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I wonder if it is possible in Stellar to forward the transaction costs onto some other (willing) account (and still maintain its private seed). I could go into the rationale, but its really not relevant.

In other words:

if Account A wants to send XLMs to account B, can it somehow use account C to pay for the transaction fee, assuming C is willing? In addition, of course, no account shares its private seed with another account in the process.

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As noted on the Fees page in the docs:

Stellar deducts the entire fee from the transaction’s source account, regardless of which accounts are involved in each operation or who signed the transaction.

"Source account" is defined as such:

This is the account that originates the transaction. The transaction must be signed by this account, and the transaction fee must be paid by this account. The sequence number of this transaction is based off this account.

I believe it is possible to setup a transaction as you're describing above (A -> B where C pays fees) but only if the transaction is signed by both A and C). A transaction can only be signed with the private key of an account, so you'd need to know both private keys of A and C, or setup some sort of multi-signature coordination mechanism.

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