This tutorial introduces the lifecycling framework of the library with a simple example. The purpose is to demonstrate how lifecycle rules and events can be used to process a dividend payment.

We are going to:

  1. create a new version of the token instrument
  2. create the required lifecycle rules
  3. create a distribution event
  4. process the event to produce the effects from the distribution
  5. instruct settlement by presenting a token holding
  6. settling the resulting batch atomically

This example builds on the previous Settlement tutorial script in the sense that the same accounts and the existing holdings are used.

Overview of the Process

We first give a high-level outline of the lifecycle process:

  1. Create a lifecycle rule
A lifecycle rule implements the logic to calculate effects for a given lifecycle event. In our example we create a distribution rule to handle the dividend event on our token.
  1. Create a lifecycle event
The lifecycle event refers to the target instrument the event applies to. Holdings on this instrument can then be used to claim the resulting lifecycle effect.
  1. Process the event through the lifecycle rule
The lifecycle rule contains the business logic to derive the lifecycle effects resulting from a concrete event. The effect describes the per-unit holding transfers that are to be settled between a custodian and the owner of a holding.
  1. Claim the effect using a holding
The claim rule is used to claim the effects resulting from a lifecycle event using a holding on the target instrument. The result is a set of settlement instructions and a corresponding batch to be settled between the custodian and the owner of the holding.

Run the Script

The code for this tutorial can be executed via the runLifecycling function in the Lifecycling.daml module.

The first part executes the script from the previous Settlement tutorial to arrive at the initial state for this scenario.

Then we create a new version of the token instrument, which is required for defining the distribution event. This is what the instrument holders will receive when processing the lifecycle event later in the tutorial.

  let newTokenInstrument = tokenInstrument with version = "1"
  now <- getTime
  submit bank do
    exerciseCmd tokenFactoryCid TokenFactory.Create with
      token = Token with
        instrument = newTokenInstrument
        description = "Instrument representing units of a generic token after a distribution event"
        validAsOf = now
      observers = mempty

Next, we create two lifecycle rules:

  distributionRuleCid <- toInterfaceContractId @Lifecycle.I <$> submit bank do
    createCmd Distribution.Rule with
      providers = singleton bank
      lifecycler = bank
      observers = singleton bob
      id = Id "Lifecycle rule for distribution"
      description = "Rule contract to lifecycle an instrument following a distribution event"

  lifecycleClaimRuleCid <- toInterfaceContractId @Claim.I <$> submit bank do
    createCmd Claim.Rule with
      provider = bank
      claimers = singleton bob
      settlers = singleton bob
      netInstructions = False
  • The Distribution Rule defines the business logic to calculate the resulting lifecycle effect from a given distribution event. It is signed by the Bank as a provider.
  • The Claim Rule allows a holder of the target instrument to claim the effect resulting from the distribution event. By presenting their holding they can instruct the settlement of the holding transfers described in the effect.

We then create a distribution event describing the terms of the dividend to be paid.

  distributionEventCid <- toInterfaceContractId @Event.I <$> submit bank do
    createCmd Distribution.Event with
      providers = singleton bank
      id = Id "DISTRIBUTION"
      description = "Profit distribution"
      effectiveTime = now
      targetInstrument = tokenInstrument
      newInstrument = newTokenInstrument
      perUnitDistribution = [qty 0.02 usdInstrument]
      observers = mempty

Now we can process the distribution event using the distribution rule.

  (_, [effectCid]) <- submit bank do
    exerciseCmd distributionRuleCid Lifecycle.Evolve with
      eventCid = distributionEventCid
      observableCids = []
      instrument = tokenInstrument

The result of this is an effect describing the per-unit asset movements to be executed for token holders. Each holder can now present their holding to claim the effect and instruct settlement of the associated entitlements.

  result <- submit bob do
    exerciseCmd lifecycleClaimRuleCid Claim.ClaimEffect with
      claimer = bob
      holdingCids = [bobHoldingCid]
      effectCid -- This is equivalent to writing effectCid = effectCid
      batchId = Id "DistributionSettlement"
  let [bobInstructionCid, bankInstructionCid, couponInstructionCid] = result.instructionCids

As a side-effect of settling the entitlements, the presented holding is exchanged for a holding of the new token version. This is to prevent a holder from benefiting from a given effect twice.

In our example of a cash dividend, only a single instruction is generated: the movement of cash from the bank to the token holder. This instruction along with its batch is settled the usual way, as described in the previous Settlement tutorial.

