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Mantle: First Ethereum Layer 2 Initiated by a DAO


Episode 13 - The Open Metaverse Podcast

In this episode, we are joined by Arjun Krishan Kalsy, Head of Ecosystem at Mantle, who shares his crypto origin story and delves into the importance of ecosystems in web3 projects. In addition to discussing the diverse utility of the native token $MNT/$BIT within the ecosystem, Arjun expresses his interest in integrating EigenLayer for data availability. Alongside our host, they explore the immense potential of AI in the web3 space and modular blockchain design.



00:00 - Intro

00:45 - Crypto Origin Story

03:13 - What is Mantle Network

06:23 - Why is there a need for another L2?

09:07 - Apart from DA will EigenLayer be leveraged for the decentralization of sequencers? 11:48 - Does L2 need a native token after EigenLayer?

14:07 - Value accrual of $BIT

15:34 - Token Utility of $BIT

17:39 - The optionality of $BIT from an Investment standpoint

21:30 - Best BD strategy for web3 25:01 - What ecosystem projects users should try

27:01 - TPS that is being targeted by Mantle Network

29:46 - The Intersection of AI and Crypto

33:20 - Creating AI agents for crypto Rapid Fire Round

36:43 - Last thing you searched on ChatGPT

37:01 - Blue Ocean or Red Ocean

37:05 - Ecosystem apart from Mantle, Arjun would have explored

37:35 - The question I should’ve asked you but didn't

40:00 - Wrap up


Arjun: Typically when you tell anybody artificial intelligence like they will, it's something huge in your mind. But now you know what AI means, right? And when you put this technology into the common man's hand is when the magic happens. This is what we need to do, like have such an optimized use case.

So you put it in the hand of the common man where it just clicks, oh, this is web3.

Mehdi: Welcome to the Open Metaverse podcast. I'm your host Mehdi Farooq Senior Tokenomics Analyst, at Animoca Brands. Today we have a very special guest with us. On the other side of the mic, we have Arjun Head of the ecosystem at Mantle Network. 

Arjun, welcome to the podcast. 

Arjun: Why, thanks. Thanks. Thank you for having me. 

Mehdi: Arjun, just to take things off, why don't you tell us about your crypto origin story and a little bit about yourself?

Arjun: Sure, definitely. So I'll start with a little bit about myself and then I'll tell you about how I got into crypto. So essentially I'm a software engineer by training. I started my career as a software engineer. Then I moved into the business development and marketing side of technology. So I worked with several technology companies at the enterprise side.

Then I also ran my own startup for some time. Experience has mostly been on the technology side, and I think early on I realized that, I wanted to be more on the application or other business development side of technology versus, let's say, building it. I do projects from time to time, but that's like became my focus area and then my career.

Then I worked across several different technology stacks. So I'm in web3 right now, but prior to this I was in computer vision in AI. Where I was with the AI startup for about 18 months. We were building technology for self-driving vehicles. And again, I've worked across a host of enterprise tech.

My sort of web3 journey was interesting in the sense that I just stumbled upon it very randomly. So I was working with a, with the 90 services company, was reporting to the CTO at the time, and he had asked me to look into emerging technologies, right? The stuff which we could, something which could become like a potential.

Big business unit for it for us like tomorrow. So I started looking into everything, I looked into AI, machine learning, and that's when I came across blockchain and I read the Bitcoin white paper. This was in May, 2016. And became fascinated, with the idea. I mean, I didn't understand it at first, right?

I mean, and I just peaked my curiosity, like, what is this? And then I read the white paper a couple of times, started reading blogs. There was not really a whole lot of YouTube content or anything like that at the time. So it was all like, blogs, like some stuff from HackerNoon and Googling and things like that.

And at some point I be, it began to click, right? And not so much the, the blockchain part of it. The fact that you have a distributed ledger is fine, but this whole idea of decentralization, right? I began to like understand, what that means. And then the more I started to think about it, I realized that, that this is such a sort of, pivotal technology in the sense that it fundamentally changes the way we transact, the way governments might work and things like that. And that's when I became really interested in it. So I started going to meetups, became a part of the community, started following people and that's how the journey started for me.

I was still in an, I was still working in an AI startup at the time. And then like, I was still on the AI machine learning side more than blockchain. I was building some blockchain products, but it was very early at the time. Mostly on like Hyperledger Enterprise Tech, not so much on Ethereum.

It's only in 2020 that I started doing web3 full-time. So in July, 2020 July, August timeframe is when I joined Polygon as head of BD and growth. That was like my first full-time web3 job. Then ever since then I've been in web3. So that's just quick brief about me and my career. 

Mehdi: So Arjan at the moment. You're head of ecosystem and Mantle Network. 

Arjun: Yes.

Mehdi: I think for our audience they would love to know what Mantle network is. So why don't we just start with that first?

Arjun: Sure, definitely. So at Mantel we're building an Ethereum layer two blockchain so let me explain it in two ways.

What we are doing on the technology side and what we are on the ecosystem side. On the technology side, what is Mantle? Mantle an Ethereum L2 scaling solution. And we've essentially taken the optimistic roll up design and we've made several iterative improvements to it. So for example, we've taken the optimism's like sort of, OR code, and then we've made it modular in architecture, right?

So we've added igon layer as the data availability layer. We've added another interesting fraud proof design like specula fraud proof. So we've essentially built the whole chain out on in layers where you have chain processing, you've got the fraud proof layer, then you have the data availability layer.

And this is how we imagine the future of blockchain architecture to be, which would be modular and design where you can swap out components and continuously upgrade and update the chain. So this is what we are building on the technology side. And we've also done like some other interesting innovations.

