Foresight Ventures: Composing Automations — Intent is more than operation packaging

Foresight Ventures
17 min readOct 19, 2023

Author: Mike Jin@Foresight Ventures


  1. The crypto is witnessing a growing emphasis on ‘intent-centric architecture’ after the publish of Intent-Based Architectures and Their Risks. Esteemed capital market stakeholders are demonstrating heightened interest due to its potential to revolutionize transactional efficiency and security protocols in crypto ecosystems.
  2. “Intent” in this context refers to a method of transacting and executing operations on network with smart contracts. This is a new technology with potential applications, but it also raises questions about how to protect privacy and assets while allowing intents to be executed by anyone.
  3. This shift from an imperative to a declarative paradigm can potentially revolutionize user experience (UX) and efficiency by allowing users to define desired outcomes and relying on adept third parties for execution.
  4. In the midst of the prevailing bear market, the blockchain industry aspires for a bullish resurgence, historically driven by widespread crypto adoption. Current crypto applications, however, present challenges for traditional Web2 users. To foster mass adoption and catalyze a bull market, enhancing dApp user experience is essential, underscoring the significance of intent-centric protocols and account abstraction.

1. Introduction to intents

If Necessity is the MOTHER of invention, then Laziness is the FATHER

You might agree that laziness has greatly contributed to the technology development. Many technological innovations are inseparable from cost reduction and efficiency, such as the invention of the bicycle, which reduces labor costs and increases the speed of transportation, and the invention of trains, airplanes, and ships in different scenarios have achieved cost reduction and efficiency. ai is also the same, for the intelligent cost reduction and efficiency, then in my opinion, intent-centric applications provide digital users with the function of executing apps to reduce costs and increase efficiency. That is, optimization: on top of the user’s will, choose the optimal processing method and execute it, the fastest and most economical.

1.1 What is intent-centric ?

It seems mysterious and sophisticated, but in reality, it’s quite straightforward. At its core, an intent-centric protocol is a tool or app designed to help users fulfill their intentions. Consider the digital scales at a farmers’ market as an example. Traditional scales simply display the weight, but when we’re at the market, our primary intent is to determine the cost, not just the weight. With digital scales, farmers can input the price per unit, and the scale instantly calculates the total price. In this way, both the farmer’s and buyer’s intent — to know the cost — is seamlessly met.

At its core, intent can be encapsulated as a digital matchmaking mechanism. It operates on the principle of bridging user desires with feasible solutions, abstracting the complexities of intermediary processes to offer a streamlined end-result.

Consider the paradigm of Web2 services: One of the most salient examples is the ride-sharing service, Uber. When an individual requires transportation, they simply input their current location and desired destination into the Uber application. The platform then, using a myriad of algorithms and data sets, matches the user with an appropriate driver. The complexities of route optimization, driver availability, pricing fluctuations, and more are all seamlessly handled in the background. The user’s primary interaction is purely intent-based: “I intend to travel from Point A to Point B.”

Contrast this with the traditional approach, where a person might have had to hail a cab on the street or navigate public transportation schedules, contending with numerous uncertainties and inconveniences. In this context, Uber emerges as a digital embodiment of the intent layer for transportation, simplifying the user journey by addressing the core intent and abstracting away procedural intricacies.

Actually, among the most popular web2 platforms, Amazon, Taobao, Airbnb, and Google map etc, all can be attributed to intent-centric group. They serve to fulfill the users’ intent in specific fields. Amazon and Taobao for online-shopping; Airbnb for accommodation; Google map for navigating. One thing they have in common is: plug-in- and-play.

1.2 Why we need intent-centric protocols in blockchain ?

In the ever-evolving landscape of the blockchain industry, market dynamics play a crucial role in dictating trends and adoption rates. As we currently navigate a bear market, there’s an inherent urgency within the community to catalyze the next bull cycle. Historically, each bull market phase has corresponded with a surge in cryptocurrency adoption, acting as testament to the growth potential of the sector.

Yet, a significant barrier remains: the user experience (UX) divide between traditional Web2 applications and emerging Web3 platforms. For the mainstream audience, accustomed to the intuitive interfaces of Web2, the complexity of current crypto applications can be daunting. To bridge this gap and drive mass adoption, we need more than just incremental improvements. We need a paradigm shift in how dApps are designed and interacted with.