  -- Allocate instruction
  (bobInstructionCid, _) <- submit bob do
    exerciseCmd bobInstructionCid Instruction.Allocate with
      actors = singleton bob
      allocation = Pledge bobHoldingCid

  (bankInstructionCid, _) <- submit bank do
    exerciseCmd bankInstructionCid Instruction.Allocate with
      actors = singleton bank
      allocation = CreditReceiver

  (couponInstructionCid, _) <- submit bank do
    exerciseCmd couponInstructionCid Instruction.Allocate with
      actors = singleton bank
      allocation = CreditReceiver

  -- Approve instruction
  bobInstructionCid <- submit bank do
    exerciseCmd bobInstructionCid Instruction.Approve with
      actors = singleton bank
      approval = DebitSender

  bankInstructionCid <- submit bob do
    exerciseCmd bankInstructionCid Instruction.Approve with
      actors = singleton bob
      approval = TakeDelivery bobAccount

  couponInstructionCid <- submit bob do
    exerciseCmd couponInstructionCid Instruction.Approve with
      actors = singleton bob
      approval = TakeDelivery bobAccount

  -- Settle batch
  submit bob do
    exerciseCmd result.batchCid Batch.Settle with actors = singleton bob

Note that the bank in this case does not actually transfer the cash from another account, but simply credits Bob’s account by using the CreditReceiver allocation type. In a real-world dividend scenario one would additionally model the flow of funds from the issuer to the bank using the same lifecycle process as described above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which party should create and sign the lifecycle rules and events?

In the simplified scenario for this tutorial, we have used the bank as both the issuer and depository for the instruments involved. In a real-world case, instruments and their corresponding lifecycle rules and events would be maintained by an actual issuer, with the depository acting as a 3rd-party trust anchor.

Which parties typically take which actions in the lifecycle workflow?

The lifecycle interfaces governing the process leave the controllers of the various choices in the process up to the implementation.

  • Typically, we would expect the issuer of an instrument to be responsible to generate lifecycle events (for example, announcing dividends or stock splits).
  • Lifecycle rules on the other hand are often controlled by 3rd-party calculation agents.
  • The claiming of lifecycle effects is by default the responsibility of the owner of a holding. If instead the owner wants to delegate this responsibility to their custodian they can do so via a delegation contract.
  • The party executing settlement can be chosen as well, as described in the previous tutorial on Settlement.

Which party should take the role as lifecycler?

From a design perspective, a lifecycler is often the party that defines the lifecycle events happening on an instrument (although they can be different). In the simplified example above, it is the bank. In a more realistic example, it would probably be the issuer. In some special cases, if we really need the owner to be the lifecycler, we can use a delegation contract.

The lifecycler is currently trusted with:

  • Timely and complete Event processing
  • Providing accurate Observations

Which party is the provider of the Effect?

Most of the time the provider of the Effect is the lifecycler. However, in some cases we may want to avoid disclosing the claimed holdings to the lifecycler. The provider of the Effect gets to see all holdings claimed against that one Effect contract. If we wish to avoid that, we then need a different effect provider.

Can an instrument act as its own lifecycle rule?

Yes, an instrument can implement the Lifecycle interface directly such that the lifecycle rules are contained within the instrument itself. There are, however, advantages to separating this logic out into rule contracts:

  • Keeping lifecycle rules in a different package from your instruments allows you to independently upgrade or patch them without affecting your live instruments.
  • Having separate rules allows to change the lifecycle properties of an instrument dynamically at runtime. For example, an instrument can initially be created without support for doing asset distributions. Then, at a later point, the issuer might decide to start paying dividends. They can now simply add a distribution rule to the running system to enable this new lifecycle event for their instrument without affecting the actual live instrument itself (or any holdings on it).

Can I integrate a holding ownership change (of the target instrument) within lifecycling?

Lifecycling will not change the ownership of the target instrument. You should use the Transfer pattern to do a delivery-versus-payment as a separate step from the lifecycling.

However, there usually is a change of ownership of the other consumed/produced instruments when lifecycling (e.g. when paying out a dividend cash is moved from one party to another).


You have learned how to use lifecycle rules and events to describe the behavior of an instrument. The key concepts to take away are:

  • Lifecycle events represent different ways of how an instrument can evolve.
  • A lifecycle rule contains logic to calculate the effects an event has on an instrument and its holdings.
  • A claim rule is used to instruct settlement for a given effect using a holding.