Like if you go through our tech talks, you'll see that we found a way of using multi-party computation to reduce the exit time from L2 to L1. So we've like made several improvements to the design to improve throughput, to reduce cost. So this is the technology. On the ecosystem side, Mantle as a blockchain or as a project, is incubated by BitDAO, right?

So BitDAO is one of the largest DAOs in the Web3 space. We have about two and a half billion in assets on chain. And BitDAO has incubated projects before, so they've incubated Game7, EduDAO, ZK DAO, etc. And then now Mantle is a piece of infrastructure which has been incubated. So all of our capital comes from the DAO.

All the critical decisions with respect to the chain are made by the DAO, which is interesting because typically you see Blockchains like build first, take the token out and then become a DAO. We are already a DAO on day zero. So our genesis is from a DAO. As a part of the ecosystem, we also have the support of Bybit the exchange.

So one of the largest exchanges in the world. They seated BitDAO in the first place. Then we have Mirana Ventures, the venture arm of Bybit, which is an LP in like, so many different top firms, Spartan, Dragonfly, Animoca Folius, etc. And then we also have a few other companies as a part of the ecosystem.

So there's gaming company called Yeeha Games. There is an on chain Autobook exchange Apex. So it's a very large ecosystem already. And with Mantle, what we are gonna do is we're gonna take all of these moving parts, the venture arm, the exchange, all of these companies BitDAO, and all of its companies.

And so we could say, use the infrastructure piece to wrap all of this together and build value and capture the value within the chain itself. We'll be using the BIT token, the token of the DAO to as the ecosystem token, for gas fees for staking, etc.

So the idea being that if we can add a lot of utility. For the BIT token. Then the token will capture the value of the business and it's already a very large business. And then what we feel is that, eventually if, it'll benefit DAO, the DAO becomes stronger. And then that allows us, or gives us the wherewithal to do more projects and do other things.

So this is how the ecosystem looks like. So again, we've got like cutting edge tech built with. Mapped to like a very large ecosystem, which has an exchange, a big pool of liquidity, lots of users already. And what we feel is that if we can, get this combination right, then, we can build truly a very large and one of the most impactful communities in web3.

Mehdi: Arjun, there's actually a lot to unpack here. 

​So I'll start with the vanity question for us, like, okay, sure. Like, yeah. vanity as in when we talk about L1, L2, the first question that comes to mind is, let's say you have Optimism, you have Arbitrum. 

Arjun: Yes. 

Mehdi: And then you also have Polygon. Why would user use another ETH L2? So that is the vanity question. Why would there be a propensity key for a user to use another L2? 

Arjun: Let's analyze the landscape, right? Or what it looks like If you look at web3 in general compared to web2, right? So in web2, for example technology is intellectual property, right?

And which is a competitive advantage for a company. For example, for Google, like, you can have like many different business units. The CEO can come and go, but the search algorithm is sacro. That is like something which is which what keeps the entire sort of, company together and that's intellectual property.

Like nobody knows how it works really. And similarly, if you look at other sectors also outside of technology, it is, technology is treated as intellectual property in web2, right? It is close source. And that's how those companies are built and designed and how those businesses work, which is these are, they are built around.

The fact that there's intellectual property and that intellectual property has to be protected at all costs, right? And then you build a value business around it, right? Whether it's product, whether it's services, something like that. Web3 is fundamentally different, whether technology is open source.

So the question you have to ask yourself in web3 is that if all the technology is open source, which means that the data, the technology gets out, it is in the hands of everybody, like on day zero, the, the code is there on GitHub, everybody can access it. So if code is open source and code cannot, is not intellectual property, then what is the value or what is, where does the stickiness of any network come from?

And what we feel is or what I also feel is that ultimately, The value of any web3 sort of project will come from its ecosystem. And in terms of ecosystem, we've got such a uniquely large and powerful ecosystem that we feel we can offer the user or the developer a lot more than what possibly other ecosystems can.

So let me try and give you some examples. Like I said, in our ecosystem we've got a huge pool of liquidity in the DAO, we've got an exchange, we have the ability to list tokens. We have a fully, well oiled venture arm, which is an LP in so many different funds, has made several. So many investments over the past, let's say three years.

It's been around since almost 2018. So there's a lot of experience here and we can, like if I were to talk about a developer, we can take him all the way from zero to grants and all the way to listing. Which is something which no other ecosystem can do. Like I think outside of maybe Binance, like nobody else can do something like this.

At the same time, you've got a big pool of liquidity, which we can mobilize, right? For various use cases within the infrastructure piece itself, which again, is something which nobody has. So I feel, so when it comes to the developer or the user we have so much more to offer from an ecosystem perspective compared to anybody else, which is why we feel that we are uniquely qualified to, get into the infrastructure game.

Because if we can get the infrastructure right, again, based on all the open source code, which is already available, right? Like with, it's with the, within the Ethereum ecosystem, then. Then we could truly build a really large like, project and a very large community. And this is why we wanted to build the chain, right?

So to summarize like the value of an ecosystem or a project will be less from technology, more from its ecosystem, and the ones with the largest ecosystem will win. And to build the largest ecosystem, you need several moving parts. And we have all of those, which is why we feel that Mantle will be a very compelling ecosystem for the developer and the user, like.


Mehdi: Regard, you mentioned EigenLayer as well here. So on the infrastructure side like liquidity. It is, it's come coming from data availability that the ary will provide, like leveraging Ethereum's trust. So my follow up question is are you guys also thinking about using EigenLayer for shared sequences?

