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Ethereum launches ERC-4337 “smart accounts”

Ethereum developer Yoav Weiss announced ERC-4337, or “smart accounts,” at WalletCon in Denver, Colorado, on March 1.

ERC-4337 (formerly EIP-4337) is also known as account abstraction. It provides a basis for various features such as account recovery and group-access wallets. Other possible applications include bundled and sponsored transactions for reduced transaction fees.

It will also allow platforms to provide crypto services without requiring users to set up a traditional wallet and manually store their seed phrase or private key. Account abstraction stores keys locally on the user’s hardware security module (HSM) ⁠— not with any service provider ⁠— and therefore is as secure as a self-custodied crypto wallet.

ERC-4337 was added to Ethereum through a smart contract, which was introduced without forking the entire blockchain. The relevant smart contract was deployed on Feb. 28, several hours before the feature was officially announced.

The feature can also be introduced on any EVM-compatible blockchain, including BNB Smart Chain (BNB), Polygon (MATIC), Avalanche (AVAX), and many others.

ERC-4337 was notably endorsed by Visa last December. The company recognized account abstraction as a possible way for users to auto-schedule crypto payments.

Other, more extensive Ethereum upgrades are also underway. The blockchain is preparing for its Shanghai upgrade, allowing validators to withdraw staked ETH. That feature was activated on a testnet this week and should be fully introduced this month.

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