# The Structure of Offers

Zoe Alpha Release v0.8.1. Last updated 2020-9-15.

# Making An offer

To make an offer, you use E(zoe).offer()(opens new window) , which takes three arguments:

  • An invitation to participate in this contract instance.
  • A proposal stating your offer conditions.
  • The payments escrowed for the offer, each in association with a proposal-specified keyword.

# Invitations

Invitations are a special case of ERTP payments. They are linked to a specific contract instance, and having one gives you the right to participate in that contract instance, for example, by making offers in it.

There are two main ways for contract users to get an invitation:

  • If you create the contract instance, you get a special creator invitation.
  • Someone (possibly you) who holds the right objects has created an invitation for a contract instance and gives it to you in some way. This could've been by sending it to you, posting it on a public online location, etc. It doesn't matter (nor does Zoe specify or have any requirements) how or why it got to you, only that you have it.

# Proposals

Proposals are records with give, want, and exit keys.

const myProposal = harden({
  give: { Asset: quatloosAmountMath.make(4)},
  want: { Price: moolaAmountMath.make(15) },
  exit: { 'onDemand'
})

give and want use keywords defined by the contract. Keywords are unique identifiers per contract, that tie together the proposal, payments to be escrowed, and payouts to the user. In the example above, Asset and Price are the keywords. However, in an auction contract, the keywords might be Asset and Bid.

The quatloosAmountMath.make(4) is just making an ERTP amount, or description of digital assets. In this case, 4 of our imaginary Quatloos currency. moolaAmountMath.make(15) is making an amount of 15 of our imaginary Moola currency.

Note: It's important to understand that amounts are just descriptions of assets with no intrinsic value. payments hold actual digital assets.

exit determines how an offer can be can cancelled:

  • 'onDemand': (Default) Whenever the user wants.
  • 'waived': The user cannot cancel, relying on the contract to finish the offer.
  • 'afterDeadline': Cancelled automatically after a deadline. This requires two more properties, a timer object and a deadline value.

# Escrowed Payments

Using the same keywords as your proposal, you must specify a PaymentKeywordRecord. This is a record with the keywords as keys, and payments containing digital assets as values. Zoe escrows these payments on behalf of this offer until the offer is completed or rejected or the assets are reassigned to another offer.

const paymentKeywordRecord = { 
  'Asset' : quatloosPayment, 
  'Price' : moolaPayment 
};

# Returned Value

offer() returns a UserSeat object. Its name comes from the concept of "having a seat at the table" for the contract's execution.