Right now one of the biggest criticism we have for L2s is you just have one sequence. Yes. So is that, yeah. Is that something you guys are talking internally or is that the, is that something end the roadmap. 

Arjun: So I think this is a very interesting observation. So this is something we are considering.

The fact that the way EigenLayer is structured is that it solves, see EigenLayer data variability is one implementation of what is actually EigenLayer, which we are using Eigen da, right? Eigen data availability. So EigenLayer by itself is a decentralized network of trust, right? Which is, again, built itself. It's built in layer.

So it's interesting how, EigenLayer itself is modular, right? Therefore every chain. So if I were to talk about how EigenLayer security might work, Is that every chain will have their own data availability nodes, right? And all of those. So you have like all the chains, you've got all their data availability.

And this entirely data availability node network, which already has tokens taking, of those networks is again, secured by this robust network of Ethereum nodes who are retaking ETH, right? So the amount of, so I would say in terms of crypto economic, like security, you have, a sort of a paradigm or a structure which can secure like literally all.

All the different assets which encompass all of these different chains in a very let's say elegant way, right? So what EigenLayer actually solves is decentralized trust. So when you start thinking about decentralized trust, there, there are, this is very interesting territory, right?

Because now there are many solutions which are possible. So you could use it, for example, for bridging, right? Like you said, for like liquidity going up and down. Like you need to solve trust somehow, right? All bridges are face hacks. There've been so many problems there. You could use it for bridging, you could potentially also use it to secure like sequences.

So I think with EigenLayer itself going into main net later this year, I think we are going to see this very interesting sort of like what we are seeing with AI right now, right? Like ChatGPT came out and now there's this whole economy of like, bots, agents, whatever being built around it.

I expect that once EigenLayer gets out there, there's gonna be this entire ecosystem of different types of dapps and builders. We're gonna find new and unique ways to use this EigenLayer, this decentralized trust network, right? To do like interesting kind of things.

And this is why we wanted to integrate it from day zero. So it's already integrated into our testnet as well. Builders can go and try it out if they so choose, to see what that would be like. But I think to your point, decentralized trust can be used to solve a myriad of problems, right?

Whether it's bridging sequences, et cetera. We are researching this, but like I said, we are only scratching the surface. This is so new right now. I think only once it goes into main net is when we want to see like, more builders use it in production grade applications. And I think that's when, life will become very interesting for the modular sort of blockchain architecture and the thesis itself.

Mehdi: Yeah. Yeah. I think life loss have become very interesting for tokens as well. So if you're yeah. So if you're, if you are, if you're like, one of the biggest utility for L2 token or even like L1 for say, is that you stake the token for security, but let's say security is being provided by elsewhere.

Do you actually need the token? Like that is something...

Arjun: oh, that's a very interesting very interesting point. I think this is kinda, like, Getting into the layer two thesis itself. I'll tell you how like what you just touched upon is that if you're using an Ethereum layer two, you are using ETH gas fees.

So ideally, like people may ask or are asking, frankly speaking, what is the point of all of these L2 tokens? Like what are you supposed to do with this RB or OP And like, and I think even those teams are getting around to the idea of how to use tokens in, in different ways.

But like you said, correctly that crypto economic security is a very good utility. For this token, right? At the end of the day, like the most optimal use, what I feel of any token would be if it is used to improve like another network. So if you talk about yields in general, right across the web3 space, you either have, you have fundamentally two kinds of yields, right? You've got. 

A utility based yield where essentially the yield on the token comes from some utility, which is offered to the user. So for example, if you have a Dex, Dex has a token, Dex generates fees. Fees is remitted back to, let's say, token holders. So you know it's utility based, right? Because the Dex is providing some service, so this is utility based yield.

Then of course you have your collateral based yield, right? Where you basically start leveraging up and what we've already seen some of the consequences of that in, in, I think the past. Eight to 12 months of, you know how that can, when that goes, well, what happens? So you've got like collateral based yield and then you know which artificially pumps things, and then you've got utility based yields, right?

Which is, you could say stable and rather. The right kind of yield where you're offering like a service or utility to someone and thereby you are generating some fees. And and what I feel is that when you look at concepts like EigenLayer, where you stake assets, who generate yield based on utility and utility here being crypto economic security, which you provide, whether to a bridge, a chain, whatever have you, right?

This is the best kind of view. So I feel that when people will restate their ETH, like I think this would be possibly the best use of ETH. Where you've taken ETH and now you're securing this entirely new layer of protocols and applications, right? And all the value you're deriving out of it, which is cumulative of this entire, like superstructure, which you're supporting, right?

With EigenLayer's, ETH staking is that you're providing utility a very important utility to a network and all the yield is basically coming from this utility, right? Which is how yield ideally should be. And so this is why, like when you talk about like how this relates to token value accrual in some sense for L2 tokens, like this is a very interesting way for it to accrue value, right? Among other ways in which, you could use it in the ecosystem. 

Mehdi: Arjun this brings me to the point, right? Like right now the idea is the BIT token will secure...


Arjun: yes.

Mehdi: Secure, secure the Mantle network. But if EigenLayer can do this, do you think, will there be a need, still be the need for BIT Token?

If so, how are you thinking about the value accrual in that scenario? What would be some of the use cases? 

Arjun: Let me break this down into where it would exactly provide security, right? So if you, the way EigenLayer is structured is imagine you have different networks. So let's say you have Mantle.

Okay? So let's take a step back. Let's assume. All L2's are using EigenLayer for data availability. Let's assume, right? You got Arbiter, Optimism, Polygon, Mantle, possibly others. So in this scenario, what would happen is each of these chains, like, so Mantle would have its own data availability nodes, which are secured by the BIT token.

