Original author: Biteye core contributor Louis Wang
Original editor: Biteye core contributor Crush
In September 2021, ERC 4337 was officially proposed as a standard for account abstraction, with the goal of improving the account experience of the Ethereum ecosystem through smart contracts.
In this way, there is no need to modify the Ethereum consensus layer, so it is easier to implement, and the higher Gas consumption it may bring will also be greatly eliminated with the development of L2 and the launch of the subsequent Cancun upgrade.
On February 28 this year, an important node of ERC 4337, the entry point contract (EntryPoint) was deployed to the Ethereum main network, and has since been expanded to more than 20 EVM-compatible blockchains.
Half a year since its launch, more and more users, infrastructure and dApps have begun to build their own on-chain applications based on this entry point contract. So what are the indicators of participating users? How are infrastructure builders and dApps performing?
Through data analysis of the entry point contract, we will explore the performance of ERC 4337 in the six months since its launch.
01 ERC 4337 Introduction
The Ethereum account system can be simply divided into EOA (Externally Owned Account) and CA (Contract Account). EOA is the native of the Ethereum account and is used to trigger Ethereum transactions;
CA is essentially a smart contract, so it has good flexibility and programmability, and can bring a better user experience. However, it cannot directly initiate Ethereum transactions. When using CA, you still cannot get rid of the troubles caused by EOA, such as Private key risks, etc.
In the ERC 4337 account abstraction standard, users can completely control only their own CA and use any verification method they want to verify, and the task of initiating Ethereum transactions will be performed by Bundler.
The simple process is:
1. The user uses CA to initiate UserOperation (UserOp), a new transaction type proposed by ERC 4337, which is sent to a separate UserOp mempool
2. Bundler will package the UserOp in a transaction in this mempool, and use their EOA account to initiate a transaction to the entry point contract. Since the transaction is initiated by Bundler, the gas will also be paid by them.
3. The entry point contract is used to standardize transaction execution and protect the bundler from DoS attacks by malicious transactions. All Bundlers need to call it to execute UserOp
4. Users need to deposit gas in the entry point contract in advance and pay it to Bundler. They can also have Paymaster pay the gas on their behalf. Paymaster can be any third party willing to pay gas on their behalf.
5. If the user has not created a contract wallet, the wallet factory contract will automatically create a smart contract wallet for the user.
02 User analysis
Currently, more than 680,000 account abstract wallets based on the ERC 4337 standard have been created, and more than 2 million UserOps have been launched.
From the above figure we can see thatAA’s user base has experienced three main growth periods:
The first time was brought by the project The Capx App. It is a learn-to-earn app that uses the advantages of AAs packaging operation to conduct token transfers. The platform has developed rapidly and has been built based on zk- App chain with rollup technology.
The second growth came from CyberConnects Cyber Trek campaign, which encouraged users to create AA-based Cyber Accounts.
The third growth is the metaverse project ZepetoX (ZTX) on Arbitrum. Zepeto is a virtual fashion social platform launched by South Korean Internet giant Naver (the parent company of social software LINE) in August 2018 to freely create personal digital images, and ZTX is their new project extending to Web3.
The growth of UserOp basically follows the user growth curve. The only difference is that UserOp has grown four times because CyberConnect airdrops are issued on the Optimism main network and require users to use AA wallets to receive them.
Since the account abstraction based on ERC 4337 will call more contracts and cause additional gas burden, most UserOps occur on Layer 2, chains with lower gas costs.
Among them, Polygon, Arbitrum and Optimism occupy the main shares, accounting for 48.89%, 27.25% and 20.05% respectively.
Zeroone, the art creation and trading platform on Avalanche, was launched on August 18, bringing it more than 40,000 UserOps, while the Base chain has experienced a small amount of growth due to the recent Onchain Summer.
Overall, user activity is gradually increasing.
Specifically looking at the activity of each AA wallet, 88.24% of the wallets have been used less than or equal to five times.Combining the above user growth and UserOp growth charts, most AA wallet users are a wave of users brought by the project, which means that apart from the operations specified in the project, there are not many additional applications.
There are two main reasons here:
First, most of the 4337 AA wallets are in-app AA wallets built by the project team themselves;
The second reason is that most mainstream projects have not yet accessed AA adaptation. Therefore, there is no situation of using CyberWallet to receive ZTX commemorative NFT, which means that the users behavior is limited to these apps.
There are also a small number of AA wallets that are used very frequently, even tens of thousands of times. For example, the wallet 0x 93 has initiated more than 11,000 UserOps and is used by Capx to distribute tokens, so there are actually only a few projects. Fang has usage scenarios and truly takes advantage of the AA wallet.
