A New Way to Build With Mantle — AMA Recap
01/13/2319 min read
We kicked off the new year with two exciting announcements — the first being the addition of Arjun Kalsy, Head of Ecosystem, to the Mantle fam and the second, the launch of the Mantle Testnet on Jan. 10, 2023!
We couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to speak to the community during the testnet launch week. Yesterday’s #BuildonMantle AMA session saw @arjunkalsy, and Community Manager and AMA host @DAO_Lbrian delving into the technical side of Mantle, the testnet-to-mainnet roadmap and how Mantle paves the way for ecosystem building in a new way.
If you missed the session, here’s a detailed rundown on what was shared.
*Some sentences have been edited for clarity and brevity.
1. What is Mantle and how does Mantle compare to other Layer 2 (L2s)?
Mantle is an Ethereum L2 blockchain, and we’re very aligned to Ethereum because the entire BitDAO treasury is on Ethereum. When we looked at the kind of ecosystem we wanted to build, it just made sense for us to go with Ethereum and build a L2 solution. Of course, what we’ve also done and what I think what sets us apart from other agile solutions is a couple of things.
The current Mantle Testnet is a great improvement on optimistic rollups. We’ve done some really interesting things there; from the architecture perspective, we’ve gone with a very modular kind of design, which is something Vitalik has talked about, on how we can build scalable blockchain networks. We’re using data availability with EigenLayer, and even though that technology is very new, we wanted to get a sense of how developers would like to leverage data availability and what kinds of new interesting ways and techniques can be integrated onto the network. This is all to make the network faster, more resilient and at the same time, reduce fees even further.
We were also working on different types of fraud proof designs to make security even better, and at the same time, we’ve come up with some interesting other innovations as well, such as using Multi-Party Computation with TSS (Threshold Signature Schemes) technology to make the bridge even faster.
I think for the ecosystem side of things, if you look at Mantle as it is already, there’s a huge ecosystem out there. BitDAO is one of the biggest DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) in the space. We also have Bybit, which is the largest contributor to the DAO, Mirana Ventures, the venture arm of Bybit, all the different sorts of BitDAO-invested initiatives such as Game7, zkDAO, EduDAO, and a bunch of other companies within the ecosystem. With Mantle, we can bring all of this together, build a lot of value for the BIT community and create all sorts of interesting value cloning mechanisms. For the $BIT token, which already is used for governance, will now be used as gas fees on the network, and will be used as a staking token and ecosystem token.
Our approach towards ecosystem building is also very interesting. We want to go with a more collaborative, partnership-driven kind of approach. Broadly speaking, every blockchain in the space is essentially trying to do the same thing at the macro level — everybody’s trying to build the best technology and the best ecosystem, but these are two separate kinds of problems. Both of these problems are very costly, and building great technology and fostering ecosystems are also similarly expensive. The problem is that every blockchain is trying to solve both of these problems together at the same time, but we are not seeing effective solutions for either as they are different, orthogonal problems.
At Mantle, what we want to do is work with these infrastructure companies in a more collaborative manner where we can talk to Optimism, Arbitrum, Polygon and zkSync. We are talking to all the Ethereum-related teams and companies out there, trying to figure out if we can get a more collaborative, partner-driven approach to introduce new kinds of innovations and working with technology partners that focus purely on building technology. This frees us up to move closer and closer to the users and ecosystem building. This is super important, because this is the only capital-efficient way of doing this.
Instead of a blockchain network trying to solve two separate problems, we want to focus more on web3 users, developers and onboarding, while working with a technology partner in collaboration to best accomplish this. We will be able to accelerate the space a lot faster and use our resources more efficiently. This is what really sets us apart from all kinds of other networks, and an approach that is more collaborative in nature has the highest chance of success with growth at a higher speed. We’re building something more inclusive for the entire community to take the web3 space forward and increase adoption to obtain more users, so we want to stay very true to those tenets.
Outside of technology, this is what makes us truly interesting and then we’ll have more things to share with the community as time progresses — about all the different technology innovations we’re working on, on the optimistic rollup side and ZK rollup side. As we move towards the mainnet, we will be able to work out an interesting roadmap for the community.
2. On the topic of the roadmap, can you just walk us through the testnet phases all the way to Mainnet?
100%. With our current testnet, we’ve gone with the optimistic rollup design. So phase one, we launched the network on testnet two days ago, we’ve had incredible reception with all the communities — so many partners have reached out to me, so many projects have expressed interest in building on Mantle. What we’re going to do is, in a very iterative, step-by-step approach, bring these innovations to market. Data availability is already enabled, but the endpoints for users and developers to access that data should be live, possibly in another 15 to 20 days.
Then we will move towards incorporating fraud proofs and aim at decentralizing our sequencer design. Instead of using just a single sequencer, we are looking at a round robin sequencer approach, which is the first step towards decentralization and increasing fraud tolerance, and as time progresses, we will make that system more decentralized, and possibly bring some sort of staking there as well.
Once these various steps have been achieved, and we’ve incorporated all of these technology innovations, that’s when we will move towards the mainnet and like I said, we’re also researching ZK rollups right along with all of these other different projects and we want to work along with them to build up this technology. There’s a very good chance that we may have some breakthroughs on that side as well and what we bring to mainnet will truly be cutting-edge technology.
3. When can external validators expect to have access to the testnet?
Something we want to do as we move closer to the mainnet is to do the most amount of testing possible in a short period of time so we can target a Q2 to Q3 rollout for the mainnet. Again, this depends on all the new technology which we bring to market, how this technology is received by the community, what kind of feedback we get from developers, and we need to get the audits also in place.
