The jury is still out on Vitalik’s account abstraction proposal

EIP-7702 was quickly adopted for the next Ethereum upgrade, but developers haven’t quite locked it down


Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin | Alexey Smyshlyaev/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


It’s not yet clear when Ethereum’s next major upgrade will hit mainnet, with current estimates ranging from November this year to early 2025 — although the latter now seems more likely.

The first step in shoring up a timeline for “Pectra” is to finalize the specification of all Ethereum Improvement Proposals that are to be included.

While most of that work has been done, one item was identified on Thursday’s All Core Developers (ACD) call as “the number one outstanding spec issue for Pectra,” and that’s EIP-7702: Set EOA account code for one transaction.

This proposal allows an Externally Owned Account (EOA) — think a normal wallet like MetaMask — to temporarily function as a smart contract for a single transaction. EOAs are accounts controlled by private keys, and smart contracts are code that runs on the blockchain — in this case Ethereum.

EIP-7702 aims to merge some functionalities of both for enhanced flexibility and security.

One example is gasless transactions, where a dapp sets an EOA to allow a third party (such as an operator or sponsor) to cover the fees for a transaction.

The EIP was offered by Ethereum developers, including Vitalik Buterin, in early May and is set to replace an earlier contentious attempt to enable similar features.

Read more: Vitalik rallies support for temporary smart wallets on Ethereum

The upgrade is designed with a future based around account abstraction in mind, avoiding unnecessary complexities and ensuring forward compatibility with further user experience improvements.​ 

During the ACD call, developers discussed the integration challenges and potential risks associated with EIP-7702.

Sudeep Kumar from the Erigon team suggested an account-based revocation system that would be “keeping track of the template addresses that [the user] revoked.”

Geth developer Lightclient suggested such a feature could be implemented as an ERC, not in-protocol.

Other developers voiced concerns over the complexity and potential for scope creep with EIP-7702, depending on which version was ultimately adopted. Some developers argued for bringing over certain features from the earlier EIP-3704 that it is meant to replace.

But Safe co-founder Richard Meissner praised the simplicity of 7702, pointing out it “has no onchain impact, [so] you can deprecate it much easier.”

Marius van der Wijden from Geth expressed reservations about encouraging the use of an account as both a smart account and EOA simultaneously, and Meissner agreed.

“Having both feels very dangerous when it comes to specifying it,” Meissner said.

The consensus was to resolve these issues by the next ACD call to ensure timely implementation for Devnet 2 — the third of many small developer testnets.

That call is scheduled for July 4 — Independence Day in the US — but all American developers in attendance indicated that any backyard barbecuing duties wouldn’t get in the way of Ethereum’s progress.

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