Decoding Intents in Crypto: t3rn Innovative Bridge Approach

Jacob Kowalewski
May 1, 2024

Bridges serve as vital conduits within the continuously advancing multichain ecosystem, enabling the seamless transfer of value across various chains. Driven by factors such as airdrop enthusiasm, user demand for low fees, and developer needs for blockspace. 

New game-changing concept for bridging is emerging, known as 'intents'. Intents signify a shift in how users engage with different ecosystems, signifying a monumental leap forward in facilitating seamless liquidity transfers across disparate blockchain networks. In executing intents, users articulate their desired actions to relayers, solvers or, in t3rn's case Executors, specifying the origin chain, destination chain, and the quantity of assets to be transferred. Instead of waiting for chain confirmations, Executors compete to fulfill the order swiftly, offering the best quotes and facilitating instantaneous bridging of liquidity to the destination chain. 

Traditional bridges involve more laborious verification steps, potentially leading to delays and inefficiencies. Intent-based bridges fundamentally transform cross-chain transactions by prioritizing user outcomes, ushering in a more streamlined and intuitive interaction with decentralized networks. In contrast, traditional blockchain bridges adhere to step-by-step instructions for each transaction, potentially leading to inefficiencies and user frustration. Intent-based bridges empower users to submit broader intents, such as optimal trading prices or specific transactions. 

This blog post explores how t3rn enters the market offering a further refined and intent-based modular solution to further improve user experience while bridging.

Comparing traditional and Intent-based blockchain bridges

How t3rn Leverages Intents

t3rn is a platform that enhances blockchain interoperability, security, and flexibility through intent-based bridges that ensures transactions across multiple blockchains either complete successfully together or not at all. This approach treats cross-chain operations as atomic, ensuring no partial executions that could lead to inconsistent states across different blockchains. Key features of t3rn include seamless blockchain communication, sandboxed environments for safe contract execution, and multichain transactions in a single operation, backed by trustless execution via Merkle proofs for remote blockchain verification. The platform supports smart contracts in multiple languages, easing the development process while encouraging innovation through a token economy that rewards developers and validators.

t3rn's cross-chain transactions, termed "cross-chain orders" (XCO), utilize a unique mechanism involving atomic transactions and trustless verification through inclusion proofs, alongside a competitive reward system for network participants. This system ensures fair compensation for transaction execution and minimizes costs, making it an efficient solution for cross-chain interactions. The protocol addresses challenges in estimating fair rewards for cross-chain execution by employing a reverse auction mechanism, allowing Executors to bid for the execution of transactions, thereby fostering a dynamic, competitive process that ensures fairness and cost-effectiveness. Through these mechanisms, t3rn establishes itself as an intent-based bridge that not only facilitates secure and efficient cross-chain transactions but also promotes a vibrant ecosystem for developers and validators, driving the adoption and innovative use of blockchain technology across various platforms and applications.

Central to the operation of the t3rn network are the Executors, third-party agents that facilitate seamless asset transfers. Executors facilitate swift delivery of desired assets to users on the destination chain. Operating on a fronted capital model, Executors leverage their own funds to fulfill user asset requests promptly. While users enjoy instant fund access, Executors arguably bear the risk of potential delays or losses in reimbursement, stemming from finality risks. In exchange for their services and risk assumption, Executors levy a fee. This can be seen as a short-term loan, with users paying a convenience fee for expeditious execution. Repayment to Executors, contingent on the bridge's structure, may occur in various tokens spanning different chains. Maintaining liquidity across chains and rebalancing frequently pose ongoing challenges for agents. As t3rn expands to support more chains and assets, the operational complexity increases, necessitating the development of more efficient solutions to ensure scalability and maintain the integrity of the network.

How t3rn leverages intents

The Future of Intents

By focusing on user intent rather than intricate process details, intents pave the way for a more inclusive and user-friendly blockchain experience. As blockchain technology continues to permeate various sectors and industries, the importance of user-centric design becomes increasingly paramount. Intents not only align with this ethos but also offer a glimpse into the future of decentralized applications, where user empowerment and seamless interactions reign supreme. 

As intents become more ubiquitous they will only improve across blockchains, protocols and ecosystems. A clear example is the rise in standards within intents, which aim to address initial concerns with intent-based bridges by enhancing the competitive nature of auctions, which is anticipated to lead to more favorable pricing for users. A standardized approach will simplify the process for solvers by reducing the complexity currently encountered with custom solutions for these types of bridges. Moreover, a common infrastructure will facilitate the aggregation of protocols, allowing for the consistent provision of optimal pricing to users.

About t3rn

t3rn has been created to offer a fresh approach to the problem of blockchain interoperability, the ability for blockchains to communicate and interact with one another. t3rn offers fast, secure and cost-efficient swapping, optimizing cross-chain executions by leveraging the modular layers of the t3rn stack for storage, validation, settlement and consensus.

t3rn is the modular interoperability layer, offering superior swapping for users and powerful modularity for builders.

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