Everyone is talking about the Metaverse, NFTs, and the blockchain. One of the hottest new technologies that have emerged in this space is known as Polygon. It and its associated token — MATIC, have been the talk of the blockchain town for a while now.
And it’s pretty clear why. It’s a very promising and innovative technology that promises to solve a lot of issues not just in the blockchain world but also in the Metaverse and in web3. These are all new visions of the Internet and how we could use it.
And make no mistake, key players in Silicon Valley do believe this is the future. Mark Zuckerberg has renamed Facebook’s parent company to Meta. And venture capitalists and throwing obscene amounts of money at blockchain and Metaverse projects.
Understandably, people are excited about all this. All this new technology holds a promise of creating, if not a better, then at least a more interesting world.
What is the place of Polygon in the future of the blockchain and the Internet? What is Polygon in the first place? Can you use it right now and how to do it?
If you want to get in on the ground floor of this exciting new tech and you need information, look no further than this handy FAQ we’ve put together. We’ll answer your questions so you’re in the blockchain loop.
Everything you need to know about Polygon and MATIC, as well as how you can use them today, is right here. So, keep reading to discover the wonders of it all.
Polygon Basics: How Does it all Work?
It’s time to start and we’ll start right at the beginning. How does it all work? And what is it all, actually? It’s some pretty advanced stuff, to be sure. You will hear phrases such as “Internet of blockchains” and “web3” and “wrapped Ether.”
It can all seem quite daunting at first, but worry not. You can soon learn all about it and impress your friends with your deep and thoughtful knowledge of the crypto and blockchain sphere. Not only will you have so much to talk about at the next dinner party when people bring this stuff up (and for Mark Zuckerberg’s big new project, we made a whole Metaverse FAQ for you too) but you’ll know how to actually use it.
And it’s good to know how to use it, because you can buy NFTs, visit the Metaverse, and even avoid those pesky gas fees.
Polygon is not just another chain and token, however. Its vision aims to radically change not just how blockchains operate but also the entire Internet. It’s a vision based on connectivity, interoperability, and scaling. Eventually, if the developers of Polygon succeed, they plan to go beyond their native Ethereum into a system in which any blockchain could connect to any other blockchain to exchange information and assets.
But we’re getting slightly ahead. Let us now answer some basic questions about this new happening in the blockchain scene.
What is Polygon?
Polygon is what is in technical terms called a secondary solution for blockchain scaling. It sits on something called layer2 (more on that later) and is also a sidechain.
That’s a lot of technical terms (and we will get into it) but for now let’s say that Polygon is a network that exists parallel with the Ethereum network and allows for a lot of things to happen that the Ethereum network doesn’t.
The company, previously known as the Matic Network, was founded by blockchain developers Sandeep Nailwal, Jaynti Kanani, and business consultant Anurag Arjun.
In the last year, since it rebranded to Polygon, the project has seen growing popularity thanks to the value of its token MATIC and thanks to the promise it represents for a new vision of the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Right now, this vision is primarily focused on making transactions on Ethereum faster. This is something that the famous blockchain network has struggled with since its inception. The low number of transactions it can process leading to high “gas fees” (transaction fees in Ethereum parlance).
That’s what Polygon is most famous for. It uses a technology called Plasma to process transactions off-chain before finalizing them on the main Ethereum chain. This way, gas fees through Polygon are much lower.
This is extremely important for things that create a high volume of transactions such as NFT marketplaces and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications.
However, that is only one part of what makes Polygon so exciting. The developers have clearly signaled they want to be much more than just a scaling solution for Ethereum.
Central to this vision is the concept of an internet of blockchains, which would bridge all Ethereum-based chains into a single network to enhance scaling, create interoperability and bring forth a blockchain environment that is truly interconnected.
As it stands, each blockchain right now is a world unto itself or a silo as they call it in the IT world. The driving idea behind Polygon has implications for the entirety of the Internet and especially the decentralized Web3 and the Metaverse.
How does Polygon work?
It started originally as an independent blockchain that enabled its own projects, the network has since pivoted to being an Ethereum sidechain.
Now, however, Polygon has expanded its vision to eventually become an “internet of blockchains” that will allow, via bridging, for many different chains to be connected and interoperable.
The main thing about all this is that the Polygon network is compatible with the Ethereum virtual machine that makes it approachable to those developers who are used to working with Ethereum and building apps on it.
Its security model is also optional, meaning that sovereign platforms don’t need sacrifice their independence for the sake of security if they don’t want to do so. It should be flexible enough going forward to make any scalability solution a part of it, beyond what it can currently do.
How is all this achieved?
At the heart of how Polygon works is the proof-of-stake concept. This is contrasted with proof-of-work, which is how the Ethereum Mainnet functions.
These are highly technical terms, so we will need to spend a bit of time explaining it.
Proof of work, essentially, is what it says on the tin. It’s a way for one party to prove to another party that a certain amount of computational effort has been used. You may not be surprised to learn that this is all cryptographical in nature. That’s where crypto gets its name, after all.
In the cryptocurrency world the purpose of proof of work is not really to prove the computational puzzle bit to instead of deter the manipulation of data of the blockchain by establishing a high barrier of necessary energy and hardware usage in order for someone to be able to do it.
That is the main security feature of all blockchains, also. But POW does come with certain drawbacks.
Not just that they have been criticized for their high energy usage and environmental implications. Because the amount of work necessary is high, the blockchains that use POW are not exactly fast. In fact, the Ethereum network can only process about 14 transactions per second leading to high gas fees.
Enter proof of stake.
Proof stake selects transaction validators based on the proportion of their holdings of the associated cryptocurrency. POS arose as a popular method of validation in 2012 with Peercoin and has since been used by many projects. Its main benefit is that it is much faster than POW systems.
What is Polygon Architecture Like?
Now that the basics of how it all works are known, we’ll get deeper into the matter. Polygon is an interesting application of blockchain technology with the potential to be truly game changing. So, it’s worth knowing about what’s underpinning it.
