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Dubbed as “Ethereum’s internet of blockchain”, Polygon positions itself as a scaling project for Ethereum, at least, prior to the launch of its upgraded ETH version 2.0. To correctly answer the question of “what is Polygon?” let’s quickly take a look at a brief history of the shape-themed tier-2 blockchain.

A brief history of Polygon

Jaynti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal, and Anurag Arjun, three experienced Indian Ethereum developers, co-founded Polygon in 2017. Then, the project was dubbed as MATIC network, a testnet that primarily supports the Ethereum blockchain as an interchain scaling solution, before becoming a full-fledge mainnet later that year.

This, however, was owing to the fact that Ethereum 2.0, which was supposed to serve the same purpose, was taking much too long to build.

By providing a scalability solution for the Etherum blockchain, the then MATIC network provided an infrastructure that allowed compatible blockchain networks to interface with each other. Basically, the tier-2 network combines the adaptability and scalability of alt chains along with Ethereum’s security, liquidity, and interoperability.

The MATIC network which was also instrumental in the growth of decentralised platforms like Maker (MKR) and Decentraland as well as exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase has since evolved to become what is now known as Polygon.

Earlier in the year, following its rebranding, Polygon proceeded to carry out plasma, which allowed for the creation of baby blockchains on the platform while using the Ethereum as a layer of trust and arbitration. Subsequently, the platform also introduced an AAVE liquidity mining protocol to further boost the network’s significance. This finally brings us to the main question, what is Polygon?

What is Polygon?

Polygon, previou others.sly known as MATIC, is best described as a scaling platform that aims to solve specific challenges associated with Ethereum. Some of these challenges range from high gas fees to poor user experience relating to low throughput or processing speed, and perhaps sovereignty-related issues among

Also, Polygon seeks to establish a multi-chain ecosystem for Ethereum compatible blockchain networks in addition to addressing the issues experienced on the primary Etherum blockchain, which appears to have been over-utilised prior to the launch of numerous blockchain choices like we have now.

Although it is mostly compared to other stand-alone blockchain systems, Polygon claims to be a tier-2 network. This further suggests that it functions as an add-on layer to an existing framework, which in this case is Ethereum and other compatible blockchain networks. 

More so, the Polygon framework is built as a full-fledged multi-chain system, and as mentioned earlier, combines the best features of Ethereum and sovereign blockchains. 

While it promises a simpler framework for building interconnected networks, the tier 2 blockchain is applicable across the various aspects of the crypto market including DAOs (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations), DApps (Decentralised Applications), Defi (Decentralised Finance), and NFTs (Non-fungible Tokens).

Notably, Polygon is attempting to boost Ethereum’s adoption while remaining secure by providing a high-end efficiency. Additionally, because it was “developed by developers for developers,” it provides the necessary speed to assist developers onboard new and exciting projects to market as quickly as possible. So, how does Polygon works?

How does Polygon work

To begin, it’s important to note that one of Polygon’s primary objectives was to unclog traffic on the Ethereum mainnet. As a result, it’s designed as a multi-level platform with several sidechains aimed at scaling Ethereun or any other compatible blockchain network.

If you are finding it hard to process, sidechains are additional blockchains attached to a primary blockchain i.e, Ethereum, using a two-way peg, a system that enables the interchangeability of assets at a pre-determined rate between the primary blockchain and the sidechains.

By attaching several sidechains to the mainnet, Polygon is able to effectively accommodate as many as possible Defi protocols within the Ethereum ecosystem. 

A relatable example to Polygon would be the likes of Polkadot, Avalanch, and Cosmos, all of which also employ sidechains for interoperability. More so, they all make use of similar structures, tokens, local dapps, client nodes, validator nodes, and so on.

However, Polygon edges others out by leveraging on three significant advantages: it is inherently safer, more open, and it can fully benefit from Etherum’s network effect.

Technically, by offering a tier-2 solution, Polygon is able to lessen the components responsible for evaluating power from the primary blockchain. Instead, it spreads them across other sidechains who then proceed to execute the power evaluation, further boosting the network throughput and overall efficiency.

In terms of infrastructure, Polygon makes use of a modular system that allows developers to access a custom network permit or software development kit (SDK) for project development at a single snap.

With the custom SDK, developers are able to build Etherum-compatible DApps as sidechains on the polygon network which serves as a linking bridge to the primary blockchain.

Furthermore, to build DApps as sidechains, developers can employ one of three scalability methods including Plasma chains, ZK-Rollups, and Optimistic Rollups. The difference between the three, although minimal, is very distinctive.

Plasma chains, for example, combine transactions into a single block, which is then processed as a single submission on the Ethereumm blockchain; ZK-Rollups, on the other hand, allows numerous transfers to be combined into a single transaction; and, finally, Optimistic rollups, akin to Plasma, provide additional scaling capabilities for Ethereum smart contracts.

What is Polygon Matic?

Just like most blockchain systems, Polygon makes use of a native token known as MATIC, a name that was retained after the network was rebranded as Polygon. 

Beyond its primary usage as a utility token for exchange payments, MATIC is also used for storing tokens so as to protect the Polygon network. And while it currently ranks among the top-15 cryptocurrencies with more than $8.94 billion in market capitalisation, its founders have high aspirations to have it queue behind Ethereum as the third-largest crypto project to exist. 

Currently, there is approximately five billion of 10 billion stockpile MATIC tokens in circulation and are accessible across popular decentralised and centralised trading platforms including Binance and Coinbase among several others.

Ultimately, Polygon MATIC renders the most pressing solution relating to scalability in the vast application of blockchain technology.  

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.