EIP-3085: Wallet Add Ethereum Chain RPC Method (`wallet_addEthereumChain`) Source

AuthorErik Marks, Pedro Gomes
Discussions-Tohttps://github.com/ethereum/EIPs/issues/3086
StatusDraft
TypeStandards Track
CategoryInterface
Created2020-11-01
Requires 155, 695, 3091

Simple Summary

An RPC method for adding Ethereum chains to wallet applications.

Abstract

The wallet_addEthereumChain RPC method allows Ethereum applications (“dapps”) to suggest chains to be added to the wallet application. The caller must specify a chain ID and some chain metadata. The wallet application may arbitrarily refuse or accept the request. null is returned if the chain was added, and an error otherwise.

Important cautions for implementers of this method are included in the Security Considerations section.

Motivation

A dapp may require the user to interact with multiple Ethereum chains in order to function. A may or may not be supported by the user’s wallet application. wallet_addEthereumChain enables dapps to request any necessary chains to be added to the user’s wallet. This provides UX benefits for dapps and wallets that want to provide such functionality.

Specification

The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC-2119.

wallet_addEthereumChain

The method accepts a single object parameter, with a chainId and some chain metadata. The method returns null if the chain was added to the wallet, and an error otherwise.

The wallet MAY reject the request for any reason. The wallet MUST reject the request if the chainId is improperly formatted. The wallet MUST reject the request if the wallet does not support the chain with the specified chainId.

Note that this method makes no statement about whether the wallet should change the user’s currently selected chain, if the wallet has a concept thereof.

Parameters

wallet_addEthereumChain accepts a single object parameter, specified by the following TypeScript interface:

interface AddEthereumChainParameter {
  chainId: string;
  blockExplorerUrl?: string;
  chainName?: string;
  nativeCurrency?: {
    name: string;
    symbol: string;
    decimals: number;
  };
  rpcUrl?: string;
}

Only the chainId is required per this specification, but a wallet MAY require any other fields listed, and impose additional requirements on them.

  • chainId
    • MUST specify the integer ID of the chain as a hexadecimal string, per the eth_chainId Ethereum RPC method.
    • The wallet SHOULD compare the specified chainId value with the eth_chainId return value from the endpoint. If these values are not identical, the wallet MUST reject the request.
  • blockExplorerUrl
    • If provided, MUST specify the URL of a block explorer web site for the chain.
    • The block explorer API routes SHOULD be compatible with EIP-3091.
  • chainName
    • If provided, MUST specify a human-readable name for the chain.
  • nativeCurrency
    • If provided, MUST describe the native currency of the chain using the name, symbol, and decimals fields.
  • rpcUrl
    • If provided, MUST specify the URL of the RPC endpoint used to communicate with the chain.

All URL string fields MUST include the protocol component of the URL. HTTPS SHOULD be used.

Returns

The method MUST return null if the request was successful, and an error otherwise.

If a chain with the provided parameters was already added, the request is considered successful, and the method MUST return null.

The wallet SHOULD NOT allow the same chainId to be added multiple times. See Security Considerations for more information.

Examples

These examples use JSON-RPC, but the method could be implemented using other RPC protocols.

To add the Goerli test chain:

{
  "id": 1,
  "jsonrpc": "2.0",
  "method": "wallet_addEthereumChain",
  "params": [
    {
      "chainId": "0x5",
      "chainName": "Goerli",
      "rpcUrl": "https://goerli.infura.io/v3/INSERT_API_KEY_HERE",
      "nativeCurrency": {
        "name": "Goerli ETH",
        "symbol": "gorETH",
        "decimals": 18
      },
      "blockExplorerUrl": "https://goerli.etherscan.io"
    }
  ]
}

To add POA Network’s xDAI chain:

{
  "id": 1,
  "jsonrpc": "2.0",
  "method": "wallet_addEthereumChain",
  "params": [
    {
      "chainId": "0x64",
      "chainName": "xDAI Chain",
      "rpcUrl": "https://dai.poa.network",
      "nativeCurrency": {
        "name": "xDAI",
        "symbol": "xDAI",
        "decimals": 18
      }
    }
  ]
}

A success response:

{
  "id": 1,
  "jsonrpc": "2.0",
  "result": null
}

A failure response:

{
  "id": 1,
  "jsonrpc": "2.0",
  "error": {
    "code": 4001,
    "message": "The user rejected the request."
  }
}

Rationale

The design of wallet_addEthereumChain is deliberately ignorant of what it means to “add” a chain to a wallet. The meaning of “adding” a chain to a wallet depends on the wallet implementation. Ultimately, neither the user nor the dapp can now whether adding the chain “worked” until they have successfully interacted with it.

