In the 8 years since the birth of the open-source blockchain network Ethereum, countless competitive chains have emerged, laying the foundation for the development of on-chain applications in financial, gaming, and other scenarios. The only regret is that after 8 years, the vast majority of Internet users still cannot access the Web3 gateway based on blockchain at the underlying level.
According to data, out of a total of 5.16 billion Internet users, less than 100 million users have blockchain wallets (the main entrance to the Web3 network and applications). Why is it so difficult for Web3 to break out?
On the one hand, there has been no explosive application familiar to Web2 users, such as in the fields of social media and e-commerce. More importantly, the use and operation are complex: every time you go on-chain, you have to calculate the “network fee” (GAS fee, one of the network usage costs), and every interaction requires a wallet signature (similar to providing authorization and verifying transactions).
Recently, a new concept aiming to revolutionize the poor experience of Web3 has emerged – investment firm LianGuairadigm proposed “intent-centric,” expounding on the new approach of establishing a Web3 interactive experience centered around “intent”: ideally, users only need to issue an intent instruction, and all operations can be automatically executed behind the scenes, with the user only needing to sign once to achieve their intent.
Focusing only on the result and not on the process, intent-centric seems to prioritize user experience. Does this simplified style resemble what AI chatbots do? In fact, artificial intelligence can indeed be used here.
New Focus of Web3
A recent research article by the well-known crypto investment firm LianGuairadigm has made the concept of intent-centric the new focus of the Web3 track. The firm listed intent-centric as the top of the “Ten Web3 Directions Worth Paying Attention To,” spreading this unfamiliar term in the crypto community and causing excitement.
Intent-centric, as the name implies, focuses on “what you want to do” and emphasizes the result rather than the process. Intent-centric aims to make cumbersome on-chain operations “one-step” through protocol and infrastructure optimization. More accurately, it hides the previously complex operation process, allowing users to achieve their goals without feeling or directly.
For example, if a user wants to exchange the Ethereum blockchain version of the stablecoin USDT for the ARB coin on the Arbitrum blockchain, this process is somewhat similar to cross-border and cross-bank transfers, usually requiring a series of operations, including opening a cross-chain bridge (a cross-system trust solution), connecting a wallet (account), transferring USDT and the ETH (transaction fee) used for this exchange from the Ethereum network to Arbitrum, waiting for the cross-chain transfer of assets to complete, and then finding a liquid exchange on Arbitrum to execute the exchange.
The above is an operation that a “veteran” on the blockchain is very familiar with and accustomed to. Every day, there are a large number of users transferring assets between different blockchains, conducting transactions, and staking assets, etc. The complex operation process is extremely unfriendly, especially for newbies, completing this series of basic operations is a challenge at every step.
Intent-centric aims to solve these problems by turning long chains of operations into short chains, or more precisely, making these chains “invisible” to users at the user experience end.
In an ideal scenario, users only need to input their intentions, such as “Help me swap USDT in my wallet for ARB on Arbitrum.” Intent-centric protocols can automatically operate in the background, including cross-chain transactions, finding the optimal exchange path, paying gas fees, and completing the swap. Throughout this entire process, users are unaware and will only receive a clear result: USDT in their wallet has been swapped for ARB.
This is very similar to the experience of Web2 applications. For example, when we use Alipay to make purchases on Taobao, we simply wait for the goods to arrive without needing to know how the money reaches the hands of the merchants.
The cross-chain transaction from USDT to ARB is just a simple example. In theory, with the maturity and improvement of the intent-centric concept at the protocol level, any on-chain operation can be completed with a single click. For example, purchasing a specified NFT with a single click, or finding the highest annual yield investment with a single click.
In short, the core concept of intent-centric is to optimize user experience and enable even novices to quickly navigate the world of blockchain.
So, how is the vision of intent-centric achieved technically? In fact, its principle is not difficult to understand – it is to break down intentions and assign each step to specialized protocols to complete.
Take Bob the Solver, who recently performed well at the ETHGlobal LianGuairis hackathon, as an example. It is an infrastructure based on intent-driven transactions, consisting of two parts: the Solver and the Account Abstract Wallet (AA Wallet).
