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ADR 002: Globalfee Module


  • 2023-06-12: Initial Draft


ACCEPTED Implemented


The globalfee module was created to manage a parameter called MinimumGasPricesParam, which sets a network-wide minimum fee requirement. The intention was to stop random denominations from entering fee collections and to reduce the time validators take to check a long list of transaction fees. To address scenarios where no fee payment is required but the denominations for volunteered paid fees are still restricted, the zero coins was introduced to serve as a means of limiting the denoms. Nevertheless, the initial version of the globalfee module had some issues:

  • In the globalfee module, several Cosmos SDK coins methods were redefined because of the allowance of zero-value coins in the MinimumGasPricesParam. The MinimumGasPricesParam is of sdk.DecCoins type. In the Cosmos SDK, sdk.DecCoins are sanitized to remove zero-value coins. As a result, several methods from sdk.Coins were redefined in the Gaia fee antehandler.

  • BypassMinFeeMsgTypes exists in app.toml, which means each node can define its own value. Thus, it's not clear whether a transaction containing bypass-messages will be exempted from paying a fee.

  • The fee check logic is only executed in CheckTx. This could enable malicious validators to change the fee check code and propose transactions that do not meet the fee requirement.


To fix these problems, the following changes are added to the globalfee module:

  • ZeroCoins in MinimumGasPricesParam:\ Refactor the fee check logics, in order to use the Cosmos SDK coins' methods instead of the redefined methods.
  • Bypass Message Types:\ BypassMinFeeMsgTypes is refactored to be a param of the globalfee module, in order to make the bypass messages deterministic.
  • Check Fees in DeliverTx:\ The fee check is factored to executed in both DeliverTx and CheckTx. This is to prevent malicious validators from changing the fee check logic and allowing any transactions to pass fee check. As a consequence, MinimumGasPricesParam is introduced as a globalfee param.

ZeroCoins in MinimumGasPricesParam

Coins Split

CombinedFeeRequirement refers to the fee requirement that takes into account both globalFees (MinimumGasPricesParam in the globalfee module) and localFees (minimum-gas-prices in app.toml). This requirement is calculated as the maximum value between globalFees and localFees for denomination exists globalFees. The allowance of zero coins in the MinimumGasPricesParam within the globalfee module implies that CombinedFeeRequirement(globalFees, localFees) also permits zero coins. Therefore, the CombinedFeeRequirement doesn't meet the requirements of certain sdk.Coins methods. For instance, the DenomsSubsetOf method requires coins that do not contain zero coins.

To address this issue, the CombinedFeeRequirement and feeCoins are split as shown in the chart below.

title: Fee Requirements and Fee Splits
flowchart TD
subgraph feeReq
A[CombinedFeeRequirement]-->B[/Split zero/nonzero coins/]
B-->|zero coins| C[zeroCoinFeesDenomReq];
B-->|nonzero coins| D[nonzeroCoinFeesDenomReq];


subgraph feeCoin
E[feeCoins]-->F[/Split by the denoms in zero/nonzero CoinFeesDenomReq/]
F-->|denoms in zeroCoinFeesDenomReq set| G[feeCoinsZeroDenom]
F-->|denoms in nonzeroCoinFeesDenomReq set| H[feeCoinsNonZeroDenom]

The CombinedFeeRequirement is split into zero and non-zero coins, forming nonZeroCoinFeesReq and zeroCoinFeesDenomReq. Similarly, the paid fees (feeCoins) are split into feeCoinsNonZeroDenom and feeCoinsZeroDenom, based on the denominations of nonZeroCoinFeesReq and zeroCoinFeesDenomReq as shown in the following code snippet.

    nonZeroCoinFeesReq, zeroCoinFeesDenomReq := getNonZeroFees(feeRequired)

// feeCoinsNonZeroDenom contains non-zero denominations from the feeRequired
// feeCoinsNonZeroDenom is used to check if the fees meets the requirement imposed by nonZeroCoinFeesReq
// when feeCoins does not contain zero coins' denoms in feeRequired
feeCoinsNonZeroDenom, feeCoinsZeroDenom := splitCoinsByDenoms(feeCoins, zeroCoinFeesDenomReq)

Fee Checks

The Workflow of feeCheck is shown below:

title: Fee Check
flowchart TD






The split enable checking feeCoinsNonZeroDenom against nonZeroCoinFeesReq, and feeCoinsZeroDenom against zeroCoinFeesDenomReq (as shown in the following code snippet). In the check of feeCoinsNonZeroDenom against nonZeroCoinFeesReq, the Cosmos SDK coins' methods can be used since zero coins are removed from the nonZeroCoinFeesReq, while in the check feeCoinsZeroDenom against zeroCoinFeesDenomReq, only denoms need to be checked.

