# Contract Requirements

Zoe Beta Release v1.0.0. Last updated 2021-04-07.

When writing a smart contract to run on Zoe, you need to know the proper format and other expectations.

A Zoe contract is a JavaScript file that can import other JavaScript code, including:

A Zoe contract will be bundled up, so you should feel free to divide your contract into multiple files (perhaps putting helper functions in a separate file, for example) and import them.

A Zoe contract needs to be able to run under Agoric's SES (opens new window). Some legacy JavaScript code is incompatible with SES, because SES freezes the JavaScript objects you start out with (the primordials, such as Object), and some legacy code tries to mutate these.

If you add this type annotation at the start of your contract code, TypeScript-aware tools (IDEs like vsCode and WebStorm) will warn about mismatches in parameters and return values in calls to zcf methods. Put this right before the start of your contract code.

 * @type {ContractStartFn}

Your contract code must export a function start() as a non-default export. zcf is the Zoe Contract Facet and is the only argument provided to the contract.

const start = zcf => {
  // your code here
  return harden({ creatorFacet, creatorInvitation, publicFacet });
export { start };

The contract must return a record with any (or none) of the following:

  • creatorFacet: An object, usually with admin authority. It is only given to the entity that calls E(zoe).startInstance(); i.e. the party that was the creator of the current contract instance. It might create invitations for other parties, or take actions that are unrelated to making offers.
  • creatorInvitation: A Zoe invitation only given to the entity that calls E(zoe).startInstance(); i.e. the party that was the creator of the current contract instance. This is usually used when a party has to make an offer first, such as escrowing the underlying good for sale in an auction or covered call.
  • publicFacet: An object available through Zoe to anyone who knows the contract instance. Use the publicFacet for general queries and actions, such as getting the current price or creating public invitations.

The contract can contain arbitrary JavaScript code, but there are a few things you'll want to do in order to act as a contract, and interact with Zoe and zcf (the internal contract facet).

For users to make offers, the contract has to include a handler with the code for what to do when the invitation is used to make an offer. This handler is passed to zcf.makeInvitation(), and the resulting invitation is made available (using the creatorFacet, the publicFacet, or whatever makes sense for the particular contract.

For instance, AtomicSwap makes two invitations. The first is used to create the initial offer, so it defines the terms that the counterparty responds to. The second party needs to make a matching offer, so there are more constraints.

Use zcf.makeInvitation() to create the first party's invitation:

  const creatorInvitation = zcf.makeInvitation(

makeMatchingInvitation() creates the second invitation.

    const matchingSeatInvitation = zcf.makeInvitation(
        asset: give.Asset,
        price: want.Price,

The third argument (which is optional and wasn't needed for the first invitation) says the counterparty has to offer an amount matching the first party's want.Price, and should ask for the first party's give.Asset. The optional third argument to makeInvitation() is included so the invitation will contain the terms so the invitation recipient can rely on them.

The matchingSeatOfferHandler for this very simple contract calls swap(), a helper for the simple case that each party wants what the other offered. If the terms match, Zoe gives each the payout they asked for, and closes out the contract. If the terms don't match, they each get back what they brought to the exchange, and it's still over.

    const matchingSeatOfferHandler = matchingSeat => {
      const swapResult = swap(zcf, firstSeat, matchingSeat);
      return swapResult;

If you study other contracts, you'll see they all have this basic format. Depending on their goals, they may do additional bookkeeping, or try to find compatible terms between multiple offers, or create new assets to order.

# Making an Invitation

To create an invitation in the contract, use the Zoe Contract Facet method zcf.makeInvitation.