Arjun Kalsy: Head of Ecosystem at Mantle Network Explains How Blockchain Scalability Challenges May be Addressed

Decentralization theatre: We’ve heard it time and time again in recent months as several projects have struggled to commit to the underlying ideological tenets of blockchain amid growing skepticism of the space.

Others have fared relatively well, though — from the community-initiated vote for the dissolution of DigixDAO and the recently-passed, landmark brand unification proposal on BitDAO which will see the world’s largest DAO by treasury size, fully rebranded to Mantle.

Crowdfund Insider recently linked up with Mantle Head of Ecosystem Arjun Kalsy, who talked about the rationale behind the “one brand, one token” principle and what this will ultimately mean for the newly-rebranded DAO’s future.

As the former VP of Growth for Polygon, Arjun knows all about growing engaged, equitable, and empowered communities.

Our chat with Arjun Kalsy is shared below.

Crowdfund Insider: The rollup space is getting increasingly saturated. What makes Mantle Network different?

Arjun Kalsy: On the tech front, Mantle Network utilizes a unique combination of modular network architecture and decentralized data availability, and will in time have a decentralized rollup sequencer. When combined, this sets Mantle Network apart from what’s currently available in the market.

Builders on Mantle Network also directly benefit from our expansive partnered ecosystem, as we are not only backed by one of the world’s largest DAO treasuries, but also have a whole host of strategic partners, such as Game7 and EduDAO, with unparalleled expertise in building a broad spectrum of products and services in the web3 space. This provides extensive advantages in terms of sharing technologies and knowledge, communities and user bases, and other complementary platforms and products.

Overall, modularity in network design drives higher performance in decentralized applications (“dApps”), expanding possibilities for developer support on the building of dynamic, heavy applications or complex protocols. Due to our rollup implementation and decentralized data availability layer via EigenDA, we are able to derive Ethereum-level security without expensive gas costs.

These cost savings can then be transferred down to users of dApps. Further to that, as a fully EVM chain, we are able to provide seamless onboarding for developers with the familiar Ethereum environment. Builders need not spend time on learning an entirely new system, or undergo massive trial and error to develop a successful product.

Crowdfund Insider: With the rise of blockchain technologies, tokenized governance is emerging as an alternative to traditional governance models today. What advantages do decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) offer and what role do Layer-2 (L2) networks play?

Arjun Kalsy: DAOs allow crowdsourced decision-making in a decentralized, transparent, and accountable manner. Whether it’s how the chain’s technology is upgraded, or how revenue from the chain can be used to support the ecosystem — token holders are empowered to propose and discuss via community Discourse forums to impact key decisions at every level. As a global collaboration tool, members of a DAO can share resources, knowledge, and skills in a way that benefits the entire organization.

As the world’s first DAO-spawned L2, Mantle Network exemplifies how a DAO governs core product decisions for an L2 blockchain. Key decisions are made by token holders at the core protocol level, where Mantle Ecosystem’s strategy and prosperity will be driven by a series of governance proposals. It cannot be understated that participating in governance is a serious time commitment to consider every DAO proposal.

As such, we encourage holders to delegate voting to dedicated community members who vote in the best interest of Mantle while ensuring that their decisions are aligned with their own individual interests and priorities. Considering Mantle’s sizable treasury and affiliations with strategic investor partners, this also enacts necessary checks and balances for holistic betterment of the organization.

Crowdfund Insider: How does Mantle Network address the challenges of scalability and congestion that exist in traditional EVM networks like Ethereum?

Arjun Kalsy: With Mantle Network’s modular architecture, each critical function — be it data availability, consensus, settlement or execution — is carried out as a distinct, upgradeable, and modifiable layer. This provides easier scalability and efficiency gains, by mitigating the need for hard forks and technical complexities which are commonly faced in monolithic blockchain upgrades.

The separation of data availability is another crucial aspect to hone into. Mantle Network uses a decentralized data availability layer using EigenDA, allowing exponentially lower gas fees of 70-80% as compared to industry standard. In contrast, conventional L2 networks rely on the Ethereum mainnet for data availability, causing high transaction fees for the user due to congestion pricing. EigenDA essentially provides a new “data availability as a service” model, wherein blockchain congestion becomes a problem of the past.

Finally, the use of rollup technology brings off-chain computation and batch processing to solve scalability issues. As a result, Ethereum’s primary function becomes streamlined to consensus and settlement, which paves the way for unparalleled scalability.

While Ethereum remains to be a constant work in progress, the rise of rollups has created an opportunity to address roadmap milestones ahead of Ethereum’s schedule and improve the on-chain experience at an accelerated rate. With its modular architecture, Mantle Network is making significant progress toward the future vision for using and building within the Ethereum ecosystem.

Crowdfund Insider: What is the rationale behind the “one brand, one token” principle, and what will this ultimately mean for the newly-rebranded DAO’s future and implications for long-term holder prosperity?

Arjun Kalsy: To put this in context, there has been a fragmentation of communities, messaging, and mindshare between Governance and Product components of our ecosystem. As BitDAO was previously established as an open platform for ideas, it enabled experiments in sub-DAO initiatives, community initiatives, and $BIT-powered products.

With the recent BitDAO-Mantle merger, the community positions “product” as the primary strategy for user and developer engagement, web3 adoption, and long-term token holder prosperity. Now, Mantle serves as the unified ecosystem brand with a product focus, providing increased success for our core product, Mantle Network, while preserving the governance and economic rights of token holders.

Crowdfund Insider: In your view, what is the significance of fostering a culture of interoperability across the L2 ecosystem?

Arjun Kalsy: Broadly speaking, every blockchain in the space is essentially trying to do the same thing at the macro level — every single one out there is trying to build the best technology and ecosystem, however, they are essentially two separate problems with a multitude of challenges on their own. Both are very costly and building pioneering technology and fostering a healthy ecosystem are equally as expensive. At its core, the problem lies in how blockchains aim to solve both problems together simultaneously when both fundamentally need different approaches.

As the strong pool of blockchain developer communities converges towards making a decentralized web3 ecosystem a reality, it is critical for the community to look beyond siloed ecosystems — to recognize that interoperability is the key to unlocking the true potential of web3 and decentralized finance (DeFi). To this, DAOs are uniquely positioned to foster decentralized collaboration across the L2 ecosystem. Fundamentally, the agility (and sheer volume) of various DAO governance models today are modeled to achieve the same purpose: to serve as a unified platform that supports the growth of the Ethereum and broader Web3 ecosystems.

The web3 space has undeniably advanced by leaps and bounds, but there is still so much room to grow as we accelerate toward making web3 accessible to the masses. As networks and systems become increasingly interconnected, the development of decentralized apps within the ecosystem will contribute to a robust infrastructure for blockchain technologies to survive and thrive in today’s economy.

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