DeFi Project Report: Manta Network

Manta Network is an interesting new project building an interoperable and private protocol for the DeFi stack. As a Layer 1 solution, privacy will exist in the core architecture, rather than a feature sitting on top of another blockchain. Utilizing Substrate to build Manta rather than Ethereum, Polkadot’s blockchain provides more efficient features for Manta’s vision including fast runtime, fast consensus, and interoperability.

Many exchanges lack cross chain compatibility, privacy, and usability. Manta Network aims to solve these problems. Privacy-preserving versions of tokens can be minted using original tokens which can then be used on Manta Network. In order to keep all transactions private, the use of zkSNARKs (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) will be leveraged for scalable, algorithmic privacy. In a nutshell, zkSNARKs are a type of cryptographic proof that allows one party to prove they have certain information without having to actually show it.

Manta will provide users with a privacy-preserving decentralized exchange (DEX) as their first use case. This DEX or DAX (Decentralized Anonymous Exchange), as mentioned in their whitepaper, will use MantaDAP’s (Decentralized Anonymous Payments) to allow for private transacting and private swapping. “While this construction is similar to Zcash, the difference is that the base coins can be either DOT, Polkadot’s native currency or a parachain asset” (Chu et al. 3). Manta believes that incorporating their MantaDAP system and MantaDAX will allow for an efficient privacy preserving economy — protecting not only transactions, but also the users privacy as well.

According to their whitepaper, “The core idea of Manta is to leverage zkSNARKs to private zero knowledge proof for an automated market maker scheme” (Chu et al. 9). Manta’s decentralized privacy stack will be governed by the community. When it comes to new trading pairs and token additions, token holders of $MA (Manta Network token) will have the ability to make decisions.

After attending Manta’s first community livestream to meet the team and get a general understanding of where they are in the process, it is clear that they are strictly focused on successfully developing a great product and launching testnet. In addition, they are making connections with other Polkadot ecosystem projects that align with their vision. Manta recently reached their Web3 Grant milestone after successfully presenting their system of private transactions via MantaDAP. The team spoke of their achievement during the community livestream and mentioned they received great feedback from the Web3 Foundation. Furthermore, Manta was recently announced as one of the 21 out 200 teams that applied to be a part of Berkely’s Blockchain Xcelerator program for 2021. Xcelerator’s network of mentors, researchers, faculty, VC’s, and student talent will only help advance their progress.

When it comes to the team behind Manta, they have a strong knit crew. From Cryptographer and Co-Founder Zhenfei Zhang, who worked with Algorand as a Cryptographic Engineer, to Co-Founder Shumo Chu, who also worked with Algorand as a System Researcher, their experience and knowledge is impressive. Along with Shumo and Zhenfei, Victor Canghai Ji is another Co-Founder of Manta who is currently a Research Assistant at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. Last but not least, Kenny L. is a Contributor who also works Operations for Secure AI Labs and Samuel Odey is a Community Manager. Manta plans to on-board additional team members as their development advances and their product nears release.

All in all, Manta Network’s vision to provide a fast and private exchange looks promising. With the traction of other DEX’s in the crypto ecosystem, Manta could play a major role by providing solutions to current flaws that DeFi users face. I look forward to staying up to date with their development and traction as they plan to launch their test net beginning late Q1. Information on token sales/exchange listings has yet to be announced.

Investors:

Polychain Capital, Alameda Research, Three Arrows Capital, DeFiance Capital, Hypersphere, Multicoin Capital, Rarestone Capital + more mentioned on Manta’s website.

Manta Network Website: manta.network

Manta Network Medium: Manta Network

Twitter: https://twitter.com/manta_network (Official account until original twitter https://twitter.com/mantanetwork

Telegram: https://t.me/mantanetworkofficial

References:

  1. Manta Network. 2021, manta.network.
  2. Chu, Shumo, Xia Qiudong, Zhang Zhenfei. “Manta: Privacy Preserving Decentralized Exchange.” Manta Network, 2021, https://docsend.com/view/sbadkmvyjazgqh6a
  3. Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator. “Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator Announces Selection of the 2021 Cohort.” Medium, Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator, 20 Mar. 2021, medium.com/berkeley-blockchain-xcelerator/berkeley-blockchain-xcelerator-announces-selection-of-the-2021-cohort-cdf02cdb7354.