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Uncovering the Mantle ecosystem

The Ethereum network is one of the most popular blockchains because of its security and versatility traits. Since scalability is a pain point of many big blockchain networks, a lot of crypto projects created Layer 2 solutions to resolve it. Scalability is the key component of the notorious blockchain trilemma.

If you're interested in learning more about Layer 2 technologies, we suggest reading this article: 'What is Layer 2 and how does it work?'.

The Mantle network is one of the latest projects in the Layer 2 arena, bringing to the table a modular architecture and hyper-scalability promises. It has the potential to become a major player in the Layer 2 sector of Ethereum. 

From its mainnet launch in July 2023, Mantle was making quite a buzz. The team behind this crypto project promised a high transaction output without a glitch and extra security. 

Similar to other Layer 2 scaling solutions, Mantle was created to deal with Ethereum’s network congestion. Built on top of Ethereum, Mantle’s main aim is to move everything on the blockchain faster without causing a traffic jam. 

The Mantle network's native token is the MNT token, which serves as a governance token and for paying gas fees within the Mantle network ecosystem.

What is the Mantle network?

If you think of Ethereum as a busy highway, you can imagine that the Mantle network is a highway overpass that helps to manage the traffic. Similar to vehicles that, by using an overpass, don’t have to merge into slower lanes below, Mantle enables a faster and smoother flow of transactions on the blockchain. 

Mantle is the first modular Ethereum Layer 2 solution that aims to bring together various components of blockchain technology such as high performance, enhanced security, and data availability.  

The Mantle network is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) which means that developers are enabled to utilise smart contracts and other tools that are associated with the Ethereum network seamlessly.  

One of Mantle’s main perks is the implementation of a modular network architecture that uses Optimistic Rollups and enhanced data availability solutions. The Optimistic Rollup technology takes storage and computation off-chain and processes transactions in batches, while the Mantle bridge allows users to move digital assets without disruptions.

As claimed by the core contributor team behind the Mantle project, the modular setup and Optimistic Rollups efficiently address the blockchain trilemma. 

How does Mantle differ from other Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solutions?

What sets the Mantle ecosystem apart from similar solutions is its modular architecture that separates each resource as a novel layer. In contrast to the monolithic blockchain which enables the network operators to perform all tasks, the modular design is about creating software solutions for each layer separately. 

With modular blockchains, each layer can be swapped, modified, and replaced to create performance that suits the needs of the network.

Secondly, the Mantle system utilises a so-called Multi-Party Computation (MPC) method which helps in limiting the trust risks during protocol execution; it leverages a Threshold Signature Scheme (TSS) to authorise transactions and increase operational flexibility. 

Finally, Mantle has gotten into the spotlight due to its technology partner incentives as well. The project has an extensive ecosystem of partners that provide support to developers on the Mantle blockchain. Additionally, it encompasses a wide Web3 community which enables developers to target the users of their decentralised applications (Dapps) more narrowly.

A brief history of the Mantle network

The Mantle network was created by a group of 25 individuals, such as Arjun Krishan Kalsy, an expert in Ethereum and Web3 scaling, and Joshua Lapidus. Aside from the core contributor team, this project is filled with advisors such as Ben Zhou, the co-founder of Bybit. 

The Mantle network is a product of BitDAO which is governed by the $BIT community. In May 2023, the BitDAO community started debating whether to merge BitDAO and Mantle Network ecosystems. Finally, it was agreed to rebrand the BitDAO name and change it to the Mantle network; subsequently, the BIT token became the MNT token.  

One of the main arguments for rebranding was to eliminate the confusion in the roles of the Mantle network and BitDAO.  

After the rebranding was done, the Mantle network went through a testnet period where the network, as claimed by the core team, processed over 14 million transaction data, and deployed more than 140K smart contracts. Finally, the Mantle network was integrated with the Mantle DA layer and EigenDA technology. The Mantle testnet has been running for more than 6 months before the mainnet launch on July 17, 2023.

What is the Mantle governance process like?

In a proposal on BitDAOs governance forum, community members voted to set up a $200 million ecosystem fund for Mantle, with 100 million USDC to be supplied from BitDAO’s treasury. The EcoFund has established several partnerships with global stakeholders and focused on investing in projects built on the Mantle blockchain. 

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In terms of governance, MNT token holders carry an equal vote weight which enables them to actively participate in DAO voting and influence the decision-making process. DAO voting rights ensure a decentralised and community-driven approach to shaping the Mantle ecosystem.

Token holders determine the strategic direction of the Mantle network through the Mantle governance process such as organisational structuring, modifications to tokenomics or launching new initiatives. Mantle governance holds authority over all Mantle’s product lines and the Mantle Treasury. An interesting fact - BitDAO is a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) with the largest treasury in the world.

To learn more about setting up a DAO, check out our guide: 'How do I make a DAO? Creating a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation'.

All changes to the Mantle ecosystem are authorised through Mantle Improvement Proposals. A Mantle Improvement Proposal (MIP) functions similarly to statutes and policies in a corporate context. The mechanism in question serves for proposing and discussing changes within community members.

What are Mantle's main advantages?

At the time of writing, Mantle is the only Ethereum Layer 2 scaling solution with a modular design. Such a design makes it easier for Mantle to enhance its performance since each component can be replaced when needed.  

