Ecosystem Building With Mantle — AMA Recap
01/24/2320 min read
We invited an important guest speaker to share his insights during Mantle’s latest AMA session — Ben Zhou, co-founder and CEO of BitDAO’s largest proponent, Bybit.
Mantle aims to be the connective tissue between ecosystem partners, projects and participants. It only stands to reason that we begin discussions on ecosystem building with Bybit, which has been heavily exploring next-level web3 initiatives in their development pipeline.
Also on the AMA were Mantle’s Head of Ecosystem Arjun Kalsy and Public Liaison Igneus Terrenus, who led this important conversation on how Mantle and its community can engage in new ways of shaping ecosystems, and be an integral part of the web3 future.
Prior to the AMA, we received more than a combined total of 1,500 questions, and saw the community responding at an unprecedented level. Thank you to all participants who attended the session and contributed questions!
Replay the AMA here on Twitter, or read our summary below.
* Some sentences have been edited for clarity and brevity.
1. What was the idea that motivated you to (put up the initial proposal on a new BitDAO infrastructure) and create Mantle?
B: As you all may already know, Bybit is the biggest contributor to BitDAO in terms of its treasury. BitDAO is actually a very independent team, and after some interactions and discussions, some of the team’s thinkers and I had an initial idea of working on this project. We really believe that the future of web3 is to be ushered in by decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and a lot more infrastructure, and even sub-DAOs as compared to initiatives put forward by the bigger DAO. Over the last year, BitDAO has seen quite a bit of amazing achievements, including setting up the sub-DAO model, where we now have EduDAO, Game7 and zkDAO.
However, as time passed, we realized from the Bybit perspective, and considering that Bybit is also a big supporter of BitDAO’s $BIT token, there must be more that we can do to give $BIT token holders more benefits. And the answer is to provide more use cases.
The sub-DAO model helps us to look at long-term goals and initiatives, but for token holders, we are looking at creating more value for $BIT token and everyone who holds the $BIT token. To actually build more use cases, we decided via discussion that the fundamental thing was to have your very own public chain, either a layer 1 (L1) or layer 2 (L2), so that led me to bringing up this idea on the BitDAO forum. It was very well-received by the community, and now we have Mantle.
2. What is Mantle focusing on now?
A: Blockchains often go through this journey where they start out very centralized — and typically includes the creation of a token and building of an ecosystem — and eventually they become decentralized and morph into a DAO. With BitDAO, the end state has already been achieved, and we’re going from a DAO to a DAO-initiated infrastructure, and I think this is possibly the right way to go about building infrastructure.
On Mantle, and of course, on building the ecosystem itself: Mantle is built like a generalized smart contract layer — you can build anything on it. If I were to talk about how the community could participate and how this impacts the entire ecosystem — if you look at the data ecosystem right now, we’ve got BitDAO, the DAO; Mantle, the chain; Bybit, the exchange. We’ve got Mirana Ventures, the venture capital arm, and several other autonomous entities that BitDAO has invested into, that have large communities of their own. There’s already a huge amount of value in the big existing community.
This is different from other blockchain ecosystems. Mantle does not have to start from complete zero, as we already have a jumping off point. Now, the objective is to use Mantle to take this entire ecosystem in a single direction, and create incredible utility for $BIT token not just as a governance token, but one that will mobilize and focus resources of the DAO as an ecosystem token. It could be used across decentralized finance (DeFi), gaming and diverse projects being built on the same Mantle platform. It would also be used at the infrastructure layer via staking across different layers, for example data availability, the sequencers and more. By using Mantle, there’s incredible utility to be had for $BIT token; it strengthens its value for $BIT token holders in the community.
By building value accrual, we can possibly see one of the biggest communities within the ecosystem that is able to drive impact as well. With the ecosystem, we’ve got several things planned that we’ll be revealing in the weeks to come, but know that we have a massive calendar of builder programs to incentivize all sorts of creation. We’ve also got interesting incentives for users who test out the network and help us to find bugs, and so much more.
We’ve got this huge partner network to tap into, for example BitDAO and Bybit. So from the ecosystem building standpoint, we can look forward to interesting updates, concepts and projects coming.
3. What are the main goals that Bybit is trying to achieve by partnering with Mantle?
B: If you hold $BIT token on Bybit, you can actually upgrade your VIP levels on the platform. We are also implementing the token for use as trading fees, and releasing a Bybit Mastercard this quarter. If you use the card, you get some points that you can eventually swap for $BIT token or even merchandise.
