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Particle Network is always evolving.
We debuted as a Wallet-as-a-Service (WaaS) tool for developers leveraging MPC-TSS and social logins to enable self-custodial, dApp-embedded wallets, accessible through users’ Web2 accounts. Then, as account abstraction (AA) debuted and became a fundamental component of Web3, we saw the opportunity to integrate it into our offering, adapting to upgraded account structures. We aimed to offer developers a seamless experience while aiming for maximum flexibility, and so Modular Smart WaaS was born.
800+ integrations and more than 15 Million activated users later, always focused on propelling Web3’s growth, we decided to shift our focus. We announced the upcoming release of our Intent Fusion Protocol and Confidential zkStack to encompass privacy, data sovereignty, and efficiency, enabling dynamics true to Web3’s ethos.
Today, after a series of deep dives in our blog, we want to give you a glimpse into our full vision: a deeply intertwined, synergetic ecosystem driving Web3’s adoption, empowering developers to create better products and streamlining user experience across the board. This article will also go over the different components making up this vision and their underlying technologies and token economy. It’ll also focus on the interactions within Particle’s ecosystem, as well as possible evolutionary steps.
Uniquely positioned for takeoff
It’s well understood that financial value accrual has been the primary growth-driving force for our industry. However, for Web3 to cement itself as a paradigmatic shift, it needs to produce consumer-friendly applications that solve real needs their Web2 counterparts can’t. While it is true that some use cases have gathered momentum, for Web3 to continue accelerating and attracting creativity and talent, our ecosystem needs to solve the infrastructure and design constraints holding it back.
With this goal in mind, and with Modular Smart WaaS already in the market, we saw that the next evolutionary step in our mission was to build the infrastructure to make Web3 interactions easier for developers and end-users alike. For the former, this means creating tools that allow for maximum flexibility and ease of tapping into Web3’s capabilities. For the latter, it means the ability to access Web3 and manage their assets with maximum efficiency, interoperability, and privacy. And so the ideas of the Intent Fusion Protocol and Confidential zkStack were born.
We initially conceptualized both these components (which we’ll dive into below) as a v2 release. However, along the process of turning v2 into a reality, we have come to shift our way of thinking about this process, understanding it as an ongoing evolution rather than an extension. Since multiple components of our upcoming technology stack rely on synergies to reach their full potential, the system needs to be considered both by looking at its parts and the sum of their interactions.
Lastly, to unify these ideas, we conceptualized a transition to a token-centric economic model, powered by the Particle Network Token. Particle Network sits at a unique spot in the Web3 ecosystem, bridging dApps and end-users (a la B2B2C). Because of this, we are positioned to capture and distribute the value created by our contributions to Web3’s efficiency and privacy. This motivates us to complete an ecosystem design that meets the needs of:
- End-users, who demand simplicity and security.
- Developers, who require low development costs and high efficiency and user acquisition effectiveness to succeed.
- Public blockchains, which need to drive value and foster their ecosystems to grow.
All the above made up a blueprint for our evolution, which we’ll dive into next.
The Particle Network ecosystem
Let’s now explore the different components of the Particle Network ecosystem. We conceptualize our evolution as the combination of three pillars, their underlying tech, and an economic system holding them all together. The three pillars are:
- Modular Smart Wallet-as-a-Service: Particle’s Smart WaaS allows developers to flexibly tap into the potential of account abstraction with their dApps while in a WaaS environment. This enables them to easily construct complex applications and business scenarios with embedded wallets and social login features, all while retaining the flexibility to choose the components that best suit their needs. Regardless of a developer’s intended implementation of AA within a given application, we've built in the modularity required to enable the native utilization of ERC-4337 at any level of the underlying tech stack, powered by Particle’s AA-SDK.
- Our Confidential zkStack: Particle is improving upon the WaaS framework by tackling the issues of identity disclosures in WaaS products (currently a privacy issue with these tools) and the inherent transparency of the most popular L1 and L2 blockchains. It provides users with two main features, both reliant on zero-knowledge technology: Confidential Login, which allows users to verify Web2 social identity without revealing it to Particle or the hosting dApp, and Confidential Transaction, using a Confidential Paymaster in combination with Stealth Smart Accounts to allow users to transact privately. As a result, Particle is facilitating a system in which users’ data is completely owned and managed by them.