4. So moving on to the ecosystem, what projects will be available on testnet and can you speak on any of the partnerships that are currently in the pipeline?
We have a pretty large number of projects that have already reached out to us organically. Just in the last few days, we’ve had almost 50+ projects reach out to us, and the teams are maxed out trying to deal with the inbound volume.
Outside of that, of course, if you look at just the BitDAO ecosystem by itself, there already is a huge number of projects involved in this space working with Mantle, working with Game7, Bybit and EduDAO. With the kind of infrastructure we’ll be building, we want to build a generalized smart contract layer where you can deploy DeFi and gaming, and both should work seamlessly.
It’s important for both to work so that we can build a more composable kind of ecosystem where essentially we’re able to bridge gaming elements to DeFi, and DeFi elements to gaming. We want to build an economy where all of these different projects feed off each other collaboratively, and grow together. For the types of projects exactly, the best course of action would be just to follow us on Twitter, and follow our ecosystem channels. We’ll be posting regular updates in the days to come. I think the community is going to be super excited with the kind of traction we have.
5. How exactly can developers and builders get involved in testing the network?
Fill this interest form out, tell us about the kind of project you want to build and then our team will reach out and guide them.
The documentation is already there, so for builders who have already built stuff on other networks, they can go ahead and give it a shot. We’d love to get some feedback from developers and researchers of the community on our design, and what we could potentially do better and what kind of improvements we could make.
On top of that, we also have a partner forum for projects that are already live across networks, want to try Mantle out, and are interested in working with our ecosystem, fill out this Partner Interest Form. Our teams will reach out.
You can reach out to us on Twitter, Discord or Telegram and the team is very accessible. We’ll make sure that we reach out to you as soon as possible and help you to deploy on Mantle.
6. What is the developer experience on Mantle? And do we have any incentives included with the roadmap?
We have a full stack that’s developer focused. If you have to go from zero to 100, we have a pretty comprehensive grants program that’ll be coming soon. We have some interesting grants for the testnet phase, and for the mainnet launch, we will have a much larger expanded grants program to help developers deploy and try out new kinds of interesting concepts by building them on Mantle.
On top of that, we are also putting together a huge, pretty big ecosystem fund. We will put out that proposal for voting before the DAO, but essentially, we want to use it to accelerate the ecosystem to bring more projects to life. For projects that have a lot of potential, there’s a good chance that we will help them through different steps that’ll help their projects succeed — we have that entire ecosystem of support in place.
From technical support and business support all the way to accelerating the project, going towards the point where we could list it and get distribution, these are things we are considering for projects. This is something very unique to Mantle compared to some of the other ecosystems out there. Builders can expect a full stack approach. We’ll have more details to share in the weeks regarding the incentive programs and how we plan to structure them, so stay tuned.
7. How can people get involved as a developer? What can we expect on the content?
A big part of building an ecosystem is not just having all the technical details in place, but also, tutorials of that content out there, which helps builders understand different aspects of the network.
We will be doing a number of hackathons from now all the way until when the mainnet launches. We can involve a huge number of developers and bring new kinds of concepts to building on Mantle. So with different hackathon sessions, we will help developers learn more about the network and data, and share all the necessary materials. Apart from that, we’re going to have a lot of comprehensive content coming out in the weeks to come on what the experience is like to build on Mantle. All the integrations that are in place, we are improving and adding more on a daily basis to help developers build and deploy faster, so we will share a lot of that information as well.
We need to have this content out there because there are all types of developers; super experienced ones, who’ve done a lot of these large projects, but also several developers who want to get into building and start developing for blockchain. There’ll be a lot of content, which will help even first-time developers or the early developers to take a shot at building a great program with full support.
8. What is the TPS (Transactions Per Second) of the Mantle network?
Based on some of the testing we’ve done with our current scheme, it’s at about 600 TPS, but that is due to improve as we continue to enhance the network. Performance of the network will definitely improve as we move on to different phases of the testnet, and moving towards mainnet.
9. Mantle is using $BIT for gas fees, but the token used on Ethereum is $ETH. What are the sort of trade-offs there?
This is something we have debated on internally, right. So should we just go with ETH for gas fees, which is prevalent in rollup designs, or should we use maybe our own token? Let’s talk about some of the design decisions we’ve taken here. Firstly, using our own token allows us to keep fees low and at the same time, adds interesting utility to our token.
I’ll give an example. When we talked about ecosystem building I said that we want to work with a technology partner, with which we can co-build a chain and bring it to market. If you look at the economic model as well, let’s say we work on Optimism and the base design we’ve chosen to work on is optimistic rollups. We’re still exploring solutions with many teams, but for this example, let’s assume we’re working with Optimism. What would happen is that our network would continuously produce gas fees in BIT.
These fees in BIT could then be accrued in Optimism’s sequencers or node networks. The partner that we work with focuses on building the chain and delivering different upgrades. This allows us to build further BIT utility on the application layer and move closer to the user. Having fees in BIT allows us to forge interesting partnerships on the technical front. We may not be able to do the same by using ETH.
If we have BIT as gas fees and we work with a partner like Optimism or any other network, we can then introduce BIT staking at the infrastructure layer. By using BIT as gas fees, it gives us the flexibility to add utility to BIT not just at the gas fees layer, but also with the staking layer and the infrastructure layer. If you look at how we have to grow the network over the next five to 10 years, using BIT really allows us to build an interesting network economy that strengthens both the token and the community that holds it.
The strength of Mantle is the strength of the community, and it’s the community that gives us the energy to go out there, to try out new innovations. If there are interesting projects out there that you guys are working on or if you guys are connected to someone like that, please send them our way. We’d love to talk to them.
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