If you’ve ever performed a transaction on the Ethereum network, it’s likely that you’ve paid a significantly high fee, sometimes reaching up to 5 USD for a simple transaction.
The primary reason behind Ethereum’s high fees is its lack of scalability, as the network can only handle around 15 transactions per second, which is a stark contrast to Visa’s capacity of over 24,000 transactions per second.
Within the world of Web3, Ethereum is considered Layer-1 infrastructure. Layer-1 in crypto is the foundation of a cryptocurrency network, just like the infrastructure of a city’s transportation system. It sets up the basic rules, security, and structure for how transactions happen, similar to how roads and bridges provide the framework for transportation in a city. To alleviate congestion and reduce fees, scaling solutions known as Layer-2s have been developed on top of Ethereum.
One notable Layer-2 solution is Mantle, which adopts a unique modular approach to scaling and has prioritized decentralization from the beginning. KrASIA recently spoke with Igneus Terrenus, Head of Communications and Business Development at Mantle, to delve into the network’s architecture and explore the future prospects of Ethereum and Layer-2s.
The following interview has been edited and consolidated for brevity and clarity.
KrASIA (Kr): How does Mantle’s modular rollup architecture differ from Ethereum and other Layer-2s that are already in the market?
Igneus Terrenus (IT): Our modular approach involves splitting the tasks of the blockchain, such as execution, settlement, consensus, and data availability, among different specialized nodes. Unlike monolithic blockchains like Ethereum, where a single node performs all tasks, modularization brings efficiency gains, lower fees for users, and improved performance for decentralized applications.
One advantage of modularity is the flexibility it offers in updating our network without causing major disruptions. As such, users on older versions of our system can still participate without any issues. This agility allows us to keep pace with the latest technological advancements. In contrast, upgrades on monolithic blockchains like Ethereum often require a hard fork, making older versions incompatible.
Furthermore, our modularity extends to the data availability layer, which we have separated from other layers. Unlike other Layer-2 solutions that rely on Ethereum for data availability, which can be costly and face scalability challenges, we have partnered with EigenLayer to route data availability through their specialized module. This strategic partnership has led to a substantial reduction in the price of our data availability solution during testnet trials, achieving cost savings of up to 90%. We believe that our transaction fees will be lower compared to these Layer-2 solutions.
Kr: As a DAO-led L2 network, how does Mantle showcase the potential of tokenized governance, and what advantages does this governance model offer?
IT: What sets us apart is our unique approach to governance and decentralization. Unlike other chains or projects that develop the product first and then gradually decentralize, we have established a robust decentralized DAO governance system through BitDAO for over a year. We are now integrating Mantle with BitDAO through a rebranding initiative, as we aim to transition the emphasis from BitDAO and investments towards tangible blockchain products.
We maintain an open governance process that welcomes feedback and embraces challenges. When our initial proposal faced opposition from the community, we actively listened and integrated their suggestions. This level of engagement enables us to assess the true sentiment of our proposals and guides us in shaping our long-term trajectory.
The public nature of our check and balance system is significant. We openly present all possible paths and actively involve the community in decision-making, creating a more informed, engaged, and decision-oriented community.
Kr: What are some notable projects that can be found on Mantle?
IT: While we refrain from picking favorites among the projects we support, we have seen an abundance of games in our ecosystem.
We recognize that the gaming and social sectors have been overlooked in the past. The high costs associated with conducting transactions directly on the Ethereum blockchain, even on Layer-2 solutions, have made it impractical for these sectors. As a result, many games have opted to operate on sidechains that offer lower fees but come with security concerns, as evidenced by the Ronin bridge hack.
The strong enthusiasm we receive from gaming projects indicates that we offer a unique solution not provided by other Layer-1 or Layer-2 chains. Our modular approach is well-suited for facilitating high-frequency transactions, a critical aspect of blockchain games.
Kr: In your view, what is the significance of fostering a culture of interoperability across the L2 ecosystem?
IT: In terms of Layer-2 solutions, we have been collaborating with companies that implement zero-knowledge technology even before launching our own chain. Our partnerships include working with Optimism, Arbitrum, and zkSync.
There is a noticeable difference in how Layer-2s and Layer-1s interact and operate. Layer-1s primarily compete to attract users to their specific chains, resulting in isolated ecosystems. In contrast, we actively engage in ongoing conversations and regular calls with other Layer-2 chains. Since we all build on Ethereum, once all networks are fully operational, there will be a shared liquidity pool, enabling seamless transactions and movement across different chains.
Rather than a competitive battle, the relationship between Layer-2 solutions is characterized by friendly competition based on merit, where everyone can learn from one another. While interoperability is still in its early stages, the extensive communication between various Layer-2 solutions indicates a promising future.
Kr: Do you have any upcoming partnerships or expansion plans?
IT: We already have established ecosystem partners in the gaming and education sectors, such as Game7 and EduDAO. Nevertheless, we welcome any ideas from both our team and the community via our proposal forum.
While our immediate focus is on the successful launch of the Mantle mainnet in early Q3, we believe that combining our Layer-2 chain with Liquid Staking Derivatives (LSDs) — a token that represents your staked assets like Ethereum — holds great potential. We already have a dedicated team actively developing LSDs, and we want to take advantage of our modular rollup by swiftly incorporating this latest technological advancement. We have high expectations for both our rollup and LSD, and we are confident that they will be a success.