Specialized Relayer

Wormhole is compatible with many ecosystems and integration is straight forward.

On Chain

In order to send and receive messages between chains, some on chain components are important to understand.

Sending a message

To send a message, regardless of the environment or chain, the core contract is invoked with a message argument from an emitter.

This emitter may be your contract or an existing application such as the Token Bridge, or NFT Bridge.

Using the IWormhole interface (source), we can publish a message directly to the core contract.

// ...

IWormhole wormhole = IWormhole(wormholeAddr);

// Get the fee for publishing a message
uint256 wormholeFee = wormhole.messageFee();

// ... fee/value checks

// create the HelloWorldMessage struct
HelloWorldMessage memory parsedMessage = HelloWorldMessage({
    payloadID: uint8(1),
    message: helloWorldMessage

// encode the HelloWorldMessage struct into bytes
bytes memory encodedMessage = encodeMessage(parsedMessage);

// Send the HelloWorld message by calling publishMessage on the
// Wormhole core contract and paying the Wormhole protocol fee.
messageSequence = wormhole.publishMessage{value: wormholeFee}(
    0, // batchID

More details in Example Source

Once the message is emitted from the core contract, the Guardian Network will observe the message and sign the digest of an Attestation (VAA). We'll discuss this in more depth in the Off Chain section below.

By default, VAAs are multicast. This means there is no default target chain for a given message. It's up to the application developer to decide on the format of the message and its treatment on receipt.

Receiving a message

The way a message may be received depends on the environment.

On EVM chains, the message passed is the raw VAA encoded as binary.

It has not been verified by the core contract and should be treated as untrusted input until parseAndVerifyVM has been called.

function receiveMessage(bytes memory encodedMessage) public {
    // call the Wormhole core contract to parse and verify the encodedMessage
        IWormhole.VM memory wormholeMessage,
        bool valid,
        string memory reason
    ) = wormhole().parseAndVerifyVM(encodedMessage);

    // ... safety checks

    // decode the message payload into the HelloWorldMessage struct
    HelloWorldMessage memory parsedMessage = decodeMessage(

    // ... do something cool

More details in Example Source

In addition to environment specific checks that should be performed, a contract should take care to check other fields in the body such as:

  • Emitter: Is this coming from an emitter address and chain id I expect? Typically contracts will provide a method to register a new emitter and check the incoming message against the set of emitters it trusts.

  • Sequence: Is this the sequence number I expect? How should I handle out of order deliveries?

  • Consistency Level: For the chain this message came from, is the consistency level enough to guarantee the transaction wont be reverted after I take some action?

Outside of body of the VAA, but also relevant, is the digest of the VAA which can be used for replay protection by checking if the digest has already been seen.

Since the payload itself is application specific, there may be other elements to check to ensure safety.

Off Chain

In order to shuttle messages between chains, some off chain processes are involved. The Guardians observe the events from the core contract and sign a VAA.

After enough Guardians have signed the message (at least 2/3 + 1 or 13 of 19 guardians), the VAA is available to be delivered to a target chain.

Once the VAA is available, a Relayer may deliver it in a properly formatted transaction to the target chain.

Specialized Relayer

A relayer is needed to deliver the VAA containing the message to the target chain. When the relayer is written specifically for a custom application, it's referred to as a Specialized Relayer

A specialized relayer might be as simple as an in browser process that polls the API for the availability of a VAA after submitting a transaction and delivers it to the target chain. It might also be implemented with a Spy coupled with some daemon listening for VAAs from a relevant chainID and emitter then taking action when one is observed.

Simple Relayer

Regardless of the environment, in order to get the VAA we intend to relay, we need:

  1. The emitter address

  2. The sequence id of the message we're interested in

  3. The chainId for the chain that emitted the message

With these three components, we're able to uniquely identify a VAA and fetch it from the API.

Fetching the VAA

Using the getSignedVAAWithRetry function provided in the SDK, we're able to poll the Guardian RPC until the signed VAA is ready.

import { 
} from "@certusone/wormhole-sdk";

const RPC_HOSTS = [ /* ...*/ ]

async function getVAA(emitter: string, sequence: string, chainId: number): Promise<Uint8Array> {
    // Wait for the VAA to be ready and fetch it from 
    // the guardian network
    const {vaaBytes} = await getSignedVAAWithRetry(
    return vaaBytes

const vaaBytes = await getVAA('0xdeadbeef', 1, CHAIN_ID_ETH);

Once we have the VAA, the delivery method is chain dependent.

On EVM chains, the bytes for the VAA can be passed directly as an argument to an ABI method.

// setup eth wallet
const ethProvider = new ethers.providers.StaticJsonRpcProvider(ETH_HOST);
const ethWallet = new ethers.Wallet(WALLET_PRIVATE_KEY, ethProvider);

// create client to interact with our target app
const ethHelloWorld = HelloWorld__factory.connect(

// invoke the receiveMessage on the ETH contract
// and wait for confirmation
const receipt = await ethHelloWorld
    .then((tx: ethers.ContractTransaction) => tx.wait())
    .catch((msg: any) => {
        return null;

See the Specialized Relayer Tutorial for a detailed walkthrough.


Read more about the architecture and core components here

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