Polygon is a leading platform that is actively focused on bringing the future of blockchain into reality. They have developed a framework that allows for the creation of scaling solutions that work seamlessly with Ethereum. One of their notable achievements is the development of a Proof of Stake sidechain, which has gained significant attention within the cryptocurrency community.
Polygon, an integral part of the Ethereum scaling roadmap, shares a similar vision to Cosmos and their concept of the "internet of blockchains" facilitated by the Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol. However, Polygon focuses specifically on the Ethereum ecosystem.
Polygon allows developers to effortlessly deploy their Ethereum-compatible scaling solutions or even independent blockchains. Initially known as the Matic Network, the project expanded its scope from a single Layer 2 solution to a network of interconnected networks, leading to its rebranding as Polygon.
What Is Polygon?
Polygon is a framework that enables the creation of Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks and scaling solutions. It offers the Polygon SDK for developers to build these networks. One notable product in the Polygon ecosystem is the Polygon Network, which operates as a Proof of Stake (PoS) sidechain.
The Polygon Network provides faster transactions and lower fees compared to Ethereum. Users can port existing applications to Polygon easily since it supports the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Popular DeFi dapps like Aave, 1inch, Curve, and Sushi have already been deployed on Polygon, along with unique native applications like QuickSwap and Slingshot.
How Does It Work?
Polygon offers support for two types of Ethereum-compatible networks: secured chains and stand-alone chains. Secured chains, such as rollups, rely on the security infrastructure of the chain they are connected to. On the other hand, stand-alone chains, like sidechains, are responsible for their own security. Secured chains provide a higher level of security, while stand-alone chains offer more flexibility.
The Polygon Network, specifically the sidechain, operates with its own set of validators and periodically submits checkpoints to Ethereum. This distinguishes sidechains from being considered a pure Layer 2 solution, as they are responsible for their own security instead of relying on Ethereum's security.
In the future, the Polygon platform aims to support additional scaling solutions, including zero-knowledge (zk) rollups, optimistic rollups, and Validium chains. The availability of these solutions will provide developers with more tools to create innovative applications and products. Furthermore, these scaling solutions will be compatible with existing Ethereum tools and wallets, such as MetaMask.
Following the rebrand, the MATIC token remains unchanged in the name. It serves two primary purposes: paying gas fees on the network and participating in governance. If you wish to stake your MATIC tokens, you can easily do so using the Matic Web Wallet developed by the Polygon team.
The Polygon Bridge offers the most convenient way to transfer funds from another blockchain network to the Polygon sidechain. However, it's worth noting that you will still need to pay mainnet transaction fees for the bridging transaction on the mainnet. Once the transfer is complete, you can enjoy the benefits of Polygon, such as low fees and fast transactions. Additionally, some centralized exchanges provide the option for direct withdrawal to the Polygon Network.
The classification of sidechains as Layer 2 solutions, like rollups, is not universally agreed upon. Different chains have varying levels of trust, security, performance, and user/developer experience. Rollups, as secured chains, show promise as Layer 2 scaling solutions due to their security inherited from Ethereum.
However, other solutions like the Polygon sidechain may not offer the same level of security. While it is not inherently insecure, collusion among malicious actors could potentially compromise the network. Using a sidechain involves trust in network validators and the chain's bridge.
Consider the trade-offs: Ethereum mainnet transactions have higher fees and slower times but provide the strongest security guarantees with minimal trust. Rollups offer lower costs, comparable security, and faster transactions. Sidechains have significantly lower fees but compromise on security.
These solutions complement each other and serve specific use cases. For example, a social media reputation system may prioritize transaction speed and low fees over absolute security. Storing a nation-state's treasury demands maximum security, even at the expense of transaction speed. Developers and project teams are continuously exploring how these building blocks fit together. Scalability is essential, as different scaling solutions can cater to various industries and use cases.
Polygon provides a framework for building Ethereum-compatible scaling solutions. The Polygon Network has gained popularity due to its fast and cost-effective transactions, as well as its compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine. In the future, Polygon aims to introduce additional scalability solutions such as zk rollups, optimistic rollups, and stand-alone blockchains. These advancements will contribute to a dynamic and interconnected Layer 2 ecosystem for Ethereum.