This is where the significance of intent-centric protocols and account abstraction comes into play:

For the average person, interacting with the blockchain can be overwhelming. Traditional transactions require a precise understanding of how actions unfold, which can be a barrier to entry. The composability and multi-function of blockchain apps raised the complexity of user interactions.

Intents simplify this by focusing on the desired outcome rather than the process. Instead of detailing each step of a transaction, a user can merely express their end goal (the “what”), making crypto transactions more akin to everyday tasks and thereby more accessible.

Degen Bob’s day is a crypto roller-coaster: He starts by unlocking Metamask, claims staking rewards, and converts tokens to USDT. Next, he bridges these to an L2 network to snag some trending NFTs. Post-purchase, he’s swayed into a DAO governance vote. A tempting yield farming scheme catches his eye next, leading him to supply liquidity after a smart contract approval. As he mints synthetic assets in another dApp, a dwindling ETH balance prompts a swift token swap. Evening sees him on Discord, sifting through airdrop speculations. Midway, he realizes he’s running low on ETH for gas fees, so he has to swap some tokens for ETH, all the while monitoring gas prices to ensure his transactions don’t get stuck. Wrapping up, a portfolio check reveals failed transactions awaiting his attention. Drained, Bob signs off, musing, “Such is the life of a degen.”

Bob is a crypto veteran so he can endure such workload. But for a new guy from web2 ? His shit will be scared out of his ass. So how can we achieve mass adoption ?

Intent-based architectures have emerged to streamline this process. They encapsulate intermediary steps, optimizing both time and financial costs. Essentially, a sequence of operations, represented as A-B-C-D-E, can be efficiently abbreviated to A-E. Technologies like ZK (Zero-Knowledge Proofs) and the Lightning Network share this objective, aiming to enhance transactional efficiency and privacy. Methodologically, whether in custodial or non-custodial formats, the primary aim remains consistent: optimizing user experience (UX).

Particularly within the blockchain domain, the term ‘intent’ encapsulates the objective of utilizing a portion of assets to attain a specific goal. Traditionally, achieving this intent involves navigating multiple procedural steps — from multiple signatures to incurring extensive gas fees and encountering MEV challenges.


Intent, at its core, mirrors the simplicity of making a wish. These applications essentially decipher your desires and tap into the vastness of the market, leveraging what you possess, to fulfill them. An apt illustration of this concept that you might be familiar with is an order book. It’s a platform where myriad intentions of buyers and sellers, each wishing to purchase or sell, converge, facilitating trade based on mutual agreement on price. The following are some features that a typical intent-centric protocol may have:

Feature: Automation

The primary strength of an intent-centric model lies in its ability to automate complex processes. When a user expresses a simple intent — such as wanting to exchange one cryptocurrency for another — the underlying system can automatically handle all the intricate steps required to fulfill that intent.

Impact: With automation, users don’t need to be experts in blockchain technology to participate. By abstracting away the technical details, intent-driven automation can drastically reduce the learning curve, making the crypto space more accessible to the general populace.

Feature: Consistency

One of the challenges in the current crypto ecosystem is the variability in user experience across different platforms and services. An intent-centric approach promotes consistency. Regardless of the backend changes or differences between platforms, the user’s interaction remains consistent: express an intent and let the system handle the rest.

Impact: Consistency in user experience reduces confusion and increases user confidence. It also ensures that once users are familiar with one intent-driven platform, they can easily transition to others, promoting a more cohesive and user-friendly crypto ecosystem.

Feature: Optimization

By focusing on the end goal (the intent) rather than the individual steps required to reach that goal, the system can continuously search for the most efficient way to fulfill the intent. This might involve choosing the most cost-effective route for a transaction, optimizing for speed, or selecting a method that maximizes user rewards.

Impact: Users not only save time but also resources. In the context of blockchain, where transaction costs (like gas fees) can fluctuate, optimization can lead to significant cost savings. Furthermore, it ensures that users always get the best possible outcome without having to manually research or adjust their actions based on changing conditions.

Feature: Matchmaking

An intent-centric model naturally introduces the concept of matchmaking. Once a user’s intent is broadcasted, various service providers or platforms can “bid” to fulfill that intent, whether it’s offering the best exchange rate, the fastest transaction speed, or other value-added services.

