An Externally Owned Account (EOA) in the context of Ethereum refers to a type of account associated with a human user or an external entity. EOAs are contrasted with Contract Accounts (also known as Smart Contracts), which are accounts associated with the code and logic of decentralized applications (dApps) on the Ethereum blockchain.
Here are some key characteristics of an Externally Owned Account (EOA):
Owned by Humans or External Entities: EOAs are controlled by individual users or external entities (such as organizations or institutions). They are typically used for holding and managing Ether (ETH), the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain, as well as other ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens.
Controlled by Private Keys: The owner of an EOA has control over it through a private key. This private key is used to sign transactions, send Ether, and interact with smart contracts on the Ethereum network.
Transaction Execution: When an EOA initiates a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain, it signs the transaction with its private key. This signature verifies the authenticity and authorization of the transaction. Transactions from EOAs can involve sending Ether to other addresses, interacting with dApps, or executing various operations on the blockchain.
No Code Execution: EOAs do not contain code or smart contract logic. They are purely for managing cryptocurrency assets and interacting with the Ethereum network through transactions. EOAs do not have Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) code associated with them.
Balance and Transactions: EOAs have a balance of Ether associated with them, which reflects the amount of Ether held in the account. Users can view their account balances, transaction history, and token holdings using Ethereum wallet software or blockchain explorers.
Security: The security of an EOA is highly dependent on the security of the private key associated with it. If someone gains access to the private key, they can control the assets in the account. Therefore, it’s crucial to safeguard the private key and follow best practices for secure storage.
Token Holdings: In addition to holding Ether, EOAs can also hold various Ethereum-based tokens, including ERC-20 tokens (fungible tokens) and ERC-721 tokens (non-fungible tokens). Users can send, receive, and manage these tokens using their EOAs.
EOAs are the most common type of Ethereum account and are used by individuals and entities for various purposes, including sending and receiving Ether, participating in initial coin offerings (ICOs), interacting with dApps, and holding cryptocurrency assets. They are essential for user participation in the Ethereum ecosystem.