We are fully supportive of BitDAO initiatives. We didn’t use $BIT to raise any funds, but instead actually contributed over $1 billion into the treasury. The initial plan was to bootstrap and really show our commitment to web3 development, which is why you see all these sub-DAO entities such as EduDAO, Game7 and zkDAO.
Mantle is now a network initiated by BitDAO, and it will, of course, see Bybit’s full support. We’ll be involved on either the (centralized) exchange level or the (decentralized) web3 level (or both). And we do have our web3 wallet now on Bybit, so we’ll introduce that to all of BitDAO’s users. Any project that will be deployed on Mantle or choose to support the Mantle network will be given priority in terms of support via token listings on the Bybit Launchpad and Launchpool, and much more. We have a whole package in terms of resources and ecosystem, and this will really bootstrap the development of projects as they continue to evolve into the web3 sphere.
Upon inception, Mantle also has a massive treasury, i.e. an ecosystem fund that will support projects. If you’re a project and choosing your tech or a network layer to launch on, Mantle could be extremely attractive because the support, grants and funds are there. You have a top-three exchange backing projects as a part of ecosystem support.
4. What areas are you shaping the growth of Mantle’s ecosystem in? Could you share some interesting dApp ideas as an example?
A: Ecosystem is a big focus for me. And as we try to grow Mantle, we are aiming to increase the size of the pie. Mantle will be looking at onboarding new developers and users. This is something that not only benefits Mantle and the $BIT community — it makes our community bigger, stronger and more powerful no doubt — but at the same time, it will also help to take the web3 space forward and facilitate continuous innovations within the space.
One interesting focus for us would be on the gaming side, because games have the ability to bring in a large proportion of non-blockchain users, and thereby giving them a first taste of web3 technology. We have the support of Game7, which helps to accelerate the development of blockchain gaming projects — and it has its very own grants program as well the involvement of industry experts. We’re building incredible tooling to help onboard gaming projects and users, all to expand the ecosystem on Mantle.
We’re well set to tackle the problem of getting new users and increasing the size of the web3 pie as a whole. On the DeFi side of things, we’ve seen some interesting innovations and witnessed a lot of development around liquid staking and derivatives — including options. And what I’m seeing in DeFi, most importantly, is the renewed focus on fee generation, which I think is very healthy for the entire ecosystem.
This means that business models will evolve towards actually sustainable DeFi projects. So, we’re looking to create some impact on the gaming side, and I’d encourage you to look into tooling or other kinds of middleware that will help drive users to interact with blockchains. There’s an extreme amount of innovation happening in spite of not-so-optimal market conditions. I’m very bullish on this, and we can bring the best of what’s out there to the community.
5. How will Mantle deliver instant on-chain transactions with faster finality for dApps such as gaming, in particular?
When you have a system where transaction processing finality and data availability are so tightly packed, there is a chance that things might break. This is an inherent problem with monolithic designs. While engineers and builders are building Mantle, internally within the teams — let’s say we have to improve the data availability layer — it doesn’t affect the rest of the chain if we have to swap out our current fraud proofs with some other new kind of fraud proofs. Essentially, a modular chain architecture creates a testbed that can be upgraded much more easily, and it becomes a lot easier to use, easier to maintain, and then we can continue to effectively push out upgrades iteratively, without having to keep forking the chain and making it difficult for builders.
Now, in terms of how this enables gaming, introducing rollups in general is great for high security. They also offer high performance, but we’ve seen other existing problems. For example, if you look at some of the ZK or optimistic rollup designs out there, the gas costs are still high. For gaming, where you need to be able to build a large number of interactions within the game so that the user stays engaged, that may not be ideal. Now, because of data availability and proofing systems that are baked into our design, not only is the chain delivering on high performance — we’ve seen very high TPS at upwards of 600,000 TPS and even beyond as we continue to upgrade the chain — but we are also able to keep costs low by offsetting some of these costs to data availability.
So gaming projects and big studios now have the confidence to build on a chain that delivers very high performance, and the team will continue to improve it. When improvements happen, it will neither affect the rest of the chain nor fork So that’s why I feel that Mantle is a compelling tech stack for gamers to deploy games on.
