What’s an Alias Address?
An alias address, as TrustToken defines it, is an Ethereum wallet address that accepts deposits and automatically transfers them to another wallet.
The feature is useful because it makes it possible to accept cryptocurrency from multiple addresses but store all of that cryptocurrency in a single wallet. Doing so allows organizations to maintain multiple, outward-facing accounts that can accept payments separately, while still retaining funds in a central wallet.
In this way, alias addresses can simplify accounting. For example, if you run a business that receives payments from multiple clients each month, you could set up an alias address for each client. Each client would then be able to issue payment to a unique alias address and you could track payments on a per-client basis through those addresses. At the same time, however, you could automatically transfer all payments into a central, accounts-receivable wallet so that you’d be able to manage all of your incoming payments from a single location.
TrustToken’s alias address feature, called AutoSweep, should not be confused with the type of aliases supported by projects like OpenCAP. The latter simplifies crypto wallet addresses by representing them as words or names that humans can easily understand, as opposed to a long string of digits and characters. That’s similar to, but ultimately different from, enabling multiple addresses for a single wallet as TrustToken’s AutoSweep does.
No Gas Fees
What makes AutoSweep especially notable is that it does not require users to pay extra gas fees. Normally, each time you make a deposit into an Ethereum wallet, you have to pay a fee to the Ethereum network for executing the transaction. That’s true even if you own both of the wallets between which you are making a transfer.
However, AutoSweep avoids this burden by using a smart contract that essentially abstracts the alias account away from the Ethereum network. From the perspective of the network, the only transaction that takes place is the one that deposits funds into the outward-facing alias address. TrustToken’s smart contract then automatically transfers funds to the associated central wallet without requiring gas fees.
Zero Gas Fees and the Future of Ethereum
AutoSweep and the concept of zero gas fees may not seem interesting unless you enjoy geeking out about crypto programming. However, TrustToken’s ability to enable transactions between wallets without incurring a gas fee is something that all Ethereum users might want to leverage.
Functionality like this could potentially open up new opportunities for Ethereum applications. To date, having to pay gas fees every time your Ethereum-based smart contract or application does anything has been one of the chief limitations of the Ethereum blockchain. It created extra fees for users while also posing scalability challenges for the Ethereum network, because the computers that compose the network have to perform work every time a gas fee is paid and there are only so many computers available to do that work.
By sidestepping gas fees for the transactions between alias addresses and central wallets, TrustToken is showing that there are ways to build useful applications on Ethereum without having to pay gas fees at every step. Although, in this case, the gas-free functionality is limited to a specific and narrow purpose, it has the potential to inspire other developers to think about ways to run applications on Ethereum while avoiding gas fees.
That said, TrustToken’s focus — at least for now — does not appear to be on revolutionizing the way we use Ethereum. The company’s goal is instead to spur adoption of its TrueUSD stablecoin by making it “even more liquid and convenient to use,” according to the press release announcing the AutoSweep feature. The simplified accounting structure that AutoSweep enables is one small step in that direction.