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23.03.2021

Tezos Mandala Developer: True Decentralization Is What We Really Love About Tezos

Back in February, we released a course on smart contract development with Tezos, held four workshops, and organized #TezosDeFiHackathon. In March, the winners of #TezosDeFiHackathon launched a generative art project called Tezos Mandala.

We talked with the creator and lead developer of Tezos Mandala, Boris Grit to find out why their team chose Tezos and what else they have in store.

Hey, Boris! A few words about yourself, maybe? How did you initially come across blockchain tech?

I’m a full-stack developer involved in web products for the past ten years. As a coder, I have worked much longer. I still recall dealing with alphanumeric terminals from the eighties.

I stumbled upon blockchain when someone was giving away bitcoins for visiting certain websites. I created a wallet, collected several tenths of bitcoin, and deleted it a few months later. But when I had heard bitcoin was now worth $20, the technology sparked my interest again. After that, I’ve just been keeping my finger on it.

I discovered Tezos the day it was announced. I remember that I thought right away it was an interesting project. Then I read about OCaml, got pretty much inspired, but dared not delving into it after all.

So how did you end up in the Tezos ecosystem then?

This February I saw an announcement that Tezos Ukraine was holding a workshop on developing smart contracts. I checked it out and performed the test task, which was to create a smart contract on LIGO. And I got a prize from Tezos Ukraine for that.

Then I participated in #TezosDeFiHackathon where our team created an NFT marketplace featuring an unusual auction type. We ended up winning in two categories, namely Challenges, and Tezos Commons Choice.

I sincerely liked the fact that Tezos was an independent and cool product instead of an Ethereum clone. Formal verification and an academic approach to the system design have finalized my decision.

So, Mandalas. What is it? Why did you decide to launch that project first?

Tezos Mandala is a generative art project. Basically, users buy a Mandala Seed that they can use at any time to generate a mandala. The thing is that nobody knows what it’s going to look like before the generation event. Reviken of the Tezos community compares the seeds to the Christmas crackers. We do like the metaphor.

Still, what use case for Tezos Mandala I like the most is the gifts. A user can make a present out of a mandala seed so that someone else generates the mandala. It’s like unpacking a present but even the present giver has no idea what’s inside.

True decentralization is what we really love about Tezos. To avoid third-party services and even the IPFS, we packed vector mandalas in a compart shape and recorded them in the blockchain. HashMasks, for instance, only store the hashes of masks there.

As for the idea, I came up with that a few years ago. I have a degree in psychology so I liked the basic premise, which is Jungian. The team also liked it. Together, we came up with Mandala Seeds and developed the materialistic justification for Tezos Mandala. It ended up being an art project on the Western psychological understanding of mandala. But basically we did it because we love all of it: mandalas, NFTs, and Tezos.

So what’s next?

We’re happy the community gave positive feedback to Tezos Mandala. Now we’ll be moving on with our original plan, which is to develop interesting projects on Tezos. We won #TezosDeFiHackathon with the idea of an NFT marketplace. That’s what we’re going to present to the community in the near future.

Nonetheless, we have lots of ideas. The main thing, though, is to be able to bring together cool artists and developers that had no idea about Tezos before. It would be amazing to build a strong NFT community. We even have the name ready: Buttonists.

But how is your marketplace any different from its peers in the ecosystem?

We came up with an auction–lottery hybrid mechanisms. It’s an interesting piece of mechanics based on game theory. We believe it will bring about more artists and users who like #CleanNFT to the ecosystem.

And now for the final question. You took part in a hackathon, and even won it. Would you recommend others to participate in hackathons?

Most certainly. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet a team and get to know the actual community. It’s the hackathon that helped me implement my early idea with the help of amazing people we’re on the same wavelength with.

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