01 Sep 202016:08
Manta Network AMA Recap
Cryptodiffer TeamHello, everyone!😁
We are glad to meet here:
Kenny Li, COO and Cofounder
Cryptodiffer TeamWelcome Kenny, thank you for taking your time today!
Our team has prepared 3 questions for you to start with!
Let`s start with the introduction !
Q1: Can you introduce yourself to our community?
Kenny LiSure thing! My name is Kenny, and I'm one of the cofounders of Manta Network. I've been an entrepreneur for a while now, starting my first company in the cloud computing space back in 2011. I got into bitcoin because of that company, since we had a lot of servers that were expensive and not being used. I looked into bitcoin mining to figure out how to cover the operational costs of those servers. That got me into crypto. Worked on some projects in the space, wrote about it alot, and then went to MIT to get my MBA. At MIT, I was the teaching assistant for several blockchain courses, including one that paired students with companies like BCG, Fidelity, Deloitte, and others to explore blockchain use cases on an enterprise level. I'm currently heading up the operations and product for the project.
Cryptodiffer Teamthank you for an answer!
let's talk about Manta Network now:
Q2: Can you introduce Manta Network to us?
Kenny LiManta Network is building plug-and-play privacy for DeFi. The problem with privacy on-chain is that there is no privacy. Every transaction is a new data point. In Web 2.0, those data points are collected by Google, Facebook, and other giant tech companies. Facebook can use that data to create accurate "shadow profiles" of people who don't even have facebook accounts. On the blockchain, that data is collected on-chain and accessible to anyone. This is a big problem on both a level of consumer and enterprise. For consumers, the availability of your data is a huge concern--that exploitation can lead to things like blackmail. For enterprise, every transaction they make with other entities is a data point that can be harvested to learn more about their trade secrets and pricing strategies.
The problem though is that privacy on-chain is hard to implement. And there are so many projects that are great but don't have privacy. Our goal is to allow them to plug into us, and then we offer that privacy layer for their projects.
Cryptodiffer TeamThank you for an answer!
The last question for us before we open the chat for community questions
Q3: Let`s now talk about the milestones you have achieved so far and about your upcoming plans?
Kenny LiYes! We are participating in the Web3 Foundation Open Grants program. As part of that, we have successfully completed the first milestone already, which is to provide a prototype of our private payment solution. We are able to deploy a private instantiation of our blockchain, mint tokens, send private payments, and redeem those tokens for the original public tokens. This is a huge milestone because other projects do this with smart contracts, which means that it costs tons of money in gas fees, but we have no high gas fees because our whole transaction is layer 1.
Moving forward, we intend to launch our testnet in the next few weeks, and we are pushing for a main net launch in late Q2 or Q3!
Cryptodiffer CommunityProject like Zcash are always working on solving the issue of users Privacy which is not safe in Defi, as decentralized exchanges can leak the addresses of users participating in transactions. Could you tell us how's Manta Network approach to solving privacy issues unique and superior to that of Zcash and the rest?
Kenny LiGood question... I'll break this down into a few categories:
1. Projects like Zcash
The grand daddies of privacy on blockchain are Zcash, Dash, and Monero. They are doing great work. I think where the limitations fall are in the user experience. To use Zcash's privacy, you need to use ZEC. This is a problem. Say I want to send 10 DOT to someone. I have to first figure out how to change my DOT to ZEC. So I have to go to a centralized exchange, then change DOT to BTC (because there's no DOT->ZEC trade pair), then from BTC to ZEC. Then I have to send the ZEC to my wallet. Then I can privately send the ZEC to someone. After they receive it, they have to move that ZEC to a centralized exchange, then change it from ZEC -> BTC -> DOT.
With Manta Network, you can just send the 10 DOT privately, directly.
2. Smart Contract Based Solutions
There are some smart-contract-based solutions that are emerging in the market today, and they offer the ability to transact in different tokens. The limitations here are the gas fees. It is very expensive since the ZKP generation costs computation resources. You might be looking to spend $100 in gas fees alone, just to make a transaction.
