MPC+AA is the path that Crypto wallets with a billion users must go through for Mass Adoption.

MPC+AA is necessary for crypto wallets to achieve mass adoption among billions of users.

Recap of the MPC vs. AA Debate

Recently, Ethereum founder Vitalik caused a big discussion in the crypto wallet technology debate by criticizing MPC EOA wallets.

The incident was sparked when Vitalik replied to a question about MPC wallets from a netizen during an AMA, pointing out the basic flaw of “irrevocable keys” in MPC EOA wallets. The original text is as follows:

Vitalik Twitter screenshot

This tweet has sparked a lot of discussion, including core members of well-known teams such as Coinbase/Zengo/Slowmist. The Chinese community has also launched a wave of “MPC vindication” campaigns, with several MPC wallet teams publishing signed responses to Vitalik’s comments. For a time, the crypto community, which had long been silent due to the low market trend, has once again blown a long-lost technical breeze.

For the principles and comparisons of MPC and AA (Account Abstraction, the latest development plan for Ethereum’s smart contract wallet), this article will not elaborate. If you are interested, you can refer to the article “Seedless Self-Custody: On MPC and Smart Contract Wallets” for understanding: the core advantage of MPC is to solve the problem of single-point private key, and the core advantage of AA is programmability.

After reviewing the opinions of this discussion, we have made the following conclusions:

1) The Ethereum core community, represented by Vitalik, has always thought about development direction, community route planning, and technical solutions from a fully decentralized and on-chain perspective. It is understandable that MPC wallets are rated in this way;

2) Although MPC keys cannot be revoked “cryptographically”, this does not affect the security construction and large-scale application of MPC wallets;

3) The community’s small articles, some of them did not understand the intention that Vitalik wanted to express, and some deliberately avoided the decentralized and other preset premises implied by Vitalik;

4) It is gratifying to see that some teams are promoting the integration of MPC and AA with a more open attitude, rather than simply a technical ideological debate;

5) Many people are enthusiastic about discussing technology, but few really care about user needs.

In the whole discussion, the technical part is relatively in place, and each team has fully expressed its own views. However, the biggest regret is the lack of thinking and analysis of user essential needs in the discussion. I think that technology is a means, and meeting and surpassing user needs is the goal. Solving more user problems and talking less about technical concepts and ideologies are the prerequisites and foundations for large-scale applications.

This article aims to address the above shortcomings and focus on discussing users’ real needs, such as scenarios, pain points, solutions, value, etc., hoping to provide some new perspectives and ideas for this discussion.

Wallet user demand

In my opinion, the development of the Crypto industry in the next ten years must achieve Mass Adoption and provide services to 1 billion users.

Based on this vision, we need to solve two core issues: 1) Where do users come from? 2) Where does the money come from?

The next potential wave of scale users is definitely not technical geeks/ordinary people who cannot understand symmetric and asymmetric encryption technology/and may not be able to properly keep their own mnemonic words.

The next potential wave of scalable assets may come from asset mapping within the existing financial system, which will inevitably involve corporate users. Their scenarios and demands are vastly different from those of ordinary users.

The following lists two categories of user wishes and their needs/pain points in high-frequency scenarios:

The Crypto industry has a widely shared consensus: Not your keys, not your coins. From this sentence, it can be inferred that decentralized custody is very important.

In fact, this inference does not consider the usage scenarios and implementation difficulties of real users, and it is essentially talking about decentralization. The a16z crypto column article Wallet Security: The ‘Non-Custodial’ Fallacy analyzes and explains from the full life cycle of key generation/storage/use, and shows that custody and non-custody are not black and white.

In summary, according to our team’s summary, the core user needs can be summarized as the following triangular relationship:

This is almost an impossible triangle. Only by deeply combining user scenarios and core needs can we achieve all three in the product.

How to meet the above needs?

Combining the above descriptions of user wishes and demands, we can summarize the deep-seated needs of users in two sentences:

What users want is asset security, but they cannot expect every user to have full-stack security knowledge and skills.

What users want is asset control, not the need to personally control the entire product technology process.

Having worked in the crypto industry for many years and being a senior user of new energy vehicles, I think that there are certain similarities between the crypto wallet industry and the new energy vehicle industry. For the sake of helping readers understand, the following table makes some comparisons between the two industries. Just for fun.

The user’s needs are right in front of us, and the development of the industry must follow its objective laws. As entrepreneurs, how do we solve this problem and provide products that meet or even exceed user expectations?

We believe that, in the present and the coming years, the MPC wallet solution based on MPC-TSS + TEE trusted computing technology has significant advantages in security, multi-chain versatility, usage cost, privacy, scalability, and other dimensions, and is the best PMF (product-market fit).

It can be compared to products based on extended-range electric vehicle technology that have been well-received in the Chinese new energy market, such as the Ideal Automobile L-series.

We believe that the MPC wallet based on the above technology can meet the near-impossible triangle mentioned earlier:

At the same time, since an AA wallet requires one or more EOA addresses as controllers, the single-point problem of EOA addresses’ private keys can be well solved by MPC technology. Therefore, we believe that MPC + AA is the ultimate solution.

Finally,

This article reviews the so-called battle between MPC and AA technologies. I analyzed it from the perspective of user needs and usage scenarios, combined with user intentions and the industry’s development direction, and saw that the MPC wallet based on MPC-TSS + TEE trusted computing technology is the best choice that can match the market in the present and for a long period in the future. I led the team to build a Sinohope MPC self-hosting product of Tier 1 level in the industry. Meanwhile, I believe that MPC and AA are not opposites but can be merged and promoted mutually.

I think that the rapid and large-scale adoption of MPC wallets and their derivative services (such as WaaS) will help solve the stubborn problem that has plagued the industry for many years-the single-point failure caused by the loss of private keys. It will help solve the two core issues of the next wave of industry development: the source of users and funds, and help popularize blockchain technology to a user base of 1 billion.

Most of the opinions in the article come from the author’s colleagues and peers, and the Sinohope product is also built on the excellent work of a group of pioneers in the fields of Crypto and MPC technology. Thanks are given to them here.Due to the author’s limited knowledge, there may be many errors in the article, and readers are welcome to correct them.- END –ReferencesSeedless Self-Custody: On MPC and Smart Contract Wallets: https://medium.com/1kxnetwork/wallets-91c7c3457578Wallet Security: The ‘Non-Custodial’ Fallacy: https://a16zcrypto.com/posts/article/wallet-security-non-custodial-fallacy/Ideal Car 2023 Spring Media Sharing Conference Record: https://www.dongchedi.com/article/7206154196855489061Comparison of Blockchain Ecosystem TVL: https://coinmarketcap.com/charts/

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