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MANTRA DAO — Telegram QUIZ & AMA — August 17

On Thursday, August 17, we had the pleasure to welcome to our Telegram chat:

Rodrigo Quan Miranda, Founding Council Member of MANTRA DAO

We asked him questions about the development of MANTRA DAO, currently ranked 313 on CoinGecko.

Some sentences have been slightly edited for readability but the meaning has been conserved.

Summary

MANTRA DAO is a community-governed DeFi platform focusing on staking, lending, and governance. It aims to give financial control back to the people with its Parity Substrate for the Polkadot ecosystem.

MANTRA DAO leverages the wisdom of the crowd to create a community-governed, transparent, and decentralized ecosystem for web 3.0.

Users can receive OM staking rewards by staking Polkadot (DOT) and other PoS assets with MANTRA DAO, and by staking OM token itself. OM tokens can also be used as collateral for loans.

MANTRA DAO is working hard to bridge the gaps between the limitations of inter-blockchain operability and the on-chain and off-chain world.

Introduction

Q — Alexandre Raffin from GAINS: Can you tell us what you did before crypto, how you got into crypto, and if you’ve had any other venture in crypto previous to being involved with MANTRA DAO?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: I graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Amherst College in Massachusetts and started my career as an M&A investment banker in NYC and Hong Kong, specifically focused on the financial services industry. I left that career after a bit over three years to pursue a more entrepreneurial path, and have been immersed in the crypto space ever since. I am a co-founder at BlockSmith, a block producer and blockchain network validator, where we provide blockchain infrastructure across various DPoS and PoS blockchains. I have up until recently served as CEO at BlockSmith but have transitioned into a much more passive role there as MANTRA DAO takes the majority of my time now.

Rodrigo Quan Miranda — MANTRA DAO

Q — Alexandre Raffin from GAINS: Good to hear you’re focusing on MANTRA these days. So you’re bringing classic/traditional finance experience?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: Yes, of course, I am now spending 200% of my time on MANTRA! 🙂

Product

Q — Alexandre Raffin from GAINS: Can you tell us what your role is at MANTRA DAO and what the project is about in a few simple sentences?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: I am one of the 5 founding Council Members at MANTRA DAO. As with any other young business, all of us in the founding team wear many hats every day, collaborating across all business verticals for the successful launch of our tech platform, community development, and economic model. That being said, throughout my professional and crypto experience over the past several years, I have acquired very specific knowledge concerning staking and infrastructure across Proof of Stake blockchains, and thus I focus a lot of my time and energy in addressing those sides of the MANTRA DAO project.

Regarding what the project is about, for those who don’t already know, MANTRA DAO is a community-governed DeFi platform focusing on staking, lending, and governance. MANTRA DAO leverages the wisdom of the crowd to create a community-governed, transparent, and decentralized ecosystem for web 3.0. Built on Parity Substrate for the Polkadot ecosystem, MANTRA DAO focuses on staking and lending to give financial control back to the people to grow wealth together!

Q — Alexandre Raffin from GAINS: Nice. There are lots of DAOs being spun off these days. I guess your value comes in from your connection to Polkadot. Could you elaborate on that specifically and maybe more generally on why you’re different/better than other DAOs?

Reminder in case there are very new people here, DAO means Decentralized Autonomous Organization.

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: Yes, that’s a great question. From our perspective, DAO’s are a new paradigm through which governance can be scaled more efficiently so that large communities can be mobilized to work together towards common goals. In a way, DAOs are an evolution of traditional companies, but living entirely on blockchains. MANTRA DAO specifically addresses the niche space of disintermediating financial services. It gives its members access to the most basic financial primitives that can be pieced together to build more complex financial products, that are carried through the blockchain with no need for rent-seeking intermediaries.

Q — Alexandre Raffin from GAINS: Right, that’s an interesting idea with good arguments for sure. On a personal level, I’m still not convinced about DAOs and not sure that wanting to leverage the “intelligence/wisdom of the crowd” is something valid to make the best decisions.