With Manta Network, our entire solution is built on layer-1, not on smart contracts, so we don't subject users to high gas fees. Transactions can be pennies.
Cryptodiffer CommunityCould you please tell me just a little more about the team and some of their backgrounds? I have personally seen many projects launch with inexperienced team members, and some of those didn’t go so well due to easily avoidable mistakes.
Kenny LiYea so, you already met me. I gave an intro at the beginning of the AMA. Our entire team is 7 people right now, with 4 additional people onboarding between now and June. So 11 by June.
For the founders, other than myself, we have Victor Ji, who is also helping on the business side with me. He is a graduate from Harvard, where he studied Economics. He previously was an investor in this space since 2015, and also worked at Ontology. He knows a lot how to scale out a successful blockchain project.
On the technical cofounding team, we have Shumo Chu, who is leading the project. He is also an assistant professor at UCSB, where he teaches blockchain courses. He previously worked at Algorand as a research scientist, and has published several papers.
We also have Zhenfei Zhang, who is on our technical cofounding team. He is repsonsible for the cryptography of our network. He worked at Algorand as a cryptographer as well, and has published over 30 papers directly in the cryptography space. He is also the co-author of the BLS signature standard.
Cryptodiffer CommunityI read that Manta Network uses zk-SNARK to increase privacy, can you explain in a brief but easy to understand about zk-SNARK? and what are the benefits for the users and the Manta network itself?
Kenny LiYea so... Zero Knowledge Proofs, it's a way of proving something without actually revealing something. A simple, common example is the example of colorblindness.
I'm in a room with you, and I want to prove to you that I'm not colorblind. But I can't "show you" my color-seeing ability. Instead, I can prove it to you. You have two balls in your hands. One is blue, and one is red. You put those balls behind your back and shuffle them, and ask me to pick the blue ball. I pick it correctly. Because we only did this one time, it's a 50/50 chance so it could have just been luck. So we replay the game again, and I pick the blue ball correctly again. And we keep doing this over and over until statistically, you're convinced that I'm not colorblind. E.g., after the 1,000th time of correctly picking the blue ball, it's safe to say that Kenny is not colorblind.
As you can imagine, this process of "proving" is very slow. Because you have to have tons of back and forth. ZK Snarks makes it so that you don't have to do this whole interaction each time, but instead just show that you have done the interaction before. So if Cryptodiffer comes and says "hey are you colorblind" I don't have to play the ball game with them again, I just have to show them that Brianna and I already played previously, and I have previously proven I'm not colorblind. This solution is much faster, and more scalable.
Cryptodiffer CommunityIs the community allowed to participate in any governance activities maybe like voting, if yes how do we partake ?
Kenny LiYes, our project will be community-governed. Our token has governance features. After our main net launches and tokens are available, the community can use those tokens to vote on future aspects such as fees, token pairings, and new tokens being incorporated into our privacy layer.
Cryptodiffer CommunityWould you agree with everyone that community is everything? How important is the community to you? How can we collaborate or help you to develop the project?
Kenny LiDifferent people will have different answers to this, because their goals are different. My personal answer is that there must always be a balance. Community is a critical piece of that balance, but it can't be everything. The project must have development, it must have features, something real, for the community to access. Otherwise it's just a scam project with a large community.
Cryptodiffer Communityis there any reason why you build Manta Network on substrate? why don't you use platforms like ERC20, TRC20 etc which are currently popular?
Kenny LiManta Network is buildling as a layer 1, which offers more scalability and reduced fees. If we built on ERC20 or TRC20, then we would have to be a smart contract, which means that we would be asking our users to pay very heavy gas fees. We want to avoid that. Building using substrate also gives us flexibility and interoperability with other parachain projects.
I think I'm all set with those questions!
Cryptodiffer TeamThank you
Appreciate all the great answers