A major barrier preventing mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency is the difficulty new users experience with crypto wallets and the hassle of private keys. The knowledge needed to navigate some of the technology inherent to using crypto is complex enough to deter most of the population. Unyfy aims to make digital assets accessible to everyone that knows how to manage a simple chat or messaging app on their smartphone. This project incorporates Ethereum’s account abstraction ERC4337 to bridge the gap allowing the use of familiar login methods to manage smart contract wallets instead of private keys. Their first product is a revolutionary tool that lets users send crypto or NFTs on any blockchain to any phone via text message.
We interviewed Mike Ma, the Project Lead of Unyfy, to get an understanding of where the project is in development. Mika Ma joined the Web3 movement back in 2019. He was on the founding team of the Sequoia Capital-backed EthSign, a contract management platform similar to docusign that was built with ethereum tech stack. In 2022, ETH Sign managed to onboard 150k users which is quite an achievement in the blockchain world. Still, Mike wanted to take things a few steps farther and that is when the idea for Unyfy came about.
ERC-4337, or account abstraction has proved to be an amazing tool for project developers, allowing them to expand options and ease of use. “There’s a lot more opportunities in terms of onboarding because now you can have social recovery and basically any social account used as your login method,” said Ma. ERC-4337 has turned development into a competition of who’s UI is better and simpler, because now projects are all using the same tech. Because of that, Unyfy is directing its attention to telecoms and mobile to make interacting as easy as texting.
They aim to allow as much self-custody as possible, with the convenience of mobile transfers. Users’ phones will now be their account, and their social accounts can be used to facilitate payments.
Some of the tools they have in development are the Web3 Gift Shop where users can gift crypto to anyone, even if they don’t have a wallet. Crypto Cashback Browser Extension lets users shop on Amazon/Shopify and get paid in crypto or NFTs without a wallet. They even have a Token Cooker that can create and customize your own tokens with drag and drop smart contract features. Finally, they have a feature called Travel Swap, which allows peer-to-peer bartering of travel related items like hotel reservations, plant tickets, and more.
Mike Ma says they aim to get every Telegram, WhatsApp, and Mobile user and also plan to partner with telecoms so they can query SIM cards directly without exposing themselves to SIM swap attacks. This method will allow them to convert the mass mobile number user base which encompasses virtually everyone in the world.
Once their partnerships are all established, people can use Unyfy tools directly within these social communication platforms, without actually visiting the Unyfy platform. The lack of this type of convenience is exactly what has kept a large segment of the population away from crypto. Many users are already familiar with banking apps like PayPal and Zelle and they don’t realize they are already using digital finance fintech products.
The first version of the app will be browser based, but in the end they want to have mobile apps that integrate with multiple interfaces. The end goal is to deliver a payment infrastructure platform, merging telecom with banking. There will be an entire suite of products, not just the app.
ERC-4337 account abstraction smart contract functionality has only been available since February 2023, and Unyfy has made great strides in developing a platform around it. They’ve developed partnerships with popular Layer 1 and Layer 2 EVM compatible blockchains to ensure tokens are easily convertible. They are not limiting the platform to EVMs and are actively in talks with new, innovative L1s that have potential for a wide audience including VRRB, NextGen Chain.
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