- The Intent Fusion Protocol: The Intent Fusion Protocol is a permissionless universal framework for expressing, transforming, and executing users’ goals. It can enable the creation of intent- and user-centric products, integrating a DSL (Domain Specific Language) to radically simplify the dApp development experience. Developers can use the Intent Fusion Protocol’s DSL to express user intents through Input and Output constraints instead of transactions, submitting them to a network of Solvers for on-chain execution. This shifts both the user and developer experience, relieving users of the burden of self-defining and executing all the necessary steps to meet their goals while simplifying developers’ mission, shifting their focus to simply outlining intents, ultimately improving Web3 dApps’ usability and efficiency.
As depicted in the image above, the remaining components of this vision are:
- Omnichain Account Abstraction: This technology, which acts as a foundation for the Particle Network ecosystem, addresses two critical issues for Web3 adoption:
- The management and standardization of users’ accounts across chains.
- The cognitive load and friction of interacting with a complex multi-chain ecosystem.
With Omnichain AA, users can have a unified Smart Contract Account address across different EVM chains. Users trigger the generation of a new account on the Particle Chain, which in turn triggers Deployer Contracts on different chains for multi-chain smart account consistency. Omnichain AA additonally addresses the issue of facilitating compatibility with chains that are EVM-friendly but have different AA implementations and, as such, cannot be unified with ERC-4337 addresses.
Omnichain AA, in combination with third-party cross-chain messaging solutions (such as LayerZero, CCIP, Axelar, Connext, etc,) can also facilitate seamless cross-chain interactions. This system features the Particle Network Token as a unified gas payment method to abstract elaborate gas mechanisms, simplifying the usage of smart accounts across chains.
- The Particle Chain: Particle Network proposes the usage of an independent zkEVM to act as the full-chain Storage database for smart accounts. Changes to an account's Storage are handled by the Particle Chain and eventually synchronized to the Account's local storage on other chains. This zkEVM not only plays a role in Omnichain AA, but also acts as the zk-proof generator for our Confidential zkStack. The Particle Network Token serves as the native token of the Particle Chain.
- The Particle Network Token: Inspired by previous successful models, Particle Network’s economic model evolution allows us to accrue value for the network and its stakeholders via network effects. This aligns the incentives of different types of stakeholders, helps accelerate the network’s growth, and ignites a virtuous value accrual cycle. Beyond incentives, the token serves its utility as a Unified Gas Token within Omnichain Account Abstraction, helps secure the Particle Chain via a Proof-of-Stake system, and may eventually also be used for governance.
The following diagram illustrates how the above components are used and interact within a typical user journey:
A concrete user journey, therefore, could be as follows:
- A user lands on a social game that they’re interested in, native to the zkSync ecosystem.
- Using a Google account, they access a wallet generated for them within three seconds. This process is fully privacy-preserving, and.the resulting wallet is directly built into the application.
- The user doesn't need to understand what gas or Layer-2 network bridges are. They can start collecting and trading in-game NFTs directly. Any additional on-chain needs are expressed through intents and instantly fulfilled by the underlying Solver network.
The process above enables a natural onboarding path with an intuitive difficulty curve, as opposed to the current transaction-centric, user-driven setups. On our blog, you can also find dedicated deep dives for each component (except, for now, the Particle Chain), linked under their respective names. The sections ahead will provide deeper explanations of their workings, roles, the synergies among them, and benefits for end-users and developers, as well as how they can continue evolving.
Components’ roles and synergies
Modular Smart WaaS: Onboarding users to Web3 while supercharging development
Particle’s Smart Wallet-as-a-Service modular stack sets out to create an ERC-4337 AA implementation that enables end-to-end onboarding and utilization of AA, empowering developers to build next-generation Web3 experiences. Particle aims to create a flexible experience for developers, allowing them to interact natively with AA while directly tied to an instance of Particle’s WaaS for social logins and streamlined interactions.
Particle’s modular approach to AA, and the implementation as a whole are diagrammed below:
As mentioned, Particle’s Modular Smart WaaS aims to address the AA ecosystem’s diversity of smart account implementation and options through modularity and flexibility. Particle has also built its own components for AA interactions, such as a proprietary Paymaster and a fully open-source Bundler for scalable and reliable ERC-4337 interactions. Our AA ecosystem, encompassing some of the most popular providers, makes us the only player in the industry providing such a vertical, integrated, comprehensive self-developed suite.
