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Transition Ahead: Manta's Layer-2 Blockchain Shifts to Polygon, Leaving OP Stack Behind

Oct 19, 2023 at 09:20 am

Manta's Pacific Network, a recent addition to the layer-2 blockchain landscape, operating on OP Labs' OP Stack with optimistic rollups, is now preparing for a significant transformation as it shifts its focus toward zk-rollups, harnessing Polygon's robust technology suite.

This strategic pivot intensifies the competitive landscape within the realm of technology teams racing to offer innovative solutions for companies and developers seeking to establish their unique layer-2 networks on the Ethereum platform.

Notably, OP Labs, the driving force behind the Optimism network, is a pivotal player in the Ethereum layer-2 domain, positioning itself as the second-largest network after Arbitrum.

Manta Pacific, a blockchain that has been operational for a mere matter of weeks, started its journey as a layer-2 blockchain on Ethereum, integrated with OP Labs' OP Stack. However, the project's leaders announced a major paradigm shift on Monday, declaring their intent to transition the network to Polygon's Chain Development Kit (CDK), a rival software toolkit.

This strategic overhaul signifies that Manta Pacific, a crucial component of the Manta Network ecosystem, is moving away from its current reliance on optimistic rollups, which form the foundation of OP Stack. Instead, it is embracing the technology of "ZK-rollups" facilitated by Polygon's CDK. ZK-rollups constitute a secondary network that leverages zero-knowledge proofs, a cryptographic technique that has gained significant prominence in the blockchain landscape of 2023. This is largely due to its capability to deliver swift and final settlement of transactions, which is a key advantage.

The announcement further intensifies the ongoing competition among layer-2 blockchain teams, all vying for opportunities to expand and enrich their interconnected ecosystems. Besides OP Stack and Polygon zkEVM, numerous rival software kits are in various stages of development, including Matter Labs (linked with the zkSync project) and Arbitrum, another prominent layer-2 blockchain solution.

The overarching objective of these blockchain software development kits (SDKs) is to empower developers by offering tools for creating customized blockchains without incurring costs. Celo, for instance, recently disclosed its consideration of Polygon’s CDK kit as an alternative to OP Stack for launching its layer-2 chain. This prompted Matter Labs to express their interest in participating in the project.

The decision made by Manta may be perceived as a significant setback for OP Labs, which has witnessed a surge in popularity since the selection of the OP Stack as the foundation for Coinbase's new layer-2 blockchain, 'Base.' As per data from L2Beat, OP Labs stands as the primary developer behind Optimism, or OP Mainnet, ranking as the second-largest Ethereum layer-2 network, following Arbitrum.

Within the Manta Network ecosystem, there exists a complementary layer-1 blockchain called Manta Atlantic, as documented within the project's specifications.

ZK-rollups vs. optimistic rollups

The discourse around ZK-rollups versus optimistic rollups has garnered significant attention within the blockchain community. Some blockchain experts argue that ZK technology represents a more advanced and efficient approach. However, OP Labs, the team behind the OP Stack, has maintained that ZK-rollup stacks do not pose a substantial threat. This assurance is partially based on the modular proof system they are developing, which will eventually offer blockchains the option to choose between fault proofs and validity proofs (ZK proofs).

The decision to transition Manta Pacific mainnet to Polygon's CDK primarily stems from concerns about security. Specifically, it addresses the absence of fault proofs within the current OP Stack setup, which is an essential component of optimistic rollup technology. OP Labs is still in the process of testing these fault proofs on their OP Goerli testnet.

Kenny Li, one of the co-founders of Manta, emphasized the importance of addressing certain limitations. He noted:

 "Even with the proofs available, it really is contingent on someone in the network actually generating a proof. There's that long delay on the withdrawal side, which, users are kind of impatient, as they should be. It's their assets."

He further underscored:

"The layer of security that we're primarily focused on is around the purpose."

The transition to Manta embracing ZK rollups is expected to take approximately six to nine months. During this time, rigorous development, meticulous planning, and essential audits will be conducted to ensure a seamless and secure transition.

Read more: October's Crypto Surge: Over $200 Million Set to Flood the Market

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