[DISCUSSION] Mantle zkEVM Research & Industry Collaboration

This proposal is authored by Mantle Core Team.


The Mantle team is committed to bringing the best technology and most innovative models to the web3 space to further the BitDAO goal of mass adoption of web3 technology.

While we have our own perspectives and ongoing evaluations, being a community-owned and community-governed chain, we invite the $BIT community and the broader web3 ecosystem to share their thoughts on key decisions.


The objective of this forum thread is to enable the community to participate in early thoughts on, and provide feedback related to:

  • Exploring a zkEVM network for the Mainnet.
    • Working with a partner on core zkEVM infrastructure versus building zkEVM from scratch by ourselves, thus streamlining the team’s focus on improving modularity and user experience.
  • The strategy of parallel development of the Mantle Optimistic network, which is currently in testnet.

Note: No zkEVM solution has been fully deployed in production, which indicates some degree of development complexity and uncertain timelines.

Key Considerations


  1. Time to market

  2. Synergies through partnerships (cost, ecosystem, shared areas of focus)

  3. Commercial terms of the partnership


  1. Difference in user experience (especially L2-to-L1 bridge)

  2. Difference in developer experience (including EVM compatibility, and future language support)

  3. Impact on Mantle modular blockchain philosophy and future flexibility


Ethereum L2 Rollup Evolution

With the Shanghai Fork and the implementation of proto-danksharding, the rollup design will continue to see improvements in both performance and costs. The data availability setup will allow rollups to offset costs related to the posting of call data, making rollups more performant and applicable to a wider variety of use cases.

ZK Rollups vs Optimistic Rollups

Our research team has been closely monitoring the zkRollup space with great interest. Over the past 6 months, we have seen zkEVM’s go from being in testnet phase to potential mainnet implementations. Over the past few weeks, more teams have updated their codebases, which allows us to research their tech stack and run performance and compatibility tests.

The current generation of zkEVMs are undergoing rapid optimization with teams constantly innovating on prover designs. With proof generation to be further optimized through hardware setups like GPU’s or FPGA’s, it seems that zkEVM’s will continue to improve on network performance and costs.

The Mantle core team has developed an Optimistic Rollup based on the OP stack - the testnet is already live. We have incorporated several novel design features like modular design of the chain components, Multiparty Computation to reduce L2->L1 exit time and integration of EigenLayer for Data Availability. The Mantle Optimistic testnet is already cutting edge in features and performance. However, the zk stack does offer some additional advantages such as improved security, instant L2->L1 fund transfer, and better scalability with recursive proof in the future.

Mantle is committed to bringing the most innovative and forward-looking technology to the market and there could be merit in going live with a zkEVM mainnet. We invite industry leaders, researchers and community members to share your perspectives and contribute to our zkEVM benchmarking exercise.

Simultaneously, we will continue to build out our optimistic rollup testnet and deliver on our previously communicated roadmap on sequencer design and fraud proof implementation. The team is actively working on this and we will be moving towards more infrastructure improvements and security audits in the weeks to come.

This validates our internal design decisions around building a modular stack. We are committed to building data availability into our rollup design so that we can achieve higher performance and lower costs, both being very important when building for web3 mass adoption. Our close work with the EigenLayer team has allowed us to integrate data availability into our current Optimistic Rollup testnet and we are excited to see how developers will leverage this layer to create more value and utility for the user.

Collaboration vs Owning Technology

At Mantle we have also been looking at innovative models of partnerships which we can bring to the world of Web3.

Today all blockchain networks are trying to solve both technology and ecosystem at the same time. Solving two very difficult and expensive problems simultaneously, puts pressure on the token treasury and forces teams to build large technology and business teams in order to stay ahead of the competition. The impact of this can also be tracked on-chain and one can observe how token treasuries of widely adopted chains have been depleting rapidly. This will eventually impact the mass adoption of web3 technology as teams will struggle to build with changing market cycles.

