Visa, the global payments leader, has unveiled an experimental solution allowing users to pay on-chain gas fees directly through their Visa cards. This initiative is a response to the challenges many face in maintaining adequate Ether (ETH) balances in their cryptocurrency wallets specifically for gas fees.
Addressing a Common Challenge
Mustafa Bedawala, a product manager at Visa, elaborated on the recurring issue for many cryptocurrency wallet users: the need to constantly monitor and manage Ether balances for gas fee payments. Traditionally, Ethereum users would purchase ETH from exchanges, transferring it to their wallets to accommodate fluctuating gas fees. This routine can often result in an over or underestimation of required ETH, complicating the payment process.
How It Works
The groundbreaking method involves Ethereum’s ERC-4337 standard combined with the “Paymaster” smart contract to facilitate off-chain gas fee transactions. When a user initiates an Ethereum transaction via their wallet, it’s directed to the Paymaster. This service calculates the gas fee and bills Visa through Cybersource. A digital signature is quickly generated, verified, and added by the user’s wallet, then dispatched to Ethereum. Upon verification of the signature by Paymaster, the gas fee is settled.
This streamlined procedure permits users to directly pay gas fees off-chain using their Visa card, thus negating the need to retain ETH solely for fee payments.
Trials and Potential Benefits
Visa recently tested this mechanism on the Ethereum Goerli testnet, leveraging open-source tools like Stackup’s userop.js library. These test transactions successfully covered gas fees via the Paymaster, circumventing the need for ETH.
This innovative method not only simplifies gas fee payments for individual users but also presents broader implications. Merchants and decentralized apps could potentially adopt the Paymaster system, enhancing user experience by offering Visa card gas fee payments. Moreover, this development could prompt wallet and Paymaster service providers to incorporate Visa card payment options for gas fees.