Ethereum’s ERC-4337 Upgrade Paves The Way For User Wallet Recovery
Developers Launch Account Abstraction Via New ERC-4337 Standard
By: Samuel Haig •DeFi News
Ethereum developers announced the surprise deployment of the ERC-4337 standard at ETHDenver’s WalletCon event on March 1.
The standard enables what’s called “account abstraction,” allowing wallets to operate as programmable smart contracts. The feature allows users to program wallet recovery options as a precaution protecting them against losing access to their private keys in the future.
Ethereum Foundation security researcher Yoav Weiss broke the news, noting that the code successfully passed a security audit from OpenZeppelin. ERC-4337 was deployed as a smart contract, meaning no major changes to the core Ethereum protocol were needed to launch the new standard.
ERC-4337 is now available on all blockchain networks offering compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine — Ethereum’s core smart contract engine.
ERC-4337 was proposed by several of Ethereum’s top researchers, including Weiss and Vitalik Buterin, in September 2021. Transactions involving ERC-4337 require specialized validators and are processed by an alternative mempool to other Ethereum transactions.
Leading wallet applications like MetaMask and Coinbase provide users with Externally Owned Accounts, where only a person who controls the private keys for an account can initiate transactions.
By contrast, Contract Account wallets are programmed by smart contracts and provide greater flexibility in how private keys and transactions are managed, meaning users can program different mechanisms enabling wallet recovery.
Account Abstraction could allow users to do away with the common practice of backing up a set of words on a piece of paper, enabling new ways to secure wallets. For example, users could set up two-factor authentication to access a wallet via biometric data, or program multi-signature wallets providing shared access to a single account.
Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s chief scientist and co-founder, also said ERC-4337 enables a fully decentralized fee market for smart contract wallet operations.