What is account abstraction?

At present, Ethereum has two kinds of accounts: external owned account and contract account. The former is controlled by the private key, while the latter is controlled by the Ethereum virtual machine code stored in the smart contract account (sometimes called the smart wallet). Account abstraction attempts to combine two types of accounts into one, that is, to make external accounts operate like contract accounts.

Why is account abstraction so important to Ethereum?

Account abstraction allows more general wallets to perform complex logic. It transfers the functions of signature verification, gas payment and replay protection from the core protocol to the Ethereum virtual machine.

What is Ethereum account abstraction

Let’s take an example to see what the use of abstraction is.

Suppose you want all the tokens to be put in a new wallet, and then you accidentally send all the ether coins to the new wallet. In this case, you can’t send any transactions and transfer the remaining tokens to a new wallet without etheric coins.

Normally, you just need to spend a little time with gas and send some Ethernet coins back to the previous address. But in some cases, it’s not so easy to correct this mistake. The token in the wallet cannot be transferred out until you send it from another wallet. It is possible for us to encounter this situation, needless to say how inconvenient it is.

Account abstraction allows you to use the remaining tokens to pay for gas, just like some smart contract wallets.

Abstraction brings new possibilities

Many networks and applications built on Ethereum need to rely on the relay to publish user transactions on the blockchain and pay for the relay. However, if there are more complex wallets and contracts, we may not need to use relay. Take tornado cash as an example (this is an application that protects users’ privacy by acting as a transfer station for users’ capital flow and confusing the capital flow). If users who need mixed currency can use abstract accounts, TA can use paygas for example The purpose of using the relay to help withdraw money is to reduce the association between the withdrawal address and other users, and also to protect privacy. If Ethereum can act as your relay, you don’t need to rely on another relay, and you don’t need to pay a certain percentage of the gas fee.

This is just one of the effects of abstraction on Ethereum. We don’t want to discuss too many technical details, but the benefits of abstraction are not just in terms of paying for gas. After the signature verification is transferred to the Ethereum virtual machine, new cryptography tools can be used when signing transactions. Smart wallet functions such as multi signature wallet and social recovery wallet will be at the same level as basic account functions.

Abstractions also contribute to the implementation of the following technical solutions:

·Status channel

· OptimisTIc rollup

·Two layer privacy schemes such as Aztec protocol

·Wait

In a word, the developers of Ethereum community can create more complex processes and provide smoother user experience with more intelligent Ethereum accounts.

How long will it take to achieve abstraction?

In fact, there are still disputes about how to achieve account abstraction. However, to be sure, account abstraction is likely to be implemented after phase 0 of Ethereum 2.0. Keep in mind that anyone can support the development of the Ethereum community. Therefore, if you want to see the account abstraction as soon as possible, you can participate in the team or publicize it.

If you want to learn more about account abstraction, check out the entry on ethhub. This entry provides an in-depth analysis of some possible implementations and lists many useful resources.

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Editor in charge: CT

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