This year, ERC-4337 massively accelerated the pace of innovation in the account abstraction field. The BundleBear 2023 Year in Review aims to provide a data-driven perspective on the major patterns and trends within the ERC-4337 smart accounts category. All insights are based on ERC-4337 activity on Polygon, Optimism, Arbitrum, Base and Ethereum.
When you use an ERC-4337 account, you submit User Operations (UserOps) instead of transactions. These UserOps get grouped into bundle transactions that are executed onchain by Bundlers.
The number of monthly UserOps reached a peak of 2.7M in October, then steadily declined to 880k in December.
The highest number of monthly active smart accounts occurred in November, when 450k accounts made at least one UserOp.
Here are the protocols that ERC-4337 accounts used the most this year:
|ZTX Hoodie NFT
|CapX ID NFT
In the first few months of ERC-4337 activity, apps like CapX (a quest protocol), Dexwin (an onchain casino) and Fantazy (a fantasy sports app) attracted a small number of early adopters, but there wasn't a breakout hit.
This changed in July when CyberConnect, an onchain social network, started creating ERC-4337 smart accounts for all of its users. This led to a massive increase in the usage of smart accounts. The peak of this growth occurred in August during their CYBER token airdrop. Following the airdrop, smart account usage declined as many farmers shifted their focus from Cyberconnect to new targets.
In the following months, token farming activity on Grindery (a crypto telegram bot) and FanTV (a streaming service that rewards users with tokens) took over as the most popular user behaviours, replacing airdrop farming on CyberConnect.
Polygon had the highest number of active ERC-4337 accounts this year for two reasons:
The only break in Polygon's market dominance was in August, when CyberConnect dropped the CYBER token on Optimism and 200,000 ZTX NFTs were minted using smart accounts on Arbitrum.
The role of a Bundler is to package UserOps into bundle transactions. The number of monthly bundle transactions consistently increased month-over-month throughout the year.
Here are the Bundlers who had the most activity in 2023
When bundles contain multiple UserOps, smart account users save money because the cost of the bundle transaction is shared between all the UserOps. Bundlers also benefit because they spend less by making fewer transactions while charging the same gas premium on every UserOp.
Unfortunately, the number of bundles that contain only one UserOp still greatly exceeds the number of multi-UserOp bundles. This is due to a combination of factors:
Accurately pricing UserOps has been a challenge for ERC-4337 apps and bundlers. The line chart below tracks the monthly percentage of unprofitable bundle transactions. Here, ‘unprofitable’ refers to cases where the UserOps in the bundle collectively paid less in fees than the bundler spent on the transaction.
At the start of the year, top Bundlers frequently created bundles that did not generate enough revenue from their UserOps to cover gas costs. However, as the year progressed, the percentage of unprofitable bundles decreased, and by December, all Bundlers fell within the less than 30% unprofitable range.
Paymaster contracts allow applications to set up custom gas fee policies for their users.
Apps can let users pay for gas using ERC-20 tokens or they can cover the gas fees on behalf of their users. Paymasters have processed nearly a million dollars in total spending, with monthly volume consistently increasing over the past four months.
Here are the Paymasters who had the most volume this year:
Most of the UserOps made in 2023 were paid for using a paymaster. This means that either the user paid their fees using an ERC20 token or the app/wallet they were using subsidized the fees.
Most accounts are created using a factory contract. A factory is a smart contract that generates other smart contracts. 55% of all accounts were deployed using the Kernel factory created by Zerodev, and 29% were deployed using the Biconomy Account factory created by Biconomy.
In December, 18% of active accounts used Patch wallet. Patch is used by the Grindery telegram bot, and Grindery has been the primary driver of its growth. Additionally, in December, 25% of active accounts used CyberConnect's built-in wallet.