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: That’s a very fair point, and we are still in the very early days to be able to have more than a handful of DAO’s that have arguably performed well. At the moment, the foundation of DAOs is as much an art as it is a science, but we are excited by the direction in which things have been moving in the DeFi DAO space and believe that the most basic of financial primitives are basic enough that community consensus can be achieved to be governed effectively.

Q — Twitter user Pamoato: How does the governance mechanism of MANTRA DAO work? Is it possible to participate in decisions that affect the parameters of the system? Also, what is the role of $OM in this mechanism?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: As alluded to above, MANTRA DAO is a DeFi platform that seeks to be community-governed, specifically by the OM stakeholders. The full governance process will officially kick-off once OM goes live in the Polkadot native Rio Chain. Once it’s live, OM stakeholders will be able to and encouraged to stake their OM tokens to be able to both issue proposals on-chain and vote on said proposals. To prevent spam, each proposal submission will come at a cost. However, each successfully adopted proposal will also come with a reward to the proposer. Also, a member who stakes their OM tokens will earn a proportional allocation of the staking rewards distribution, for which we will share an emission schedule shortly.

In addition to the above, MANTRA DAO will count with a minimum of 5 but up to 9 Council Members which will assist in spearheading the DAO’s off-chain initiatives (essentially leading the MANTRA DAO foundation). These 5 to 9 individuals will serve for terms of 2 years, and their successors will be elected by OM token holders.

It is important to highlight that MANTRA DAO is a liquid democracy, and thus any change to the above can be considered if there is enough community support. We believe the flexibility that comes with this liquid democracy model will ensure that MANTRA DAO can stay on top of any obstacles to mass adoption.

Q — Alexandre Raffin from GAINS: Right, so good contributors are rewarded, which makes sense game theory wise.

I know it’s not the topic at hand but still. You have a strong connection with the Polkadot ecosystem, right? I’d be curious to learn more about how you interact with these guys. Also, what’s Rio Chain?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: Yes, that is right. To start with, MANTRA DAO will live natively on Rio Chain, a general-purpose smart contract chain and one of the contenders to become a para chain on the Polkadot network. While we recognize that para chain slots will be limited during the initial stages of the Polkadot launch, the MANTRA DAO foundation is working closely together with Rio Chain to maximize the chances to secure one of the slots… and if it does not happen right away, Rio Chain will regardless be able to leverage the security of the Polkadot relay chain as a parathread as early as day 1 of its launch.

As part of the Polkadot network, MANTRA DAO will be able to access all economic activity that happens across every parachain and parathread in the network, and this will include both native as well as third party interoperability solutions that will be implemented into Polkadot to act as value bridges with other blockchains, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Alexandre Raffin from GAINS: And let me give you a couple of very quick facts about Polkadot so that newer people in crypto can get an idea of how big the project is:

1) Gavin Wood, who was CTO of Ethereum, co-founded Parity Technologies, that’s behind Polkadot.

2) They raised $43m in 72 hours.

Q — Twitter user Roger: MANTRA DAO transforms the PoS link mechanism into another composable “LEGO” piece of the DeFi stack. How does this transformation work? How does the PoS link evolve to DeFi?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: I love this question, especially because I believe it is based on something I wrote :). To answer, I’d like to take a step back and look at it from this angle: financial primitives brought upon by DeFi protocols as well as Proof of Stake blockchains are two economic paradigms that are here to stay in the blockchain. We have seen this both in the explosion of DeFi primitives like Compound, Maker DAO, etc, as well as in the flourishing of various PoS blockchains such as Polkadot, ETH 2.0, Tezos, Cosmos, and others. Yet there is a fundamental misalignment between the economic incentives that underpin these two things: crypto-asset owners can either “bond” their assets in PoS protocols to earn inflation and fee rewards, or they can “stake” their assets in DeFi protocols to earn a yield, but up to this point these are mutually exclusive and they have to pick one or the other. Also, this raises a security concern with the PoS model, as PoS blockchains rely on token holders “bonding” their assets for block production and network security, yet the incentives to do so compete with earning yield with staked assets on several composable DeFi protocols at a time.