Focusing on the scenarios where users use AA wallets on the chain, from the perspective of the richness of interactive contracts, Polygon has the most interactive scenarios.
Among them, CyberConnect and ZTX are the main contracts that AA wallet interacts with. Judging from the number of contract calls, most of the actions are mainly direct transfers and NFT casting, accounting for 90% of all user operations.
Taking Polygon as an example, we can find that direct transfer is only the interactive behavior of a small number of users, but the number of uses is the highest. This also confirms that only a small number of people have actually found a suitable AA usage scenario.
03 AA Infrastructure
Currently, most of the AA wallets that use ERC 4337 are built in the Lego model, that is, they use different third-party modules to build their own AA wallets within the application. The advantage is that it is convenient and easy to implement, but the disadvantage is that it is not universal. The market situation of each module and the main players will be analyzed later.
Bundler uses EOA to trigger transactions, freeing users from the trouble of EOA. It has strong public goods attributes and is also a module with expected wealth effects.
Bundlers income comes from two parts. One is the gas difference, that is, the difference between the maximum priority gas fee and the actual gas cost. At the same time, the fixed expenditure of gas is evenly distributed to multiple users to obtain profits from these frictions;
The second is the potential MEV income. The role of the bundler is very similar to that of the block builder. When it is discovered that the users UserOp contains MEV profits, the bundler can also add its own transactions to capture this part of the income.
There are currently about 1.5k bundlers in total, and Pimlico, Alchemy, Biconomy and Stackup are the most mainstream players. Together, they occupy more than 97% of the bundler market.
Among them, Pimlico occupies 43.48% of the market share and packages the most UserOps through extensive cooperation with various dApps.
Bundler can package multiple UserOp into one transaction, but in fact 97.18% of transactions only contain one UserOp.
This means that there are currently not enough UserOps, resulting in Bundlers workload being completely unsaturated, further resulting in almost no profit margin for Bundler.
At present, all bundlers have generated a total profit of about $38k, and 88.38% are in a break-even state. Alchemy tops the list with a profit of $20k, Stackup and Pimlico rank second and third with $11k and $5.8k. .
Paymaster is an option in the ERC 4337 standard. In fact, 96% of UserOps gas is paid by Paymaster, which shows that most of the dApps used by users have this feature turned on, creating a gasless experience for users.
Currently, a total of 117 Paymasters have paid a total of $465k in gas fees, and Stackup, Pimlico, Alchemy and Biconomy still account for the majority of the paymasters.
Among them, Pimlico paid the most UserOps, accounting for 43.45% of the total, with a total payment of US$144,000.
Next, Stackup accounts for 14.5%, Alchemy and Biconomy account for approximately 16.43% and 23.29% respectively.
One notable point is that the average Gasfee paid by Pimlicos Paymaster per UserOp is significantly lower than that of Stackup and Alchemy. This results in that although the number of UserOps it pays is twice that of the other two, the total gasfee paid is very close.
The possible reason for the difference is that different UserOps call different contracts. Pimlico pays for a lot of dApp applications and direct transfers. Many of these applications are low-gas consumption operations, which leads to the above-mentioned difference in gas fees.
In terms of market share, only ZeroDev currently occupies 62.86% of the market share, which is also due to its cooperation with CyberConnect. The second-ranked company is ZTXs SimpleAccountFactory in the contract warehouse using the Ethereum Foundations official ERC 4337. Large-scale wallet applications have not yet appeared, and there are no on-chain cases like Soulwallet.
Since ERC 4337 was launched half a year ago, we can see that AA based on ERC 4337 has shown a significant growth trend in both the number of users and the number of transactions. Every time an application adopts ERC 4337, it will bring a wave of growth.
However, currently users and transactions are concentrated in several applications on several chains, and the UserOp types of users are also very limited. Firstly, most AA wallets are in the form of in-dapp and have no universality. Secondly, 4337 is still in its early stages and mainstream applications do not provide a login interface.
Finding suitable application scenarios for AA is the prerequisite for 4337 to be more widely used. As the blockchain infrastructure matures, we expect more application products and full-chain games to emerge in the next 12-24 months. As the business logic of the Web3 project becomes more complex, and the natural complexity of full-chain games, AA Wallets will become the key to lowering user thresholds and improving user experience.
As one of the three major lines of Ethereum hand-picked by Vitalik, account abstraction is of great significance and is also an important prerequisite for mass adoption in the future. We are very much looking forward to and firmly believe that account abstraction will be an important part of the future of the blockchain.
[ 1 ] https://sixdegree.xyz/research/Half-Year-Data-Report-of-ERC4337-by-Sixdegree.pdf