Shell Protocol Basics

Shell in a nutShell

These docs refer to Shell v3, currently live on Arbitrum One.

What is Shell Protocol?

Shell Protocol is a set of EVM-based smart contracts that form a base layer for building omni dapps. It allows users to compose a variety of DeFi protocols in one atomic transaction.

Shell contracts have been production-tested and rigorously audited.

Why build with Shell?

Using Shell's pre-built DeFi components can reduce development time, thereby saving costs. In addition, Shell's architecture is intent-centric, meaning everything on Shell will natively plug into an intents framework.

Builders can:

  • create new Shell primitives incorporating unique logic

  • connect existing DeFi protocols with Shell by building adapters

  • compose together any set of DeFi elements on Shell craft intricate DeFi projects or powerful omni dapps.

How does Shell compare to existing DEXs and aggregators?

Shell is not a DEX or an aggregator. Rather, it is a framework for composing any DeFi protocol in one atomic transaction.

While a DEX simply allows users to swap tokens using its own pools, Shell allows users to swap tokens through multiple pools on multiple DEXs.

While an aggregator specializes in optimizing trade routes across multiple pools, Shell's purpose is to standardize integrations between those pools, making it easier to build aggregators.

Unlike DEXs and aggregators, Shell is not limited to just swaps. Instead, Shell is useful for composing any type of action within DeFi: providing and withdrawing liquidity, lending and borrowing, buying and selling NFTs, and so on.

What's the innovation?

Shell's intent-centric smart contracts completely separate accounting (the Ocean) and business logic (Ocean Primitives) in an open framework for all DeFi. This is the critical innovation that standardizes integrations for everyone.

Shell is fully composable and can be extended with any kind of logic or component that interacts with fungible or non-fungible tokens. In certain scenarios, it proves to be up to 4 times more gas-efficient than its competitors.

This unique architecture enables powerful omni dapps.

What is an omni dapp?

The simplest and slightly geeky explanation would be "one dapp to rule them all".

An omni dapp is any dapp that handle and combine multiple interactions with many different protocols without leaving the dapp's interface, or calling external smart contracts directly. Everything is handled within that one app. Let's take an example to contrast this idea with a mono dapp.

Bob wants to sell his NFT for a certain amount of USDT.

In a mono dapp world Bob has to:

  1. List his NFT for a price in ETH on OpenSea

  2. Once the NFT is sold, he exchanges that ETH for USDC on Uniswap

  3. After Bob gets USDC, he exchanges that USDC for USDT on Curve

Bob had to make three steps and go to three different dapps in order to get to the desired outcome. That's a lot of unnecessary time, work, and transactions!

In an omni dapp world Bob has to:

  1. List his NFT for a price in USDT on an omni dapp

And that's all. One transaction. Everything else mentioned above is handled for him by that one app. In other words, the omni dapp will call all three protocols (OpenSea, Uniswap and Curve) in order for Bob to ultimately receive his USDT.

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