Referral System Growth Hack

I was thinking of ways that would help grow the IDLE user base fast & organically, while incentivizing the users that help the platform grow. (Something like a growth hack referral system)

Splitting performance fees with stakers likely wont happen for a while, since there is no real benefit until protocol/TVL becomes very large.

Because of this, I suggest we create a referral system for IDLE users and split the 10% performance fee (5% treasury and 5% to the person that brought in new user via referral link)

In order for someone to create their own referral link that is directly tied into their ETH address, they must stake 1 IDLE (or however many IDLE governance agrees is needed, but will use 1 IDLE as example for remaining post) in order to generate this referral link. (So every time that specific user they referred into IDLE withdrawals, they will always get 5% performance fee)

If someone wants to keep their referral benefits, they must always have that 1 IDLE staked that they used to generate the referral link tied into their eth address.

Make referral system time locked, to where after 1 year, they can withdraw 60% of their locked tokens and still receive full referral benefits. Then 2nd year they can unlock remaining 20% of locked tokens, 3rd year they can unlock remaining 10%. BUT the remaining 10% has to remain locked up forever to keep referral benefits. If they unstake their IDLE early, there will be penalty and they will lose all referrals they brought in and the full 10% will then go to treasury forever.

This will also dry up supply fairly quick, since there are only 13 mil max supply and there will be many that want to benefit from referrals.

We can create an new tab on IDLE page dashboard (Referral system). In that tab, users will plug in 2 things:

  1. Their current ETH address for rewards
  2. Required to lock x amount of IDLE based on referral bonus they want.

After those two things are complete, they will generate a referral link or code that they can easily share on social media, mobile, youtube etc to bring in users.

Also, to dry up supply even more, we could make it so for every IDLE staked to generate referral link adds 1% bonus, with a max of 5 IDLE. For example…

1 IDLE staked = 9% treasury 1% referral
2 IDLE staked = 8% treasury 2% referral
3 IDLE staked = 7% treasury 3% referral
4 IDLE staked = 6% treasury 4% referral
5 IDLE staked = 5% treasury 5% referral

Also, we can make referral system with much larger amount that will still bring many influences, marketing pros, and sales agent to partake in it.

Can be something like 200,400,600,800,1000 IDLE locked for the 1-5% extra bonus. OR even larger 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 IDLE locked to get 1-5% bonus.

Anyways, this is just an example and just shared to start discussion on some sort of referral system. Successful referral systems allow platforms to achieve explosive growth without worrying about marketing and also rewards users based on effort and success they have in driving in traffic into the platform. You can also have stakers that generated referral link simply click a “Im still active” in the referral tab every 3 months to ensure fees are not going to waste on inactive accounts. If they don’t check it within that time, all funds start going to treasury.


This sounds awesome,

I agree that idle should have a referral system, I believe that there is already a parameter for this in the idle strategy tokens, but unused at this moment.

Need to be careful of how we calculate the rewards because of how the fee mechanism works in idle at the moment. It might need an upgrade to suit this usecase.

The stacking mechanism sounds more technical, maybe @william can shed some insight, but it sounds like you would need another contact to keep track of stackers.


Thanks for posting this @Falcone
We have been thinking of a referral system for a while as it will stimulate both end-users and integrators, and I’m personally in favor of this.

Currently the code already supports passing a referral address (it’s then emitted as an event so one can keep track of them off-chain), but the fee sharing mechanism is the one that is missing and should be developed for this to work. In this way everything will be automatic and on chain.

For the performance fee split, after the Smart Treasury release I think the split will be 80% for the Smart Treasury, 15% to fee treasury and 5% to the Rebalancer. I see a 50% as ref it’s a bit too high, but what would you reduce for it, the Smart Treasury share?

Regarding the staking of IDLE + the incremental rewards in order to generate the ref link I think it can work, but it sound a bit complicated and I’m worried it adds friction for the end users. If we can come up with an easier first version we can then iterate from there imo


If technically possible, i would like to have a 2 level referral reward split.

For performance fee split what if it changes to…

40% smart treasury
40% referral
15% fee treasury
5% Rebalancer

(Or 30% Smart treasury 50% referral)

Is the part that sounds complicated the incremental rewards part or the staking idle to generate referral link?

