Following the successful launch of MANTRA Finance (Open BETA), Head of Product Charu Pareek and Head of Operations Kate Kim engaged in a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) on March 14th, 2023.
Together, they discussed the BETA platform, delved into the road ahead for MANTRA Finance, and addressed the community’s burning questions.
Want to watch the full AMA video instead? Click here.
Prefer reading instead? Scroll down to find the AMA highlights we compiled just for you.
Charu revealed that the MANTRA Finance team has been working on the DeFi platform and its first iteration of the product suite, MANTRA Vaults, since 2022. She also emphasized that the current version is in BETA, meaning that it is a simpler yet fully-functioning version of more sophisticated products to come.
The reason for releasing the BETA version, she stated, was to increase communication with the community. This way, the team can receive faster feedback directly from the users and start adapting the product to suit the user's needs.
At the time of the AMA, the staking vaults available were Ethereum (ETH) and Polygon (MATIC), which participants can invest in using their $WETH or $MATIC respectively. Both pools have maturity dates linked to them. For ETH, it depends on the Shanghai upgrade. For MATIC, it is a 90-day period. After the maturity date, users can withdraw their funds as well as the yields generated.
Kate answered the popular question by saying that it’s because the team believes that regulation is forthcoming to DeFi, as it has already been a hot topic among centralized crypto companies.
“We have seen the shortfalls in CEXs, with clients not being able to withdraw or access their own assets during a downfall. We've also seen the other end of the spectrum with DeFi platforms that enable autonomous and non-identifiable trading activities. In certain cases, this can be very dangerous, such as in an exploit or money laundering activities. We don't know who the real person behind the exploit is without proper identity verification.”
Kate gave the recent situation with Euler Finance as an example. While the transactions were able to be tracked on-chain, the people behind the attack couldn’t be identified. With that reason, at MANTRA Finance, the team wants to merge TradFi-level compliance with DeFi architecture.
For the KYC process on MANTRA Finance, Charu and Kate stated that users only need to provide basic details – ID proof, proof of residency, and a selfie with the person’s ID or passport. Charu added that the process will continue to be kept simple and sleek.
Kate then added, after the required documents are submitted, the team’s compliance specialists will review them and either approve or reject the application. As the process is currently done manually, the process may take one or two days.
The user will receive an e-mail notification on whether their KYC application was approved or rejected. If more clarification is needed, the compliance team will reach out to the specific user for more information.
It should be noted that the approval of the KYC application does not mean that the user’s wallet is whitelisted immediately. That is a different process that could take additional time – from minutes to hours. Kate also highlighted that a user can only whitelist one wallet address per KYC onboarding.
Once the wallet has been whitelisted, the user can then start participating in any of the staking vaults.
Kate said that, at the moment, users can only connect with MetaMask. However, the team could possibly add more options in future iterations.
Kate revealed that MANTRA Finance is currently in the process of applying for the Full Market Product (FMP) license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). If things go as planned according to the projects, the license is expected to be granted sometime in 2023.
She emphasized, however, that the MANTRA Finance team is not limiting themselves to obtaining cryptocurrency licenses only in Dubai. They’re proactively scoping other jurisdictions as well as their products mature, such as the LATAM region, Abu Dhabi, and Europe.
Until then, she added, they are following compliant measures for their products, such as performing routine sanction checks and ongoing blockchain screening for illicit activities.
Charu stated that the current top-most priority is listening to the community. Gradually, they will be making the platform more-user friendly and responsive. One planned enhancement is having users be able to use the platform on their tablets or mobiles, so they can simply invest on the go. She also revealed that the team will try to introduce stablecoins for the PoS staking vaults.
She added that in the medium-to-long term, they want the onboarding experience to have a mix of automated eKYC/AML with some manual checks from compliance officers. This would improve the turnaround time of processing and make it user-friendly by allowing users to save their application details and restart at their convenience.
“Something that we aim to have is a straight-through onboarding process. You can complete your KYC journey and create an account in minutes, and then start investing. That's the long-term goal and something we are working on.”
Charu also revealed that there are three versions of MANTRA Vaults that they are working on at the moment. The first is the single PoS staking, which can already be seen on the platform. In the short term, they’re planning to allow investment using stablecoins.
The second version will be a PoS basket, which will have multiple assets. Through this version, investors can deposit their stablecoins, which will provide them exposure to a basket of assets and different cryptocurrencies without having to personally buy those cryptocurrencies themselves. The cryptocurrencies will then be delegated to the respective PoS node staking providers to generate yields.
The third version will be with Real-World Assets (RWAs). In this version, users will be able to deposit their stablecoins (and fiat in future), and participate in tokenized real world assets, such as U.S. treasuries, commodities, and ETFs.
She revealed that they will be working on some of these versions towards roughly Q2 of 2023.
Towards the tail end of the year, they are also looking to release an AMM DEX, along with LP farming. Once that is done, they want to enhance that into a Central Limit Ordering Book (CLOB) to provide more functionality for users.
Kate mentioned that they unofficially joined the Interchain Builders Program the summer before. As such, they have been working closely with the Builders team, as they are building the DEX on the Cosmos SDK.
Charu shared that she is excited about the possibility of building on Ethereum and then linking that to Cosmos, how the cross-chain compatibility would work, and building a journey that would do it in a seamless and user-friendly way.
She also highlighted that users will have to do KYC on the new onboarding journey that the team is building only once. Afterward, the team will have that KYC and compliance passed onto the Cosmos ecosystem via users’ Cosmos wallets. This would allow the users to participate and trade on the DEX in a more compliant way.
Kate, on the other hand, is most excited about being a part of the execution and delivery of the products.
“The fact that I can actually trade in a secure and transparent mode, and have access to my own assets rather than giving it up to centralized companies, is exciting. Having the mixture of both will definitely make me a lot more confident when I'm trading. So the fact that we're actually taking a stab and making sure that we can launch these products this year- I'm very excited for that.”
Kate and Charu ended the AMA by reminding users that the current staking vaults for ETH and MATIC will close on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023. They also reiterated that they currently have an Early Bird Bonus for participants of the first staking vaults.
“We're offering 88 OM, plus an exclusive BETA tester NFT, for the first thousand signups and users.”
They also encouraged the viewers to send their queries to the team through the support button available on the MANTRA Finance app, sign up for the newsletter, and check the regularly-updated FAQ page. Users can also reach out to the team through the community Telegram, Discord, and other social media platforms.
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