Advantages of Signless & Payless Transactions for Substrate Networks

"Explore the benefits of signless and payless transactions in Substrate networks with insights from the Gear Foundation."
payless transactions gear protocol

In a recent tech talk by Luís Ramírez from the Gear Foundation, the focus was on the groundbreaking advantages of signless and payless transactions within Substrate networks, particularly emphasizing the Vara Network and the Gear Protocol. This blog post delves into the key points of his talk and explores the transformative potential of these innovations in blockchain technology.

Understanding Gear Protocol and Vara Network

To grasp the significance of signless and payless transactions, it’s crucial to first understand the underlying technologies: the Gear Protocol and the Vara Network. The Gear Protocol is designed to facilitate communication between various elements in the blockchain through an actor model, where everything (users, wallets, smart contracts) is treated as an actor. This model enables seamless message sending and receiving among these actors, leveraging the power of WebAssembly and Rust programming for enhanced compatibility and performance.

The Vara Network, the first implementation of the Gear Protocol, is a sovereign layer-one Substrate-based blockchain. It aims to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3 developers by providing a familiar environment for creating smart contracts easily and efficiently.

Key Features of Gear Protocol

  1. Actor Model Technology: Every user, wallet, and smart contract is an actor, facilitating communication through messages.
  2. WebAssembly Compatibility: Supports multiple programming languages, making it accessible for a wider range of developers.
  3. Persistent Memory: Each smart contract maintains its own state, simplifying development and interaction processes.

Signless Transactions

Signless transactions are designed to improve user experience by eliminating the need for users to sign every transaction manually. Instead, trustless sessions are created, specifying which private keys interact with the smart contract and for how long. This session-based approach ensures security and usability, allowing users to interact with smart contracts seamlessly for a defined period.

Advantages of signless transactions include:

  • Enhanced Usability: Users no longer need to approve each transaction manually, making interactions smoother and faster.
  • Time-bound Security: Sessions are time-limited, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Customization: Developers can specify which actions are allowed within a session, enhancing security and control.

Payless Transactions

One of the most significant barriers to entry for new users in the blockchain ecosystem is the requirement to hold tokens for transaction fees. Payless transactions address this issue by allowing users to interact with applications without needing to hold tokens. This is achieved through an internal voucher system where tokens are pre-allocated to cover transaction fees on behalf of the user.

Benefits of payless transactions include:

  • Lower Entry Barriers: Users can engage with blockchain applications without needing to acquire tokens first.
  • Improved User Experience: Simplifies the process for users accustomed to Web2 systems where such prerequisites are uncommon.
  • Developer Flexibility: Developers can pre-fund transactions, ensuring a smooth user experience.

Practical Implementation

Ramírez demonstrated the practical application of these technologies through a live demo involving a game called Battleship. In the traditional Web3 setup, users would need to create an account, acquire tokens, and sign every transaction. However, with signless and payless transactions, users could start playing immediately without these steps, showcasing a significant improvement in usability and accessibility.

Gear Academy and Developer Programs

To support the adoption of these technologies, the Gear Foundation has established the Gear Academy, an online platform for learning and developing smart contracts on the Vara Network. Additionally, the foundation offers developer and ambassador programs to foster a community of innovators and contributors.


The innovations presented by Luís Ramírez highlight a significant leap forward for blockchain technology, making it more accessible, user-friendly, and efficient. Signless and payless transactions represent a paradigm shift that could drive greater adoption of blockchain applications by lowering barriers and improving user experiences.

For developers and enthusiasts looking to explore these advancements, the Gear Foundation provides ample resources and community support to get started. Embracing these technologies could be a crucial step toward building the next generation of decentralized applications.

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