We’re excited to announce that Essential has raised $5.15 million in seed funding to support our development of intent-based infrastructure and tooling. The round closed in early 2023 and was led by Maven 11, with participation from investors including Robot Ventures, Karatage, Batu, Skip, James Prestwich, Brandon Curtis, and Eclipse founder Neel Somani, among others.
At Essential, we are building infrastructure for the intent-centric future, with the goal of redesigning the current transaction supply chain to minimize value extraction by rent-seeking intermediaries and return value back to the users who generate it.
"We are incredibly excited to lead the Essential seed round and work with the brilliant co-founders and their team. The Essential team realizes that the current transaction-based model of interacting with blockchains results in poor UX. The better alternative is to instead work based off of user-expressed intents, which we believe will pave the way for UX that rivals Web2 UX - but without the intermediaries and walled gardens that are inherent to Web2. We believe that Essential will enable widespread adoption of intent-based architecture and crypto at large.” - Balder Bomans, Managing Partner at Maven 11
From Value Extraction to Intent Satisfaction
Our mission is to accelerate the transition from value extraction to intent satisfaction. What does this mean in practice?
The blockchain space operates under the principle of “code is law”. Under this value system, any action that is possible is permitted - sometimes even encouraged. Bad actors can leverage loopholes to engage in activities unintended by the creators, usually at the expense of other users of the system.
Because the industry operates under this paradigm, principles of fairness and altruism have to be embedded into blockchain architectures by design if we want them to prevail. It is the job of builders like ourselves to sculpt our architectures to represent our intentions for how these systems and the actors within them should behave.
So far, we (the industry) have failed to effectively architect exploitative behavior out of our systems. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case; in today’s landscape, extracting value from users is the norm. Efforts to limit the negative impact of MEV have instead legitimized it, creating an entire industry based on the systemic exploitation of end users.
We believe people should be rewarded for creating value, not for extracting it. The only barrier to this is the challenge of building better systems - those which achieve incentive compatibility between end users and intermediaries, such that even the most self-interested agent can only win by helping users, not harming them.
These better systems are what we are building at Essential. That’s what we mean when we say we’re “accelerating the transition from value extraction to intent satisfaction”. With our intent-based products, we are building infrastructure that prevents extractive behavior by design.
What We're Building
We are building several core pieces of infrastructure to facilitate the widespread adoption and use of intents. Our product roadmap includes an intent standard for Ethereum, a domain-specific language for intent expression, and a fully intent-centric blockchain protocol.
We believe that intents, if implemented properly, have the potential to radically improve the blockchain space as a whole. Our priority is to ensure these improvements are accessible to as many users as possible, and to prevent gatekeeping and walled gardens. In order to achieve this, we have designed our product development approach around standardization and composability. We’re starting by bringing intents to existing ecosystems, where they will reach the largest number of users and developers, which will facilitate an eventual transition to natively intent-centric infrastructure.
Since raising our seed round, we have built and published ERC-7521, a generalized intent standard for smart contract wallets, to bring composability to intent-centric products on Ethereum and other EVM chains. Now, while we continue to develop and steward this standard, we’re also building an intent-centric protocol, designed from the ground up to fully utilize all the most innovative aspects of intents.
Toward an Intent-Centric Future
This round of funding has enabled us to build a team of 10 incredible people working toward building the intent-centric future. We’re extremely thankful to our backers, and to everyone else who has helped us get to where we are.
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.
Liesl Eichholz - email@example.com