What is Polygon (MATIC)?

Polygon is a blockchain platform designed to help scale the Ethereum network by lowering the cost of transactions while improving speed. It does this through a growing suite of software products. This includes the EVM-compatible sidechain called Polygon PoS, which uses Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and MATIC as the native token of the network. Polygon is also developing several layer-2 solutions for Ethereum based on Optimistic rollups and zero-knowledge proofs.
Read more What are sidechains?
Read more What is layer 2 on Ethereum?

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Table of Contents

  1. How does Polygon work?
  2. History of Polygon
  3. How can you use Polygon?

How does Polygon work?

Polygon aims to provide a variety of software solutions to help scale Ethereum. Using the Polygon software development kit (SDK), Polygon will enable developers to deploy decentralized applications (DApps) on sidechains or L2s, all of which connect to the Ethereum mainnet.

Currently Polygon is mostly a sidechain. The Polygon sidechain is partly responsible for its own security. It uses PoS consensus, requiring network participants to stake the native token MATIC to partake in consensus. PoS offers many advantages over Proof-of-Work like used on Ethereum. Ethereum is in the process of transitioning from PoW to PoS for that reason. You can learn more about what PoS is, and the benefits of PoS in the following article about ETH 2, the transition from PoW to PoS is of chief importance in ETH 2.

Read more: What is ETH 2?

Polygon is also developing other scaling solutions in the form of zk-rollups and Optimistic rollups. Both of these technologies derive their security from the Ethereum mainnet, though they have their own tradeoffs. Optimistic rollups have a very long time to finality. Practically speaking this means that moving cryptoassets from an optimistic rollup back to the main chain can take between 1 and 2 weeks. By contrast, zk-rollups have finality between 10 minutes and 3 hour. But zk-rollups are CPU intensive and a very new technology that is still being deployed.

History of Polygon

Polygon was originally called the Matic Network. The Matic Network was created in 2017 in India by Jaynti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal, Anurag Arjun, and Mihailo Bjelic.

How can you use Polygon?

Polygon has faster and cheaper transactions than Ethereum through a combination of more efficient consensus mechanism and reduced security (compared to Ethereum). You can bridge Ethereum cryptoassets from the mainnet to Polygon using the official Polygon PoS bridge. Bridging will usually take between 8 and 10 minutes. After that, you can use do most things you can do on Ethereum such as swap, borrow/lend, and pool liquidity but with lower fees and faster transaction times. Whenever you wish, you can bridge back to the Ethereum mainnet.

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