Bob the Solver brings the intent-centric template
The Solver acts as the coordinator, responsible for identifying user intentions, categorizing them, and planning the optimal path to achieve those intentions. Once the path is determined, the Solver will construct the necessary transactions to fulfill the user’s intentions, similar to outlining a “workflow.” These transactions are then forwarded to the programmable Account Abstract Wallet.
The Account Abstract Wallet is responsible for executing the work. It consists of a “bundler” and a “LianGuaiymaster.” The former is responsible for planning the transactions sent by the Solver, while the latter manages and pays the associated gas fees.
Bob the Solver provides a simple template for the intent-centric track. Following this approach, as long as there are sufficiently professional Solver solutions and wallet programming schemes, it is possible to achieve one-click direct access to intentions in various scenarios.
Potential Integration with AI
The on-chain application ecosystem has undergone eight years of development and has seen the emergence of a large number of transaction-based, lending-based, investment-based, gaming, and other applications, as well as new assets such as NFTs. In the context of the initial scale of the on-chain ecosystem, the emergence of intent-centric is timely. Only by achieving a transformative upgrade in user experience can the on-chain world achieve exponential user growth.
Currently, there are relatively few new protocols under the intent-centric narrative. However, in fact, applications similar to its vision have already appeared before.
The decentralized encrypted asset trading application 1inch is a typical case. Compared to the famous Uniswap, the characteristic of 1inch is that it allows users to trade encrypted assets across multiple DEX exchanges in one transaction. By simultaneously scanning multiple DEX exchanges, 1inch can find the best price for a specific trading pair and execute the transaction for users at the most favorable price.
Before the emergence of 1inch, users who wanted to complete a transaction in a maximally valuable way usually had to visit multiple DEX exchanges for price comparison, while also considering factors such as trading slippage and gas fees. However, 1inch can efficiently discover the optimal exchange path by using a specific algorithm and aggregating dozens of DEX exchanges, enabling users to complete the most optimal transaction in real time at the best price.
1inch trading page
Aggregation is a simple and effective way to simplify user operations. However, in the blockchain world, there are not only simple transactions of exchanging A for B. There are hundreds of independent and open public chains, each supporting a variety of on-chain application class digital assets. Aggregation alone is not sufficient to solve the complexity of most operations.
Therefore, the realization of intent-centric vision still has a long way to go, and in this process, highly intelligent AI may become a powerful assistant.
Whether it is natural language input of intent or the decomposition of objectives, calculation of the optimal path, and execution of operations, AI can play its advantages.
In many cases, user intents are complex, and the expression of intent may not be accurate, which can make it difficult for the solver to understand the user’s intent accurately, thus unable to plan the optimal solution. However, AI trained with specific models can more accurately identify user intents and infer potential goals and needs based on the source of the user’s trading request, transaction data, etc.
In terms of decomposing objectives and executing operations, AutoGPT based on GPT-4, a large language model launched by OpenAI, has proven its power. Just by issuing a task, AutoGPT can plan and execute automatically. Its characteristics fit well with the requirements of intent-centric.
In the eyes of many professionals, the implementation of intent-centric cannot be achieved without the boost of AI. After all, the efficiency of AI retrieval and execution is much higher than that of humans, and the involvement of AI will accelerate the arrival of a user-friendly era for blockchain.
Of course, when developers delegate the “intermediate layer” operations from intent to result to AI and other third-party execution layers, it means that multiple parties are involved behind the “one-click implementation of intent,” and security issues must be taken seriously. On one hand, intent-centric protocol parties need to establish punishment mechanisms for malicious behavior and provide a secure and stable third-party execution layer. On the other hand, they also need to enhance technical security capabilities to prevent algorithms from being exposed or AI from being “deceived.” Once any link has a problem, the user’s rights and interests will not be guaranteed.
Intent-centric presents an exciting future for the Web3 industry, and it is expected that more secure and user-friendly “intent” applications will emerge, revolutionizing the user experience of blockchain from the user’s end.