The best way to think about the architecture of Polygon is in terms of layers. It’s like an onion basically.
So, let’s peel those layers and see how it all fits together.
There are four of these layers present. The Ethereum layer, security layer, Polygon networks layer, and execution layer.
Ethereum is a set of smart contracts which are running on, you guessed it, the Ethereum network. These are the smart contracts that handle stuff like transaction finality and staking, and which allow for communication between Ethereum itself and the various Polygon chains.
Security runs alongside Ethereum and provides validation.
Polygon networks are the ecosystem of chains built on the Polygon. Each of these has their own communities and produces their own blocks.
Then finally, there is the execution player which is the implementation of the Ethereum Virtual Machine that Polygon uses to execute the smart contracts.
In order to achieve all this, a number of different technologies are used. We’ll go over the specifics later but for now here’s a quick rundown of the most important ones.
The main part of all this is the Polygon Proof of Stake (POS) chain. This is an Ethereum sidechain that adds a proof of stake security layer to the blockchains that are launched on Polygon.
Then there is the Plasma chain that allows for Polygon’s famous scaling technology. Assets (tokens, NFTs, etc.) are moved between the root chain and the child chains via so-called bridges.
But the tech behind this project is constantly evolving. At the end of 2021, Polygon acquired Mir, a startup working on so-called “zero knowledge rollup” cryptography. In press materials, Polygon has expressed they see this as the future of blockchain scaling.
Polygon has also launched several other ZK-rollup technologies, proving that it is ever-evolving on the bleeding edge of cryptocurrency and blockchain development.
What Are Polygon’s Main Features?
As there are so many different things happening in the network, it can be hard to grasp exactly what Polygon is actually used for and what it does.
In reality, the whole thing is very much in the beginning stages. Polygon promises a different take on the blockchain, one that’s interoperable and open and where communication between different chains is straightforward and easy.
At the moment, the main feature of Polygon is its ability to process transactions faster than the Ethereum blockchain network. We already explained the tech behind it, the Plasma chains and ZK-rollups that are the developers are working hard on implementing fully.
In essence, the reason why this technology has become so widely talked about and used is because it offers a solution for gas fees on the Ethereum network.
So, today, people use Polygon mostly for this purpose. Where this has most value is in NFT trading and in NFT-based video games. These activities create a large number of transactions and the way Ethereum works can turn them prohibitively expensive.
This is why so much of what’s on offer on OpenSea and other NFT marketplaces runs on the Polygon network. Metaverse platforms such as Decentraland also often use Polygon.
With NFTs and games such as Axie Infinity becoming so popular it’s likely that this technology will become more and more important to enable fast and cheap transactions that can keep up with the volume of player, trader, and investor activity.
For developers, Polygon offers a lot of interesting features and services that help them make better apps. It provides what it calls “the core components and tools to join the new, borderless economy and society.”
By using this tech, developers can make blockchains that combine the best features of standalone chains which are sovereignty, scalability, and flexibility and Ethereum that offers security and interoperability.
All of this fits into the vision of a world where it’s easy to launch blockchains that can communicate with each other. Even now, for developers interested in crypto space, Polygon is an option that allows them to get off the ground much faster than if they were to build everything on their own. And of course, all that while being Ethereum-compatible.
What tokens are used on Polygon and what is MATIC?
Being an interoperable network of many chains means that many tokens can essentially be part of the large network such as Wrapped Ethereum that can run on Polygon.
There is a native currency token for Polygon and it’s called MATIC (a reference to the previous name of the entire project) and it can be used to store tokens for protecting the network or for exchange payments. Following the rebranding and the unveiling of the new blockchain vision, MATIC has surged in value.
MATIC is also the utility token for Polygon and a financial incentive for those who want to contribute to the network. It has a key role in the process of staking where users can participate in the network’s consensus mechanism to validate transactions in return for tokens.
The value of this coin has increased considerably over time due to the surging popularity of Ethereum in 2021 which was driven by a strong interest in NFTs, play to earn games, and decentralized finance.
MATIC’s value rose from $0.018 and a market capitalization of $81 million to a market cap of $20 billion and an all-time high value of $2.92 in December of 2021. Like most coins, MATIC too has taken a hit in the beginning of 2022 with its value in January hovering around $1.6.
The primary use of MATIC remains to offer incentive to users to participate in the verification process through staking. Users can earn rewards by doing this, thus there is real financial incentive to helping with the stability and security of the “internet of blockchains.”
What is proof of stake?
While proof of stake is not the only important technology underpinning Polygon, it is one of the key things that allows it to do what it does and to one day fulfil its new vision of what the blockchain world should be.
This is a highly technical subject, but in order to understand what Polygon is all about you have to understand the tech that goes into it.
Proof of stake is most often contrasted with proof of work. In cryptography, both are solutions for verifying transactions on a blockchain. Both are consensus mechanisms to keep distributed data secure.
Why is this important? Because technically, anyone could just write whatever they want onto a blockchain. Wait, what, you may be saying? Why don’t they just use passwords like the rest of us?
Well, you see, the point of a blockchain is that it is a public ledger not controlled by any single entity. If there’s no single entity in control then there’s nobody to issue and control passwords and whatever other credentials.
Both POS and POW are solutions for how to make sure what is being written on the blockchain is valid and fair.
In POW this is done through very complex mathematical puzzles. In order to solve the puzzle, a really large amount of computational Power is needed. And also, electricity. For instance, Bitcoin mining now accounts for around 1% of the world’s electricity usage which is more than some small developed countries.
These validators in a POW system, also known as miners, are essentially racing to be the first to finish the puzzle and then claim the prize — in the form of newly mined coins.
That it all should be hard and taxing is exactly the point. Writing bullshit onto the blockchain becomes prohibitively expensive and the math puzzles are such that once proof is derived other participants in the networks can easily check if the answer is true.
