Polygon has been regarded as one of the essential blockchain projects nowadays. Its cryptocurrency, MATIC, has been one of the top 20 cryptos for some time now, according to CoinMarketCap. So, what is Polygon, and how does it benefit the blockchain/crypto sphere? Let’s find out.
The Scalability Problem
Before explaining what Polygon is, it’s important to understand some of the issues that the crypto world is facing nowadays, which Polygon aims to solve. The most important one is scalability.
Some of the older blockchain networks, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, do not scale well. In other words, whenever there’s increased traffic and people are making a lot of transactions, the network gets overwhelmed, which often results in high fees and slow transactions.
Since Polygon is mainly aimed at Ethereum, we will focus on that. In April 2021, Ethereum could process only around 15 transactions per second (tps), but the actual demand was much higher than that at times.
In such situations, Ethereum faces two options. The first one is leaving the gas prices as they are and letting the network process transactions at its own pace, which could take a lot of time, and the network could run out of gas. The second is to increase gas fees and prioritize some transactions. Neither is a good solution, but the good news is that Polygon jumped in to help.
What Is Polygon?
Polygon is a network that aims to solve the scalability issue on Ethereum. Essentially, it takes some of the load off the Ethereum blockchain by providing sidechains using a different consensus mechanism.
Besides fixing the slow transactions, it also reduces the fees and improves Ethereum’s overall user experience. The ultimate goal for Polygon is to create the Internet of Blockchains — a basis for Web3 — that ultimately relies on Ethereum-compatible chains. To achieve its goal, Polygon also allows developers to create and launch their own, highly customizable blockchains compatible with the Ethereum blockchain. The entire process is available in just a couple of clicks.
The Polygon team's vision is similar to the vision of many crypto experts — a decentralized network where the transfer of value and information is possible across blockchains quickly and easily. Unfortunately, there are still many ideological and technological obstacles to achieving that. Still, Polygon has made a bold step forward by helping Ethereum harness its true power.
The platform relies on several scaling mechanisms to achieve its goals, including Matic Plasma, Optimistic Rollups, zk Rollups, Validum Chains, and more. Describing each of these is beyond the scope of this post. The only thing you must know is that they make it possible to scale Ethereum properly.
Here are some of the main benefits that Polygon brings to Ethereum and the blockchain concept.
- It’s designed for ETH compatibility and is compatible with all standards, languages, tools, and tech stacks.
- It provides scalability thanks to a scalable consensus algorithm (Proof-of-Stake), dedicated chains, and more.
- There’s improved security as a pool of professional validators is added via the PoS consensus mechanism.
- It’s designed for developers, and anyone who understands Ethereum can quickly adapt to building dapps on Polygon.
Cheap and Fast Transactions Are the Essence of Blockchain in the Future
The blockchain train is speeding up, and the technology needs to follow it. That’s why popular blockchain networks need to provide fast and affordable transactions.
For example, many blockchain-based games, such as Chibi Clash, feature robust gaming economies that depend on the speed and cost of crypto transactions. Chibi Clash offers a fun gaming experience that allows players to use, trade, and earn interesting NFTs. It’s essentially an auto-battler game, but it aims to expand its play-to-earn gaming ecosystem and help players profit from their in-game activities.
Thanks to projects such as Polygon, which are based on a more scalable consensus mechanism and offer to improve existing blockchain networks, games, and even non-gaming blockchain-based projects can thrive regardless of scalability. We shouldn’t forget about metaverses — entire 3D blockchain-powered virtual realities that might not be able to work in the first place without proper scalability.
We’re yet to see the real benefits of blockchain technology, and Polygon is a small but essential step on the roadmap of blockchain development. Thanks to the improvements it offered to Ethereum, Polygon quickly started turning many investors’ and developers’ heads. The project attracted some highly talented people, and we’re yet to see the best of it.