Interchain Accounts

Background Information

The Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol (IBC) sets a universal communication standard that allows different blockchains to send and receive data in a decentralized manner. While the ability for users to securely transfer data (like the value associated with tokens) between separate sovereign blockchains is a massive breakthrough for web3 users, the data being transferred to a destination chain is simply being dropped off without specific demands for how the destination blockchain should use that data.

Many different products built on different blockchains are complementary by design. Unfortunately, there currently is no easy way for a user of blockchain A to automatically execute specific transactions on blockchains B or C. When a web3 user wants to actually interact with applications built on different blockchains they’re often forced to create an entirely separate wallet, or manually change the network their wallet is connected to in order to be able to approve each individual transaction through another interface specific to the blockchain. With so many applications being built on different blockchains, this process can quickly become overly complicated and time consuming for users.

What are Interchain Accounts?

Thanks to the flexibility provided by IBC, Interchain Accounts can be used to allow users of a blockchain to securely create and interact with accounts on other blockchains without the need to use separate interfaces or wallets. In other words, Interchain Accounts enhance the web3 user experience by enabling users to interact with different applications built on separate sovereign blockchains all from a single “controller chain” of choice.

Without Interchain Accounts, an UX user who wants to stake ATOM and participate in governance on the Cosmos Hub needs to transfer ATOM from the UX chain to the Cosmos Hub, and then connect to the Cosmos Hub through a separate interface in order to stake the ATOM and vote on a governance proposal.

With Interchain Accounts, an UX user can express that he/she wishes to transfer the ATOM to the Cosmos Hub and stake it within an IBC transaction originating from the UX chain. If the user wants to vote on a Cosmos Hub governance proposal, he/she can do so from his/her account on the UX chain.

How It Works

Interchain Accounts use the IBC to transfer the precise information needed for a receiving blockchain to execute specific transactions. By providing additional data within an IBC transaction, receiving blockchains are able to perform any blockchain specific transactions as specified by the user without the need for the user to manually connect.