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Enabling DeFi for Bitcoin: An interview with Mintlayer co-founder Enrico Rubboli

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Mintlayer is a layer 2 protocol that allows users to build a decentralized finance ecosystem rooted in the established network of the Bitcoin blockchain. Mintlayer is the only DeFi platform that is directly interoperable with native Bitcoin.

In an interview with co-founder Enrico Rubboli, we talked about the vision behind Mintlayer, its use cases, its recent token launch, and what’s ahead.

1. What was the vision behind creating Mintlayer?

The vision behind Mintlayer was to fix the problems that existing DeFi ecosystems have in regard to tapping the liquidity in the Bitcoin network. We just didn’t think that anyone went about it the right way so instead of complaining we decided to make it ourselves. 

2. How is Mintlayer enabling DeFi for Lightning Network and Bitcoin?

We’re building a layer 2 network that is as interoperable with Bitcoin (and by extension the Lightning Network) as possible. By adopting a UTXO accounting system, being turing incomplete, and designing Mintlayer to not only be compatible with the technology but with the mission of the Bitcoin community. We made the node efficient enough that it can be run on an average desktop computer in the background, and we do not require users to pay fees in ML tokens. These aspects were important to help democratize the user base.

3. Talk to us about the use cases associated with the Mintlayer platform?

In the future, we see hundreds of potential use cases involved with projects that are developed on the Mintlayer platform. We will be able to power basically any DeFi application. Mintlayer also has an NFT token standard already available.

In a shorter time frame, Mintlayer is set up to offer security tokens with our access control lists, privacy tokens with our MLS-02 privacy token, and with Lightning Network integration we are capable of setting up a DEX that converts funds almost instantly. With this tech, you will be able to pay for your coffee with Bitcoin and the coffee shop will get a US Dollar stablecoin. 

4. What makes the platform stand out from the rest in the crypto space? 

The main thing is that we are building around the most popular online currency, which is also the largest pool of liquidity in the crypto sector. Unlike other DeFi projects, you can use native Bitcoin via atomic swap to trade for any token on the Mintlayer blockchain. Another great feature is that we have a free fee system, meaning blocksigners can choose which tokens they will accept. 

5. What is the Atomic Swap? Please discuss with us its features and functions.

An atomic swap is an exchange of cryptocurrencies between two separate blockchains. It allows you to remove third-party involvement and the need for pegged tokens. It works by creating a hashed timelock contract (HTLC) that reverts if all conditions of the contract aren’t met within a specified time period, the same type of contract used to facilitate the Lightning Network. Atomic swaps allow users to use their native Bitcoin in DeFi applications without compromising custody.  This technology is at the core of Mintlayer’s vision for a DeFi platform that can leverage Bitcoin with the least amount of friction. 

6. How are you addressing privacy and security concerns associated with the platform?

First, we are using technologies that have already proven to be very secure. UTXO, Verifiable random functions, atomic swaps. The basis of the Mintlayer blockchain makes normal transactions harder to track and identify than on other blockchains. When you really need privacy, our MLS-02 token offers complete privacy. Privacy is a big selling point for the blockchain as it stands. 

7. Tell us more about the token launch? What is ML?

Our token launch event is scheduled for March 21. Users that selected an ERC20 token will get their tokens then. It’s a huge event because it will bring in some exchange listings, and help spread the word about our project. ML is our newly renamed native token. 

8. What are the applications of ML in the platform’s ecosystem?

There are 3 stages of utility for the ML token. During the testnet ML tokens can be used to purchase services from RBB Lab. This will help early developers get ahead. During the first iteration of the mainnet, ML will be required for all transaction fees. Developers will be able to use ML to execute smart contracts. Users can also stake their ML tokens to participate in the consensus mechanism, which will earn block rewards

9. User engagement is crucial for any platform. How are you making sure you do this with regard to the token launch?

We have some of the best marketing minds in the industry. We recently had a TGE pre-sale initiative that sold out in 90 seconds. Our outreach and marketing strategy has ramped up tremendously in preparation for the TGE. Our most significant initiative however isn’t for the TGE – it’s for what comes next.

The Mintlayer ecosystem fund will help incubate and accelerate the development of dapps and infrastructure. Developers interested in building on or porting a project onto Mintlayer can already submit it for consideration. The fund will provide capital but also connect resources and fill in the gaps for any weakness a development team has. 

10. What lies ahead on your roadmap? Tell us more about it. 

After TGE we launch our testnet in Q2 2023, and the mainnet the quarter after that. By the end of the year, we should have a basic atomic swap system integrated into the platform, and that is the beginning of the intriguing part of this project. It won’t be long after that when users will be able to pay transaction fees in the tokens they are transacting, access control lists will help facilitate security tokens, our MLS-02 token standard for confidential transactions goes live, programmable pools for smart contracts are available, and the Lightning Network is integrated as a layer 3 protocol on Mintlayer.

Sometime in the future, we will see an application on Mintlayer where a user can pay for a cup of coffee with a derivative token pegged to security (let’s say Tesla stock) and the coffee shop receives a USD stablecoin without ever knowing what the customer paid with. It’s this kind of paradigm shift that we would like to see propagated to the masses. We believe that getting to that point is only possible if you start with a currency that people trust, and for us that is Bitcoin. 

For more information on Mintlayer, please check out their official website.

Disclaimer: This is a paid post and should not be treated as news/advice.  

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With Masters in Mass communication and journalism, Anjali's interests lie in blockchain technology adoption across emerging economies.
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