ResourcesLearning Hub

What Is ERC-4337? The New Ethereum Standard Explained

Read to learn about ERC-4337, a new standard on the Ethereum network that enables the creation of Smart Accounts without consensus-layer changes, and how it will help pave the way to the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies, blockchain and Web3.

5 min read
RELATED TOPICS
Key Takeaways
  • ERC-4337 is an Ethereum standard that enables the creation of Smart Accounts without any consensus-layer changes. 
  • Smart accounts remove some of the more technically complicated aspects of transacting on the Ethereum network, such as seed phrases, and replace them with user-friendly alternatives, such as a username and password. 
  • Ethereum account abstraction allows for a better overall user experience along with improved security.

One of the biggest barriers to the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies is the complicated process of onboarding new users, which involves creating cryptocurrency wallets that require users to record complicated seed phrases and can often involve a highly technical setup process that the average person has no interest in learning.

And that doesn’t even get into navigating the worlds of centralized finance and decentralized finance and how to effectively operate between the two. 

For these reasons, Ethereum developers created ERC-4337, a new Ethereum standard that enables the creation of Smart Accounts, which will help pave the way to the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies, blockchain and Web3.

What Is ERC?

What is ERC? The Ethereum Request for Comments (ERC) is an official protocol used on the Ethereum network. It provides a standard, open source structure for developers to use when creating new applications and features within the Ethereum ecosystem. The ERC allows developers to create their own tokens, dApps, and smart contracts that interact with other parts of the Ethereum network. ERC is a protocol used on the Ethereum network. It helps developers make new applications and features. They can create their own tokens, dApps, and smart contracts that connect to other parts of Ethereum.

What Is ERC-4337?

ERC-4337 is an Ethereum standard designed to evolve externally owned accounts (EOAs), which are the wallet addresses controlled by the person holding the private keys, into smart accounts. EOA Ethereum  is the only way that users can create a transaction or execute a smart contract. 

A more technical term for ERC-4337 is account abstraction. Account abstraction is an eth upgrade that makes it so that smart contract wallets are natively supported on Ethereum. 

The definition of abstraction is the process of taking away or removing characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics. In the case of Ethereum account abstraction on Ethereum, what is being taken away are some of the more complicated aspects of user accounts to replace them with things that are simpler and more user-friendly. This includes things like seed phrases, individual transaction signing, and an overreliance on private keys. 

Ethereum account abstraction enables smart contracts to initiate transactions themselves, which means that any logic that the user wishes to implement can be coded into directly the smart contract wallet and executed on Ethereum upgrades.

Put simply, ERC-4337 brings smart contract functionality to wallets, transforming them into smart accounts that are capable of performing multiple tasks, handling multi-factor authentication, initiating and sustaining crypto subscriptions, and more – all via code. 

Benefits of ERC-4337?

The new smart contract wallets created through ERC-4337 unlock a host of new benefits for the end user, including the ability to: 

  • recover accounts in the event of a lost private key, seed phrase, or smart device. 
  • define your own flexible security rules. 
  • share your account security across trusted devices or individuals.
  • batch transactions together, which allows them to be executed at once, with only one gas fee.
  • pay someone else’s gas, or have someone else pay your gas. 
  • More opportunities for wallet and decentralized application developers to innovate on user experiences.

Ultimately, Ethereum account abstraction improves support for smart contract wallets which makes them easier to build and safer to use. In the end, with account abstraction, users can enjoy all the benefits of Ethereum without knowing or caring about the underlying technology.

Breaking It Down: EOAs vs. Smart Accounts

Here’s a table to help you get a better understanding of the differences between EOA crypto and Smart accounts. 

Parameters 

Externally owned accounts

Smart Accounts 

Set up

Requires the recording and safekeeping of a seed phrase

Depends on the wallet provider

Automation

Only possible until a sign-off is required

Customizable

Permissions

Private keys define everything

Customizable as per level (access control is allowed)

Bundled transaction

Every act requires a sign-off

Approval and swaps can be batched together, as can other transactions. 

Limits

No automation in regards to limits

Custom spending can be set

Account Recovery

Only seed phrases can help you with recovery

Any encoded logic can be set to recover keys. Yours can be as simple as an email with a recovery code.

Other Smart Wallet Capabilities

Some other examples of security logic that can be built into smart wallets include: 

  • Account freezing - If a device is lost or compromised the account can be locked from another authorized device, protecting the user's assets.
  • Account recovery - Users can set some pre-approved accounts that can authorize new devices and reset access.
  • Set transaction limits - Specify a daily threshold for how much value can be transferred from the account in a day/week/month. This helps prevent an attacker from accessing your account and draining your funds before you have an opportunity to freeze the account and reset its access. 
  • Create whitelists – Only allow transactions to certain addresses that are pre-approved by you and known to be safe. In the event that your account is compromised, the attacker would only not be able to send funds to any non-whitelisted address. An added security feature is a multi-signature requirement to change or add an address to the list. 

Overall, account abstraction allows for a better overall user experience along with improved security through the addition of support for smart wallets at the protocol level. This allows developers to create more user-friendly wallets and applications that simplify the process of creating and transacting from crypto wallets.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
This material is intended to be of general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy. It does not constitute legal or tax advice. The views expressed are those of the author and the comments, opinions and analyses are rendered as of the publication date and may change without notice. There is no guarantee that any forecasts or predictions made will come to pass. The information provided in this material is not intended as a complete analysis of all material facts or circumstances regarding any country, region or market. All investments involve risks, including possible loss of principal.‍Risk management does not imply elimination of risks, and not all investments are suitable for all investors.The information and opinions contained in this material are derived from proprietary and non-proprietary sources deemed by SOMA.finance to be reliable, are not necessarily all inclusive and are not guaranteed as to accuracy. Data from third party sources has not independently verified, validated or audited. SOMA.finance accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from use of this information; reliance upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user. ​Any products, services and information in this material may not be available in all jurisdictions and are offered local laws and regulation permit. Please consult your own financial professional or legal advisor for further information on availability of products and services in your jurisdiction. Please also see the disclaimer which is found at the bottom of this website under the heading “Important Disclosures”.