ARB would have their own data availability nodeS, which are secured by the Arbiter token. Similarly for Optimism, so you've got each chain, so you have like each chain and each of those chains has their own data availability nodes. Now all of these nodes, all of these excuse me, are secured by this ETH staking sort of layer.

So each ETH restaking layer is locked, you could say like a super layer right on top of which you got these other layers of data availability nodes, which are then securing these networks. So it's not as if you'll lose. Utility in this sense, like the crypto economic security of your native, using your native token for your data availability node network is something which is still required in spite of ETH being there.

Because ETH's job is not to secure, each network is to secure this entire layer, right? Because it's again, like, like the, you could say in some sense the mother asset of all L2s. So this is why I feel that in this situation, like utility for the native token will still be there. Now, to take the broader question of, for example, of BIT utility in general, right? Now, the advantage which we have with Mantle is that we can use Bit and crypto economics staking here.

We can also use it in crypto economics staking when it comes to sequences. So you've talked about how you could potentially use EigenLayer, or maybe like who knows, right? There could be a separate layer for sequences. For crypto economic security, it's totally possible. And that's again, another place where we plan to use the native token, the BIT token, so it'll be used there as well.

Then we plan to use it as the ecosystem token, so across all the different apps on the network. Then it'll also be used for gas fees, right? Which then like, like I said, will be amortized based on sequencer and data availability. And then possibly there could be a ZK EVM sometime in the future once the technology is more mature.

So there's a as well where again, you could have. Some crypto economic security. So the way we've created Utility for the BIT Token is at multiple levels, right? And this is counting only Mantle, not all the other projects which are outside of Mantle, which will also be. Sort of building utility for BIT.

So for example, if you have an idea which builds utility for the BIT token, and if you go and let's say apply to BitDAO and say that, Hey, I wanna do this and this, helps the BIT token you'll get funded from the DAO, right? So I think BitDAO wants the BIT token to be used to advance the cause of web3. It can be done in many ways.

Mantle is one of those ways in which we plan to use it. Other projects will also be doing so, and that's why I think BIT is interesting in the sense that it would capture the value, like I said, of the ecosystem at large versus let's say of only this particular L2. Which is why I, this is how we wanted to structure this entire ecosystem where you have this powerful DAO and then you've got this chain, then you also have an exchange, and then you have this entire community and all of these apps.

And then all of this working together builds and captures value for the BIT token.

Mehdi: Yeah. Yeah. That is very fascinating. And I think we already are few case studies of an ecosystem token doing really well, right? Like, we saw at BNB, like it does amazingly well, but even right now it's holding a well because there's a every few months there is a launch of a new token there.

Or you could use it for gas or you could use it for discount. So you have multiple utility. We also saw this with ETH. Like ETH is not just used for one thing, but apart from governance, it's used for as a medium exchange in multiple other different ways. So that's interesting. So apart from Mantle, like what are some of the other utilities that BIT, like, I know you, earlier you mentioned that there's something relating to ZK research and also giving, but apart from Mantle that there other, what are some other use cases for BIT?

That can also make investors like those who invest in public market be like, okay. If I were to make a thesis for this investment, I like the potential optionality mentioned, but there are other use cases as well. 

Arjun: Great question. So I think one word, definitely the primary utility of which bit started with is of course governance.

So outside of whatever's happening on Mantle, you can use BIT to mobilize the funds of the DAO. So for example, when I was saying that all of our funding came from the DAO, it came by a vote, right? Which was basically a vote. So this, we had a proposal, which is put on the BitDAO forums. And then it was voted on by the bit community.

And that's how we got our funding, that's how our ecosystem funding came from, etc. All of these things. So governance is one interesting utility for the BIT token. And if you look at the if you look at the ecosystem at large, right? So now let's look at Game7, or let's say let's look at EduDAO.

So what EduDAO is doing is that they're doing education initiatives in web3. Right? And what they're helping is that, so they're exposing like let's say Mantle's tech stack or BitDAO's entire ecosystem to, let's say university students, like people who want to like learn about web3, but also people who want to build their careers in web3, right?

Who want to maybe become, like, like apply to positions within this ecosystem. So at the end of the day, that's also another interesting place where we are able to get like, new users and also like, and when I say not just users, but developers as well. What it will do then, build on this piece of infrastructure, for the, you build value for BIT.

So that's an interesting way of building value. Game7 has been doing Game7 gaming investments, but they've also been building gaming tooling. So one of the tooling which has come out of the Game7 stable is HyperPlay. And HyperPlay is like kind of this Steam, engine, right?

For web3 games where you have a wallet. You've got all of these other different problems, which gamers face us all, and then you can just click and you can go and play a game. And it soon will go mobile as well. So this is an interesting piece of game tooling. There is also something called Summon, which is how you build let's say identity for gamers and capture all of their sort of, let's say all of their achievements in one place.

So Game7 is also producing all of these interesting products, which will further then in some sense add value to either Mantle or BIT itself. So for example, these products could, anywhere you could use, maybe BIT as a medium of exchange or you could use it for staking somewhere or possibly in any of these new products.

So all the, you could say all the participants in the beta ecosystem, whether it is the exchange, whether it is the venture arm, for example. Now the venture arm is LP in like pretty much every other fund. In the web3 space, right? So there's a huge portfolio of apps now, who are asking us now, Hey, how do we like, talk to the Mantle team, how do we deploy and Mantle?

