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Account Abstraction: Have They Improved Enough to Compete with MetaMask?

MetaMask, the gold standard and backbone for cryptocurrency wallets since 2016, has an immense user base — achieving over one million monthly active users (MAUs) in 2020. It offers both those new to the crypto space and veterans ease-of-access via a simple browser extension and the seamless use of cryptocurrencies.

MetaMask has expanded rapidly over the last few years, offering a mobile application, continual updates, including in-wallet swaps, and adaptations for blockchain interoperability wherever possible. These developments have granted MetaMask a solid position in the cryptocurrency space and a reputation touted as the best wallet for all users. 

Unfortunately, all the above achievements do come with caveats. Security concerns associated with the traditional wallets, such as MetaMask, have begun to appear due to a lack of account abstraction (AA), and from limitations of externally-owned accounts (EOAs). This reality has created a divide in the crypto community, posing the polarizing choice that continues to frustrate and pressurize users: the choice between security or convenience — pushing them towards safer options such as Ambire.

This is where AA wallets come in. 

Account Abstraction: Solving Security Shortcomings 

AA wallets incorporate a security solution that solves long-standing security concerns involving EOA crypto wallets. Cumbersome traditional wallets may offer ease-of-use but they entail the need to rely on seed phrases for account recovery. AA wallets do not.

Rather than repeat the mistakes of history where lost seed phrases have caused the mass-loss of funds for holders, AA wallets overcome the limitations of traditional wallets like MetaMask via simpler recovery techniques.

Following the implementation of the ERC-4337 standard in the Ethereum (ETH) ecosystem, the need for EOAs has now become unnecessary. Through the new ERC-4337 standard, smart contracts can now take the place of EOAs, acting as user accounts.

Consequently, users can now access more secure methods of transacting and advanced features such as multi-sig schemes via the utilization of AA features granted by ERC-4337. Though developed as a new method of account handling, the ERC-4337 standard was also designed for backwards-compatibility in the Ethereum ecosystem. This negates the need to modify applications and services when it comes to supporting user connections to smart contract wallets.

AA Wallets: Pushing the Boundaries

AA wallets have been working hard to catch up with the likes of MetaMask EOA-limited wallets that rely so heavily on traditional seed phrase recovery methods. AA wallets have been working towards bridging the gap between convenience and security that MetaMask users face. Unlike traditional EOA wallets, Ambire utilizes AA to provide users with a secure wallet solution to recover their account — without sacrificing flexibility or impairing user experience.  

This alternative to the likes of MetaMask provides users with a plethora of features and functions that are not accessible via traditional wallets. Offering a significant improvement over traditional crypto wallets, these include:

  • Combining (or “batching”) transactions together, enabling multiple transactions to be broadcasted together — saving time, money, and granting a smoother user experience.
  • Registering and recovering accounts via just an email and password.
  • Applying two-factor authentication (2FA) to the wallet and/or be used with a hardware wallet.
  • Simulating transaction, even prior to signing, to determine transaction fees.
  • Prepaying network fees.
  • Paying network fees with ERC-20 and stablecoins.

The self-custodial and open source nature of AA smart wallets like Ambire allows users to bridge to Web3 apps effortlessly and securely. Taking this multifaceted approach improves user wallet security, experience, and unburdens users of the cumbersome need for fragile seed phrases that have famously been so easily misplaced/forgotten.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrency wallet features and compositions are seeing broad shifts in public perception, particularly in terms of security and privacy. This is evidenced by MetaMask announcing its intent to collect IP addresses of users in 2022, functioning as a catalyst to push users towards alternative privacy-oriented solutions like AA wallets.

AA wallets offer all features of traditional wallets like MetaMask, paired with superior AA features to ensure the protection of user privacy and security. This has eradicated the forced decision between the security of a user’s crypto funds at the expense of usability. 

With non-custodial AA wallets like Ambire emerging as the solution to more secure crypto holdings, enhanced user autonomy, and improved functionality, mainstream crypto adoption takes one more step forward. 

Disclaimer. The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute financial advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. Information may not constitute the most up-to-date information and readers must do their own due diligence and assume responsibility for their own actions. Links to other third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; Cryptopolitan and its members do not recommend or endorse contents of the third-party sites.

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