One huge drawback of POW is that it is slow. As already mentioned, Ethereum that uses POW can only process around 14 transactions per second, and while that may sound like a lot, it really isn’t. Especially with all those NFTs being traded all the time.
So, that’s why POS has emerged as a way to shorten transaction times and also address some of the environmental impact of it all.
Instead of a system where miners race, in POS the machines of coin owners are used. Owners offer up their coins as collateral for the chance to validate blocks. Validators are selected randomly, thus eliminating the advantage that huge mining farms have in a POW system.
While POS does have some issues like the infamous 51% attack (if someone owned 51% of all coins, they could do whatever they want) the likeliness of such an event is too small to be a serious to threat to Polygon or Ethereum or really any other blockchain using this technology.
What is layer 2?
Anytime when Polygon is described, you will hear that it is a layer 2 solution. What exactly is that, however?
A layer 2 solution sits atop blockchains (which are unsurprisingly called layer 1) and typically have the aim of improving scalability and efficiency. They are third-party solutions that integrate with layer 1 networks in order to add functionality that isn’t present in the original blockchain.
Generally, this entails shifting a portion of the blockchain’s protocol transactional burden to a side-system architecture which handles the processing and reports back later to the main (layer 1) network.
This way, transaction speed can be improved as work is offloaded from the main chain onto a sidechain. It’s a key component of scalability which is the capability of a technological platform to handle increasing numbers of users and the volume of their actions on the network.
It’s clear why this is so important for Ethereum as its popularity has been surging, bringing a large number of people who were interested in purchasing and trading NFTs or participating in various play to earn games that live on the Ethereum chain.
Polygon is not the only game in town when it comes to this, but has recently emerged as the most popular one. For Bitcoin, there is the Lightning Network which has much of the same ideas and architecture as Polygon.
Of course, the original blockchains are always trying to improve as well. Layer 1 scalability solutions are emerging too, and Ethereum is slowly moving towards a POS system as well.
Nevertheless, since it is harder and slower to change original networks, it is likely that layer 2 solutions will always have a place in the blockchain world as they can produce innovation much faster. This has many benefits both for the networks themselves and for the users.
What is the internet of blockchains?
Ever since it was rebranded there has been a lot of talk about Polygon and the internet of blockchains. Borrowing a turn of phrase from internet of things, this is a specific vision of how not just how the blockchain world but how the internet itself should work.
Eventually, the internet of blockchains should encompass related technologies and concepts such as Web3 and the Metaverse.
Web3, of course, is the idea that the internet should be decentralized and under the control of ordinary users. Unlike, for instance, the current social media platforms, which are controlled by Big Tech giants.
For the blockchain world, the internet of blockchains means a system in which all the different blockchains are interoperable and connected. Assets move freely between them with no limits and they are no longer separate silos. The best thing of all is that the specific chains still retain their sovereignty and their original value, community, and rules.
In the Metaverse space, this could open up the possibility of having interoperable worlds that run on various chains. In this future, assets such as in-game items, wearables for avatars and others could be easily transferred from one world and one game to the next. This would help the Metaverse feel more like the real world and less like a loosely connected series of video games.
Polygon does it by building a network of interoperable Ethereum-compatible chains. But there are other projects out there that are trying similar things. One of them is Cosmos. It also tries to address issues such as scalability. Cosmos has its own technology and chain and is based on the byzantine fault tolerant consensus algorithm, a kind of proof of stake model.
So, overall, the idea of the internet of blockchains is a vision of an interconnected ecosystem of chains along which data of all types can flow free. If that vision is achieved it will transform how cryptocurrencies are bought and sold, and what people can do with their virtual assets such as NFTs.
What are sidechains?
A sidechain is a separate blockchain that runs parallel to the mainnet of another blockchain. Sidechains are closely connected with Ethereum as this is the network where most are deployed and the sidechains implementations are based on the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
Sidechains have their own consensus algorithm which can be proof of authority, proof of stake, or byzantine fault tolerance, among others.
On Ethereum, which is where the Polygon chains run, this means that developers can use their Dapps (decentralized apps) on a sidechain, just by deploying the code to that sidechain. Everything else will work just like the mainnet.
Of course, Polygon has evolved to be much more than just a sidechain but this is the basic idea of what it tries to do. A lot of chains running in parallel, that can talk to each other through the Ethereum mainnet.
But what are the benefits of sidechains? What do they actually add to the blockchain ecosystem?
The main one is scalability. We’ve used this word a lot already, but it’s a for a very good reason. In computing in general, but especially in blockchains, scalability is among the chief concerns. As all projects want to be used by as many people as possible, the amount of computational power necessary to process all the activities can rise exponentially.
Sidechains can optimize transactions in various ways. Proof of stake instead of proof of work is one way but transactions can also be moved from one chain to another that contains other optimizations that work better with a given kind of transaction. For instance, maybe someone creates a chain that’s optimized for use with play to earn games or one that is all about NFTs.
There is also the innovation they can bring. Adding new features, ideas, and processes to existing chains with a lot of stakeholders is hard. A consensus may be slow to reach or it won’t be reached at all. Sidechains let new ideas be tested faster. And of course, if the ideas turn out to be good and useful, they can eventually be integrated into the main chain.
What is Plasma?
Plasma is an Ethereum-related technology that allows for the creation of so-called “child chains” that can process transactions before periodically being finalized on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Ethereum main chain then serves as a layer of trust and arbitration. The child chains essentially provide fast and low-cost transactions but only support a limited number of types such as token transfers and swaps.
What makes Plasma advantageous over some other implementations of this tech? It’s about how the child chains interact with the main chain.
Just like a sidechain, Plasma has a consensus mechanism that creates blocks but the root of each Plasma chain block is published to Ethereum. So, these roots basically act like “save points” in the blockchain. This alleviates one of the main concerns with sidechains: that they could stop producing blocks and lock up everyone’s funds.
This means that by design, Plasma is a safer tech than sidechains.