What are your plans? So like I said, we have few other companies in the mix. We've got Yeeha Games, a gaming company. We've got Apex Decks an exchange, Autobook on chain exchange, Bitverse wallet. So they're like a bunch of different companies, all of whom are also like either bringing users or using BIT in some fashion.

Right. And, this is kind where, why BIT is interesting in that way that. The way we are structuring this entire ecosystem is that all the participants are either using BIT in some way or creating some new utility for BIT. And for example, like I was telling you, like if you, yourself, Mehdi, like let's say you decide, okay, I can, build this interesting product, right?

And you, if you put that and if it adds utility to the BIT token or you know, value captured in some sense and you put it in front of the DAO, it'll get funded. So this is the cycle or the engine if you want to start, which is projects building utility for BIT or using BIT in some sense.

And this ecosystem becoming larger and essentially BIT then capturing the value of this large ecosystem. Which is where I feel it will, it sort of starts to become very BNB like, the difference being that BitDAO is still governed through a DAO while, BNB is, let's say more directly, let's say deployed or used in a more, let's say, centralized fashion through the exchange Binance.

So I think that's kinda the difference there. But otherwise it's very BNB like, yeah.. 

Mehdi: Got it. So Arjun, the sense I'm getting for here is, I think the thesis here is code is open source, very difficult to capture value, the best way to capture value will be to bootstrap network effect, in order to optimize network effect.

Focusing on the BD side of thing, and not only focusing on the BD side of thing. But also focusing it from a bottom up perspective where everybody can come in through a DAO and, fund things. Or put out grants or do interesting things. I get it. And we also live in this remix culture where everything.

Bottom up does accrue a lot of value. So let's say if we talk about Twitter or TikTok, everything like in this day and age is about remix, right? So when you're thinking about this bottom up approach, when we are thinking about the remix approach. Philosophically, what do you think is the best BD strategy here? 

So we have seen different L1's or even L2's take different approaches and we have seen projects focus on that's accelerator or incubator. We have seen some project focus on grants. We have seen some projects that's not focus on web3, but going and focusing on web2, which also have a cyclical right.

So, in your view, since you've also worked in the business development world before, what is the best approach here? When we are trying to make this type of ecosystem? 

Arjun: I think so. A lot depends on the end state. Which you desire, right? As, as a blockchain. And I'll tell you why this is important.

First to understand that. Because while a blockchain is a decentralized compute layer where you can ideally build anything, we've also seen like, gaming specific chains, defi specific. So for example, if you look at Arbitrum, a lot of defi there, is primarily in some sense defi chain with like big liquidity.

You have like stuff like imx, which is purely gaming. So there are like, like there are different ways you can structure an ecosystem. So there are different things which define success for you. Like a gaming chain may have different success parameters than, let's say a defi chain, which would be like, which would require like, which would be very DVL driven also in some sense like, which may not be a very important metric for a gaming chain.

So there are different outcomes here, but in general, right? Bottoms up usually is the best way to build web3 ecosystems. And I'll tell you why. Because philosophically speaking like I was explaining earlier, The strength of a company or of a project in web2 is intellectual property, right?

Like some sort of something which you can hold closely to your, close to your heart, which is a competitive advantage in some sense, right? And, that's kind how web2 ecosystem scale in web3, the strength is not intellectual property, right? In web3, the strength is community.

A project is strong when it's got a large community, and when you start thinking in terms of community, the best way to build any community is bottoms up. Like you can try top down as well, right? Like for example, you can maybe try going with KOLs and doing like other different kinds of things, but ultimately, like if you're able to build a bottoms up community, then you're able to create your own givers.

Right? And that's like a far more, let's say, it's a much tougher and a longer process, but it yields more value as time progresses, right? Because if with this KOL approach, the other networks or anybody else can also go and approach these KOL's, right? Ultimately then it's shopping around for KOLs, right?

Versus trying to build a genuine community who's interested in your project, right? And this is why I said the positioning becomes important because, If you're building a generalized chain, so for example, at Mantle, like we can, there's going to be a big focus on gaming for sure. Cause gaming brings in new users.

But essentially we are building a generalized layer, right? So our positioning and the way we need to talk about our chain. And what we need to tell the user or communicate to the user is different, right? And from, let's say a pure gaming chain or a pure defi chain or pure chain, some or some other kind of blockchain.

And this is kind why, like when you start thinking in terms of community is why bottoms up continues to show its value. And like I said, it's extremely difficult. It requires a lot of very strong ground game. It requires you to structure your company, which, you know, in a way which reflects like community building style of business development which is what I've seen has worked really well.

So if you look at any sort of blockchain, which has achieved success, like from my time at Polygon when I first started in, in July, 2020, or to what Arbitum has achieved, and other blockchains, like ultimately the approaches bottoms up. And today you see every blockchain not trying to do that right now.

Every blockchain is now. Trying to figure out that, how do we do this? Like, how do we go bottoms up? Let's go to, like, let's do more developer events, more this, more that. So I think blockchain has gone through its own like journey all the way from 2015 to what it is today.

And we've seen several different approaches. But when you have, when you are when, let's say the stickiness or the value of your project is derived in some sense from, let's say, the community you can build, then. I think the answer kind of starts to become very clear of why bottoms up and certain approaches tend to work better than others. So that's how I view the space. 

Mehdi: So Arjun, even right now. Like we are sitting right now and there'll be a lot of projects that will be building on top of Mantle, so let's say we move forward three months, let's say Mehdi enter the ecosystem. 

Arjun: Okay. 

Mehdi: What would be some of the dapps? What would be some of the dapps you would recommend the current Mehdi to try out three months, four months from now?

