With the ERC-20 standard, it is possible to approve a third-party relayer to spend the tokens on your behalf. This can be done by calling the approve function and providing a high allowance value, which is then decreased as the relayer makes payments on behalf of the user.

Can this functionality be replicated with ETH?

Given that:

  • ETH is a native asset, so it doesn't have an allowance system
  • Users need to specify the value when submitting a transaction

I suspect that the answer is "no", but I'm not sure. Maybe there's some smart, hacky way to achieve this using cryptographic signatures?

  • interesting question👀 Dec 18, 2023 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


The only options I can think of are:

  1. Sign a transaction sending Eth and give this to someone. They can broadcast this when/if they want to use your Eth. Lots of downsides, for example that the nonce can be easily invalidated.

  2. Assets in a smart contract. A "regular" contract or an Account Abstraction contract.

  3. Use a burner account. If you want someone to be able to spend X Eth, create an address with X Eth and give them the private key.

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