Checking feeCoinsNonZeroDenom against nonZeroCoinFeesReq:

    if !feeCoinsNonZeroDenom.IsAnyGTE(nonZeroCoinFeesReq) {
return ctx, sdkerrors.Wrapf(sdkerrors.ErrInsufficientFee, "insufficient fees; got: %s required: %s", feeCoins.String(), feeRequired.String())

Here is an example of how the coins split and checked in fee antehandler:\ assumption:\ globalfee=[1photon, 0uatom, 1stake] and local min-gas-prices=[0.5stake]

fee requirement:\ combinedFeeRequirement=[1photon, 0uatom, 1stake]

split fee requirement:\ the combinedFeeRequirement into nonZeroCoinFeesReq=[0uatom], and nonZeroCoinFeesReq=[1photon, 1stake]

split the paid fees:\ if paidFee=[1uatom, 0.5photon], the splitCoinsByDenoms splits the paidFee into feeCoinsZeroDenom=[1uatom] (the same denom as zero coins in combinedFeeRequirement), and feeCoinsNonZeroDenom=[0.5stake] then feeCoinsZeroDenom=[1uatom] is checked by nonZeroCoinFeesReq=[1photon, 1stake].

Please note that feeCoins does not contain zero coins. The fee coins are split according to the denoms in zeroCoinFeesDenomReq or nonZeroCoinFeesDenomReq. If feeCoins contains coins not in both zeroCoinFeesDenomReq and nonZeroCoinFeesDenomReq, the transaction should be rejected. On the contrary, if feeCoins' denoms are in either zeroCoinFeesDenomReq or nonZeroCoinFeesDenomReq, and len(zeroCoinFeesDenomReq)!=0, the transaction can directly pass, otherwise, the fee amount need to be checked.

Bypass Message Types

BypassMinFeeMsgTypes was a setup in config/app.toml before the refactor. BypassMinFeeMsgTypes is refactored to be a param of the globalfee module to get a network level agreement. Correspondingly,MaxTotalBypassMinFeeMsgGasUsage is also introduced as a globalfee param.

Fee Checks in DeliverTx

Implementing fee checks within the DeliverTx function introduces a few requirements:

  • Deterministic Minimum Fee Requirement: For the DeliverTx process, it is essential to have a deterministic minimum fee requirement. In CheckTx, fee is checked by the CombinedFeeRequirement(globalFees, localFees), which considers both minimum-gas-prices from config/app.toml and MinimumGasPricesParam from the globalfee Params (For more details, see CombinedFeeRequirement contains non-deterministic part: minimum-gas-prices from app.toml. Therefore, CombinedFeeRequirement cannot be used in DeliverTx. In DeliverTx, only MinimumGasPricesParam in globalfee Params is used for fee verification. The code implementation is shown below.
func (mfd FeeDecorator) GetTxFeeRequired(ctx sdk.Context, tx sdk.FeeTx) (sdk.Coins, error) {
// Get required global fee min gas prices
// Note that it should never be empty since its default value is set to coin={"StakingBondDenom", 0}
globalFees, err := mfd.GetGlobalFee(ctx, tx)
if err != nil {
return sdk.Coins{}, err

// In DeliverTx, the global fee min gas prices are the only tx fee requirements.
if !ctx.IsCheckTx() {
return globalFees, nil

// In CheckTx mode, the local and global fee min gas prices are combined
// to form the tx fee requirements

// Get local minimum-gas-prices
localFees := GetMinGasPrice(ctx, int64(tx.GetGas()))

// Return combined fee requirements
return CombinedFeeRequirement(globalFees, localFees)
  • Deterministic Bypass Parameters: The decision of whether a message can bypass the minimum fee has to be deterministic as well. To ensure this, BypassMinFeeMsgTypes and MaxTotalBypassMinFeeMsgGasUsage parameters are moved to a persistent store.

  • Module Initialization Order: The genutils module must be initialized before the globalfee module. This is due to the DeliverGenTxs in the genutils module, is called during initGenesis. This function executes DeliverTx, which subsequently calls the AnteHandle in FeeDecorator, triggering the fee check in DeliverTx. To prevent the DeliverGenTxs go through a fee check, the initialization of the globalfee module should occur after the genutils module. This sequencing ensures that all necessary components are in place when the fee check occurs. See Gaia Issue #2489 for more context.



This refactor results in code that is easier to maintain. It prevents malicious validators from escaping fee checks and make the bypass messages work at network level.


The introduction of FeeDecorator has replaced the usage of MempoolFeeDecorator in the Cosmos SDK. Currently, if both FeeDecorator and MempoolFeeDecorator are added to the AnteDecorator chain, it will result in redundant checks. However, there's potential for FeeDecorator and MempoolFeeDecorator to become incompatible in the future, depending on updates to the Cosmos SDK.