For easier first version, we can remove the incremental rewards for now, and just offer a set reward % without multiple tiers. We can develop tier system later or completely remove it.

Because I think we can make referral system simple. Just stake x IDLE (1 fixed amount for all users) to generate referral link. (Maybe 100 IDLE as an exmaple, but w.e you guys think best).

This way it makes it easy for all users. That way when they go to website and see referral tab, they would simply see…

“Help Grow and Earn In just 1 step”

“Stake IDLE to generate referral link tied to your account. Receive your share of fees automatically straight to your wallet every time the person you referred uses IDLE.”

Once they click “stake” Just have notification pop up stating that their IDLE will be locked for 1 year and they can withdraw 80% after 1 year, but will have to keep 20% in at all times if they want to keep referral benefits.

^ or whatever ratios and time frame governance think is good. I do think locking idle to partake is key tho.

Honestly, If my 70 year old step dad saw the above, he would understand personally and likely partake. Not lying.

Then we can create a leaderboard section on the referral tab that show the top performers (top 100). We can vote and agree to share extra fees generated by the (40% smart treasury) and vote to distribute a portion of that to the top performers every month. Will incentive and reward those bringing in the most traffic. And they will likely use those rewards to continue bringing in more traffic (like using them for ads or w.e mechanism they use to find and drive traffic etc)

Sorry in advance not sure if this info above helped at all or still doesn’t help solve the issues you stated before this post. But just sharing ideas.


Thanks @Falcone for this interesting topic, and glad to have you sharing ideas here!

I personally endorse a “referral” or “fee-sharing” system and, as mentioned by @william, this is something that we were already thinking about.

I like the structure with different referral fees depending on the staked amount, but it might be a bit too complex and might be worth starting with an initial model and iterate on it over time. In your model, you combined the increase of TVL with a staking-like mechanism in a brilliant way. @william would provide more feedback on the effort required for the technical implementation of the proposed model, but I like a multi-tier system to manage it. I like also the leaderboard section, it’d make sense to inventize traffic.

Yet, I believe we should focus on the first goal first, TVL growth, and see the outcomes.

Just wanted to add that we’ve been talking with many integrators in the past, and many of them already have or are willing to have an “earn” section. What came out from our conversation is that a referral would drive more integrations for Idle. This might be a great opportunity to create a growth hack for Idle on the integration side, and at the same time give a revenue component to wallets/dApps that are now struggling with finding a sustainable business model.

The B2B approach is honestly my favorite at the moment, and we could pursue this direction by enabling a committee-based fees sharing program via the Pilot League (we can have an initial whitelist of integrators). Through a simple Dune dashboard, it’d possible to extract the referral addresses and the Committee can easily calculate the rewards for partners.

In this way, we can act quickly (no required code development), simplify the integration (no additional procedures), and adjust the program with TVL performance analysis.

If it works well, we can evaluate to expand the list of partners or to develop a permissionless way to share fees.

We can then open up the referral to all users, adding staking/lockup on-top. I think this can be a good feature for content creators in general, and distributing referral links via blog posts/videos should be our case.

That said, who do you think would be the ideal/most frequent user for the referral system you proposed?


I think we should launch a simpler model like you stated and build out an automated one overtime.

But the initial model should definitely require x amount of IDLE staked to partake, even for integrators (or maybe free for integrator but tell them they can earn more if they stake)

The initial model should include 2 sections and 2 separate leaderboards:

  1. Integrators
  2. Community.

I personally don’t think we should wait to add to community referral system (which I’ll explain why below). We should incorporate both, if its not too much work.

(Curious, if the community part is planned for later, how long would it take before it would be out? If not that long, then a lot of the info below wont really matter, but will share anyways)

I was thinking of a 3 month version 1 bootstrap phase with modified referral system for twitter & youtube influencers. For the 1st version, rewards can be calculated & distributed manually for both sections (Integrators and community), with snapshots & Dune Analytics

I was thinking version 1 of “community” referral system could be different from what we discussed for those 3 months.

