???? DevConnect Istanbul 2023: Use-Cases and Applications in an Abstracted World


Account Abstraction and the Future of DeFi UX: Insights from DevConnect Istanbul

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High Rollers:

Dive deep into this comprehensive recap of the Use-Cases and Applications in an Abstracted World panel, with discussions about the role of account abstraction (AA) in improving user experience (UX) in DeFi apps.

Panelists also debated the importance of catering to both web2 and web3 users, the role of paymasters in the ecosystem, and the broader implications of AA for the future of crypto adoption.

Read on to explore the diverse perspectives and insights shared as they delved into the exciting world of account abstraction and its impact on the DeFi landscape.


The Rollup

Use-Cases and Applications in an Abstracted World –  Abstract Istanbul Panel

The panel consisted of the following:

  • Derek Flossman of Starknet foundation
  • Jerome of Cometh
  • Yilan of CyberConnectHQ
  • BitPactum of ZKX Protocol
  • Ben of Mute
  • Taylor of Etherspot

First topic from moderator Taylor, for BitPactum of ZKX, how does account abstraction (AA) improve UX in defi apps?

Vitaly starts off by saying they are trying to create a trading platform as “good as Binance” and there are two main issues that they face:

First, latency and speed. You need tech which is up to the highest of standards.

Second, the product UX (arguably more important according to Vitaly) has to rival that of a web2 or traditional platform.

Not easy when you have to take into account the DeFi stack as it is…

He mentions that AA is one of many steps that need to be taken to bring the blockchain experience in order to products as good as traditional products.

Continues on to say that 1B users right now is simply not possible, yet in a post-AA world, it could be.

Furthermore, he states that there are tools that accompany AA (security, UX, etc) that will propel dApps to be ready to onboard massive banks, hedge funds, and consumers.

Moderator Taylor confirms that we need better tooling.

No wonder everyone is an infra project now

Next, Derek Flossman from Starknet asks what he thinks the key tool/challenge is, and BitPactum replies with there are a multitude of reasons why AA is the solution to push past some limiting factors of today.

The panel agrees across the board.

When AA in every wallet?

Then, Taylor begins to ask Jerome from Cometh about the state of 4337 & onboarding users.

He mentions that if you optimize for web3 power users, you are trapping yourself into one niche, rather than opening the doors for your dapp to everyone.

He pushes hard on the idea of building a “web2 flow” with a web3 usecase for your dApp. Interesting.

Basically, projects should be more focused on building products which people are already familiar with. He thinks that these users are in high demand and its tough to reach ’em

Vitaly retorts that he slightly disagrees, and uses a good example of phone going from buttons and no screen to screen and no buttons. He suggests we should embrace change in web3.

Jerome replies with a technical explanation of how Cometh and safe works.

He does this to show the power of how we can build apps which cater to web2 users and not necessarily need to cater to the small subset of current crypto users.

Certainly not backing down. Super interesting approach to attract the “crypto curious”

He suggests that approaching a web2 company with a web3 flow would not work in any capacity, and the wallet UX would be a huge bottleneck.

Yilan from CyberConnectHQ then jumps in and states that if we step back, the developer POV is a key focus for them.

He notes how AA allows a ton more flexibility and ease of use for developers to build better dApps. Its all dependent on how the devs can build using better tooling.

Then, he elaborates how smart contract wallets can interact in a future modular world.

Ultimately, “the keyword is abstraction” and its a question for developers and users.

Jerome says he thinks of the account as a “house” and you need a roof, windows, doors etc.,

He says in the current state of crypto, you can pick and choose a la carte style to build your dapp

This is EASILY the aspect of crypto I’m personally most excited about right now. We can pick and choose VMs, settlement layers, CDKs, SDKs, etc.,

The infra in crypto has blossomed in this bear.

Anyways, Vitaly returns to state why AA has became popular recently.

This is because we have new users and not just OGs and degens. The panel disagrees

Jerome states “we have more blockspace now” so we need smart contract accounts.