Mantle has a very clear strength when it comes to ecosystem building. By virtue of being a BitDAO incubated project, Mantle has access to all the current and future BitDAO ecosystem partners, such as Game7, EduDAO, and Bybit. Furthermore, having a large pool of decentralized liquidity (BitDAO) and the support of a leading exchange (Bybit) is a competitive advantage which is almost impossible to replicate.

We believe that a model built around collaborating entities, where one entity focuses on building infrastructure and the other on ecosystem building can be more capitally and operationally efficient.

Collaboration With a Technology Partner

If Mantle chooses to work with an infrastructure partner, the team can focus on its strength without having to dedicate massive resources to building and iterating on blockchain infrastructure. As long as there is a clear value accrual between the two entities involved, this would cement a true partnership built on mutual collaboration and value creation, e.g. Mantle runs a zkRollup chain and shares economic inputs with the infra partner who has provided the technology, such as execution layer gas fees, or other modular stack economic outputs.

Our tech teams will continue to develop features such as DA integration, sequencer decentralization, user experience improvement, and also actively contribute to the core tech stack.

Owning Technology

The other option is to fork an existing tech stack and make improvements. This allows Mantle to own the technology stack and mould it based on its needs. However, this will also require Mantle to expand resources on building technology and be responsible for the chain’s evolution and improvements.

Your Opinion Matters

For the Mantle team, mass adoption of web3 technology is the main goal. We want to move ahead with a model which has the highest chance of success when it comes to onboarding millions of new users and developers onto web3.

We invite the community to share your opinion on Mantle technical roadmap and execution model. We are considering running a zkEVM testnet in parallel so that users and developers can gain first hand experience and battle test the technology. The core team will make a final mainnet decision based on technology maturity, specifications and overall compatibility.

Do you support a Mantle zkEVM testnet in parallel to the existing Optimistic Rollup testnet?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

If you voted Yes in the above question, please suggest if you prefer that Mantle
  • Collaborates with a tech partner on zkEVM
  • Builds or forks zkEVM in house

0 voters


Wonderful discussion on upcoming zkEVM infrastructure, there are some issues I want to share with the team;

  1. Can you list out the estimated timeframe of zkEVM’s work done between collaboration and owning technology, and what is the specific advantage or strength that is possible to come out if the Mantle Core Team chooses to build your own zkEVM?

  2. What if we choose to collaborate with a technology partner or use the current existing zkEVM technology, and let’s say during the period the tech team discovers a useful option or features that might not exist in current zkEVM and which will strengthen the Mantle Network, are we able to attach or add-on the option to the collaboration’s zkEVM?

Hope my opinion can help the team, and thanks to the Mantle Core Team’s contribution to the BitDAO community, Kudos to the team!


I think it’s good to expand everything because it’s necessary for the ecosystem and for loyal users


I suppose Mantle is rather competent to use the combination of optimistic and zkevm rollups to manage a different network statements. How we discussed in discord, to implement a combination, that proves it’s effectiveness.


We feel that if we collaborate - we can definitely go to mainnet faster since we will not have to build the core ZKEVM technology from scratch.

We also want to stick to the modular design theory and build additional features into the ZKEVM codebase eg. EigenLayer and compatibility with different prover designs. This would be our contribution to the ZKEVM codebase of the partner we choose to work with.


It would also get us feedback on which network the developers want to build based on activity.


Ohhh if we are able to build additional features with the ZKEVM codebase that we collaborate with, definitely the best decision that we choose to collaborate with the selected partner, with less cost and time incurred.

But actually, I just have very little common knowledge on the ZKEVM codebase, I have a question to ask;

If example that we choose the Polygon ZKEVM as our partner work with, and you said that any additional features build-on would be a contribution to the ZKEVM codebase of the partner. Which means if you added the EigenLayer feature and the users of Polygon will also get benefited? Or just users of MantleNetwork will get benefit from the additional features?

My concern is that if the statement above is valid, will there be any “interest issue” between Polygon users and Mantle’s users (ex. users will probably not stick to the Mantle Network because Polygon zkEVM also has the same feature.)

