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Superfluid

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Superfluid enables programmable payments on a real-time and continuous basis.

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Founder(s):  
Francesco Renzi
ZhiCheng (Miao) Miao
This post was written by 
DAOlan
and edited by 
Antoine Sakho
 & 

Overview

What is it?

Superfluid is a real-time payments tool that enables programmable and streaming payments. Superfluid provides developers and end-users alike the ability to pay and be paid in a more automated, customisable and seamless manner than conventional banking and FinTech.

What problem does it solve?

While the solution can address a variety of programmable on-chain payment requirements, it is known for powering streaming gasless payments. This primitive can power a wide variety of potential continuous payment use cases ranging from subscriptions, payroll / salary, rent, and even dollar-cost average (DCA) investing.

How does it work?

The tool leverages a protocol in which a smart contract agreement is opened once in order to continuously stream a payment from your wallet to the wallet of your counterparty. Essentially, instead of paying for a subscription or salary on a periodic basis, you would pay for it on a continuous basis; every second, some predefined value will be transmitted in real-time in an ongoing gasless transaction.

Core features of the platform include:

  • Gasless transfers: once you open the payment streams, value is transferred every second without the need to make additional transactions.
  • No capital lockups: users only need to add capital to their balance in a just-in-time fashion; essentially the smart contract payment will stream until the balance runs out of funds; in order to keep the stream open, you only need to add funds before the balance runs out. 
  • On the Ethereum mainchain: powers full composability for development applications and removes obstacles when withdrawing paid funds like those faced in using Layer 2 scaling solutions or non-Ethereum cryptocurrencies. For example, if the Superfluid protocol used non-ERC-20 tokens, withdrawing funds would require an additional token swap. Or if the protocol used a Layer 2 solution, it would require an additional step of settling on the main chain. Because everything happens on Layer 1 via smart contracts, users avoid additional steps that add to time spent transacting.

The platform primitives themselves consist of:

  • Agreements, which are the types of smart contract payments that Superfluid enables you to pay with
  • Super Tokens, which are wrapped ERC-20 tokens around your existing tokens to allow you to access additional functionality for your tokens
  • Super App custom logics which allow developers to embed Superfluid’s smart contract payments directly into their applications. 

Additional details on how the platform works:

  • Superfluid powers both constant streaming payments as well as automated one-to-one and one-to-many payments in multiple cryptocurrencies.

How do I use it?

DAO Masters Insights

Why it's cool:

We are just beginning to scratch the surface of why payments with cryptocurrency have greater potential for convenience and flexibility compared with fiat payments. Superfluid allows you to do something that you cannot do with traditional fiat currency: to continuously — i.e. every second — pay or receive payment without incurring additional fees. Not only does this eliminate non-payment risk, it dramatically increases access to cash flow for the payment recipient, and provides increased flexibility to the payer. Superfluid already powers diverse use cases including paying salaries in real-time (for companies such as Messari), collecting payments such as rents or subscriptions in real-time (avoiding paying for a full period upfront and allowing you to cancel at a moments’ notice), and even making recurring investments continuously. 

To paint a picture of how Superfluid brings to crypto customers the future of money transfer, one Twitter user has remarked that they are using Superfluid to receive salary in real-time from their employer, and they have configured a just-in-time payment stream to immediately put those funds to work in real-time by the second to purchasing a set of cryptocurrencies from Superfluid Partner Ricochet Exchange.

Superfluid is an example of how FinTech approaches to payments such as Venmo are actually being supercharged by leveraging crypto back-end functionality like smart contracts.

Challenges:

Logging in via Metamask on Brave may require configuration of your wallet with an alternative node network in order to access the Superfluid dashboard. I used this link to identify the information to add the Matic network within my Metamask wallet: https://docs.superfluid.finance/superfluid/networks/polygon-network-matic

Words of advice:

If you do not know how to code, definitely use the Dashboard to access Superfluid; it is lightweight and simple to use.

The platform is easier to access if you are using Metamask on Firefox or Chrome rather than Brave. Otherwise you will need to configure a Matic or Polygon network in your wallet.

There is an active Support and user community on their Discord. We encourage you to visit with any relevant questions.

Expected future updates:

The roadmap of the project itself is not public; however the protocol highlights community projects currently building on Superfluid. These include a web3-Patreon-like platform called Creaton, a web3 newsletter subscription site Diagonal, and Drip.stream which will implement automated NFT referral payments.

Getting Started

Visit the Superfluid website, and log on to the Dashboard!

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