Beam is for payments. Powered by account abstraction and built on Optimism and Base, Beam combines the censorship resistance, true ownership, and ethos of crypto with the ease-of-use and familiarity of Web2 products like Venmo and Cash App.
It’s the first self-custody wallet that anyone could use.
Beam is simpler than any other payment product, in either the crypto or traditional world. Onboarding to Beam is frictionless and there are zero requirements — no downloading an app, no signup process, no submitting sensitive personal info. Getting set up is as simple as going to beam.eco.
Beam just works.
Most crypto wallets require users to trudge through a swamp of technical jargon, a confusing onboarding experience, and awkward UX/UI just to send simple payments. At their core, these wallets are not purpose-built consumer products; they are power tools for highly specialized professionals and enthusiasts. A new approach is clearly needed if we’re going to bring the mainstream onchain.
Beam sets out to reimagine crypto payments, and to create a product that normal people actually want to use, without sacrificing our crypto-to-the-core ethos: permissionless, persistent, censorship resistant and self-custodial.
Want to pay your friend? Send them a Beam Link in a text message, or send money directly to their username. No need to think about what chain you’re on, or what their address is.
Tired of volatile and high gas fees? Beam is built on low-fee blockchains (initially Optimism and Base) and paymasters. That means simple, cheap and predictable pricing, denominated in the currency you’re already sending. No need to have ETH just to send stablecoins.
Worried about getting scammed or losing access to your account? We set guardrails in the Beam wallet, so you don’t have to worry about transaction popups or parsing blind bytecode approvals — Beam is for payments, and that’s it. And no need to keep your recovery phrase hidden in a shoebox — just login with Twitter and a password to recover your wallet.
Beam is the first mainstream crypto wallet purpose built for payments.
It’s all thanks to a technological explosion in the Ethereum ecosystem over the last few years. The Ethereum community has built production-ready rollups and cheap L2s, account abstraction and smart contract wallets, onchain namespaces like ENS, and a whole host of peripheral technologies aimed at simplifying the crypto experience for end users.
These technologies, and the ambitious startups trying to bring them to the market, are the secret sauce that make Beam a reality.
The rest of this section will explore these technologies, how they power the features we’ve integrated into Beam, and how together they set the standard for fluid and approachable crypto payments for the mainstream user. We will reserve an explanation of low-level implementation details of these features for future posts.
Beam is a smart contract wallet in a web app powered by account abstraction – made possible by ERC-4337. Onboarding is instant.
When a user first visits Beam in the browser, Beam generates a smart contract wallet for them with a burner signing EOA using Austin Griffith’s Scaffold-ETH framework. At this point, there is no smart contract wallet onchain, so Beam uses the CREATE2 opcode to predetermine a smart contract wallet address, allowing users to receive funds before the wallet is deployed — which happens the first time they perform a transaction.
Smart contract wallets enable a variety of features not previously available to crypto payment products, like account abstraction and paymaster integration. Account abstraction allows smart contracts to accept user operations: arbitrary batches of transactions to execute in sequence. This allows for multistep interactions to be submitted in a single user transaction.
Beam is partnered with Stackup to facilitate paymaster transactions. Paymaster transactions allow users to pay gas fees denominated in the currencies they are already sending. Beam also makes those transaction fees fixed, which provides an intuitive and predictable pattern for users coming from traditional fintech products.
At launch, Beam supports private key recovery through key sharding. When a user logs in with Twitter, the browser creates 3 shards of the local private key using Shamir’s secret sharing. One shard is stored in the browser, one with Web3Auth gated by Twitter authentication, and one as a user-supplied password. A Beam user can present any 2 of the 3 shards to fully recover their wallet. Beam could also eventually support social recovery or other authentication and recovery methods.
Beam is built intentionally with a narrow, opinionated set of actions users can take with their smart contract wallet. The restriction is implemented through a whitelist of smart contract interactions that Stackup, the paymaster provider, will sponsor.