Arjun: So I think we'll have a very big gaming portfolio. So I think there's gonna be a lot of different games in which, you know you can try those out. And again, we are looking at like genuine games, not necessarily ponzinomics, driven. Game design, but like genuine games, such a fun to play. So that'll definitely be there. 

Secondly, because you've got like big liquidity we have like so many other different moving parts, there'll be a pretty bustling defi ecosystem as well.

I think, when you look at Defi ecosystems, one must give credit to Arbitrum, which is built like such a genuine sort of, defi community.

So many different new projects are being built in, Arbitrum, new ones come out every day. So I think they're built a great community there. We are also want, we would also want to do something similar or are doing something similar where we want new protocols to come to life, new concepts, to continuously push the barriers in terms of what is possible on the defi side.

So this is what you will see on Defi, which lots of innovative new, different protocols and new primitives, which we plan to bring to life. So this is on the defi side. And of course, like a big part of enabling both of these is tooling and tooling is where we see a lot of, like if you look at web3 as a whole lot of investment and also a lot of activity, right?

Because people have realized that all of these cool things are great. But the fundamentals of what you're required to build a technology, which is around developer onboarding, user onboarding, ease of use, api driven infrastructure pieces, like a lot of this is missing, but what I've seen over the last six months is there's been a huge explosion in these types of products. 

So there's a huge focus from our side to also on tooling, right? So as time progresses, you have to become easier to use for the user. You have to become easier to develop for the developer, right? Chain fundamentals aside that, of course you have to be fast, you have to be inexpensive, you have to be highly secure.

But once you go on layer on top of that, you need to make it easy for the user and easy for the developer. And this means a lot of tooling, right? So this is another thing which you might see three or four months from now. There a lot of interesting types of tooling, which would make life easy for both user and the developer outside of, all the gaming as a deFi, which will also be there, pretty large ecosystem. 

Mehdi: So Arjun just like, one question that popped my head, like, impressed by the BD approach, impressed by the tech. Is again, it's a bit of a vanity metric. It's TPSs. 

So again, with some of the mpc you guys have developed data availability. You guys have developed what would be the TPS? Let's on average, I know TPS means different things, but let's on average when you see something like Optimism or Arbitrum, they have a X amount of TPS. So what is the target TPS Mantle would be targeting? Or do you think will the achievable once the ecosystem is hustling and bustling? 

Arjun: So I think so I'll tell you what numbers you've seen in testing, right? So in testing we've seen anywhere from, so when we started developing, we were at around 600 odd TPS.

We have a roadmap for improvement all the way up 2000 and beyond. But when you look at scaling like while TPS is important, there are also other ways to scale. So for example, if you look at how rollups operate in general, right? You've got transactions, the transactions are like, bunched into blocks.

Those blocks essentially, are bunched into like a roll up, right? Where you have a proof and a roll up. So if you look at this entire lot of sequence of events, you need to have a very gas efficient network so that you can have the transactions are using gas efficiently. If you're able to have very efficient gas usage, then you can put more transactions into blocks, right?

So here, TPS may not matter more because here now you can put more transactions into a block. And secondly, if you can put more blocks, right? In and so if you can create a proof out of a larger number of blocks and keep the roll up size the roll up data size, like let's say small, then again you improved your throughput.

So when I talk about, when you talk about a roll up throughput, right? There are several layers. Like it starts with, let's say efficient chain design. Which leads to, let's say, fast transactions, then it requires efficient, let's say block production so that you can bunch a number of transactions into block, or typically a block has a gas limit.

So you know the number of transactions are defined by the amount of gas. So like I said, efficient gas usage means more transactions into a block. Efficient sequences means you can take more blocks and produce a proof and a roll up and efficient, like roll up, like, or data compression means that, You can reduce the roll up size.

Now we've got a data availability layer so we can push the roll up data to data availability versus putting it on chain, right? So by having data availability and not having to put roll up data on chain, which means instead of having two Ethereum transactions, which is the proof and the roll up data, now you just have one, right?

So you don't have to wait for another transaction to complete. And you can further boost throughput. So from 600, I feel we can go all the way to a thousand or maybe even four or five or even 6,000 based on these optimizations. So we've taken the whole roll up stack, we've looked at different areas where you could optimize, and now we will start, working around all of those areas.

So for example, why we did Eigenlayer first, like why data availability came first? Because if you look at the cost of rollups, over 90% of the cost comes because of the rollup data. The proof is as such pretty optimized. It's not that expensive, but the rollup data, which you have to push on Ethereum, is large.

It's, it's, it adds up more than, adds, like more than 90% of the expense of the transaction comes from this. So if you could take that data, put it in a data availability layer, then that cost is gone. So that's a huge optimization by itself. Now, and slowly, slowly, like I said, in all of these different areas, we will have optimizations, which will, which is what is our scaling roadmap of how we've defined it. Yeah. 

Mehdi: Arjun, you also mentioned that you also have prior experience in AI, like you work in that space as well. How do you see the current development of AI? Like especially with the intersection of web3? Do you think there's overhire, do you think there will be certain intersection would be web3 or AI? What's your take on that? 

Arjun: That's very interesting question. So I think with AI So there are a couple of things about AI, right? So one is that a lot of stuff is overblown as well, right? So first things let's start with the good parts, right? Chat GPT by itself is, I think, phenomenally, fundamentally phenomenal piece of technology, not because also of what it does that you can, now you can search contextually the way you think about asking questions has become different from, from, let's say, a computer, but also the fact that the way OpenAI approached it, where they put AI in the hands of the normal person.