Impact: Matchmaking empowers users by promoting competition among service providers. This competition can drive down costs, improve service quality, and lead to innovations in how services are delivered. For users, it translates to more choices, better rates, and enhanced overall value.

Feature: Aggregation

In an intent-centric model, aggregation emerges as a prominent feature. This involves gathering a variety of options, services, or data from multiple sources in response to a singular intent. Instead of users having to manually scour different platforms or services to achieve their objective, the system curates and presents the most relevant solutions from a multitude of providers.

Impact: Aggregation amplifies the efficiency and convenience for users. They receive a holistic view of the available options, allowing for informed decision-making without the hassle of manual research. This not only saves time but ensures that users get a comprehensive insight into the best possibilities in the market, promoting transparency and trust. Moreover, for sectors like DeFi, aggregation can mean better yield opportunities, more liquidity options, and optimized trading routes.

Intent layers

The evolving landscape of blockchain and decentralized finance has ushered in novel innovations aiming to simplify user experiences and bolster efficiency. While many in the community are acquainted with prominent names like Anoma, SUAVE, solvers, UniswapX, and Cowswap, it’s imperative to highlight and appreciate the pioneers branching out and taking unique approaches to harness the power of ‘intents’. Here, we’ll delve into a few standout projects that have creatively incorporated the matchmaking function to enhance user experience.

Trade through telegram: Unibot(Telegram trading bots):

Venturing beyond traditional platforms, Unibot brings DeFi trading tools directly to Telegram. As a bot, it facilitates a myriad of commands, from simple token exchanges to intricate asset cross-chaining. What sets Unibot apart is its ease, allowing users to trade instantaneously on Telegram, making the process not only swift but also incredibly intuitive. It’s no wonder Unibot has garnered significant acclaim, leading the way in terms of revenue.

Web3 Zapier: Grindery

Grindery serves as a no-code/low-code middleware, designed to bridge Apps and dApps across various chains and protocols. As a decentralized system, it interfaces with both smart contracts and Web2 APIs. It offers users the capability to establish workflows that, based on specific time, state, or event triggers, can initiate transactions with both smart contracts and Web2 APIs. Simply put, Grindery acts as a holistic integration platform that operates on-chain, cross-chain, and off-chain.

The diagram illustrates Grindery’s foundational architecture. Users encounter two dApp categories: customized dApps and Nexus dApps. The latter forms Grindery’s core, facilitating code-free integrations using pre-established connectors, akin to the Zapier web application. Grindery’s workflow engine categorizes actions into Web2 and Web3. While Web2 actions involve HTTP calls to public or private APIs (termed as Web2 gateways), Web3 actions align with typical smart contract automations, enabling smart contract transactions sponsored by user wallet funds. Each blockchain requires its distinct connectivity, and these gateway descriptors are JSON-stored within the system.

Redefining Dapp interactions: DappOS

Many dApps present usability challenges. Consider liquidity farming: newcomers often face a lengthy process involving approximately five contract interactions, such as token A/B approvals, liquidity additions, LP token approvals, and deposits. The complexity amplifies when interfacing with dApps across multiple chains. For instance, BNB chain users engaging with Perpetual on Optimism might navigate a workflow exceeding ten steps. DappOS intends to solve this problem:

The user initiates an order, endorsing a comprehensive workflow with a signature. This encompasses interactions across potentially multiple chains, asset bridging, and dappOS network fees. DApps relay this order to the dappOS network via JSON-RPC. The dappOS network then assigns this order to a permissionless node, ensuring either successful execution or compensation for any user loss. Driven by potential rewards, the selected node completes the entire process, including asset bridging and on-chain transactions, transferring from users’ virtual wallets to the appropriate dApp contracts.

Zero-knowledge paradigm: Hyper Oracle

Hyper Oracle introduces a programmable zkOracle protocol that enhances blockchain security and decentralization. It comprises three main components: zkPoS, zkGraph, and zkWASM. ZkAutomation and zkIndexing offer secure automation for smart contracts and indexing/querying of blockchain data. Compared to traditional oracle networks, Hyper Oracle provides a trustless, zk-powered infrastructure solution.

zkPoS authenticates Ethereum’s consensus using a singular zk proof, accessible from any location. This facilitates zkOracle in acquiring a legitimate block header, serving as a foundation for subsequent operations.

zkWASM, depicted as zkVM in the diagram, functions as the operational environment for zkGraph, bestowing the zk capabilities upon every zkGraph within the Hyper Oracle Network. Its essence mirrors that of the zkEVM found in ZK Rollups.

zkGraph, executed within zkWASM, outlines the adaptable and codable off-chain calculations associated with the behaviors of the zkOracle node and its Meta Apps. It can be analogized as the Hyper Oracle Network’s equivalent to a smart contract.

