Introducing Khalani: The Decentralized Solver Infrastructure

Introducing Khalani: The Decentralized Solver Infrastructure


7 min read

Today, we’re excited to announce Khalani Network. Khalani is the first decentralized solvers infrastructure for intent-driven generative coordination.

The Future of Web3 UX is Based on Intents

The current standard approach for interacting with blockchains involves the user signing a transaction, which essentially means authorizing a specific execution path directed by a smart contract. However, this method presents several challenges for users, making the experience both confusing and limiting.

One significant issue of this approach is that it exposes users to implementation-level details of the underlying infrastructure that are often too technical and of little interest to the average user. Furthermore, this approach doesn't provide what users most need: a guarantee about the outcome of the execution.

When a user signs a transaction, they are essentially trusting that the execution path defined by the smart contract will lead to the desired outcome. However, there is no explicit assurance provided about this outcome. This lack of clarity and certainty can be particularly challenging for users, who may find themselves unsure about what exactly they are agreeing to and what the results of their actions will be. This gap in understanding and assurance can make the process of interacting with blockchains dApps intimidating and off-putting for many users.

Recently, "intent-centric interactions" have emerged as an alternative for user interaction with blockchains. With this approach, users are no longer required to authorize direct blockchain transactions. Instead, they authorize desired outcomes along with constraining conditions, known as "intents". The responsibility for generating and executing the transactions are then delegated to specialized agents known as "solvers".

This approach allows users to specify not only the desired outcome of their interaction but also provides the flexibility to express their preferences on how the execution can be customized and optimized. This is in contrast to the more rigid, predefined execution paths associated with direct transaction signings. Intents represent a significant advancement in the realm of user interaction with blockchain technologies, offering a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.

We believe intents are set to become a standard for both Web3 front-end and dApp integration for the following reasons:

  • Intents allow users to declaratively specify the outcome of their actions, instead of authoring a specific execution path, removing the complexity of interacting with chains directly.

  • Intents provide users and applications settlement focused semantics to enforce desired outcomes, minimizing all value extraction across the MEV supply chain.

  • Intents allow users and applications to define not only a specific outcome, but a preference over all possible outcomes, and rely on solvers to deliver the most ideal execution.

  • Intents enable more expressiveness for users: predefined paths of execution implicitly pre-define the goal of the execution and therefore remove the user’s ability to express even small customizations about their preferences. Intents are the ultimate form of user interaction.

For developers, intents only specify what a user wishes to accomplish, removing the need for a developer to pre-define and hardcode how to accomplish the goal. By delaying the decision about the “how” and letting the solvers figure that out, intent-based protocols can consider the entire global state in the present of their resolution to more effectively realize the user’s goal. Intents ensure that the user's goals are enacted or “solved” based on far more information that’s also more up-to-date.

Challenges with Today’s Solver Infrastructure

We use the term “solvers” broadly to refer to all economically motivated off-chain agents. The infrastructure of modern blockchain systems relies on a diverse range of such solvers. These solvers can either be closely linked to a specific protocol, serving singular purposes – like proposers, builders, and rollup sequencers – or they might operate as multi-functional “service providers” that cater to various protocols. Examples of such solvers include cross-chain relayers, account abstraction bundlers, and data providers.

In the context of intent-centric interactions, solvers are the off-chain agents tasked with the crucial responsibility of identifying and executing the most efficient transaction paths on the blockchain. Their primary goal is to optimize these transactions to align perfectly with the user's desired outcomes, ensuring that the user's intents are fulfilled in the most effective manner possible.

Solvers are integral to the functioning of blockchain and serve vital roles facilitating intent-centric interactions. However, despite their importance, their current operating mechanisms are confronted with several significant challenges.

Challenge 1: Solver Competition Leads to Centralization

Almost all current mechanisms pit solvers against each other in PvP, zero-sum competitive games, and the primary means to gaining a competitive advantage in this environment is through vertical integration or the control of private information flows. These economic dynamics have played out most notably in Ethereum’s block production to favor the most resourceful players and leave small players struggling to compete. It has driven increased integration among builder-proposers, and searcher-builders, consolidating power, eroding trust, and challenging the fundamental principles of blockchains as permissionless and censorship-resistant platforms.