While some of the functionality is sacrificed for this extra security (remember Plasma cannot do general computation like Ethereum, only transactions and swaps) it’s worth it for most applications.
Plasma allows for faster and cheaper transactions while at the same time offering a very high level of security compared to non-Plasma sidechains.
This is why Plasma is one of the key components in what Polygon is trying to do.
Polygon Solutions: An Overview
We have now gone over in some detail through the tech behind Polygon that lets it do what it does. Now it’s time to see why does it all matters? What kind of benefits does this all bring to Ethereum and the world of blockchain in general?
What are some of the most interesting and exciting Polygon solutions that are out there and what do they do?
With all the buzz that Polygon has generated, it must be doing something (or a lot) right. Indeed, it is, since this technology is addressing some of the biggest issues around Ethereum while also building a new vision. For both Ethereum and the blockchain.
Central to this is the idea of interconnectedness that is enabled by Plasma and Polygon’s POS Chain among other solutions that are running on the network.
Here we’ll go over them to give you an understanding of why all of this matters and what can be expected in the future as technology starts maturing more and new things are implemented.
Over time, all this does have the potential to become very important for the future of exciting stuff such as the Metaverse and NFT trading. As more and more people get into these activities, more transactions will be made on the blockchains.
Being able to conduct them in a fast, cheap, and secure way will become paramount. And whoever gets there first will be very influential and also make a lot of money.
What Ethereum Challenges Does Polygon Solve?
Ethereum has emerged, alongside Bitcoin, as the main player in the cryptocurrency space and one of the most popular platforms to use for various blockchain applications.
What sets apart Ethereum from other blockchains is the smart contract, essentially an app that runs on the blockchain. This “general computation” has enabled Ethereum to not just be a ledger of currency transactions but a platform on which apps can run.
This has seen Ethereum become home to decentralized apps (Dapps) that run the gamut from finance to NFTs to play to earn games.
But it’s exactly this popularity in various applications that has caused gas fees (transaction costs) to become very high on the Ethereum Mainnet. In particular, the rise of NFTs has dramatically increased transaction volumes.
This is a problem, since for some smaller transactions, gas fees have become prohibitively expensive.
What if you just want to transfer some Ether to a friend? Or pay for something that isn’t very expensive? The gas fees could easily be much higher than the value of the transaction.
It’s this challenge, the challenge of scalability and speed, that Polygon is most poised to solve.
With transactions moved off to the Plasma sidechains or the Polygon POS chain, they become faster and cheaper with a minimal sacrifice of security. And because Polygon is hard at work going from optimistic rollups to zk-rollups, security could be significantly improved very soon.
Another challenge for not just Ethereum but the blockchain space in general is interoperability and connection. As it stands, most chains are worlds unto themselves, relying on dedicated third-party exchanges to turn one cryptocurrency into another.
Technology such as Polygon could change all this. For instance, decentralized finance apps could run on Polygon and take assets from many different places.
What is Polygon Edge?
Polygon Edge is one of the solutions used to build Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks, written in the programming language Go.
What is it and how does it work? Edge is a custom-built Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) implementation which allows developers to continue building their chains using whatever smart contract languages they are familiar and comfortable with such as Solidity or Vyper.
Edge is a modular system focused on extensibility and developer experience. It supports some of the most popular wallets such as MetaMask, and is compatible with Ethereum tools and libraries.
It supports communication with multiple blockchain networks, enabling transfers of tokens using the centralized bridge solution. It uses the Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus mechanism which can work as a Proof of Authority or a Proof of Stake system.
Essentially, Edge is a set of tools that lets developers quickly bootstrap a sidechain that is compatible with Polygon and Ethereum.
Using Edge, it’s easy and streamlined to put up a new chain, and once there’s a new chain, certain transactions can be moved to it. The more sidechains there are, the more scalability there is.
What is the Polygon PoS Chain?
Polygon PoS is a layer 2 scaling solution that achieves scale by using sidechains for off-chain computation. It achieves security by using the Plasma framework and a decentralized network of PoS validators.
The native token of this system, MATIC, is what is used to account and exchange gas payments on the network. MATIC is also used by validators to secure the network, ensure proper computation. It is then rewarded to those same validators when they secure blocks.
Architecturally, the PoS Chain consists of the Ethereum layer, which is a set of contracts on the Ethereum network. A Heimdall layer is a set of proof of stake Heimdall notes running in parallel to an Ethereum network and monitoring the contracts on that network.
Additionally, a Bor layer (this is a fork of Go Ethereum) is a set of block-producing nodes that are shuffled by the Heimdall nodes.
Staking (which is essential for how validation works here) is done on the set of smart contracts on the Ethereum network. Heimdall nodes are what monitors this set on the Ethereum network and they select the Bor nodes which produce the blocks on the Polygon PoS.
If all that sounds very technical, it’s because it is. But the gist of it is that the provides the security necessary for all of this to work properly.
What is Polygon Hermez?
Hermez is an open-source zk-rollup that is optimized for secure low-cost token transfers on Ethereum.
It is meant to integrate into the “fabric of Ethereum” as the developers say, in order to enable low-cost token transfers. With high throughput, a decentralized and open-source architecture, and computational integrity, Hermez is exactly the kind of solution that Polygon was made for.
Developers claim that this solution can reduce transfer costs up to 90%. In their vision, Hermez will become an inclusive, resilient, and efficient payment network for the next generation of cryptocurrencies to ensure everyone has the freedom to transact.
Another innovation of Hermez is in the way it handles block creation with a socially-responsible bent. Creators are selected through a burn auction, but rather than burning all of the tokens, 40% of the winning bid is returned as a donation to be reinvested in Ethereum public goods through Gitcoin funding grants in a mechanism called Proof-of-Donation.
Hermez is definitely a project to keep an eye on, due to the fact it attempts to solve an important problem around transaction speed and volume. As more and more people are brought into the fold of the blockchain and cryptocurrency transactions, the need for open and scalable solutions will only intensify.
What is Polygon Avail?