Optimizing your trades: Caddi

Caddi is a financial tool that optimizes trade executions by evaluating swaps on both decentralized and centralized exchanges, ensuring users receive the best possible rates. It actively compares and presents the most cost-effective swap routes, inclusive of all fees and gas estimates. Beyond its core function, Caddi prioritizes user safety by offering robust phishing protection, alerting users when they encounter potential scam websites. This combination of optimization and security makes Caddi a comprehensive solution for informed and safe crypto trading.

Intent layer of on-chain entity: 0xscope

The 0xScope Protocol is a data knowledge graph protocol that associates data points scattered across Web2 and Web3 into a real dense network of structured semantic data through a set of graph computing based imputation algorithms, i.e., aggregating scattered data into real usable information.

Currently, although the data on the chain is open and verifiable, the decentralized production relationship brings about the problem of data fragmentation, which, according to the 0xScope Protocol team, not only makes it difficult for the composability of Web3 data to take advantage of its paradigm, but also hinders the effective interoperability between Web2 and Web3 data.

Therefore, 0xScope Protocol hopes to generate a knowledge graph based on real data by integrating on-chain data and user behavioral characteristics, empowering the Web3 protocol and providing data support for the connection between Web2 and Web3. According to reports, the protocol has now integrated nearly 100 million entities and classified over 5 million behavioral labels.

Future: Blockchain unleashes the possibilities of intent-centric applications

In today’s digital ecosystem, the convergence of intent-centric applications and the foundational tenets of blockchain is setting the stage for an unprecedented era of interoperability and boundless innovation. The crux of this evolution is rooted deeply in the guiding principles that oversee these spheres.


Web2, for all its groundbreaking advancements, was inherently restricted by permissions. It fostered an environment where applications, instead of being interoperable, often operated in isolated silos, jealously guarding their proprietary user data and functionalities. Think about the sharp demarcation between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android ecosystems. Despite being two of the most dominant mobile operating systems, they seldom permit a seamless exchange of apps, services, or data. Such stringent barriers inhibit a cohesive digital experience.

However, with the advent of Web3, the narrative is transforming. Blockchain, with its decentralized architecture, dismantles these walled gardens. The very essence of permissionless operations in blockchain goes beyond just allowing anyone to participate or validate; it envisions a digital universe devoid of restrictive gatekeepers, ushering in an era of “infinite composability.”

Imagine a digital world where assets from one game can be utilized in another, where a character from a fantasy MMORPG can take a drive in a simulated racing game, or where digital assets and accomplishments in one virtual realm are recognized and have value in another. The crossover potential is not just limited to games but extends to all decentralized applications (dApps). Financial protocols can seamlessly integrate with gaming platforms, art platforms can intermingle with music dApps, and so on. The possibilities are only limited by imagination.

Smart contract Automation

Also, the potential of intent is not restricted to transactions. Smart contract automation takes the potential of intent and amplifies it by embedding responsiveness, flexibility, and efficiency into the very fabric of these dApps. As Web3 emphasizes permissionless operations, smart contract automation serves as its powerhouse, ensuring that once an intent is registered, its realization is seamless, precise, and secure.

Automated Execution

In the Web3 world, it’s not just about defining what you want but ensuring that desire is fulfilled with the highest efficiency. Smart contracts, when automated, translate user intent into a series of executable actions on the blockchain. The user no longer has to wait or manually trigger subsequent steps; the contract intuitively processes transactions as conditions are met.

Dynamic Interactions

Web3 is dynamic, with ever-changing data, token values, and network conditions. Smart contract automation leverages this dynamism by interacting with real-time data through oracles. Whether it’s adjusting a lending rate based on market conditions or triggering an event based on external data, these contracts ensure dApps remain responsive and relevant.

Enhanced Security

The deterministic nature of smart contracts, combined with automation, reduces the margin for human error and potential malicious interventions. Once set in motion, these contracts follow their coded logic to the letter, ensuring the user’s intent is met securely and transparently.

