Our Essential Thesis

Words by Maven 11 Venture

Photography by


Maven 11 Research

Essential is building intent-based infrastructure & tooling to accelerate the transition from value extraction to intent satisfaction. With a growing team of global contributors building several core pieces of intent-centric infrastructure, Essential is committed to supporting ecosystem-wide composability to ensure the intent paradigm reaches its full potential to minimize extractive behavior and maximize user satisfaction.

Why Essential

Blockchains have been evolving over time, with increasing complexity over the past 2 years. Especially, the introduction of MEV in recent years has seen the number of intermediaries increase. Searchers, builders, relayers, validators and others have stepped in to get a piece of the pie, leaving the (mostly unaware) users with crumbs. It goes without saying that MEV has its merits; however, it incentivizes extractive behavior at the cost of the users. We believe that in order to facilitate the next wave of adoption, we need to build out tooling which benefits the end-users.

Intents are a more intuitive way for users to interact with applications. Instead of specifying which specific action the user wants to execute, it only requires what the desired outcome should be. As Essential puts it in their introduction post: A transaction specifies the journey, while an intent specifies the destination. To help the user find the best possible journey towards her/his goal, solvers will aid the users.

Current early implementations of intents do have some pitfalls, particularly, around how solvers are operated. Often, they are operated by few centralized entities who are either the application themselves or a select group of (whitelisted) highly specialized parties. This is antithetical to the ethos of decentralization and could lead to adverse effects when inevitably the financial stakes increase. This opaque structure not only reduces trust, it also limits competition and innovation among solvers.

Another disadvantage is that current designs are not composable. Each have their own specific integration requirements for solvers, and a common framework is lacking. This is especially detrimental in a modular future where applications and infrastructure is so interwoven. In our opinion, a shared standard would vastly lower barriers for solvers and increase efficiency.

Promoting Competitive Solvers & Pioneering Intent-Centric Standards with Essential

Lastly, we believe that a true, competitive landscape is needed among solvers to maximize the value for the user. It ensures that solvers have to compete to offer the best outcome to the users. It will also spur innovation among solvers to keep on improving on their setup and adapt to new information much more quickly. This all would result in an anti-fragile system which, instead of value-extraction, will strive to maximize the value for the user.

Essential is building tooling and infrastructure to facilitate an intent-centric future. Their approach of building a standard mechanism for expressing intents through a Domain-Specific Language (DSL) for expressing intents and satisfaction gradients by developers. By adopting this standard, the industry will have a common framework for expressing and solving intent, regardless of which chain they are on.

Furthermore, they have been working on an intent-centric account abstraction standard for Ethereum, tackling the largest user base. By leveraging account abstraction, users will permission solvers to execute transactions to fulfil their intents.

The third part of the stack is the Modular Intent Layer, which would be a brand-new protocol specifically developed to natively support intents. We are convinced that this will result in vast improvements for both solvers and users by circumventing limitations of more transaction-centric architectures. All this while keeping a focus on modularity and composability, enabling cross-chain intent execution.

After working with the Essential team for the past months, we strongly feel they have created a unique team to execute on this bold roadmap. They have the right mix of technical and practical expertise and have already shown their ability to execute. All this strengthens our belief to be the lead of their seed round.

Let's build an Intent-Centric future.