Avail is a new project by the people behind Polygon, announced in June of 2021. They call it a “robust general purpose scalable data availability layer.” Yes, it’s definitely a mouthful and like everything else about the blockchain, sounds incredibly complicated, mostly because it is.
So, let’s unpack it all and see what it’s about.
As always with Polygon-related projects, it is touted as a completely new take on how future blockchains would work.
The focus of this project is on data availability. Essentially, a new type of blockchain will check the order of and the deposited data before sending confirmation to the consensus and thus providing a verification of authenticity.
In turn, this provides a common data availability layer that can be used by execution environments such as standalone chains, sidechains, and off-chain scaling solutions. In the long term, Polygon developers hope that this will enable a wide variety of experimentation on the execution environment side.
So, the point is to create a system where standalone chains and side-chains can bootstrap validator security without having to create and manage their own set of validators.
Most Polygon solutions are about increasing connectivity between chains and so is the case with this one. Avail should make it easier to run sidechains and also more secure.
What is Polygon Nightfall?
The rise of decentralized finance has created sizeable congestion on the Ethereum network and is part of the reason why gas fees have ballooned.
Addressing this is one of the main objectives of Polygon in general. But the developers have also launched Nightfall, a solution aimed more than institutional and enterprise users, especially investors.
One of the main needs that such users have is privacy and Nightfall aims to address this. Polygon has developed this solution in cooperation with EY, one of the so-called Big Four accounting companies.
The idea is to make it easy to conduct transactions for enterprises. This is achieved by using an optimistic rollup layer that lets other actors check for errors in transactions and blocks that are proposed on the chain and submit fraud proofs. The zero-knowledge proof layer is used for privacy while the optimistic rollups enable scalability.
Nightfall enables transactions that are cheap, secure, and private. Corporate, enterprise, and institutional actors such as investors can use it to make private transactions on the public Ethereum network.
What is Polygon Zero?
Polygon Zero is yet another of the zero-knowledge rollup implementations made by the project’s developers. What sets this one part is “the power of Plonky2.”
While that name is quite funny, the “prover system” actually does something very useful. Namely, it is able to generate ZK proofs much faster than any other tech.
This allows for what is called “horizontal scalability” meaning that the protocol is not limited by the weakest node in the network but only by the total computational power available.
In practical terms, Plonky2/Polygon Zero can generate ZK proofs in 170 milliseconds on a commodity laptop.
Transactions can be executed off-chain and then efficiently proven to Ethereum. Which, basically, is the entire point of Polygon.
Obviously, any solution that increases security while also increasing speed is exactly what the blockchain needs right now. This is why ZK-rollups are so important and why so many of the Polygon projects are aimed in that direction.
What is Polygon Bridge?
One of the main benefits of Polygon is its ability to connect different chains into one “internet of blockchains” in addition to making transactions cheaper and faster.
A key component of this is called bridging. That is what allows Polygon to transfer data between itself and Ethereum (and one perhaps to other blockchain networks too).
As the number of different chains is growing, transferring data between them has been challenging in crypto space. This is especially important for Dapps which want to target as many users as possible.
So, in order for users to interact with Dapps, assets must be transferred to Polygon. This is achieved through a process called bridging. There are two Polygon Bridges: the POS Bridge and the Plasma Bridge (we explained them above).
They can both move stuff from Polygon to Ethereum, but utilize different security mechanisms.
In short, the point of Bridges and the process called “bridging” is to move data (tokens, blocks, assets) to and from the many sidechains using Polygon tech into the main Ethereum network. This, essentially, right now, is the entire point of Polygon.
It’s only through bridging that data can move between chains, and that is what allows for the interconnected and interoperable world of blockchain that is at the heart of the Polygon vision.
Are there gas fees on the Polygon blockchain?
In one word, yes.
Basically, gas fees exist to quantify and compensate for the computing power that’s necessary to process and validate transactions.
Ethereum miners are given these gas fees as a reward for verifying and processing transactions, just the same as on the Bitcoin blockchain. This arrangement is necessary in order for a permissionless network (which blockchains are) to remain secure and trustworthy.
Now, the reason why gas fees are such a stumbling block on the Ethereum network while not really being a big deal for Bitcoin, is that Ethereum is not just about token transactions, it can perform general computation as well thanks to the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
Since Polygon is compatible with the EVM and because transactions on the chains built on Polygon also need verification and processing, there are gas fees here too.
Luckily, because tech like Nightfall, Plasma, and POS, do what they do, transaction (that is gas) fees on Polygon remain much lower than on the Ethereum Mainnet, despite occasional spikes caused by heavy Dapp use and NFT trading.
What can Polygon do for the Web3 concept?
Web3 is the newest, and if you ask some people, the most exciting concept for the future of the Internet. What is it exactly?
Well, it’s a decentralized Internet that puts users in control, to summarize it briefly. It relies on technology such as the blockchain that allows for distributed and permissionless networks outside of the control of the so-called Big Tech players.
Web3 is all about Dapps, especially decentralized finance ones, such as Hermez, that are supposed to allow free transfer of assets and value across the Internet without any intermediaries in a way that is secure and fast.
This vision of the future of the Internet is also tightly interwoven with the Metaverse, especially those Metaverse implementations that run on the blockchain (usually Ethereum) such as Decentraland and Cryptovoxels.
So, where does Polygon fit into this idea?
Well, as more and more people get into the Metaverse, NFT art collection, trading with crypto, and other activities that will be central to Web3, there will also be many more transactions on the blockchains.
And none of it will actually work properly if gas fees are very high. How can you trade a nice NFT avatar hat in a game with a friend if the transaction cost goes several times over the value of the actual item?
Not to mention possible slowdowns that negatively impact user experience and engagement. The solution is obviously to find a way for transactions to be fast and cheap while still retaining most of the security features.
Polygon is one such solution. And as such, it could become very important for Web3. Remember that this idea is all about openness, interconnection, scalability, and interoperability. That is exactly what Web3 needs if it is to become the next big thing.
