It has been proposed by Visa that users of Ethereum can set up auto-payments using a self-managed wallet.
The payments giant published a blog post outlining its strategy. That post summarized an earlier research paper that was published in August. Visa proposes implementing automatic payments using Account Abstraction, which core developers are currently considering.
According to the company, this allows users to set up recurring payments. ETH cannot do this at a basic level due to automated smart contracts not being able to request transactions. It is rather up to the user to initiate and send transactions manually.
Autopayments can be arranged easily with bank accounts and custodial crypto wallets, but they aren’t as straightforward to execute on blockchains, according to Visa. Thus, it is difficult for the user to implement the feature in a self-custodied wallet (one whose funds are entirely under their control).
As part of the company’s internal Cryptocurrency Hackathon challenge this year, a possible solution was explored. Visa explained that, by using account abstraction, it was able to combine the functions of user accounts and smart contracts into a single type of Ethereum account. The company called the resulting account a “delegable account.”
It is possible for a merchant to deploy an automatic payment smart contract using this approach. When a user with a delegable account grants permission, a merchant can trigger a payment by calling the charge function of the automatic payments contract. Auto-payment contracts are also included on the user’s whitelist for future payments through their delegable account.
According to Visa, Ethereum has not yet implemented Account Abstraction, which exists in various proposals, including EIP-4337. Visa implemented delegable accounts on StarkNet, a layer-2 Ethereum network that extends the base blockchain’s functionality to support the feature.