An icon representing Smart Accounts

A closer look at Smart Accounts on Radix

Smart Accounts were announced during RadFi 2022 and will be implemented with the release of Babylon in Q2, 2023. We take a closer look at two important aspects of Radix’ novel approach to accounts on a decentralized network.

Specialized smart contract

As the name implies, Smart Accounts are a bit smarter than accounts on other networks. They are not just simple accounts with an address, but are in fact specialized smart contracts (called ‘components’ on Radix). This is interesting, because it allows you to configure your account. Imagine that you do not want to accept airdrops from unknown sources; that is possible. These rules should be quite configurable, allowing for lots of options to decide how your account works.

Do not worry, you do not have to know how to deploy a smart contract on-ledger to be able to use a Smart Account. Instead, the new Radix wallet (and presumably any other to-be-developed wallet) will know how Smart Accounts work and can guide you through a user-friendly onboarding process to set one up the way you like it.

Getting rid of the seed phrase

When discussing Smart Accounts, Radix mentioned several times how they wanted to get rid of the seed phrase as the only thing that grants access to and control over your account. Smart Accounts do start out in a ‘single key’ mode without recoverability options. However, because the Smart Account has some nifty features for access and recovery, you can easily switch to a multi-factor setup.

There are three roles at play in a Smart Account:

  • Primary: which lets you do things like withdraw tokens.
  • Recovery: someone/something that can initiate the account recovery process in case you lose access.
  • Confirm: does nothing on its own, but acts as an exra confirmation for recovery, so the Recovery role does not automatically have control over your account.

The interesting thing is that you can set the factors that make up each role and you can set as many factors as you like. The new Radix wallet will guide you through this process with suggestions, based on the hardware you have and the amount of money involved.

Practical example

The above makes it so that there is not just a single seed phrase that is the only way to control and recover your account. For example, for your day-to-day usage via the Primary role, you could require both your phone and your Yubikey. Then for the Recovery role you could have two friends; they can help you start the recovery process if you happen to lose your phone. However, they are not in the Control role, so they do not get control over your account. For that, you could require someting only you know, such as the answers to a set of questions. This is just one example, you could get a little crazy and think of a lot of other options.

Good to keep in mind is that you do not have to use these options. If you are comfortable using just your Ledger or seed phrase as the only factor, then that is fine as well. Radix just encourages you to move away from it.

Powerful approach to accounts

The Smart Account is a innovative and powerful approach to accounts. It is configurable, extensible and recoverable so you can set it up and use it in the way that you want, while taking away the risks of that single seed phrase. Watch the video below for the roundtable session about Smart Accounts and read the Radix Learn article about Smart Accounts.

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