Typically when you tell anybody artificial intelligence, like they will, it's something huge in your mind, but now you know what AI means, right? Because you put it in the hands of the common man. You tell them there is this interface. You can go and ask it questions, it gives you answers, it does all these different things.

It write code, it does like everything. This is what AI is like. So now common people are like, oh, this is AI. And when you put this technology into the common man's hand is when the magic happens. This is also what we need to do in web3, by the way, just as a, that this is what we need to do, like have such a optimized use case.

So you put it in the hand of the common man where it just clicks, oh, this is web3, this is why web3 is important or interesting. And then, you will see that, explosion in web3 adoption as well. 

Now, With AI what we've seen with OpenAI and Chat GPT and now what Chat GPT has led to the launch of technologies like Auto GPT, Baby AGI, like, which is basically an, an AGI algorithm or a model you can run on your laptop, pretty efficiently. Is that, it is changing the way we now approach technology in general.

For example, it can now write code, it can comment code, it doesn't write buck free code. But again, it's getting there cause it's a learning algorithm, right? And eventually what I feel is that how the intersection might happen is in a couple of interesting ways it could happen on, let's say the content side of things where AI can produce content.

We are already seeing, generative images, generative video, generative like, Art, like different kinds of, so there, there's an interesting use case there where you could combine that with some level of tokenization, right? There is an interesting way in which, for example, you could use AI to develop blockchains itself.

So one of the problems with blockchains is that testing blockchains is extremely difficult, right? Because there's certain problems which only come out at scale, right? But imagine if you could create, let's say, like a hundred thousand. Let's say auto GPT agents, right? Each instance. Each instance is an AI.

So you have a hundred thousand people in some sense, like AI people using your blockchain, right? You could create simulations for this technology and then you could, create more robust technology, right? I also feel this is where AI becomes very interesting for me, that it's AI is fundamentally a tool, right?

And it's like a screwdriver. You can use it to do many different things, and I feel that using AI to improve blockchain design. And some of these other problems which you're facing with encryption, with let's say the mathematics side of things. Even on the ZK side, like I think AI could be a big help there.

Especially when it comes to testing. So for example, if you look at what A16Z put out recently, right? So this is very interesting, right? So A16Z came up with this gaming school and they said, I have this gaming accelerator. We want people to apply and they gave these ten problem statements. This is what we want people to work on. I think eight of those problem statements involved AI. And in very interesting ways, for example, use AI for game testing, right? Use AI for, let's say like stuff like token design. Like what happens, when people start using this token, some people will sell it, et cetera.

So this is where I feel the intersection of AI and web3 will come first, which is to improve web3 in general. And then possibly as the AI becomes stronger, et cetera, then, like who knows what might happen. But I must say that, like I said, OpenAI's approach. Of putting AI in the hands of common man is exactly what we need to do with web3, and that's when you, that's when that technology adoption happens, right?

When it is slowly and then all at once, like what you're seeing with AI, right? Like AI people are saying for over a decade now, suddenly like, use explosion. With web3, we are also getting there slowly at some point, some use cases gonna click, and then, so this is what we need to learn actually, from this entire episode.

Mehdi: Yeah. Yeah, that's a very good take Arjun. One thing I'm excited about is when you talk about Auto GPT and Baby AGI, Right?, like.

You have wallets. Wallets, you can access it in a permissionless way. 

Arjun: Yes.

Mehdi: I don't like, I think in few months I can see people creating agents that does defi yield farming and defi stuff.

Arjun: Oh, easily. 

Mehdi: Easy, right? Like.. 

Arjun: All the strats are gonna be taken over by AI. Right? Or AI doesn't sleep and it can, like depending, so I was just thinking right. 

When gas fees is very low, The switching cost of any let's say strat is not very high, right? And what that means is that if you have an AI, which is continue, whose job is to continuously monitor strats like, or create new strats, like you could have very robust, let's say AI investing bots agents, right? And it's so interesting that I'm using a bot and Mehdi you are using a bot and then our bots. Bots are it out. You're trying to maximize profit for each other. So, when I start to imagine what that that looks like, It's to big to imagine....


Mehdi: If your bot is, if your bot is making more money, you can sell it off as an NFT. 

Arjun: Yes. That's, that's actually a great useless as well. Selling a bot as an NFT, a fantastic use case. But then, like I said, the bots are also learning, so then your bot will see what my bot is doing. And this is tool, see, this is where we go into that territory of what. 

Like, I think so, which I was talking about when people asked him how does this work? And he said, there are parts of this we don't understand. Like, and and I think it's only with using this technology where, we'll come to realize but like some of the use cases you've talked about are stuff you can do today.

Mehdi: Yeah. I can also see explosion of content, like synthetic media, like a lot of content and I think. I think like similar to fair trade products, right? Like, I think there will be a demand for, for the fact that there, there needs to be some kind of artificials scarcity or the fact that human made it or some kind of artificials scarcity.

I feel like blockchain over here could create thats scarcity to fungible token or NFT that we have so much synthetic media being pumped out by AI. There's a way to limit that and add value. 


Arjun: Yeah, I think this whole IP, kind of discussion which is happening, right? That if like let's say AI produces some content and new profit off it, then who, where should the value flow?

I think smart contracts are very powerful here, where you can automate this entire thing. So for example, you could have an AI, which then, if you use this AI to create an image, And if you go and sell that image, let's say use it, let's say on a marketplace, like as an NFT, then some part of the revenue automatically flows to that agent, whoever, or whoever created that, let's say AI or trained that AI for that matter.

