The Ethereum community appears to be searching for alternative implementations of account abstraction than ERC-4337, which was launched this year at ETHDenver.
Stateless account abstraction on Ethereum
Developers on the Ethereum Research Forum, under the name, Xtreamly, posted a proposal for a new EIP that would allow for stateless account abstraction at the Ethereum protocol layer. The proposal wants to improve Ethereum by creating a system where accounts can operate ” stateless. ”
Stateless in this context means that nodes validating transactions on the network do not need to keep the blockchain’s entire state (or all account balances) to validate new transactions. This has potential benefits for efficiency and scalability as it reduces the possible size of the blockchain.
Xtreamly, who has yet to submit an EIP officially, argues that current implementations of account abstraction, like ERC-4337, are not efficient enough.
Account abstraction makes web3 accounts programmable, enabling them to define their own transaction validity conditions. In addition, it abstracts the private key away from the account/signer process, allowing each account to behave like a smart contract wallet capable of initiating transactions, threshold signatures, bundled signing, arbitrary verification logic, and paying fees in non-native currencies.
ERC-4337 falls short?
Xtreamly stated that “[ERC-4337] falls short in terms of efficiency around failed transactions, security, easier roll-up transferability, state, and execution bloat, which are some of the longest and still unresolved challenges in the Ethereum protocol.”
Thus, the Xtreamly developers believe that using ERC-4337 will lead to significant challenges in managing a growing network state, basic operation costs, and Ethereum’s scalability due to its stateful nature, resulting in excessive gas fees and inefficient scalability.
Zero Knowledge powering the innovation
One of the critical innovations in the proposed model lies in its use of “distributed vector commitments,” which leverage “multiplexer polynomials and zk-SNARKs.” Multiplexer polynomials are mathematical expressions used in cryptography and computer science to efficiently handle multiple inputs and outputs. Zk-SNARKs allow one party to efficiently prove to another they know a specific piece of information without revealing what that information is.
The Xtreamly team proposes that this approach enables state updates without requiring knowledge of the entire state, allowing for more efficient syncing of updated data. In addition, integrating Bloom Filters further streamlines the process by enabling quick account existence checks.
However, the possibility for false positives when using Bloom Filters could be a concern in an immutable ledger, especially given that elements can only be added to a set, not removed, and increasing the number of items in the set further increases the risk of false positives.
Viability of stateless account abstraction
By reducing unnecessary computations through client-side validation and caching, the Xtreamly proposal can potentially improve transaction processing times across the network. Combined with the proposed method for distributing state updates, the proposal could help mitigate the risk of state bloat and contribute to the scalability of the Ethereum network. Xtreamly claims it “can scale up to one billion accounts.”
The author of the research post claimed that some top Ethereum names are involved in the potential EIP, and CryptoSlate reached out to the team on LinkedIn, who confirmed work toward the project is ongoing. The proposal is interesting in its approach and goal to offer an alternative to ERC-4337, with more information on its Medium account.
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