What are the top 5 projects running on the Polygon network?
It’s hard to count just how many Dapps are actually running across Polygon’s vast sidechains. The ecosystem is vast, and has DAOs, wallets, DeFis, NFTs, and various tools running in it.
So, we’ve prepared a list of the top five most interesting and popular to give you an idea of what’s going on.
A decentralized permissionless exchange (DEX), Quickswap is a Dapp that is powered by Polygon’s layer 2 scalability infrastructure. Using layer 2 for transactions, Quickswap allows for trading any ERC20 assets at fast speeds with near-zero gas costs.
It’s a great option for those who hold a lot of different tokens and want to exchange them for one another.
Arc8 is one of those play to earn that are very popular right now. When players download the app (for Android and iOS) they can compete in various games from versions of Solitaire to a bite-sized RPG to fast racers that require lightning-fast reflexes.
It’s a very enticing concept for gamers who can now earn actual tangible rewards for what they’ll be doing anyway. Arc8 is powered by the token GMEE which is available for purchase on exchanges.
Players then compete head-to-head and earn rewards. It’s an exciting meeting of eSports and the blockchain, basically.
Did you enjoy Tamagotchis when you were a kid? Want to recapture that feeling of caring for a little digital creature but also maybe make money in the process?
Then Aavegotchi is the Dapp for you.
These are rare crypto collectibles living on Ethereum and Polygon backed by ERC721 tokens. There’s a lot to do with these ghostly creatures, at least of all trying to turn the really rare ones for profit.
The game has introduced many innovations into the blockchain and play to earn sphere including collateral stakes, dynamic rarity, DAO game mechanics and more.
For people whose interests lean more towards environmentalism, there’s a Dapp for that on Polygon too.
This Dapp is all about yield-bearing assets and CO2 tokens that can be traded on the blockchain.
The goal is to create an ecosystem for farm and agricultural investing that ensure a sustainable mode for CO2 compensation.
All of this is done through a concept called proof of carbon compensation. Via the platform, retail and institutional investors will be able to compensate their carbon footprint by buying and burning tokens, giving them proof of compensation in return.
Right now. Coorest is in the idea stage, with a white paper released and the Dapp launching soon. But you can buy a pretty NFT tree from them right now, so that’s something.
Let’s say that you’re a developer working on a Web3 project and you need to automate some tedious work of smart contract executions on EVM-compatible chains.
What you’ll want then are bots. Now, it should be said, not all bots are bad. This isn’t about hacking or posting annoying comments on social networks.
Instead, it’s about automating trading actions on decentralized exchanges.
This is very helpful for developers of such Dapps that require a lot of routine and same transactions to be completed over and over.
Gelato Network supports the Ethereum, Polygon, Fanton, Arbitrum, Binance Smart Chain, and Avalanche.
The Rise of Polygon and MATIC: How it became the most popular scaling solution for Ethereum
Polygon (or MATIC Network as it used to be called) is one of the few projects that are known as layer 2 scalability solutions. Some of the other popular ones are Avalanche and Arbitrum.
But there’s definitely the most buzz around Polygon. Polygon was renamed in February 2021 when it also pivoted from providing just a sidechain solution for Ethereum to its current goals of increased interoperability and being an integral part of the Ethereum ecosystem.
Since then, its popularity has skyrocketed and its token MATIC has increased in value, seeming somewhat resistant to fluctuations that have occurred in the crypto world at the beginning of 2022.
Now, the developers have also launched a host of new solutions such as Nightfall, Zero, and Hermez, all aimed at addressing various challenges of Ethereum and making it faster, cheaper, and secure.
Polygon is not the only “internet of blockchains” attempt of course. Polkadot and Cosoms have also emerged as competitors in this space. They all essentially want to create a Web3 “internet of blockchains” that will feature true interoperability and the ability to send crypto assets (tokens, NFTS, etc.) from one chain to the other without limitations.
As it stands, any one of these projects could emerge as the leading solutions in the field. It’s too early to tell what the future of Web3, Metaverse, and decentralized finance is, but it’s likely it will involve blockchain scaling and interoperability solutions.
How has Polygon become popular?
It was in 2021 when Polygon first started gathering a lot of buzz and its coin, MATIC, surged. This was driven largely by the explosion of interest in NFTs, play to earn games, and decentralized finance.
While the world is getting to know the likes of the Mutant Ape Yacht Club and getting hyped to participate in the latest online trend, the gas fees on Ethereum went up because of all the blockchain activity.
It’s no wonder that many developers and users began flocking to Polygon’s scaling solutions, which in turn sent the price of MATIC shooting up.
In reality, what happened is very simple. So many Dapp developers and NFT artists needed a way to enable various actions on the blockchain. But on the Ethereum Mainnet, those transactions can be very expensive due to gas fees. Prohibitively so. And a lot of Dapps, NFT collections, and P2E games by nature require a lot of transactions.
Enter Polygon and the other few scaling and sidechain solutions.
Perhaps it was fortuitous that all this coincided with the rebrand for Polygon (previously known as Matic Network) and them unveiling their vision for the “internet of blockchains.” It certainly got people interested and talking.
According Dune Analytics, Polygon’s bridges currently hold around $6.6 billion in value, second only to Avalanche which holds $7.8 billion. Comparatively, Arbitrum, another layer 2 contender, holds $2.5 billion.
This definitely speaks of how popular Polygon has become and in a very short period of time. Of course, Web3 and Metaverse are all the rage right now, and Polygon plays right into that.
How many users does Polygon have?
In terms of popularity one of the best ways to measure it when it comes to any online app or solution is by the number of users.
According to data from Polygonscan, the Polygon network had its first spike of users in June of 2021 when the number of active PoS chain addresses claimed to over 100,000 users. Active addresses mean unique wallet addresses that had transactions on the chain as senders or receivers.
October was a banner month for the network when the number of users ballooned to nearly 500,000 actually managing to surpass the Ethereum Mainnet. January 2022 saw the number climb even higher to nearly 600,000.
