serializedTx)) as SignedDelegate;
const relayerAccount: Account = await getAccount(NETWORK_ID, RELAYER_ID, RELAYER_PRIVATE_KEY);
const delegateAction = deserializedTx?.delegateAction

if(delegateAction.senderId == 'someUserId' || delegateAction.receiverId == 'someContractId' ){
const receipt = await relayerAccount.signAndSendTransaction({
actions: [actionCreators.signedDelegate(deserializedTx)],
receiverId: deserializedTx.delegateAction.senderId
});
}

Other examples could be looking into the actions and seeing if there is deposit or gas and limiting them, gating by particular smart contract methods or even args.

You can decode the args using:

JSON.parse(Buffer.from(args_base64 || "", "base64").toString())

Rust Relayer Server​

The open-source Rust reference implementation of a Relayer server offers the following features:

info

Features can be combined as needed. Use of one feature does not preclude the use of any other feature unless specified.

  1. Sign and send Meta Transactions to the RPC to cover the gas costs of end users while allowing them to maintain custody of their funds and approve transactions (/relay, /send_meta_tx, /send_meta_tx_async, /send_meta_tx_nopoll)
  2. Sign Meta Transactions returning a Signed Meta Transaction to be sent to the RPC later - (/sign_meta_tx, /sign_meta_tx_no_filter)
  3. Only pay for users interacting with certain contracts by whitelisting contracts addresses (whitelisted_contracts in config.toml)
  4. Specify gas cost allowances for all accounts (/update_all_allowances) or on a per-user account basis (/create_account_atomic, /register_account, /update_allowance) and keep track of allowances (/get_allowance)
  5. Specify the accounts for which the relayer will cover gas fees (whitelisted_delegate_action_receiver_ids in config.toml)
  6. Only allow users to register if they have a unique Oauth Token (/create_account_atomic, /register_account)
  7. Relayer Key Rotation: keys_filenames in config.toml
  8. Integrate with FastAuth SDK
  9. Mix and Match configuration options
tip

Check the Use cases section for example configuration files corresponding to different usage scenarios.

Basic Setup​

You can follow these steps to set up your local Relayer server development environment:

  1. Install Rust for NEAR Development
  2. If you don't have a NEAR account, create one
  3. With the account from step 2, create a JSON file in this directory in the format
    [{"account_id":"example.testnet","public_key":"ed25519:98GtfFzez3opomVpwa7i4m3nptHtc7Ha514XHMWszLtQ","private_key":"ed25519:YWuyKVQHE3rJQYRC3pRGV56o1qEtA1PnMYPDEtroc5kX4A4mWrJwF7XkzGe7JWNMABbtY4XFDBJEzgLyfPkwpzC"}]
    using a Full Access Key from an account that has enough NEAR to cover the gas costs of transactions your server will be relaying. Usually, this will be a copy of the json file found in the .near-credentials directory.
  4. Update values in config.toml
  5. Open up the port from config.toml in your machine's network settings
  6. Run the server using cargo run.

    (OPTIONAL) To run with logs (tracing) enabled run RUST_LOG=tower_http=debug cargo run

Optional setup

If you're integrating with FastAuth make sure to enable feature flags:

cargo build --features fastauth_features,shared_storage

If you're using shared storage, make sure to enable feature flags:

cargo build --features shared_storage

Redis Setup​

tip

This is only needed if you intend to use whitelisting, allowances, and OAuth functionality.

  1. Install Redis.

    Steps 2 & 3 assume Redis was installed on machine instead of a Docker setup. If you're connecting to a Redis instance running in GCP, follow the above steps to connect to a VM that will forward requests from your local relayer server to Redis running in GCP

  2. Run redis-server --bind 127.0.0.1 --port 6379 - make sure the port matches the redis_url in the config.toml.
  3. Run redis-cli -h 127.0.0.1 -p 6379

Advanced setup​

API Specifications​

You can find the complete Relayer server API specification on the GitHub repository.

Use cases​

The examples folder on the GitHub repository contains example configuration files corresponding to different use cases.

info

These files are for reference only and you should update the config.toml values before using it on your development environment.

No filters​

This is a config for a relayer that covers gas for all user transactions to all contracts with no filters. To prevent abuse, this should only be used if there's only a secure backend calling the relayer

Basic whitelist​

This is a configuration for a basic relayer that covers gas for user transactions to interact with a whitelisted set of contracts

Redis​

This is a configuration for a relayer that covers gas for user transactions up to a allowance specified in Redis to interact with a whitelisted set of contracts.

  • Allowances are on a per-account id basis and on signup (account creation in Redis and on-chain) an OAuth token is required to help with sybil resistance
  • redis.toml

FastAuth​

This is a configuration for use if you intend to integrate with FastAuth SDK

  • It covers gas for user transactions up to a allowance specified in Redis to interact with a whitelisted set of contracts.
  • Allowances are on a per-account id basis and on signup (account creation in Redis and on-chain) an OAuth token is required to help with sybil resistance
  • This also makes use of a shared storage functionality on the Near Social DB contract
  • and a whitelisted sender (whitelisted_delegate_action_receiver_ids)
  • fastauth.toml

Pay with fungible tokens​

This is a configuration for a relayer that ensures there's FTs sent to a burn address used to cover the equivalent amount of gas for user transactions to interact with a whitelisted set of contracts

Whitelist senders​

This is a config for a relayer that covers gas for a whitelisted set of users' transactions to interact with a whitelisted set of contracts

Shared storage​

This is a configuration for a relayer that covers BOTH gas AND storage fees for user transactions to interact with a whitelisted set of contracts

Exchange withdraw​

This is a configuration for a relayer where an exchange running the relayer covers user withdraw fees when they are withdrawing stablecoins on NEAR (e.g., USDT or USDC)

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