When calling the method, specifying the chainId will always be necessary, since in the universe of Ethereum chains, the EIP-155 chain ID is effectively the GUID of a chain. The remaining parameters amount to what, in the estimation of authors, a wallet will minimally require in order to effectively support a chain and accurately represent it to the user. The network ID (per the net_version RPC method) was omitted since it is effectively superseded by the chain ID.

For security reasons, a wallet should always attempt to validate the chain metadata provided by the dapp, and may choose to fetch the metadata elsewhere entirely. Either way, there’s no way to know what the wallet will need with respect to the chain metadata. Therefore, all parameters except chainId are listed as optional, even though a wallet may require them in practice.

This specification does not mandate that the wallet “switches” its active chain, if the result is successful.

For related work, see EIP-2015.

Security Considerations

wallet_addEthereumChain is a powerful method that exposes the end user to serious risks if implemented incorrectly. Most of these risks can be avoided by validating the request data in the wallet, and clearly disambiguating different chains in the wallet UI.

Chain IDs

Since the chain ID used for signing determines which chain a transaction is valid for, handling the chain ID correctly is of utmost importance. The wallet should:

  • Ensure that a submitted chain ID is valid.
    • It should be submitted as a 0x-prefixed hexadecimal string per EIP-695, and parse to an integer number.
  • Prevent the same chain ID from being added multiple times, for example with different RPC URLs.
  • Only use the submitted chain ID to sign transactions, never a chain ID received from an RPC endpoint.
    • A malicious or faulty endpoint could return arbitrary chain IDs, and potentially cause the user to sign transactions for unintended chains.
  • Verify that the specified chain ID matches the return value of eth_chainId from the endpoint, as described in this specification.

RPC Endpoints

Wallets generally interact with chains via an RPC endpoint, identified by some URL. Most wallets ship with a set of chains and corresponding trusted RPC endpoints. The endpoints identified by the rpcUrl parameter cannot be assumed to be honest or even correct. Moreover, even trusted endpoints endpoints can expose users to privacy risks depending on their data collection practices.

Therefore, the wallet should:

  • Inform users that their on-chain activity and IP address will be exposed to the endpoint.
  • If the endpoint is unknown to the wallet, inform users that the endpoint may behave in unexpected ways.
  • Observe good web security practices when interacting with the endpoint, such as require HTTPS.

UX

Adding a new chain to the wallet can have significant implications for the functionality of the wallet and the experience of the user. A chain should never be added without the explicit consent of the user, and different chains should be clearly differentiated in the wallet UI. In service of these goals, the wallet should:

  • When receiving a wallet_addEthereumChain request, display a user confirmation informing the user that a specific dapp has requested that the chain be added.
    • The confirmation used in EIP-1102 may serve as a point of reference.
  • Ensure that any chain metadata, such as nativeCurrency and blockExplorerUrl, are validated and used to maximum effect in the UI.
  • If the wallet UI has a concept of a “currently selected” or “currently active” chain, ensure that the user understands when a chain added using wallet_addEthereumChain becomes selected.

Validating Chain Data

A wallet that implements wallet_addEthereumChain should expect to encounter requests for chains completely unknown to the wallet maintainers. That said, community resources exist that can be leveraged to verify requests for many Ethereum chains. The wallet should maintain a list of known chains, and verify requests add chains against that list. Indeed, unless there are good reasons not to, the wallet should prefer its own chain metadata over anything submitted with a wallet_addEthereumChain request.

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.

Citation

Please cite this document as:

Erik Marks, Pedro Gomes, "EIP-3085: Wallet Add Ethereum Chain RPC Method (`wallet_addEthereumChain`) [DRAFT]," Ethereum Improvement Proposals, no. 3085, November 2020. [Online serial]. Available: https://eips.ethereum.org/EIPS/eip-3085.