Cost Efficiency

With Ethereum gas prices fluctuating, automated smart contracts can be designed to execute transactions optimally, ensuring users get the best value for their actions. This could involve bundling transactions, optimizing execution times based on network congestion, or interacting with Layer 2 solutions.

Interoperability Boost

Intent focuses on the end goal. Smart contract automation makes that end goal reachable across various platforms and protocols. By having contracts that can automatically interact with multiple chains or dApps, the user’s intent isn’t just confined to one ecosystem but can span across the vast Web3 landscape.

With AI

Intent-centric protocols focus on capturing and responding to the user’s desires or ‘intents’ rather than merely executing explicit, predetermined commands. Essentially, these protocols are designed to decipher ‘what’ a user wants rather than the exact ‘how’. The role of AI in this framework is pivotal, facilitating a more dynamic, intuitive, and user-friendly experience. Here’s how they synergize:

Understanding User Intent

At its core, AI excels in pattern recognition and natural language processing. When users express their intent, be it in natural language or through a series of actions, AI can interpret this data, understand the underlying intent, and determine the best course of action.

Dynamic Response

While traditional systems may have a linear, fixed response to specific inputs, AI-driven intent-centric systems can adapt. Depending on the context, user behavior, or even external factors, AI can modify its response to align with the user’s true intent.

Predictive Actions

Over time, AI can analyze a user’s behavior and predict their intentions even before explicit commands are given. For instance, if a user regularly performs a specific blockchain transaction at a particular time, AI can pre-empt this action, offering to execute it or preparing the necessary data in advance.

Enhanced User Experience

AI can continuously learn from user interactions. If a user frequently faces issues or requires multiple attempts to achieve a specific outcome, AI can adapt the system to make that process more seamless in the future, continually refining the user experience.

Security and Anomaly Detection

In a blockchain or crypto context, ensuring the security of transactions and user data is paramount. AI can monitor intent-driven actions and flag any that deviate from typical patterns, offering an additional layer of security against unauthorized or malicious activities.

Interoperability and Integration

As the blockchain ecosystem grows, users will interact with multiple dApps, platforms, and services. An AI-driven intent-centric protocol can act as a cohesive layer, understanding user intent and seamlessly integrating actions across multiple platforms.

A case you can expect:

The maturation of the intent concept promises to be a game-changer, seamlessly automating tasks that once demanded manual oversight. Imagine a typical day in the near future, powered by sophisticated intent layers:

As an investor, you begin your day with strategic financial moves. Eager to purchase GLP using your assets on BSC, you access DappOS and, with a single click, effortlessly execute the transaction, bypassing the usual cross-chain procedures. Within DappOS, you also claim your LP rewards from Kyberswap and strategize to leverage them in pursuing a substantial order you identified via 0xscope. Concurrently, Caddi efficiently navigates the optimal trading routes for you, ensuring the best prices while vigilantly shielding you from potential phishing threats.

But there’s more on your plate. You’ve been receiving numerous investment pitches on Telegram over the past two days. Manually sorting through them would be a hassle. You command the Grindery to “Review deals from the last two days in Telegram and filter out projects with pre-seed valuations over $10M.” The system sifts through your messages, evaluates attached documents like DocSend and PDFs, and in no time, presents a well-organized Google Sheets document, spotlighting the most promising opportunities.

In essence, what this paints is a future where the power of intent-driven technology eliminates the mundane, streamlines workflows, and lets us focus on what truly matters. As the intent layer evolves and integrates even more deeply with AI and algorithms, the boundary between thought and action becomes delightfully blurred, propelling us into an era of unprecedented digital efficiency.


Mike Jin@Foresight Ventures

About Foresight Ventures

Foresight Ventures is dedicated to backing the disruptive innovation of blockchain for the next few decades. We manage multiple funds: a VC fund, an actively-managed secondary fund, a multi-strategy FOF, and a private market secondary fund, with AUM exceeding $400 million. Foresight Ventures adheres to the belief of “Unique, Independent, Aggressive, Long-Term mindset” and provides extensive support for portfolio companies within a growing ecosystem. Our team is composed of veterans from top financial and technology companies like Sequoia Capital, CICC, Google, Bitmain and many others.









Foresight Ventures

Foresight Ventures is a blockchain technology-focused investment firm, focusing on identifying disruptive innovation opportunities that will change the industry