Polygon is usually called the Ethereum of blockchains. And the reason why is simple. Polygon aims to make blockchain technology and decentralized apps very accessible to people. Just the way Ethereum does.
Ironically, Polygon is an ERC-20 token. That means that it is compliant with the Ethereum blockchain. Polygon aims to make the development of blockchain projects easy. It also wants to solve the issue of interoperability. Interoperability simply means the ability of a blockchain to communicate with others.
With Polygon, people can build independent blockchains that combine flexibility and scalability with the security, interoperability, and other benefits of the Ethereum blockchain.
Polygon is a relatively new blockchain. Since its launch in October 2017, Polygon has become one of the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.
The network is home to over 7,000 cryptocurrency projects. Some of which are complete blockchain networks. Polygon is also home to some of the latest defi applications and services on the market.
Who created Polygon and when?
Polygon started out as a layer-2 Ethereum scaling solution. As some of you know, Ethereum is the largest blockchain for Defi services and decentralized apps.
The demand for Ethereum’s services has become so high in recent years that the network has to work hard to battle network congestion.
Ethereum needed a solid scaling solution to its issue of transaction processing speed, as well as to cut down transaction costs.
The man to solve this problem was Jaynti Kanani. An Indian data scientist that worked for Housing.com in 2017. Jaynti Kanani first spotted Ethereum’s congestion issues thanks to a well-known NFT game – Crypto kitties.
He reached out to two friends. Sandeep Nailwal, a blockchain developer, and Anurag Arju, a business tycoon. Together, the three men started working on a blockchain project named MATIC. MATIC was launched in Mumbai, India.
MATIC was launched as a layer 2 scaling solution for the Ethereum blockchain. The Polygon network uses a variety of options for its scaling solutions.
These options include relying on sidechains and off-chain solutions. Like many other blockchains, Polygon uses and proof-of-stake consensus protocol to verify and validate transactions.
MATIC continued to make a name for itself in the world of blockchains until early 2021 when they embarked on a new vision – to make the development and interconnectedness of blockchains possible.
What are the technological features of Polygon?
To understand how Polygon is able to achieve these amazing benefits, let’s take a deeper look at the technology behind the network.
At the heart of the Polygon network is the Polygon Software Development Kit. This SDK is what enables Polygon to build Ethereum-based networks and projects. The software development kit is what enables the creation of sidechains which are then connected to the main network.
There are three key scaling solutions that are part of the Polygon Software Development Kit, and any one of them can be used to reduce transaction time and costs.
The first scaling solution we will be looking at is Optimistic rollups. Optimistic rollups use an ingenious method to reduce transaction processing time. Optimistic rollups assume that all the transactions are valid. And so, it sends batches of transactions off-chain for processing. Optimistic rollups don’t do any computation before taking transactions off-chain. This increases scalability.
The downside is that Optimistic rollups have a challenge period where a person can dispute whether a batch of transactions is valid or not. This increases withdrawal time. The main advantage of optimistic rollups is that they can execute smart contracts off-chain.
The next scaling solution we will be looking at is ZK rollups. ZK means Zero-Knowledge. Unlike optimistic rollups, ZK rollups don’t just trust that everyone will act in good faith.
When ZK rollups move transactions to layer 2, they generate a validity proof for each bundle of transactions.
Although it takes time to build the validity proof, it leads to quicker withdrawal times as a result of no challenge periods. ZK rollups are perfect for simple transactions because they can’t execute smart contracts like optimistic rollups.
Another important scaling solution behind the Polygon network is Plasma chains. Plasma chains are basically separate blockchains that are tied to the Ethereum main network.
Polygon uses its own system known as Polygon Plasma chains which allow transactions to be moved from the main network to secondary chains for cheaper and quicker processing time.
So, if Polygon is a blockchain, then it must have a consensus mechanism it uses to verify transactions.
What is Polygon’s consensus mechanism?
So, what consensus protocol does Polygon use?
Just like Ethereum, Polygon uses a modified proof-of-stake consensus protocol. Proof of stake consensus protocol requires people to stake their MATIC tokens in exchange for the right to verify a block of transactions.
Staking on Polygon requires two main roles – validators and delegators. Validators are people who stake their MATIC directly. In exchange, they win the right to verify new transactions and add them to the network. Validators are rewarded with some tokens for their efforts. If they make a mistake or try to cheat the system, they are punished by having some of their staked tokens withdrawn from them.