Secondly, the project became the main pillar of the BitDAO community so it is allowed to make use of broad funding from the BitDAOs community. The developing team has stated that it plans to implement liquid staking derivatives known as Mantle LSD. If they go through with this, Mantle will be the only Layer 2 scaling solution with such built-in features. 

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Finally, Mantle comes with promises of lower gas fees and high speed due to the use of EigenLayer technology and its data availability layer. 

Are there any drawbacks?

Mantle is a relatively new project on the crypto scene so it is hard to state any certain drawbacks since a lot can happen in the future. Currently, Mantle hasn’t been associated with any scandals or severe criticism.  

Being a Layer 2 solution, it is dependent on Ethereum’s speed and scalability issues. If Ethereum’s Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism speeds the first layer up, Mantle might have to implement more technological innovations.

How does Mantle work?

The Mantle network stands out on the Layer 2 market due to its technological innovations. Let's check them out.

Modular Rollups and MPC nodes

As claimed by the developing team, the Mantle ecosystem can achieve and maintain a reduction in transaction fees, along with a performance boost; Mantle’s execution, settlement, consensus and data availability operations are all performed on separate layers that can be run by network actors on divergent levels. 

The Mantle network utilises Modular Rollups to enhance blockchain operation, and to provide the solution to the blockchain trilemma. The separation of resources increases network efficiency. The load on Mantle network nodes is also reduced by using technologies such as fraud proofs and ZK proofs. 

Through bridge smart contracts deployed on both networks, Optimistic Rollup networks can connect with Layer 1, ensuring safe asset transfers without using third parties. 

What are MPC nodes?

The nodes responsible for validating are known as Multi-Party Computation (MPC) nodes. Any malicious conduct results in the node being slashed, and the slashed amount is distributed among other MPC nodes. 

MPC nodes function independently and compute state roots from transaction data to provide signatures for valid state transitions. As more of these nodes validate a block, the overall confidence in the system’s validity improves.

Data availability

Mantle deals with the security problem associated with blockchains functioning on a roll-up design. By utilising the EigenLayer re-staking protocol, Ethereum’s existing trust network enables Layer 2 scaling solutions to guarantee data availability and maintain the same level of enhanced security as the Ethereum mainnet.  

This Data Availability (DA) solution uses EigenDA to allow nodes to provide data availability functions on the Mantle network. The data availability layer is separated from the consensus layer, and integrates a unicast channel for data exchange between network participants.  

The Mantle DA solution allows validators to provide their services and participate in Mantle’s economic model through MNT staking, providing several new yield opportunities. 

What is the Eigen Layer?

Eigen Layer refers to a protocol that enables staked ETH to be staked elsewhere without the need to unstake it first. Due to this technological solution, users can, at the same time, use their ETh to secure the Ethereum blockchain, and utilise the same stack on EigenLayer to secure Dapps. 

Another product of the EigenLayer technology is EigenDA – this is a data availability layer or a middleware solution built on Ethereum that delivers higher bandwidth to protocols using their service.

Fraud proofs

When it comes to the optimistic model, rollups assume that their network participants are behaving in a good manner. The implementation of fraud proofs is required to improve the integrity of the blockchain network.  

To do this, one must overcome a few challenges; typically, the on-chain verifier can only perform instructions in a lower-level virtual machine. In other words, the EVM client needs to revise their fraud proof into the lower-level language for the on-chain verifier to interpret it.  

Subsequently, the contents of fraud proof are not obtained directly from an EVM client. This results in trust minimisation. 

Mantle took on a different approach by implementing the compilation and verification of fraud proofs directly using EVM instructions. Therefore, all Ethereum clients can interact with the proof system directly. 

Transaction lifecycle

Transactions go through three main stages on the Mantle network – Initiation, Handling and Storage. In the first Initiation phase, a crypto wallet user, application or script initiates a transfer of funds or task on the network.  

The first stage ensures that there is enough balance to cover gas fees, composes and signs the transactions, and delivers it to a Sequencer node for processing. 

In the Handling stage, the EVM verifies the transaction and adds it to a pending block which is combined with other pending blocks to form batches. Batches are then sent to the Ethereum layer. 

Finally, rollup verifiers synchronise the transaction data and make it accessible for other users and Dapps. Additionally, Mantle’s data availability nodes synchronise the data on Layer 2 and guarantee access to it. For doing so, nodes are rewarded with MNT tokens.

What is the MNT token?

MNT is the native token of the Mantle network with dual roles as a governance and utility token within the ecosystem. The Mantle token provides token holders with both practical functionality and voting rights. 

Speaking of governance, each MNT token carries an equal vote weight and allows MNT token holders to participate in the decision-making process. As a utility token, MNT is used for gas fees on the network; also, MNT tokens can serve as collateral assets for Mantle network nodes. 

The MNT token is an ERC-20 token and mainly functions similarly to other Layer 2 tokens. However, it includes extra functions on the first layer while the version on the second layer is a standard bridge-wrapped ERC-20 token.

Mantle's tokenomics

The distribution of MNT tokens is governed by Mantle’s governance process with particular areas of allocation such as user incentives, technology partner incentive, the core contributor team, and other opportunities such as acquisitions and token swaps.  

In June 2023, the community passed a proposal to optimise the fully diluted supply of MNT tokens by not converting 3 billion BIT tokens held in the Mantle Treasury to MNT.  

At the time of writing, the Mantle treasury holds 47.4% of MNT tokens, while 52% is in circulation. The remaining amount is reserved for the core budget.