And if the AI, that AI was trained with, let's say, a particular dataset, then some part of that money could go to the, whoever created that dataset. 

And this is where smart contracts come interesting. Where this entire value chain of where the value has to go and in what percentage, et cetera, could be codified in a smart contract and would be automated through this entire marketplace experience.

Which is where, you know, I think how, how we need to think about, right? Where web3 adds value in this entire economy of let's say, generative content where, you know, you could, like right from the data set all the way to the final art piece, to the selling and its entire lifecycle history. You could like literally automate this entire thing. And this auto, economy runs on its own. So these are some of the things which web3 can uniquely do, which, which would not be possible in any web2 sense and we are already seeing generative content. Like, if you see some newspapers these days I was looking at like in the airport, I don't remember which one, 

But like, you how newspapers have these, like sample images, right? Like, like if you have to make a, let's say, sample image of a laboratory, because you have got the scientist holding like this, like, some instrument or something and it was written like, generated by DALL-E, like, versus, like where it would've been Getty's images or whatever have you.

So it's already happening. And like you said correctly that the content game will now explode, right? Synthetic content will become this new category. And, and then, know, we'll see some, some really, I think equally amazing and equally macabre things now happening, that side of the world. Yeah. 

Mehdi: Yeah, absolutely. This is so fascinating. I think if you just were to discuss this will like, can potentially take a whole episode of its own. 


Arjun: Yes. 

Mehdi: So so Arjun. I'm also cognizant of time, so I'm gonna just push the gear bit and we can have the final segment of podcast, which is a rapid fire, so we are on the topic of AI, so Arjun, what was the last thing you of, inputted in chat GPT?


Arjun: Oh, wow. So the last thing I input it on Chat GPT is, how does gas work in different optimistic rollups? Yeah, so instead of going to the documentation, I asked Chat GPT instant answer.

Mehdi: Amazing. Blue ocean or red ocean? 


Arjun: I would say blue ocean. When it comes to web3. 


Mehdi: Arjun. If you weren't working on Mantle, which other ecosystem you would've found attractive, either from ethos standpoint or from tech standpoint?


Arjun: I think from X standpoint, I feel Arbitrum is quite interesting. I think from an ethos standpoint, Optimism is quite interesting. I think from general shipping perspective oh that's Polygon. So that's where I was already was so Polygons great at, shipping stuff quickly. So I think each ecosystem has this, very sort of unique point, but that's kind how, but I would've in Ethereum, like, short answer to the question, Ethereum is where my is where my heart is at. 


Mehdi: So basically EVM got it. 


Arjun: Yeah. 


Mehdi: Arjun to conclude question, I should have asked you but didn't. 


Arjun: So I think I, I think there are two, two questions. Which one is, when is our mainnet coming out? So our mainnet is gonna be out in, the Mantle mainnet is planned in like another three months. So I think by mid-June or end of June, our mainnet will be out.

Audits are already coming in. We are already making all the fixes. That's probably, if I were to selfishly say one question which could've been asked. I think outside of that, I would just say that one of the things which is not discussed not like a question, I think we've covered like a fair gamut of things, but I think around token economics and value capture right, is where I'm seeing a very new type of like, like people are saying now, tokenology.

Right, which is now this new science where, no, I'll tell you why. Why? Okay. Like jargon aside, like fancy sounding jargon aside, why I like this, why I like this is because finally I feel that instead of going with this corollary based approach, right where we say it is like supply and demand, it is like money. It is like asset. It is like equity. 

We are finally coming, I can see like, token economics experts, researchers coming to this point where now the thinking is that. The token by itself is a fundamentally new and a different class of financial instrument, right? It is something which is like, we were discussing when we met in person, right?


That it is equity asset currency. All of this rolled into one. So it's a fundamentally different asset class, which is where this. Analogy or corollary approach has to now be decide, and now we need to think of it as a fundamentally different asset class, which means we need to develop a fundamentally different approach of how we need to think about how this asset class functions its behavior and how it creates or captures value.

I think we have finally got to this point, right? Where and I think this is a good place to be because now is when you will see truly. Innovative, or rather, for the lack of a better term, good token models come out. Which will add benefit to the project and the user and not to, let's say, a small set of people within the ecosystem.

So I think that's also another interesting discussion point, which I think more people need to like, get into. Yeah. 

Mehdi: Yeah, I love the response. I truly do. I think we're very early, right? Like we have so early that in equity we have BCF models, in currency, we have different ways to value currencies as well, like

Arjun: True. 

Mehdi: Like through inflation, through PPP. But we still so early that there aren't any, Models out there where you can be like, input these numbers and you get X and so that is indication that there'll be very early. There's a lot of experimentation that will happen and kudos to team like Mantle, right? Like I think that experimentation will only take when you have scalable blockchains which can support thousands of fast transcations, and once that's, yeah, once that takes through, people will be experimenting with weird ideas and tokens as well. 


Arjun: True. 

Mehdi: Again, Arjun, this was amazing. And I'll also give a pat on the back myself that I didn't ask you about air drop. So I think that was a question I should have asked you, but I didn't.

Arjun: Neither confirm or deny, information. 

Mehdi: Yeah, this may or may not be alpha, this may not be alpha. Yeah. Just to confuse audience a bit more. So again, Arjun, thank you so much for coming to the podcast. I had a fascinating discussion and hopefully all goes well and we can have you again as well once the mainnet has launched. 

No sure. I really enjoyed the conversation. Thank you so much for having me Mehdi, and I look forward to our next conversation.

This podcast is for information purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. Any opinions provided in this podcast reflect the views of the speakers only.

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