Reducing costs for claiming liquidity mining distributions - introducing the Merkle Orchard

With the increased gas costs in the Ethereum network, claiming weekly liquidity mining distributions has become very expensive for most Balancer liquidity providers.

Based on the learnings over the past year, Balancer Labs has implemented a more efficient version of the MerkleRedeem contract - the Merkle Orchard.

The MerkleRedeem contract can only distribute a single ERC20 token from a single “distributor” - an address that seeds the contract with funds and a merkle root corresponding to the amounts that can be claimed by each recipient

The Merkle Orchard introduces the concept of “distribution channels”. A channel is identified by the address of the token it distributes and its distributor. It’s like having multiple MerkleRedeem contracts in a single contract, which opens the possibility for claiming multiple tokens in a single transaction.

In addition to that, the Merkle Orchard is more tightly integrated with the Balancer Vault, making it possible to claim tokens and add them to a pool in a single transaction.

Finally, improvements were made in order to reduce the gas cost of claiming, especially when across multiple distributions (e.g. weeks) of the same distribution channel.

Changes to the UI/UX

Incentives for liquidity provided this week (Oct 11th - 17th) will be distributed next week through the new contract (with the exception of LDO). By then, the claim interface on the Balancer app will trigger a transaction to the Merkle Orchard claiming all tokens and weeks at once.

For consistency, Polygon distributions of BAL will also move to the Merkle Orchard model.

The dedicated claim apps (like will keep pointing to the old MerkleRedeem contracts, from where previous distributions (and until further notice also future LDO distributions) can be claimed.

Permissionlessness and associated risks

Anyone can create a distribution of tokens on the Merkle Orchard, making it easier for other projects to incentivize liquidity in Balancer pools or even do airdrops with their own tokens.

Recipients of token distributions made through the Merkle Orchard should be aware that distributors have the ability to withdraw all of the unclaimed tokens in their channel by seeding a distribution that sends the tokens back to themselves. Each distribution channel is fully isolated - no one other than the distributor of a channel can withdraw funds from it in the manner described above. In other words, even though the distribution is allocated to the user, until the user actively claims the distribution the distributor will remain in control of it. Balancer Labs is not responsible for the loss of unclaimed funds due to an operation of this nature on distribution channels of which Balancer Labs is not the distributor.