Modular Smart WaaS is foundational in Particle Network’s revamped design, setting the stage for the remaining components to come into play. Next, we’ll cover Omnichain Account Abstraction, a technology developed by Particle Network to take AA to new heights.
Omnichain Account Abstraction: Enabling cross-chain UserOperations and seamless smart account management
Particle Network introduces an approach that combines the best out of different proposals to improve AA. By decoupling the Storage and Code of smart accounts, Omnichain AA simultaneously addresses existing challenges in cross-chain transactions and multi-chain account abstraction.
As mentioned earlier, Omnichain AA allows users to have a unified Smart Contract Account address on different EVM chains. To achieve this, we rely on a set of Deployer Contracts, deployed on different chains. Users must trigger the generation of a new account on the Particle Network Chain, which will cause it to trigger all Deployer Contracts on different chains. This ensures that the generated address is consistent across them. Alternatively, users can interact with multiple chains through contracts on the Particle Chain without actively managing multiple addresses, and they can use Particle’s token as a unified gas payment method.
Omnichain AA also enables cross-chain UserOperations by executing transactions on the target chain and paying the corresponding gas on the source chain. Coordination between the Deployer Contracts and cross-chain message-passing components is achieved via Messaging Bridges. Particle Network’s solution also addresses the issue of facilitating compatibility with chains that are EVM-compatible but have different AA implementations and, as such, cannot be unified using ERC-4337 addresses. This is thanks to the implementation of Verifiers for the Particle Chain’s ZK-proofs.
As you may see, the Particle Chain plays a structural role in Omnichain AA, but is also leveraged by other components, like our Condifential zkStack, to process transactions and provide users with privacy. Let’s look at this component now.
Particle Chain: Bridging Omnichain AA and Particle’s Confidential zkStack
A key component of our vision is the Particle Chain, a proprietary zkEVM powered by the network’s universal gas token. The Particle Chain is highly flexible, enabling different functions within the ecosystem.
Omnichain AA, for instance, heavily depends on the Particle Chain. This is because Omnichain AA is achieved by decoupling the management permissions and account logic of smart accounts –which can be simplified as the separation of Storage and Code (Logic). The Particle Chain stores the data (Storage) of users' Smart Accounts, coordinates Deployer Contracts across different chains, and handles cross-chain message-passing components to ensure the storage and updating of the user's multi-chain smart account. It also plays the key role of generating ZK-proofs for Confidential Logins, helping verify users without them ever revealing their information to a third party.
Evolutionary steps for Omnichain Account Abstraction and the Particle Chain
The AA framework is still taking shape, creating room for more improvements, including ecosystem adaptations (e.g., EIP-1271), modular functionalities (e.g., EIP-6900), and continuous improvement in a dynamic environment, all while ensuring security. Omnichain AA could play a significant role here, and, specifically, there are several directions for further growth:
- Optimistic cross-chain UserOperations. Some cross-chain settlement oracles may be challenging to use due to their slow or costly nature. Optimistic cross-chain protocols can mitigate settlement delay issues, effectively enabling fast and economical cross-chain message passing on any slower bridge. This can help users execute cross-chain UserOperations faster (e.g. purchasing an NFT on the Base chain using Polygon USDC within 5 seconds.)
- Ensuring privacy of user account and transaction data by combining Confidential Login and Confidential Transactions.
- Optimizing gas consumption in cross-chain transactions to improve execution efficiency.
- Continue advancing the AA framework, including modularization and ecosystem adaptation
Particle’s Confidential zkStack: Protecting users’ identity and transactional privacy
Particle’s Confidential zkStack aims to solve the problem of WaaS end-users sharing their data with third parties when connecting to social logins while simultaneously enabling private transactions.
For confidential logins, the system uses JWT (JSON Web Tokens) as the private witnesses in a zero-knowledge circuit that verifies the provider’s digital signature and user information. As mentioned above, this system uses the Particle Chain to generate ZK-proofs. For private transactions, Particle uses:
- A Confidential Paymaster to decouple the gas fee paid and the identity of the user.
