A few months ago, a new channel appeared in the Uniswap Labs Slack server. The excitement was palpable as engineers attending ETHTokyo 2023 trickled in. Emojis and reactions flew across the screen while some employees exclusively joined to disclose their FOMO.
Still months out from the hackathon, the team started brainstorming on projects. Proposals ranged from onchain poker with zero-knowledge proofs and ChatGPT transaction parsers to protocol hacks like exploring blob data with EIP4844 and sponsoring bundled transactions with EIP4337.
As April rolled around, Uniswap Labs engineers boarded flights to Tokyo. Schedules were packed with hacking, side events, sightseeing, and birthday celebrations. Amidst all the activity, they shipped two hackathon projects and won the Ethereum Foundation’s
Best Account Abstraction rewards.
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Since 2017, most ETHGlobal hackathons have been in The Americas or Europe. ETHTokyo was one of the few events in East Asia and the first in Japan. It was a massive success. Over 1,000 hackers attended the event with 30% new to the Web3 scene.
Despite the backdrop of a bear market, attendees were excited to hack on new ideas. The two most prominent themes at ETHTokyo were account abstraction and ChatGPT/AI-inspired projects.
UwU Link lets users sign transactions without connecting their mobile wallets to an app. Instead, they scan a QR code with a mobile wallet app, initiating a transaction that can be signed directly within the wallet. This eliminates the need for users to go through the cumbersome "Connect Wallet" flow and for creators to build elaborate app sites for one-off projects, such as NFT mints. UwU Link is especially useful for IRL events where codes can be shared in person to collect, mint, or claim digital artifacts.
Winner: Ethereum Foundation Best Account Abstraction
Universal Paymaster is a smart contract that allows anyone to deposit ETH to sponsor transaction fees. Users submit EIP-4337-style transactions that sponsors execute on their behalf. In exchange for paying transaction fees, users compensate sponsors with another token, like USDC or any token the sponsor specifies. For example, Elon Musk could use the Universal Paymaster contract to sponsor Twitter Blue subscriptions paid in DOGE. Sponsors could charge users a premium for this service as well. In addition, the Universal Paymaster allows sponsors to earn yield through automated depositing and rebalancing unused ETH into yield-bearing protocols like Lido, or Aave.
The team went on to win the Ethereum Foundation's Account Abstraction prize due to the crowdfunding mechanic of the paymaster contract. Typical paymaster designs are managed by a single party, but the Universal Paymaster is permissionless for retail, just like the Uniswap Protocol. Dig into more implementation details of Universal Paymaster by brushing up on the ERC-4337 standard and checking out our (very hacky) repo here!