Ethereum’s Pectra upgrade to make normal wallets ‘smart’ and improve UX

    13 Apr 2024

    Ethereum’s Pectra upgrade, slated for late 2024 or early 2025, is bringing with it a host of more functionality for crypto wallets and upgrades to their user experience (UX).

    Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 3074 was approved for inclusion in the next update, which allows normal crypto wallets to work like smart contracts.

    One of EIP-3074’s functions gives standard externally owned accounts (EOAs), normal wallets such as a MetaMask wallet, smart contract capabilities.

    This allows functions such as transaction bundling, so users only have to sign once, and sponsored transactions where a wallet can delegate funds for use by another, similar to account abstraction that was introduced in ERC-4337.

    Anonymous DefiLlama developer 0xngmi claimed in an April 11 X post that the EIP’s downside is “now it’ll be possible to fully drain an address (all tokens, all NFTs, all DeFi positions…) with only one bad signature.”

    Gaslite co-founder Harrison Leggio wrote on X that while there are security concerns with the update, “people will always find a way to lose their money.”

    “People literally GIVE THEIR PRIVATE KEYS TO TRADING BOTS,” he added.

    Software engineer Laurence Day wrote that the EIP’s “most obviously useful application” was its sponsored transactions, as it allowed users to “store assets in a wallet that doesn’t hold Ether,” and they could sponsor the gas from a contract controlling the wallet.

    Other slated functions of EIP-3074 include a social recovery feature that negates the need for the typical 12-to-24-word seed phrase.

    Anonymous Web3 adviser Cygaar explained on X that the EIP turns wallets into smart contracts by adding two new operating instructions — AUTH and AUTHCALL.

    AUTH verifies signatures and actions. AUTHCALL then “calls the target contract(s) with the originator address as the caller” rather than the message sender, Cygaar wrote.

    The planned Pectra update comes after Ethereum developers pushed through the Dencun update last month, which lowered layer-2 transaction fees.

    Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin also shared in early April the next steps for the “Purge,” which would remove old and excess network history in order to simplify it.


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