- Stealth accounts managing smart accounts for Stealth Smart Accounts, following the design proposed by Vitalik Buterin to protect receivers’ privacy.
The system for Confidential Logins is diagrammed below:
Particle’s v2 private transaction system is also diagrammed below:
The above process safeguards the privacy of individual transactions. It also establishes a robust foundation for secure and confidential smart contract interactions. Additionally, this system enables guardian accounts and self-controlled social recovery.
A typical wallet under this framework contains the following information:
• Account settings
The role of guardian accounts is to enable self-controlled social recovery. Through Confidential Login, we can achieve a truly user-controlled social recovery experience. A user creates a wallet account by logging in with their social account (e.g., Google). Subsequently, the user can add other social accounts as guardians. This way, users are not reliant on other guardians (i.e., friends, family members, etc.), significantly reducing setup and maintenance friction.
Evolutionary steps for Particle’s Confidential zkStack
Other interesting directions for the Confidential zkStack to explore could be:
1. Support for heterogeneous chains: Confidential Login cah implementing Verifiers on any chain, allowing other chains to benefit from a privacy-protected user onboarding process.
2. Advancing decentralization: Our design includes two core components –the Salt Service and the Prover. These components can be further decentralized, respectively, by allowing users with completed social recovery processes to self-host their passwords and by locally computing proofs.
3. Privacy protection for senders: While our confidential transactions primarily protect receivers’ privacy, addressing sender privacy can be achieved by supporting new ERC-20 token standards with encryption features (such as homomorphic encryption). Exploring new directions, such as users proving their burning of tokens (private Proof-of-Burning), can be pursued to obtain on-chain privacy protection throughout the address’ entire lifecycle at a minimal cost.
Intent Fusion Protocol: A universal intent expression and execution protocol
With the Intent Fusion Protocol, Particle Network embraces intent-centric design for users to express their desired outcomes and outsource their execution –or “Solving”–to third parties. Currently, Web3 requires users to manually execute all the necessary (sometimes convoluted) steps to achieve their goals. Intent-centric design addresses this by allowing users not to dictate the "how" to execute an action, but instead simply point out their desired outcome.
As mentioned above, the Intent Fusion Protocol is a permissionless, universal framework for expressing, transforming, and executing intents. It introduces a general data authorization and transfer method capable of expressing data transfers for any smart contract, aggregating data liquidity across environments. Through a concise DSL, allowing users to specify Input and Output Data constraints, we can eliminate the (currently almost mandatory) trade-off between product complexity and usage simplicity, streamlining interactions with various Web3 protocols and improving overall UX and efficiency.
Computationally, intents are expressed as Input and Output constraints. The logic of execution simply becomes transferring the Input constraints required by the user to the Solver's address and the Output constraints provided by the Solver to the user's address. This is ensured through a one-time atomic execution to unify all results (see the diagram below).
In our protocol design, users and Solvers work together to construct the Intent Object. Users can provide both Input and Output constraints. Solvers then scan an Intent Mempool and, upon finding a solvable intent, propose their solution. Should the user accept this solution for on-chain execution, the user grants the Solver permission to execute on their behalf.
In the future, a competitive Solver market will undoubtedly emerge. Within this market, users can initiate bids to have multiple Solvers propose different solutions. The optimal solution can be selected through local simulated trading, with incentives provided to the Solver. Particle Network plans to use its native token to incentivize activity in its own Solver auction market. Note that intent resolution can happen on a single chain or be cross-chain (represented below.)
Evolutionary steps for the Intent Fusion Protocol
We will continue to iterate upon the Intent Fusion Protocol, focusing on the following aspects:
1. Public Intent Mempool: In our current design, the Request For Solver phase adopts an off-chain system design. We can further decentralize it by integrating it with the Particle Chain to create a permissionless Solver competition framework.
2. MEV: We acknowledge that MEV issues will persist in public blockchains. For the public Intent Mempool and Solver Network, we need to explore further collaborations with builders to enhance the value users obtain from transaction conversions.
3. Privacy: By leveraging ZK technology and combining intents with Confidential Transactions,
we can design Confidential Intents. This will provide privacy protection for users during the construction, transmission, and execution of intents.
