Mar 02, 2023

ERC-4337 Standard Enables Smart Accounts on Ethereum, Driving Crypto Adoption

The Ethereum Foundation has announced that the core contracts for ERC-4337, otherwise known as “account abstraction”, have passed an audit by Open Zeppelin and will be made available on all Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible networks. This new development is expected to help accelerate mainstream adoption of crypto by making it more user-friendly.

Yoav Weiss, a security researcher from the Ethereum Foundation, will make the announcement during WalletCon in Denver today. He told Cointelegraph that the new standard will make it easier for new users to onboard into the crypto world without having to learn complicated seed phrases or the technical process of setting up a wallet.

“The next billion users are not going to write 12 words on a piece of paper. Normal people don’t do that,” he said. “We need to give them better usability, they shouldn’t need to think about cryptographic keys.”

Account abstraction will enable users to store their cryptographic keys on standard smartphone security modules, upgrading them to de facto hardware wallets. It also provides two-factor authentication and the ability to set monthly spending limits on an account, as well as session keys for playing blockchain games without constantly having to approve transactions.

In the event that users lose their phone or device, they can use time-locked social recovery of their account via a group of trusted friends or a commercial service. Weiss said:

“It gives you the same features a bank would without having to trust a bank.”

The development of the standard has been two years in the making and was funded by the Ethereum Foundation. While similar functionality is available on smart contract wallets from Argent and Gnosis, these solutions require centralized components called relays to pay gas fees, whereas ERC-4337 decentralizes the entire system.

The process works by having a smart wallet sign a “user operation”, which gets fired to a special mempool. Bundlers, which are like miners or validators, take user operations from the mempool and deliver the desired result back to the wallet. The bundlers also pay for the gas (transaction fee) required and receive compensation from the user’s contract account or a third party.

Account abstraction is proving to be a powerful tool for crypto in 2023, with the technology already being incorporated into zk-Rollup layer 2 solutions from StarkWare and zkSync, and Visa designing an automated crypto bill payment system that makes use of it.

John Rising, the co-founder of Stackup, tweeted this week that an added advantage of account abstraction is that projects can use plain and easily understood language to onboard new users rather than arcane technical terms.

“Because the contract handles the esoteric blockchain stuff, you don’t have to use words like ‘gas’ or ‘nonce’ to accurately describe what’s happening. This is a huge win for crypto adoption and security.”

The new ERC-4337 standard is set to open up a world of possibilities for the crypto space, from NFT marketing to selling NFTs, and from NFT promotion to Twitter NFT marketing. With the help of a web3 agency, businesses can take advantage of this new technology to make the most of their NFT marketing efforts.

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