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ERC-4437 Promised an Ethereum Revolution—Adoption Figures Tell a Different Story

Trent Alan
Last updated: | 2 min read
Smart accounts
ERC-4437 has failed to catch on among Ethereum developers and users so far, with lackluster adoption according to data. Image by Aryan, Adobe Stock.

Data from November 14 shows that ERC-4437 has failed to gain meaningful traction among Ethereum developers and users in the months since its launch.

When ERC-4437 was unveiled in March 2023, many in the Ethereum community were optimistic that these so-called “smart accounts” would alter user experiences on Ethereum-compatible blockchains for the better. By allowing assets to be controlled by smart contracts rather than externally owned accounts (EOAs), ERC-4437 was supposed to make transactions easier and more secure for everyday users.

Adoption Falters Despite Ethereum Compatibility

According to figures from BundleBear, an account abstraction data analytics platform, both usage and retention of these smart accounts have been underwhelming so far. Only 6.89% of initial smart accounts created have remained active for over six months. The average ERC-4437-enabled account has also only conducted five transactions in total.

The poor user engagement comes despite ERC-4437’s touted benefits of bypassing seed phrases and simplifying transactions. The standard was designed specifically to make Ethereum more user-friendly, but its sluggish pickup indicates those user experience goals have not yet materialized.

In addition, core infrastructure providers enabling the functionality have struggled to turn a profit. Bundlers, which allow smart accounts to operate on EVM chains, are largely running at a loss, even with some users accidentally overpaying gas fees.

Looking at the data, ERC-4437 advocate John Rising described the adoption figures as “terrible.” After its enthusiastic launch and promotion, the standard has so far failed to deliver the promised advancements in Ethereum user experience.

Will ERC-4437 Eventually Catch Fire on Ethereum?

Some in the Ethereum community urge patience with ERC-4437. Jesse Pollak, protocol lead at Coinbase, argued adoption of new standards happens gradually before reaching an inflection point. The growth of ERC-4437 may seem slow now but could suddenly accelerate as more developers build supporting infrastructure.

August 2023 saw the most active ERC-4437 wallets in a month, with over 420,000 across seven blockchains. While this number declined to 143,000 in October, it still indicates steady initial adoption. For a standard launched in 2023, Pollak contended ERC-4437 uptake remains healthy even if below initial expectations.

The coming months will be crucial in determining if ERC-4437 delivers on its promise to improve user experiences on Ethereum. For now, the reality is that adoption stays muted. But Ethereum’s history shows community standards like ERC-20 took time to gain traction too before transforming the ecosystem. ERC-4437 advocates are still betting this latest standard will eventually catch on in similar fashion.