Since then, the user numbers have stabilized at around 300,000.
These user counts are just additional proof of Polygon’s popularity.
Another sign of the network’s popularity can be glimpsed through the number of people using the popular OpenSea NFT platform through the Polygon network. According to Dune Analytics, this number has steadily grown since September of 2020, reaching over a million users in February of 2022.
It’s not a surprise that Polygon is used so much for NFT purposes, since gas fees are an important factor for NFT collectors and traders.
What is the promise of Polygon?
Even right now, Polygon is clearly very useful. That’s reflected in the rising popularity and the high user numbers. But, why all the buzz in the industry around it and other scalability solutions?
Exactly what is the future hinted at here?
Everyone is talking about Metaverse and Web3 and scalability solutions are a part of all this. If a lot of people get into this online second life and the associated NFT, play to earn games, and other digital pastimes, this will generate a lot of activity on the blockchain.
Then also, there are decentralized finance apps which to a lot of people represent the future of online finance. Away from banks and classic institutions, allowing for things like microloans, crowdfunding and more.
Like everything else in the world, all of this will require infrastructure to support it. That is what Polkadot, Cosmos, Ethereum, and Polygon want to eventually become. The race is on to be the solution that will power web3 and Metaverse.
How many Dapps are running on Polygon?
Another good way to judge the popularity of Polygon is to see just how many Dapps are running on it. Dapps, of course, are distributed apps. Unlike “classic” apps you have on your computer and phone that are running from a server farm somewhere and are controlled by a single entity, Dapps run on the blockchain.
On Polygon, there are currently over 7000 Dapps running as of January 2022. That’s quite a lot. This means there are a massive number of developers choosing Polygon as the home for their projects.
Why are so many Dapp devs choosing Polygon? Gas fees mostly. Running a Dapp on Ethereum can be both expensive and slow as all transactions are “written” directly into the main ledger. But, if your Dapp runs on Polygon instead, then all those many transactions are bundled together saving massively on gas.
So, with over 7000 Dapps running, it can be said that Polygon is one of the most, if not the most, popular blockchain platforms for DeFi development. Many say that decentralized finance is the future of all finance, and if that’s true, Polygon will be a big part of that future.
What is MATIC’s value history?
On the value front, MATIC has been steadily rising for the last year. That’s not surprising at all, given the buzz surrounding its parent network Polygon.
Its rise has been nothing short of meteoric. A year ago, MATIC stood at around $0.8 and since May of last year, when the buzz started, it has climbed to a steady range of about $1.8-$2.0.
Now clearly, cryptocurrency prices are all very volatile, but this is as good an indication as any of Polygon’s popularity.
The value of the MATIC coin, used for staking and gas fees on the network, reflects the utility of this coin. As more people and Dapp developers get aboard, its value will be in line with that.
Where can I buy MATIC?
Like any proper coin, MATIC can be purchased for fiat currencies at any of the major exchanges such as Binance or Crypto.com.
If you hold other cryptocurrencies, you can also exchange them for MATIC. If your currency is already on the Polygon network, then you can a DEX Dapp such as QuickSwap to quickly exchange with minimal fees.
Most likely, you don’t own any and the ones you do aren’t on Polygon. No problem.
If you don’t currently have any cryptos or want to purchase with fiat, the easiest option is to first purchase MATIC on Binance or Crypto.com. Then withdraw your MATIC to a wallet of your choice. Popular wallet choices for Polygon’s network include MetaMask, Exodus, and many others.
Whatever hardware, software, or cloud wallet you have will most likely be able to connect to the Polygon network and send and receive MATIC tokens.
This means that getting ahold of MATIC is easy and fast. Also, for now at least, minimal transactions for purchasing MATIC with fiat currency are low. Binance will only ask for €15, for instance. If you just want to dip your toes, now is the time.
Is MATIC likely to increase in value?
It’s hard to speculate on how the price of any token will go. But if current events are any indication, there’s reason to be optimistic about MATIC.
The network had a great month in October of last year, when the number of users grew to around 500,000, surpassing the Ethereum Mainnet. In January 2022, the figure had risen to about 600,000.
This is good news, as well as the 7000 Dapps that are currently running on the Polygon network.
Add to this all the buzz around “internet of Blockchains” and the fact that MATIC has been quite resistant to the general crypto downturn that happened in the early months of 2022, and again, there’s reason to be optimistic about it.
But, it’s important to consider that Polygon is not alone in its vision. Polkadot, Cosmos, Avalanche, Arbitrum, and others are all trying to crack the same Ethereum and Blockchain challenges. Nobody knows right now who will emerge as the main and leading solution, and logically, whoever does will also have the most valuable token.
Of course, investing in any cryptocurrency is extremely risky, so if your thoughts are going in that direction, caution is always advised.
What can I do with MATIC?
The two main uses of MATIC are staking to become a validator on the PoS chain and paying gas fees on the Polygon network. So, you’ll always need at least some MATIC if you’re doing transactions on Polygon even if you don’t want to stake or do anything else.
Luckily both MATIC and the gas fees are cheap right now. Outside of this, there’s no reason why you couldn’t send some MATIC to pay for something, if that person will accept it
Another fun use of MATIC is for purchasing various meme coins. There’s no reason why you couldn’t become a Dogelon Mars (ELON) millionaire right now. All you need to do is head over to a DEX and spend a few MATIC to become rich in meaningless data held on a blockchain. What a time to be alive.
Polygon, iGaming, NFTs, Metaverse, or: How to have fun with MATIC?
After all these technical guides and talking about the future of the blockchain and Internet, it’s time to finally see what fun uses Polygon and MATIC have. Can you buy NFTs? Can you use it in the Metaverse? Are there implications for the iGaming industry?
The answer to some of these questions is yes.
The blockchain and by extension Polygon have implications for all these areas.