The v1 concept and fee sharing would just be based on number of addresses/users that person brought in, and all the fee-sharing will be pooled and distributed by a form of “weights”. (since user growth and awareness is key right now imo)

Have all performance fees put in one pool. Then each week, for 3 months, all performance fees will be distributed to all the referral program members, BUT the calculated fees will be based on a form of “weights/successful traffic” brought in that actually ended up depositing and using platform. Also, since fees generated might not be much, we can use some of that unclaimed IDLE as a boost of incentive and distribute to top influencers each week as well.

So for example, if there are 4 ppl in the referral program.

  1. Jim (brings in 100 new addresses)
  2. Bob (brings in 25 addresses)
  3. Gill (brings 25 addresses)
  4. Satoshi (brings in 50 addresses)

And the fees generated $10,000

  • $5,000 would go to Jim
  • $2500 to Satoshi
  • $1250 to Bob and Gill

This way, community (mostly thinking of influencers) can partake right away and not have to wait months, especially with alt season around the corner.

As the referral system upgrades to those new features we talked about, we can change it back to what we originally discussed. Since the referral system will already have tagged/tracked what accounts are linked to what, I don’t think it would be too complicated to switch all that over into new upgraded referral system, right?

So the reason I bring up community referral system, is so we can benefit from big crypto youtube and twitter influencers early on as well as marketing agencies.

What I had in mind, is using a portion of those unclaimed funds to kick off a bootstrap referral system, since it will require staked IDLE to partake. We can reach out to influencers and ask them if they want to partake in limited time referral system opportunity; Benefits are…

    1. We cover the staked amount needed
    1. They get to keep the IDLE after the lock period is over
      *(For bootstrap phase lock period is only 3 months)
      *(They get to keep 80% of the IDLE that’s locked)
  • 3.They get referral fees forever (if those 20% tokens remain locked)

So lets say initially 100 IDLE was required to be locked to partake in community referral system. We can use 25,000 of those unclaimed tokens and whitelist up to 250 influencers that want to partake.(Or less IDLE required for bootstrap to save funds, but should be enough to incentive influencers)

Also, we can make it to where if the person they referred deposits something into platform, that person that deposited gets 1 IDLE airdropped into their account. So they have incentive to actually try it.

Then we create a separate group or channel, and have all community members share their favorite and top twitter and youtube influencers. We build out a list and reach out to all of them (myself or someone can help with this). Tell them they have up to 2 weeks to notify team if they want to partake in limited time opportunity.

Another 25,000 IDLE can be used to hire couple marketing agencies. We will see which ones are the most successful in driving in users and keep those agencies. BUT with the marketing agency, the referral link will be tied specifically to the treasury contract and not a specific person. So as the marketing agencies drive in traffic, there is no fee split because the smart treasury gets to keep it all since it acts as the referral.

I agree with B2B as main focus 100%. I just added all the above, just in case it was easy to do or team found it beneficial. If its too much work and don’t think it will make too much difference in growth for platform, then I don’t mind waiting for fully automated community referral system. And if you guys have big partnerships in the pipeline, then I guess all of this above wont matter much and lots of eyes will be on IDLE either way. BUT anyways, just figured I’d share…just in case.


The referral system, if implemented on chain, is the same so once you set it up it works for both Integrators and community (if we start at the very beginning with something off-chain than that would be only for integrators due to the overhead of manually managing everything)

I like your willingness to expand Idle to the masses :slight_smile: , but I don’t think we are ready for such marketing yet, there are still a lot of technicalities which needs to be solved and high gas costs which create an high barrier for new, outside-of-defi, people imo.

Ideally it should not be based on the number of addresses, but on the actual fees the referred users generated otherwise is easily fakeable and not proportional to the value bringed to the protocol.

I’m not sure give IDLE to kick of this off is the correct way fo doing it but could be an idea, I’m personally against this because to me it should be purely based on the fees generated by the user you bring on the platform.

Do we really need to give away other IDLE? I’m not sure it will be seen as an incentive to use the platform because for now it’s not needed to use the product, also users are already getting IDLE distributed with deposits for the next 2 years with the liquidity mining program


I agree 100% with all the above.Very good points.

Looking forward to the next 3-6 months of IDLE development and beyond. I know you guys will make it killer.