Visa, the global payments giant, has launched experimental smart contracts on Ethereum’s Goerli testnet to pilot gasless transactions through account abstraction. The smart contracts, called Paymaster, simplify user interaction with the Ethereum network by performing complex tasks and managing transaction costs on behalf of other accounts. The account abstraction is a proposal that separates the control of an account from its associated private key, allowing it to be controlled by a smart contract. Visa intends to leverage the ERC-4337 standard, a new Ethereum standard launched in March, to implement an intermediary currency conversion service. The first version of the Paymaster contract explores whether users can pay transaction fees with alternative tokens. The contract can collect any ERC-20 token from users and convert them into ether (ETH) based on the current exchange rate to pay for gas fees on the users’ behalf, thus removing the need to acquire ETH only for transaction fees.
In addition, Visa believes the Paymaster concept can incentivize adoption by allowing users to fund the gas cost at the time of the transaction without any pre-funding requirements. The second Paymaster contract seeks to eliminate the need for users to cover gas fees by themselves, just like in web2 peer-to-peer transactions, by using a solution proposed by account abstraction, which allows third parties such as fintech wallet providers to handle the costs. These experiments are based on starter code provided by the Ethereum Foundation and ERC-4337 core team. Visa’s efforts to explore gasless transactions will provide users with a seamless experience while paying transaction fees.