It’s a really interesting and unique technology that promises to address a lot of problems not just in the blockchain sector, but also in Metaverse and web3. These are all fresh perspectives on the Internet and how we may utilize it.
Note, however, that Polygon is really at heart an infrastructural solution. That means that, at least right now, the uses of all this for direct engagement with iGaming, NFTs, and Metaverse are limited. But all that can easily change. And there are fun things you can do right now with Polygon and MATIC.
So, let’s get right into it.
How will Metaverse make use of Polygon?
In the Metaverse field, there are many applications that can take advantage of Polygon.
We have already mentioned the gas fees many times, but we’ll mention them again, because they’re a real bother. This is why already some Metaverse projects are choosing to run on both Ethereum and Polygon to give users more options.
And many of the users are choosing Polygon because of the lower gas fees and faster transactions.
It’s this that might make Polygon even more popular for Metaverse applications than it already is.
In many of the Metaverse worlds there are NFT items and/or play to earn mechanics. These rely on the blockchain to verify uniqueness, authenticity, and ownership. With more people playing, the transaction number increases as well.
And since Ethereum is famously congested… you get the rest. Using solutions such as Polygon allows for the higher volume of transactions that are necessary for NFT trading, play to earn games, and Metaverse to function as intended.
What are the Top 5 Metaverse projects on Polygon?
With all of the above said, let’s now look at some of the projects in the Metaverse space that are utilizing Polygon for various reasons.
Decentraland is a name you’ll see often when people are talking about Metaverse. It’s a virtual world running on the Ethereum network where players can enjoy games, social activities, and much more.
Like many Ethereum-based projects, Decentraland has partnered with Polygon to offer low cost and fast transactions. Scenes in Decentraland can now choose to use the Polygon network to handle transactions. What’s really good for players is that this is handled via meta-transactions so they don’t have to switch networks in their browsers.
Decentraland also uses Polygon to handle NFT item transactions in its Marketplace.
This NFT game featuring cute pixelated ghosts is also transitioning from Ethereum to Polygon. This was approved with a 76% vote through its DAO and was mainly triggered by high gas fees on Ethereum. At one point, it would have cost a new player over $300 in gas fees just to begin playing by opening a portal from which the Aavegotchis are summoned.
This is a game for players that are looking for something a bit edgy and gritty. Set in a dystopian cyberpunk city, it features pizza delivery and street fights to the death.
A unique system makes NFTs worth more the more players develop them.
It doesn’t have its own coin, yet. But there are two versions, one on Ethereum and one on Polygon and it’s not surprising that the Polygon one is more popular due to lower costs and faster transaction times.
Terra Virtua Kolect
And here’s another NFT-based game that’s moved from Ethereum to Polygon. A collectibles platform available on mobile PC, it provides a unique AR and VR experience.
Can you guess why it moved to Polygon in August of 2021? That’s right, lower gas fees and faster transactions. There’s a clear trend right now, in which many Metaverses are moving to Polygon in order to take advantage of its more flexible and faster infrastructure when compared to Ethereum.
Next Earth is another Metaverse project that gives true digital ownership over avatars and lets players decide important things through DAOs.
It migrated from the Binance Smart Chain to Polygon at the beginning of 2022.
Right now, the project is focused on building a self-sustaining economy and it is clear why Polygon was the best choice of network for that with its fast and cheap transactions.
Next Earth has also recently launched its own token, also running on Polygon.
How does Polygon fit into the iGaming world?
While you cannot use MATIC to gamble, at least yet, there are other ways in which it is likely that Polygon and the world of the sidechains might meet in the future.
For instance, Polygon has recently implemented Verifiable Random Function, a technology made by the start-up Chainlink. This tech is all about provable randomness, such as with NFTs and other game items. As digital ownership of in-game items increases, players will want to know for sure that what they have is unique and fairly generated.
There are obvious implications for iGaming here. As gambling takes off in Metaverse, provable randomness will become very important and that is something that the iGaming industry is really good at doing.
For now, however, all of this is hypothetical. But it is likely that as more and activities move to Metaverse, so will gambling. Decentral Games already operate a few casinos in Decentraland. These currently run on Ethereum and MATIC is not one of the currencies that can be used. But that can change very easily.
Can MATIC be used to purchase NFTs?
As MATIC is primarily a utility token, you cannot use it right now to buy NFTs directly. But you can still benefit from using the Polygon network for your NFT needs.
This is because the Polygon network has lower gas fees and the transactions are faster.
OpenSea, one of the most popular NFT marketplaces, allows for transactions to be made on Polygon. Melon, an NFT marketplace for influencers, runs on the Polygon network and uses WETH (Wrapped Ethereum) running on Polygon.
Decentraland also has in-games assets that can be purchased with its token MANA on the Polygon network.
Many Metaverses also feature support for Polygon in one form or another. For those who plan on purchasing and trading a lot of NFTs, it makes sense to switch over to Polygon due to the better transaction environment.
If for any reason, you ever want to transfer your tokens and NFTs from Polygon to Ethereum Mainnet, that can be easily achieved through bridging. So, there’s really no reason not to give Polygon a try, as you only stand to benefit from it.
How can Polygon make the NFT sector better?
We have said before that the rise in Polygon’s popularity has been at least partly driven by the increase in the volume of NFT trade.
So, it’s clear from there that Polygon can indeed make it better. How exactly?
Through faster and cheaper transactions, basically. When you purchase an NFT, you want the gas fees to be as low as possible. It’s the same when you’re selling as well. Why would you let exorbitant gas fees cut into your profit?
With Polygon you don’t have to. Polygon’s gas fees are orders of magnitude lower than those of Ethereum.
And because Polygon is so committed to Ethereum and security, it has emerged as a reputable and trustworthy blockchain network. So, this isn’t moving your tokens and NFTs to some shady chain where God knows what can happen to it.
Polygon is used and trusted by millions.
All in all, Polygon is fast, cheap, and safe. What more could a blockchain, Metaverse, or NFT enthusiast ask for?