But if the additional features built will only benefit Mantle Network’s users, then everything is good and perfect.


If Mantle chooses to work with an infrastructure partner, the team can focus on its strength without having to dedicate massive resources to building and iterating on blockchain infrastructure. As long as there is a clear value accrual between the two entities involved, this would cement a true partnership built on mutual collaboration and value creation, e.g. Mantle runs a zkRollup chain and shares economic inputs with the infra partner who has provided the technology, such as execution layer gas fees, or other modular stack economic outputs.


This is a great point.

We feel that the stickiness of any network will come from the ecosystem versus technology. In web3, technology is open source - which means that technology in some sense is commodity. On launch, everyone in the world has access to the same technology at the same time.

Our codebase would be open source, thus in your example - anyone wanting to run Polygon ZKEVM along with EigenLayer - would be able to fork our repo and get additional features along with the core ZKEVM engine. The more features we add, the more utility gets baked into the codebase of the partner - without them having to spend a penny.

By creating a value accrual between the parties based based on network economics eg. remitting gas fees to Polygon Validators in the Polygon ZKEVM example, can forge a true partnership since there is now value accrual for the partners token.

We feel that partners would want to have more traffic on chains like Mantle - since the gas fees will be earned in another token versus their own or Eth and when multiple chains do this, this creates momentum to stake the partner token to earn this new gas fees.

Thus the partner token would behave like Eth, which is used to secure the network via staking versus a pure ecosystem token used across dApps ; the yield on the staked partner token would be utility based coming from traffic across an ecosystem of chains - much like how Eth accrues value with every rollup which leverages its security and decentralization.


We can simply check what is gaining traction and most trusted. I suppose for now scalling ethereum is the most comprehensive, but for the future we have to be also ready.


Also good point. What are the reasons to go so fast in mainnet?


Going to mainnet as fast as possible allows us to start building the ecosystem in earnest and start deploying our Grant programme, Ecosystem Fund etc.

Almost all networks would want to be able to go to mainnet quickly as long as proper testing and security checks are in place.


It’s good decision to callaborate on zkEVM!


Ya, you are right and you make a very good point about the Mantle ecosystem and partner we collaborate with, a win-win situation.

Hope we can work with Zksync since we have a collaboration with Matter Labs in ZKDAO which might decrease more time and cost spent and of course, both ecosystem’s expansion will also increase the value of BitDAO!

Voted for collaboration with partners.


I agree with @Prospektor, the zkEVM scene has been gaining lots of attention these past couple of months, it would be wise for us to capitalize on this industry while saving as much resources as possible & collaborating with existing ZK builders at the same time.

We should also figure out what’s the best time to join since we either might be too early or too late, depending on how this technology is accepted/adopted and/or rejected by retail.


Makes sense - we plan to run a zk testnet for atleast 3-5 months and put it through a battery of tests to ensure that it is production ready and has full EVM compatibility


We are in touch with their team !

Currently our internal research team is evaluating their latest tech stack and running multiple tests.


ZkEVM truly is one of the dominant narratives this year and collaborating with existing teams will surely accelerate Mantle’s relevance. But, as Arjun said, I agree that we have to stay true to the modular design theory as it is one of the main features that separates Mantle from the rest of the L2s, and we have to keep in mind how Eigenlayer will fit in. I think Mantle and the BitDAO community has more than enough resources to build its own or fork an existing ZkEVM without collaboration.

I might be wrong though, but this is my personal opinion. Anyway, I’m glad to see these discussions happening and I hope more people from the community join in with their input on the matter.


Agreed. Mantle has more than enough capabilities, resources, and exposure to talent to make it possible, plus ZkEVM is the trend coming into 2023, add to that the fact that Mantle is a modular L2… I think this chain can set a new standard for the future if this is played right.


We 100% have the resources to execute ourselves. But wanted to also get some opinions on whether this is the best use of our resources.

We want to extract the maximum value out of every dollar in the DAO.