Down the Rabbit Hole: Polygon, Ethereum's Internet of Blockchains
Polygon, previously known as the Matic Network, an Ethereum layer two scaling solution that aimed at improving the speed and reducing the cost and complexities in transactions—has set out to make a name for itself in the blockchain interoperability space.
Ethereum, the blockchain that allows access to a wide range of decentralized applications like Defi, NFTs, Gaming, Metaverse, etc., had issues like reducing congestion on its network and the high gas fees, which sometimes make the blockchain unusable.
Polygon comes to the rescue. It addresses some of the major Ethereum's limitations like low speed, delayed transactions and high gas fees—the poor throughput of the network.
Put simply, Polygon aims to help Ethereum expand in size, security, scalability, and efficiency and seeks to prod developers to bring their products to market as quickly as possible. Here is more about Ethereum to help you understand it briefly.
Now, rather than being a simple scaling solution like its previous branding Matic Network—Polygon is going to be an entire platform for launching interoperable blockchains.
By using Polygon, developers can use preset blockchain networks with attributes that fit their needs, which are further customizable, allowing developers to create a sovereign blockchain with more niche-specific functionality.
How does Polygon work?
Polygon is a multi-level scaling solution that aims to scale Ethereum by unclogging the main platform quickly and cost-efficiently. Polygon's architecture is a four-layer arrangement that consists of the Ethereum layer, the Security layer, the Polygon network layer, and the Execution layer.
The Ethereum layer is essentially the smart contract written on the Ethereum blockchain which settles conditions related to staking, transaction finality, and communication between Ethereum and various other Polygon chains.
The security layer runs side-by-side with Ethereum, providing a periodical check of the validity of any Polygon chain for a fee. It is in charge of functions like - Validator management & Polygon chains validation. This offers additional security to the chains.
The Polygon networks layer is the ecosystem of blockchains networks built on Polygon. Each of these networks has their own community and are responsible for handling local consensus and producing their blocks.
The Execution layer is Polygon's EVM implementation used for the execution of smart contracts.
The Ethereum and security layers are optional, whereas the Polygon network layers and the execution layer are mandatory.
The Ethereum's Internet of Blockchain
Polygon allows blockchains that were operated in seclusion to each other to now operate as networks that fit into a broader interconnected landscape.
Their ultimate goal is to enable a borderless, open world of the internet where users get to seamlessly interact with decentralized products and services without having to rely on intermediaries and navigate through the walled gardens of different blockchains.
It creates a hub that different blockchains can leverage while also overcoming their limitations like high gas fees, low scalability, and limited security.
Polygon utilizes a variety of technologies to achieve this expanded vision, which includes:
- The Proof of stake chain: Polygon's main chain is a side chain to Ethereum known as 'Matic PoS Chain', which provides a proof-of-stake security layer to blockchains launched on Polygon.
- Plasma Chains: Polygon uses a layer-two scaling technology called 'Plasma' that relies on bridges to allow the flow of assets between the root chain and the child chains.
- ZK-Rollups: ZK Rollups are another scaling solution. Many transfers are offloaded to ZK Rollups, where it rolls them into a single transaction, using zero-knowledge Proof, which is sent to the Ethereum main chain for the final public record.
- Optimistic Rollups: This scaling solution runs on top of Ethereum and allows near-instant transactions by relying on a "fraud proofs" mechanism.
Why is Polygon special?
Polygon is one of the recent attempts to scale blockchains while simultaneously making them interoperable. Unlike other scaling solutions, like Polkadot and Cosmos, Polygon is a two-forked solution.
For one, it's compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine, which reduces the friction to use—for those accustomed to building apps on Ethereum using its programming Solidity.
Secondly, Polygon's shared security model is not mandatory; sovereign platforms don't have to give up their independence or flexibility for the sake of additional security when it's not needed. The platform is adaptable enough to incorporate any other scalability solution beyond Plasma Chains, Optimistic rollups, and ZK-Rollups.
A ton of projects have already been launched leveraging Polygon's new scaling technology, including:
- Aave: A non-custodial and open-source liquidity protocol that earns you interest on depositing and borrowing assets.
- Decentraland: A virtual game world run by its users. Every digital asset in the game is an NFT.
- Polymarket: An information market platform that harnesses the power of free markets to explain real-world events happening around you.
- Aavegotchi: A defi focused NFT that runs on Aave protocol. These are game avatars that can be used as defi collateral to earn rewards on staking.
- SushiSwap: A decentralized exchange protocol that works on the automated market maker model. It rewards network participants for forum-driven network efforts by revenue sharing.
Who created Polygon?
Polygon was co-founded in 2017 by a team of blockchain developers, namely Jayanti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal, and Anurag Arjun. Together, they launched Matic, which later on went on to become Polygon. Recently, Mihailo Bjelic joined the star-studded team as a co-founder.
Before finding the company, the polygon triad was involved in tech firms and was a massive contributor to the Ethereum ecosystem. For example, the team implemented the plasma MVP, the WalletConnect protocol, and the infamous Dagger event notification engine on Ethereum.
What's Polygon's native token?
Even though Polygon has expanded on its earlier vision and has rebranded itself, it still uses the same utility token used before, known as 'MATIC'.
MATIC is used for various purposes in the polygon ecosystem, including paying the gas fees, contributing to security through staking, and participating in governance on Polygon Improvement Proposals (PIPs).
How to buy MATIC?
You can either buy it from decentralized markets like Uniswap & Sushiswap or you can use a centralized exchange to get some. To buy on a decentralized market, you would need assets (like ETH, DAI, USDC) in your ERC20 wallet, accessible through wallets like Metamask.
As of October 2021, the MATIC token is one of the top 20 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and has excellent liquidity. The token can be purchased and traded on most tier-one cryptocurrency exchange platforms like Coinbase pro, Binance, Huobi, etc., and popular decentralized exchanges like Uniswap.
If you are looking to invest in MATIC or want to trade your fiat with this token, here is how you do it:
Step1: Go to Binance, a centralized cryptocurrency exchange with the highest liquidity for its assets. Make a new account or log into your already existing account.
Step2: Once logged in, hover over the buy crypto button at the top of the site, and select one of the options(for this tutorial, we're going with the Credit/Debit Card option.)
Step3: On the right, select your country's native fiat currency and enter the amount you want to trade for MATIC. Then, in the drop-down menu below, select MATIC. Finally, click on the Buy MATIC button.
Step4: If you haven't already finished the identity verification, you'll need to complete it now—follow the instructions on the screen. The process takes a couple of minutes, after which you'll see a screen like below.
Step5: In the last step, enter your payment details and click on the Pay now button. Your order will be completed, and the MATIC tokens will be transferred into your Binance account wallet.
You now own some MATIC. Congrats!
The future of Polygon
The success of Polygon in the upcoming years is linked to Ethereum's performance. Ethereum 2.0 will likely mitigate the blockchain's scalability and high gas fees issues, but Polygon will remain relevant as it's not just a scaling solution; it's a blockchain and interoperability solution.
Polygon's robust team has already demonstrated substantial success in integrating a network of companies—a wide variety of dapps using their scaling solution.
The future looks promising for Polygon. Wagmi ✨
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