The new technology leverages the concept of “intents,” offering users a shift from specifying how to perform tasks to defining desired outcomes. For example, instead of detailing a transaction step by step, users can express their goals, such as obtaining the best token price.
Development by Special Mechanisms Group (SMG)
Owned by MetaMask‘s parent company, ConsenSys, SMG is building this technology. It is currently being utilized in MetaMask’s browser extension feature, “Smart Swaps,” enabling users to opt for intent-based swaps between tokens for the best price.
Intent-Centric Protocols on Ethereum
MetaMask joins a growing trend of “intent-centric” protocols, including Anoma, Uniswap X, SUAVE, and CoW Swap. These protocols focus on making Ethereum navigation user-friendly by receiving goal-oriented “intents” from users, rather than step-by-step instructions.
Advantages and Goals of Intent-Centric Programs
- Improved User Experience: Users can express their intentions, simplifying complex tasks.
- Avoiding Maximal Extractable Value (MEV): Protects users from MEV bots that exploit transaction queues for profit.
- Decentralization: Intent-based programs promote competition among third-party operators, preventing centralization concerns.
MetaMask’s Approach and Risks
- Opt-In Feature: MetaMask’s technology is optional, ensuring users have a choice.
- Regulatory Considerations: The intent-centric approach may face regulatory scrutiny.
- Avoiding Centralization: MetaMask aims to shift power from validators to users, avoiding centralization risks.
MetaMask plans to extend the routing feature beyond Smart Swaps and make it available for other transaction types. Third parties can also access and use this technology.
Unique Auction-Based Optimization Method
SMG‘s technology employs an auction-based optimization method, providing a unique approach to transaction routing. It diverges from a typical private mempool system, introducing new methods for transaction processing.
The transaction router is designed to be completely permissionless, allowing anyone to participate in order flow auctions. SMG intends to maintain an open-source approach, encouraging industry-wide adoption.
MetaMask’s experimentation with intent-based transaction routing could mark a significant evolution in how users interact with Ethereum. The intention-focused approach aligns with a broader trend in intent-centric protocols, promising improved user experiences and protection against MEV. The success of MetaMask’s technology may set new standards in the crypto wallet industry.