So many mobile wallets, so little differentiation

Recap of why smart contract wallets are the future

Matthew Wright
Apr 12, 2019 · 3 min read
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With the launch of so many mobile Ethereum wallets it’s easy to assume they’re all the same. Because they basically are. On the other hand, smart contract wallets, like ours and Gnosis’, are fundamentally different.

Below is a stripped down version of our recent post on how wallets have evolved. It highlights the simplicity and security that only a smart contract wallet can provide.

When we founded Argent we asked: can a non-custodial wallet ever have the ease of use and security of the best new bank apps — without the bank?

Could you transact like Venmo? Could recovering access to your account be as simple as calling your bank and asking for a new card? Could you have the peace of mind of knowing fraudulent transactions would be blocked?

It turns out you can, if you use smart contracts.

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Our first step was removing the biggest wallet pain point: seed phrases. We didn’t think the future of the web was writing a series of words on a piece of paper.

We wrote more on how this works here but, in short, your phone holds a private key, a smart contract holds your funds. If you lose your phone you can use people or devices you trust (we call them Guardians) to designate a new phone as the owner of your funds. Guardians never have access to your private key; they cannot, ever, access your funds.

Secondly, we used smart contracts to provide additional bank-like security features, such as daily limits and approving large transfers.

Here’s Itamar at EthLondon showing how his daily limit kicks in if he tries to send all his crypto to a member of the audience he’s never met.

For more on how our overall security model works, see this post.

To make this possible we did two things:

  1. Partnering with the Ethereum Name Service so every user gets to pick their free Argent name, e.g. natasha.argent.xyz. This removes the complexity of 0x addresses. Check out their post on our integration.
  2. Use meta-transactions, so you don’t deal with gas when you send.
Sending to an address you trust with Argent

Our smart contract architecture is as follows:

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A few things to note:

  • The modular structure means the wallet can be upgraded by the wallet owner. To upgrade features, you can just add or remove modules.
  • Sharing the modules between the wallets minimises the gas costs of creating new wallets.
  • The simplicity of the Base Wallet makes it easier to audit.

This architecture puts the user in control, yet also provides a safety net. It’s a significant change in how you can hold and send tokens. And it’s equally significant for how it helps you access Dapps.

In short, DeFi.

We’re super excited about using crypto to expand people’s access to financial services.

Stay tuned for some major announcements on integrations with leading DeFi Dapps. These integrations will leverage our smart contract architecture to ensure the user experience is seamless and native to mobile.

Argent

Our blog has moved to: www.argent.xyz/blog

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