On the application side, while intent-centric interactions represent a significant UX innovation, they too face the challenge of centralization. The same “all-or-nothing” mechanism design has the potential to favor solutions controlled by a limited group of highly capitalized and specialized intent solvers.

Challenge 2: Brittle Solver Infrastructure for Expressive Intents

Intents are the most powerful when they’re in alignment with users, transcending protocols and blockchains. Ideally, users should be free to express intents across multiple applications, use cases and blockchains with their personalized preference on the execution outcome. However, this vision contrasts with the current solver infrastructure. Paradoxically, the more expressive a user’s intent, the more brittle the solving infrastructure tends to become, because they would require highly integrated solvers. This increased complexity can result in unsolvable intents or monopolizing, value extracting solvers, leading to worse outcomes for users.

Challenge 3: High Barrier to Deploy and Operate Solvers

Without a collaborative platform like Khalani, solver development must begin from scratch. A new solver needs to acquire proficiency in multiple areas, such as indexing on-chain states, sourcing liquidity, managing inventory, performing executions, and operating an elaborate DevOps infrastructure to have any profit expectations. In today’s highly competitive solver landscape, achieving this is a formidable challenge, accessible only to the most resourceful developers.

Khalani’s Core Values: Cooperation over Competition, Zero-Sum to Positive Sum

Khalani is building a permissionless solver platform with integrated collaborative solving. Unlike other systems that foster competition through bidding wars, Khalani encourages solvers to specialize and work together. This collaborative approach aims to create a solver network that excels in efficiency, resilience, decentralization, and intent expressiveness. Instead of relying on vertical integrations with predetermined optimizations, Khalani encourages open participation and collaboration for emergent capability and competency.

Khalani functions as a versatile “collective solver” that can seamlessly integrate into various intent-centric applications and ecosystems. In such scenarios, Khalani builds abstract solutions that can be settled on-chain within the target intent system. This setup mirrors the collaborative nature of block builders and proposers in the Proposer/Builder Separation (PBS) setup, with Khalani assuming the role of a “solution builder”, delegating to specialized solvers for final solution settlement.

Lastly, Khalani empowers intent developers to deploy incremental solving capabilities for their incremental intent expressions and delegate operations . This addresses a classic chicken-and-egg problem: without the assurance of robust solving capabilities, intent developers cannot freely enable expressive intents, even if they know such expressions are valued by their users. With Khalani, they can program autonomous solvers for their incremental expression with access to all existing solving capabilities, and count on the entire permissionless network to provide the necessary resilience and availability to support their novel intent expressions. This enables Khalani to keep pace with the evolution of intents, even as the use cases for intents increase in sophistication.

Khalani’s Architecture

Khalani is built with a modular architecture with three main components:

  1. The Intent Compatibility Layer
    The intent compatibility layer normalizes and publishes externally sourced intents in a format that Khalani solvers can understand and collaborate with.

  2. Validity and the Validity VM (VVM)
    Validity is a language and runtime designed for general purpose intent processing. It provides an executable specification language tailored for creating and collaborative solving intents. Validity VM provides an execution environment for unified expressions over intents, solvers, solving, and solutions with deterministic settlement guarantees.

  3. The Universal Settlement Layer
    Khalani’s settlement layer enables atomic and multi-domain settlements into any intent systems.

Infrastructure for the Intents Revolution

Khalani is the missing infrastructure needed to facilitate expressive intent centric interactions, providing an exceptional experience to the next generation of web3 users.

In the upcoming weeks, we will share further details on how Khalani works, the technology underlying Validity, and our future plans. If you’re a developer interested in building on Khalani, we would be delighted to connect with you!

To follow our journey, please join our Telegram and Discord. Connect with us on X at Khalani Network and follow our founders Tannr and Kevin.