The next major role is the delegator. Delegators stake their coins indirectly. They do this through a trusted validator. This requires little effort on the part of the delegators. Delegators have to pick trustworthy validators. Otherwise, they could lose some of their staked tokens as punishment for malicious behavior.
What role does the native MATIC token play in the Polygon ecosystem?
MATIC is the native currency for the Polygon blockchain. MATIC has several uses. We’ve already mentioned how MATIC is used for staking. Now let’s look at some other benefits of MATIC.
Mind you, MATIC is a deflationary token with a limited supply of 10 billion MATIC COINS. Deflationary token means that its supply will be limited.
MATIC is used for paying transaction fees on the network. Remember that Polygon is an Ethereum-based blockchain and so many people use it as a bridge to Ethereum.
Many people who are wary of Ethereum’s high transaction fees can simply come to Polygon, where they can pay low fees in MATIC.
MATIC also serves as a governance token. A governance token is a coin used to vote on decisions affecting how the blockchain would run.
The more governance tokens a person owns, the more voting power that person gets. Unlike many blockchains, the MATIC token is not used for everyday transactions.
What are the benefits of Polygon?
The first major benefit people get from using the Polygon network is that the network allows them to build their own blockchains on top of Polygon.
Thanks to Polygon’s unique design, developers have control over the blockchains they build on the Polygon network.
For example, a developer who builds a blockchain on top of Polygon can choose a unique consensus protocol for their blockchain. One that’s different from the one used by Polygon.
Another great benefit of Polygon is that users can build Ethereum compatible apps without having to worry about high transaction costs.
As some of you know, the Ethereum blockchain is the largest network for defi services in the world. Most decentralized apps and projects are hosted on the network.
If a developer is looking to build a defi app or service, then it has to be Ethereum compatible. Otherwise, it won’t be able to interact with the multitude of defi services out there.
Taking a project to the Ethereum network can be expensive, primarily because of network congestion. With Polygon, a developer can cut out the stress of building their project on Ethereum.
They can simply build it on Polygon, which is an ERC-20 token, making the network compatible with Ethereum.
Another benefit people get from using Polygon is its super-fast transaction processing speed. Bitcoin can only handle 4.6 transactions per second, while Ethereum can handle slightly more – 30 transactions per second.
Polygon, on the other hand, can handle far more than that. The network can handle 65 thousand transactions per second, making it one of the fastest networks.
This makes Polygon very attractive to projects like NFTs and decentralized games like Crypto kitties. The best part is that users can get the benefit of Polygon’s lightning-fast transactions for a small fee.
Another major benefit of using the Polygon network is versatility. As we all know, Polygon offers different options for scalability.
This allows developers to choose what scaling solution is the best or the most cost-effective for their project. Now, we know some of the benefits of using Polygon.
How is Polygon evolving?
So are there any other developments coming to the Polygon network soon?
Polygon has continued to grow in popularity thanks to the fact that it’s a one-stop-shop for building interoperable blockchains and decentralized projects.
Projects like Aave and Curve recently joined the Polygon network. Aave is a defi service platform that allows users to borrow and lend digital assets. Aave has a market cap of 1.2 billion dollars.
Curve, on the other hand, is an exchange liquidity pool that allows quick and efficient trading of stable coins with low fees and slippage. Curve has a market cap of 505 million dollars.
Already we’ve seen the launch of decentralized applications like Sushi, Augur, and Ocean Protocol.
The company has not slowed down its development of scaling solutions. One of such scaling solutions the company is presently working on is Polygon Avail. Polygon Avail aims to be a form of verification by being a general-purpose data availability layer.
Basically, Polygon Avail will be responsible for checking the deposited information before sending confirmation to be used for consensus.
Polygon Avail will provide a data availability layer to be used by other scaling solutions like stand-alone chains, sidechains, and off-chain solutions. Another project that Polygon is working on is Polygon Nightfall. Polygon nightfall will enable corporations and enterprises to make cheap, secure, and private transactions on the network.
Before we go, let’s take a look at the strides being made by Polygon in the field of Web 3. As some of you know, Web 3 is supposed to be the future of the internet. Web 3 is supposed to be decentralized, and the users are supposed to be in charge of their online activities, unlike what we have today in the likes of Facebook and other social media platforms.
The Web 3 idea ties in well with the Metaverse and NFT trading. Polygon has been working on adding NFTs to its platform. They partnered with Cere Network to launch an NFT marketplace/Web 3 platform called DaVinci. One of the main aims behind DaVinci is to boost security behind NFTs. OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, has also started supporting Polygon NFFTs.