Transaction whitelisting imposes guardrails on the types of smart contracts a user can interact with, which greatly reduces attack vectors for possible theft. This also allows for transactions to be submitted without bytecode approvals, emulating the types of interactions users expect from Web2 products today.
In collaboration with Peanut Protocol, Beam users can send money through Beam Links. These links — holding real money — can be sent through text, email, or any messaging service.When a user receives a Beam Link, they are directed to a webpage where they can claim USDC or ECO from a smart contract. If the user has an existing Beam wallet, the funds are deposited there. If not, Beam spins up a new wallet for them on the spot. No Beam-related server ever has access to the link or the funds it holds.
The proliferation of Layer 2 technologies are finally enabling cheap, fast and secure transactions on Ethereum, but these benefits do not come without significant tradeoffs and usability concerns. Managing an ever-increasing number of chains will be a disastrous user experience if not carefully and intentionally abstracted away from most users. In anticipation of this future, Beam is the first “chain agnostic” wallet of its kind. Instead of the headache of tracking the many chains your assets live on, Beam aggregates users’ assets into a single account balance. To enable this experience, Beam employs a new kind of transaction – the Supersend. When a user sends an operation that would require balances to be sent from two different chains, behind the scenes, Beam initiates simultaneous transactions to both networks (without the user even needing to know).
We believe Supersend is one of several critically important solutions to the upcoming world of fragmented liquidity. Right now, Beam is deployed to Optimism and will be on Base at its launch, and we have plans to deploy to PGN. Beam can expand to support any chain that is compatible with our account abstraction architecture. We envision a future where Beam could automatically rebalance a user's underlying assets based on whatever is best for them. Beam would shuttle assets through bridge technologies like CCTP, CCIP, sovereign protocol bridges or liquidity bridges in order to minimize inter-rollup transactions and the number of chains a user's balance lives on.
Beam minimizes the use of hexadecimal user addresses (e.g., 0x3D…) wherever possible, by default displaying an emoji representation of a portion of the user’s address. But users can also pay to register a Beam Name, which will replace their address globally throughout Beam. Once a user has a username, anyone can send payments to their name in Beam, just like in traditional payment products.
On the backend, Beam Names are of the form name.beam.eco, managed by Ethereum Name Service and its support for ENS registrations on L2s. When a user registers a username in Beam, they actually are registering an ENS subdomain of beam.eco on Optimism, allowing anyone in the Ethereum ecosystem to use the Beam Name to send them money. Beam Names also make it possible for Beam to display a human readable transaction history – when a user sends or receives money, the Beam name of the respective sender or recipient displays in their transaction history.
Beam is for payments, not for hodling.
Using Beam is like using cash — it’s remarkably easy and simple, but you wouldn’t want to carry your life savings around in it. Keys live in your browser storage, and anyone with access to your phone could access your funds.
The benefit is that it’s seamless and easy to onboard to and use, but with a tradeoff of sacrificing security for convenience. As long as users go into that eyes-wide-open, Beam has a place in their wallet stack for payments use cases.
We will continue to develop Beam into the best and simplest payment product on the market.
Beam combines the delightful user experiences we’ve come to expect from Web2 payment products without compromising on the promise of cryptocurrencies: total control over your money, censorship resistance, global interoperability, and self-custody. Beam carries an unquestionable crypto ethos, and sets the bar for crypto-enabled payment products.
But don’t take our word for it. Try Beam for yourself. Save access with your Twitter account and you’ll get some $ECO for free to test it out. And if your Twitter account is verified, you’ll get enough to register your own Beam Name.
Thanks to our partners – Beam would not be possible without support from the partners mentioned throughout this article and organizations working to bring user-friendly products to the crypto. A special shoutout to Stackup, Peanut Protocol, Web3Auth, the Scaffold-Eth framework, ENS, the Ethereum Foundation, Optimism, Base, and all the other countless developers that enabled us to bring Beam to the world.