MANTRA DAO addresses this misalignment at its root, by preventing members from being constrained from picking one or the other. MANTRA DAO is designed in such a way that members can gain access to all DeFi primitives available at their discretion, which as our project’s vision suggests, brings back financial control to the user. Lending and borrowing protocols and savings primitives are some of the most basic instruments we plan to launch on the MANTRA DAO, but as the DeFi ecosystem evolves, we expect MANTRA DAO’s product offering to evolve, either natively or through value bridges with other protocols.

Technology

Q — Telegram user Joxes: Most DeFis are built on Ethereum, what advantages does RioChain offer for MANTRA DAO to run on this platform?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: This is an important question regarding the ties to the Polkadot ecosystem. As you said, most of DeFi is currently on Ethereum. The main reason for it is that most of the active DeFi capital lives on Ethereum. The success of blockchains is built on top of solid communities working together towards commons causes, and the Ethereum community has been very successful at doing that. Having said that, we believe that the Polkadot network, built from the ground up with interoperability in mind, will be able to seamlessly access that capital through cross-chain interoperability, and at the same time will be able to offer a more scalable platform for transacting in both Polkadot and Ethereum based DeFi primitives. As such, we believe that Polkadot is perfectly positioned to both create value within its community, and bridge value over from Ethereum into the Polkadot ecosystem.

Security

Q — Twitter user @Ksalom95: Why partner with the Hex Trust and allow it to store and secure all funds raised by the MANTRA DAO Foundation? Is it really helpful for a DeFi project? Is this simply a backup that in case the currency falls, have a backup capital?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: One of the biggest challenges with a platform of this nature is bridging the gaps between the limitations of inter-blockchain operability and the on-chain and off-chain world. Until there is a battle-tested solution for decentralized custody of any cross-chain asset, the team has elected to play it safe for now and use a licensed and trusted custodial process like what HEX offers. We are aware of solutions like the ones RenVM, pNetwork, and others have been working on utilizing threshold ECDSA vaults. However, this is a field with a lot of experimentation still with no single protocol having open-sourced their solutions for security concerns, and at this stage, we would rather not compromise in the interest of our members and the safety of their funds. While this is not ideal, we believe that the opportunity that currently exists with bridging the gap between stake asset liquidity, and lending and borrowing protocols is too great to wait until a fully decentralized world is ready, which could take years. We have seen this model work very well so far in the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem, with Wrapped BTC casting a massive shadow over any of the yet to be proven on-chain custodial solutions.

Also, I’d like to highlight the benefits of MANTRA DAO’s liquid democracy model as I mentioned before. Part of the beauty of our system is that it is easily upgraded through on-chain mechanics. As the broader crypto and DeFi ecosystem evolves, so will MANTRA DAO with the support of its token holder community.

Business Development

Q — Telegram user A. Ivanov: As far as I know, MANTRA DAO has more Centralized competitions than Decentralized competitions. How will you get most of the Centralized Market?

A — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO: Yes, that’s a fair assessment, there are many more yield-generating staking and lending platforms that are centralized rather than decentralized. MANTRA DAO is initially targeting those individuals that live in the on-chain world. Having said that, we believe that as DeFi evolves, it will become clear that on-chain decentralized solutions like MANTRA DAO remove enough frictions that are inevitable in the centralized off-chain world that will naturally lead to a gain in market share from the centralized markets

Thank you, Rodrigo, for coming over on your busy day! The answers were very detailed, it was a pleasure to learn more about MANTRA DAO. Looking forward to the launch. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Where can we follow you? — Alexandre Raffin from GAINS

You’re very welcome, and thank you very much for having me! Yes, of course, I recognize I was not able to answer all that many questions, but please feel free to stop by our Telegram channel where any of our other Council Members or community managers will help answer any question you may have about the project — Rodrigo Quan Miranda from MANTRA DAO

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