Intent Machines — A Pathway to Pragmatic Protocol Interactions

Gokul B Alex
2 min readMay 11, 2024
Photo by Uriel SC on Unsplash

Intents have different meanings across technology paradigms. In context of blockchain technology, intents represent an approach to embed conditions and preconditions relevant to various transactions like limit orders, cross chain transactions and workflows in decentralized exchange aggregators.

Intents are promising a new pathway for blockchain protocols in various ways. Intents can abstract the desired set of activities initiated by end users in their interactions with blockchain protocols, platforms, bridges, wallets, and various other kind of applications. Intents are also described as predicates / conditions with preconditions associated with them.

The founder of Anoma, Adrian Brink envisions intents as interfaces to the existing protocols. He articulates that intents should not be considered as an additional layer of intermediaries to the blockchain stack. Anoma protocol defines intents as a message sent by a user which expresses their preferences regarding a desired state of the system. Intent is also expressed as a commitment to user preferences and constraints over the space of possible state transitions. In an intent based experience, users express their preferences, and a network of specialized third-party actors (solvers/executors) executes these preferences.

Intents empowers users to present their proof of preferences regarding the state of the intent machines. This is an interesting possibility. Intent machines are not simple state machines, rather they are more transparent, trajectory based and topology driven. Intents can compute incentives from the set of preferred sets expressed by the end users. Thus computation becomes less arbitrary and less absolute. Intent based model is more dynamic and distributed than the stake based model as intents present the desired outcomes of computation.

Through intents, it becomes easier to channelize the ledger infrastructure and chain constraints in a pragmatic and prismatic manner. Intents can also help to unify the liquidity as per the network needs. Intent based constraints can also enable the end users to delegate specific set of actions to network operators and decide the best possible incentive models.

Intent machines need to evolve in terms of the building blocks such as the intent solver infrastructure, intent-level composability, intent topology, intent chronology, and heterogeneous trust. Intent machines are becoming topology agnostic, chronology centered, taxonomy driven in unique ways.

Intents could pave way for further future forward distributed machinery powered by semantics and semiotics of money, and market, once we master the art and science of intent composability, communication and computation.