The Particle Network Token
Particle Network’s token-centric model represents a change from a system charging developers per monthly users to one that captures and distributes value. Within this new model, the Particle Network Token serves several key functions, all of them leading to positive network and value accrual effects.
Some of the Particle Network Token’s initial and projected use cases include:
- Unified gas token: It can be used as a gan token to executing transactions and smart contracts on various blockchain networks. This provides convenience to users, as they can use a single token to cover transaction costs across different chains. It also provides privacy, coupled with our Confidential Paymaster.
- Proof fee token: The token is also used to pay the fees associated with generating cryptographic proofs, in particular for JWT proofs in the Confidential Login system. These proofs are required for various purposes, such as validating transactions and interactions on the blockchain.
- Pledge: Intent Solvers can use the Particle Network Token to demonstrate their commitment to participating in the competition for intents. Pledges serve as collateral to ensure the integrity and competitiveness of the intent marketplace.
- Governance: Particle Network Token holders may play a role in the governance of the Particle Chain. They may use their token holdings to participate in decision-making processes regarding network upgrades, protocol changes, and other important matters.
The Particle Network Token offers a number of benefits to users, including:
- Convenience: Users can use a single token, the Particle Network Token, to execute transactions across different networks. This eliminates the need to have multiple tokens at hand, simplifying the transaction process.
- Security: The Particle Network Token is used to cover the fees associated with generating cryptographic proofs. These proofs enhance the security and trustworthiness of blockchain operations.
- Aligning incentives: Perhaps more importantly, the Particle Network Token turns dApps and developers from paying customers (in Particle’s previous SaaS model) into growth partners who can use Particle’s products for free to jointly acquire end-users. This model reduces the burden on dApps and greatly accelerates the growth of the Particle Network.
These various use cases make the token a central element in the operation and development of the Particle Network ecosystem.
The evolution of Particle Network aims to enhance the Web3 ecosystem through a deeply interconnected, synergetic approach. We aim to empower developers and users with a framework that increases the efficiency, privacy, and interoperability of Web3, capturing the value generated via an innovative economic model. Key aspects of this evolution include:
- Modular Smart Wallet-as-a-Service (WaaS): This service allows developers to efficiently integrate account abstraction (AA) into their decentralized applications (dApps), enabling complex application construction while retaining flexibility.
- Intent Fusion Protocol: A permissionless, universal framework designed to simplify the dApp development experience. It enables developers to express user intents and outsource their execution, streamlining interactions with various Web3 protocols.
- Confidential zkStack: This component enhances privacy by allowing users to verify their information without disclosing it and execute transactions privately, leveraging zero-knowledge technology.
- Omnichain Account Abstraction: This technology facilitates a unified smart contract account address across different EVM chains. It also removes the friction for users conducting cross-chain transactions via the Particle Network Token.
- Particle Chain: A proprietary zkEVM that acts as a full-chain storage database for smart accounts and plays a central role in Omnichain AA and the Confidential zkStack.
- Particle Network Token: The key to the network’s economic model, serving multiple purposes like paying gas fees, generating cryptographic proofs, and participating in governance. It plays a significant role in capturing value for the network and its stakeholders.
The three major product modules of Particle Network, combined with Particle zkEVM, abstract the concepts of chains, accounts, and gas, creating a user and developer-friendly access layer to the open web. Additionally, this approach constructs a value accrual flywheel for Particle Network’s stakeholders. Overall, the evolution of the Particle Network is geared towards creating an integrated ecosystem that enhances the Web3 experience for developers and users.
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About Particle Network
Particle Network is building the Intent-Centric Access Layer of Web3. Particle's Modular Smart Wallet-as-a-Service tools allow developers to tap into MPC-TSS and social logins to enable self-custodial, dApp-embedded wallets accessible through users' Web2 accounts. This also allows them to leverage ERC-4337 account abstraction, enabling a seamless experience with maximum flexibility. Similarly, Particle Network has already released the first-ever account abstraction protocol for the Bitcoin ecosystem, BTC Connect. Particle's next evolutionary steps include the introduction of Omnichain Abstraction, a Confidential zkStack, and the Intent Fusion Protocol, elevating users' experience within dApps and paving the way for mass Web3 adoption.