6. How does Mantle compare to other L2s, and what will be its killer advantages?
On the technical side, I’d encourage our builders to look at the technical documentation. We’ve brought a number of innovations to market that other chains have shied away from. For example, we’re looking at an iterative optimistic rollup design that solves the challenge arising from a seven-day challenge period. We’ve also gone through this very innovative technique of Multi-Party Computation (MPC) / Threshold Signature Scheme (TSS) technology, and aim to create a pool of decentralized sequencers where there’s an independent body of nodes, called MPC nodes. Whatever proofs being submitted to the L1 will have been double checked, which helps us to reduce the challenge period from seven days to possibly three, or even one day.
We’ve also integrated data availability with EigenLayer, which is making waves in the Ethereum community. Data availability allows us to improve chain performance, while offsetting some of the costs associated with rollups data. The technology is still in its infancy and evolving, but our researchers and developers want to deliver the best on the market — the most cutting-edge technology to developers and users. Developers can then find new ways to leverage this technology and build interesting solutions.
On the fraud proof side, we’re working with Specular to create more innovative fraud proofs that are more efficient. And we’ve also seen how zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups are being integrated into different systems, and several testnets out there are utilizing ZK rollups and teasing their mainnets. We are looking at the space intently, because our mainnet is planned for either Q2 or Q3 this year.
On the ecosystem side, the ecosystem stack that we offer goes from hackathons to grants programs, to investment funds and listings. This is something on a level on which no other project in the market can operate. The $BIT community will see proposals on forums and have a part in some decision-making of course, but we’ll be able to further accelerate this ecosystem for builders. If you’re a builder and want to figure out a way to accelerate your project from product to marketing, to final distribution and listing, we can offer that. Builders will already have access to a huge community of users, and we want to create incentives for users to try out these protocols. If the builders succeed, Mantle succeeds. So we’re going to do all it takes to help projects and builders succeed.
7. How will the ecosystem facilitate interactions, and how does it differ from other networks?
A: All projects are trying to be multi-chain in some sense, and it’s only natural for projects to want to deploy on multiple chains. We do not expect the future to have only one monolithic or one type of chain — ecosystems will be built on more than one chain. And while there are a lot of blockchain ecosystems out there. Eventually they will coalesce into two or three bigger parties, so bridging is very important. We’ve seen plenty of risks being associated with bridging, so we’re being super careful about how we’re approaching bridging right now.
I’m bullish on ZK technology, which will allow us to create bridges that are more secure. But this is still pending research at the moment. We’ve got a lot of researchers and engineers looking at this, but I’m bullish on the fact that using a ZK approach will help us to solve bridging challenges, and that this will allow us to interact with essentially every other ecosystem. A user could be using an app that is actually working across two or three different chains, but they don’t even realize it because the bridging and user experience will be seamless. This is something we will see developed in 2023. It’s just a matter of patching together a solution, bringing the ecosystem together and further expanding the community.
8. How does Mantle expect to attract web2 users or users who are not familiar with crypto or web3?
B: If you look at the last bull run, only the very core crypto natives can take advantage of DeFi and the market, because it’s so complicated. It’s our job to really kind of break the products down and explain it to them — so that all it takes for our users is one click to participate. That’s our job at Bybit: to deliver that product for the masses. So we’ve launched the Bybit Web3 wallet. We anticipate that there’s going to be a lot more cool features. We will utilize the Bybit Web3 wallet to help our clients bridge the gap. We’re really focusing on the user experience, and my expectation for Mantle and BitDAO is to create more innovations for which we can be the bridge to get people there. So that’s our approach.
A: Whether it’s on your desktop website, tablet computer or your mobile phone, you’re used to a certain kind of user experience and onboarding process now. Web3 has to be able to offer similar, if not better, UI and UX to see mass adoption and new users. At Mantle, we will be very committed to giving the user better experiences in terms of the product, and UI and UX.
9. How do you foresee the role that BitDAO will play in Mantle in the future?
B: On the Mantle network, $BIT is the native token. The more applications that’re launched on Mantle, the more use cases we have for $BIT token. Previously, $BIT token only represented voting rights for BitDAO.
A: Not only will $BIT be the gas token on Mantle, it will also be the staking token on all those differentiated layers; for example decentralized sequencers for proof, data availability, and so on and so forth.
We can build phenomenal utility for the token and create an economy that is sustainable, that creates value for the token holder and become a driving force for one of the biggest DAO communities in the world. With the grant programs and some of the things we’ve planned, it’ll give us the opportunity to put these tokens in the hands of actual builders and users, which will add greater value to the ecosystem. So that’s kind of the approach we want to take, and we’ll take it step by step to ensure that we do right by the community.
Join the Mantle community!