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Ichan Pandey

Crypto veteran. Tokenization, DeFi and Security Tokens – Blockchain.

Ichan Pandey: Hello Kenny, welcome to our “Behind the Startup” series. Tell us about yourself and the story behind Manta Network?

Kenny Li: Hi Ishan! It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m Kenny, one of three co-founders of Manta Network, a protocol designed for Web3 on-chain privacy. We are building in the Polkadot ecosystem to begin with, and have a decentralized team of around twenty people around the world. I’m a serial entrepreneur with a decade of experience scaling startups. I started mining Bitcoin in 2013 and worked on crypto projects.

I received my MBA from MIT Sloan and was a teaching assistant for several blockchain courses. I met Shumo Chu and Victor Ji, the other co-founders of the project during my MBA. Victor was studying for his master’s degree in economics at Harvard at the time, and Shumo was working on building the smart contracts layer for Algorand.

Ichan Pandey: Can you tell us a bit more about the protocol and explain what exactly a polka dot parachain is?

Kenny Li: The core problem we see today is that blockchain lacks privacy, interoperability, and usability, leading to a host of additional issues. This is why we are developing Manta Network, an interoperable and private protocol of the DeFi stack with a decentralized privacy-preserving exchange as the first use case. We design it as a layer 1 solution which implies that privacy will be built into the fundamental architecture rather than adding another blockchain. We use Polkadot’s interoperable ecosystem using Substrate.

Based on the Substrate framework, Manta is an easy-to-use, secure and fully transparent suite of open source protocols. It uses zk-SNARK to enable full end-to-end anonymity, high throughput, and high interoperability between chains. It supports Polkadot and its mainstream cryptocurrencies parachain and stablecoins. Eventually, it will contain a decentralized privacy payment system, a decentralized privacy token exchange protocol, and a decentralized privacy lending and synthetic asset protocol. Many American cryptocurrency veterans, scholars, and researchers make up Manta’s founding team, with past experience at Harvard, MIT, Algorand, and other organizations.

The main premise of Manta is to issue private coins/tokens at a 1:1 mint value ratio with stablecoins and other base tokens on contract. In addition to this, the trading of these privacy tokens would be supported through a decentralized private exchange platform.

zk-SNARK technology is used in the Decentralized Anonymous Payment (DAP) system. Users can exchange Polkadot and Parachain tokens for private tokens, pay with privacy tokens, and exchange base currencies.

AMM and zk-SNARK are the foundations of the Decentralized Anonymous Exchange (DAX) system, which we call MantaSwap. On the platform, users will trade tokens anonymously. The decentralized private token exchange system uses the same approach to price creation as traditional AMM. The economic strategy of Manta tokens is based on discounting and reimbursing swap usage and transaction fees. Manta Network is also in the early stages of designing ZKVM, a comprehensive environment for developing decentralized applications with underlying zero-knowledge proof technology to provide privacy as a base layer.

Ichan Pandey: What makes Manta Network different from other privacy projects on the market?

Kenny Li: I think there are a lot of things that set us apart based on technology and our vision. First and foremost, we’re building privacy as a utility for Web3. This means that we essentially want to be the privacy utility provider for the blockchain. Think of it like this: when you turn on your tap, water comes out. But you don’t have to worry about where your water comes from or the details of its shipping logistics. All you do is turn a nob when you need water, and the water comes. We want to do the same with Manta Network; as a utility, people don’t even need to know they are using Manta Network, all they have to do is turn on privacy and there it is.

With this approach, our goal is not to design our own privacy token; in fact, our token is just a public token like most other cryptocurrencies. Instead, we focus on designing the technology around the privatization of other cryptocurrencies. This means we can privatize assets like Polkadot, Bitcoin and Manta. Using Manta Network, any token can become a privacy token – that’s the point.

Taking a utilitarian approach, we also believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, not a luxury. By creating this as a layer one network, we are able to manage network costs as well, which will ultimately mean more inclusiveness in privacy activities, turning privacy from a luxury into the vision of a basic human right. that we strive to achieve.

Ichan Pandey: Parachains are an integral part of Polkadot’s vision and framework. What are Parachain auctions and how do they work?

Kenny Li: If a layer one project (such as Manta Network) building on the Substrate framework wants to take advantage of the cross-chain communication and security of the Polkadot ecosystem, that project should secure a parachain. A parachain allows the network to launch and connect directly with other parachain projects, building on the Substrate framework. On Polkadot, a parachain slot is a restricted resource, and only a few will be accessible. only a few slots become available every few months.

To obtain a parachain slot, projects must bid for one at an auction. To raise funds (in DOT on Polkadot or KSM on Kusama), the projects crowdfund the community. DOT or KSM holders can link their cryptocurrency to support the project they believe should get a parachain slot at a parachain auction. The project may promise to provide supporters with airdrop tokens (or other perks) in return. To randomize the exact instant an auction winner is selected, parachain auctions use a method known as a candle auction.

It’s worth pointing out that because the protocols are permissionless, any project can buy a parachain slot on the secondary market from anyone who won one in an auction.

Ichan Pandey: What is the goal of the Manta community behind the creation of the Squid game? Can you give us a detailed description of the event?

Kenny Li: Manta Network had raised $28.8 million in funding after selling 80 million MANTA utility tokens during Tokensoft’s Squad Game token generation event. The idea was built around a deflationary utility token burned by network usage, providing holders with on-chain community governance rights and incentives for MantaPay and MantaSwap user fees.

The token sale, which represented 8% of the fixed supply of $1 billion $MANTA tokens, attracted a large number of participants from the Manta community, helping the project move forward as Polkadot parachain auctions begin.

Squad Game was a community-only, invite-only event that took place over two rounds. Versatile entrants have been notified via email and must complete KYC to participate. The KYC registration and processing window started on October 19 and ended on November 9. The purpose of the Squad Game was to recognize and thank members of the Manta community for their continued support in the past, present, and future of the Manta Project. As a result, Squad Game aims to increase the number of Manta Token holders by allowing as many community members as possible to participate.

Ichan Pandey: What new trends do you see in the blockchain industry?

Kenny Li: Not to sound biased, but I think the biggest emerging trend in the blockchain industry is privacy. Privacy in Web3 is a problem that’s only getting worse, it’s not going away without a solution. This is because all on-chain transactions are both immutable and public. Everyone can see every transaction made, every interaction you have on every decentralized application. Whether it is a transaction made 5 minutes ago or 5 years ago, it is still visible, traceable and can be linked to your wallet address, which can be linked to your personal identity. The conversation around privacy is no longer about how centralized organizations like Facebook or Google own all your data; instead, anyone with an internet connection now has access to all your data.

Based on the sentiment we’re seeing in the space, we’ve noticed that the conversation around privacy is really getting more focused and elevated. From there, I think it’s our responsibility as a community to ensure that privacy is an essential element for the development of Web3. It is an imperative basic human right.

Warning: The purpose of this article is to remove the information asymmetry that exists in our digital markets today by performing due diligence, asking the right questions, and giving readers better opinions to make informed decisions.