Then Derek mentions a good point: more attack surface area with new tech/AA implementations.

Not that AA enables *less security* (in fact, its increases security) but new tech always comes with risk.

Jerome then goes on to explain smart accounts and why they help boost security for even mobile users. He speaks on users who are stuck in their ways as well.

He says that there are some users who will not deviate from ledger/mm/rabby until the experience is dramatically better.

Derek Flossman makes a cool point on “throw-away wallets” like, something you can just buy for cheap, then use and throw away after?

News to me…

Now we’re diving into paymasters as a strong usecase of AA, Ben of Mute states that PMs engage as intermediaries to allow users to spend gas with ETH in a wallet.

Users don’t need to pay with ETH, and can use any token in the wallet as long as there is a liquidity pool.

He elaborates that its slowly being adopted in the Mute ecosystem and he expects it to be used more and more in the future.

Jerome says there’s an overhead fee associated with using paymasters for dapps and products.

So, does the protocol pay for it? Or the user does?

I think users still do (can use USDC, or any token aside from wallet), as Jerome is explaining how there is alot of value extraction & complexity in building PM contracts.

Vitaly says the best example for PMs is when you onboard new users from an on-ramp.

Ok, Ben states that users can freely use paymasters (PMs) on
Mute that answers my question.

Vitaly was just stating that users who on-ramp and don’t have ETH to spend on gas is a bad UX, which is similar to bridging to a new chain and not getting gas $$$ from bridge

Btw if that ever happens to you, use Jumper Exchange ‘gas refill’ feature to bridge to any chain for their gas token.

Anyways, Jerome is explaining if you want to engage your brand or community in any capacity with a credit card you need to “relay a tx”

And you need to (again) focus on the web2 experience, not the web3.

Jerome is sticking strong that PMs are overrated for complexity and design, however, he recognizes the improvements in UX.

Ben is saying its less about “PMs being needed” but more about solving the problems which we have discussed earlier in this panel.

BitPactum says most of the ZKX Protocol users will have no idea about paymasters ever.

Next question for Derek Flossman is about the macro sentiment around crypto, and what else can we do to onboard new users and fix the sentiment?

Derek states there are tons of verticals where this is applied and its tough to narrow it down

He mentions how Dojo Starknet allows you to have a “session key” (what is that?) and this gives a better “usability” of the app/experience.

With a focus on usability, he says we can tap into new possibilities like social, identity, and much more.

He mentions Madara Starknet is going to play a big part in the cross-chain, app-chain, and other theses that can impact usability.

His answer here is strictly around “usability” which is of course very important.

Then, Vitaly agrees, especially with the high-frequency trading example which Derek mentioned (duh! BitPactum is a HFT maxi, when ZKX Protocol mainnet sers?

Jerome from Cometh starts clowning around a bit hahah and I think this panel is wrapping up soon.

Jerome states we need to slowly encourage a different vibe of crypto, and the public perception. He says usecase and UX will widen the base, and a smoother conversion of users into web3 is very important.

He says upheaval, inflation, and other events will slowly cause adoption.

I think he’s an OG so probably has a big BTC plan B bag, good idea. I think BTC will benefit the most from these types of events.

Jerome says crypto is “bad guys” now, but Derek retorts that we are “good guys” in some parts of the world.

It depends where you look.

Even for example, with Devconnect being in Turkey, a country plagued with inflation is important. I think crypto is seen in a better light here as people don’t trust the financial system of their country.

Yilan then states we need to lower to barrier to entry and get ready.

He emphasizes that its not just about speculation, but new, better usecases which can drive big adoption.

This is a very good take and I think its something thats shared amongst many in the crypto community.

Vitaly then gets real philosophical with us, getting into the “make a world a better place” vibe. This panel has really taken many twists and turns, great conversation.

Peter ties it back together with how AA is pushing dapps to engage in a friendly, safe, secure manner.

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