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Polygon: Ethereum’s Internet of Blockchains

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Ethereum is now the most popular Blockchain platform to develop marketplaces, decentralized applications, and more. Ethereum helps resolve several challenges associated with blockchains like Bitcoin. However, network congestion, low speeds, and high transaction costs lead to scalability concerns in Ethereum. As a solution to resolve issues on Ethereum, Polygon was introduced as an innovative and unique layer-2 solution. Previously known as Matic Network, Polygon is attracting attention as a potential framework for building interconnected Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks. Polygon aims to serve as a multi-chain platform to scale Ethereum, resolving challenges of speed, costs, and clogged networks in an effective and cost-efficient manner.

Polygon was launched in 2017 by a team of Blockchain developers from India. Jayanti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal, and Anurag Arjun started the Matic Network. The team had worked with the Ethereum ecosystem in the past, implementing protocols like the Plasma MVP, Dagger even notification, and WalletConnect. Polygon continues using the MATIC utility token, with the MATIC token being a highly liquid one in the Crypto market. Polygon as a layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum aims to make Ethereum-based Blockchain networks more interoperable by resolving a plethora of challenges that otherwise occur on the Ethereum platform.

What is Polygon?

Polygon is an ambitious Blockchain framework, empowering the Ethereum ecosystem to aggregate scalable solutions. It is an interoperability layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum, developed to facilitate interfacing between blockchain networks. The interchain scaling infrastructure aims to improve the adaptability and scalability features of the Ethereum platform while ensuring higher levels of liquidity, interoperability, and security. To resolve challenges of costs, speed, and congestion, Polygon utilizes the MATIC sidechain that functions like a Proof-of-Stake blockchain. The sidechain fosters greater cooperation and execution of numerous Ethereum-based decentralized applications. The Polygon ecosystem comprises the block creators, clients, developers, and stakeholders, with most developers using the Polygon SDK stack and network to deliver optimal results.

One of the most attractive features of Polygon is its ability to facilitate interaction between Ethereum-based Blockchain networks while utilizing the benefits offered by Ethereum. Developers can explore better opportunities with Polygon, such as creating standalone blockchains that are flexible, scalable, and secure. In the future, Polygon may support decentralized financial applications (DeFi) outside the Ethereum ecosystem as well.

Polygon’s compatibility with existing Ethereum features and tools enables projects to utilize and integrate features of both secured and standalone chains. Ethereum tools like Metamask, Remix, and Crypto allow the blockchains in the Polygon ecosystem to exchange messages among themselves as well as with Ethereum.

Polygon technology comprises two main components, i.e. Polygon Protocol and Polygon Framework.

Polygon Protocol

Polygon Protocol facilitates the exchange of arbitrary messages between two participating Polygon chains, and between Polygon chains and Ethereum. The protocol also provides ‘Security as a service’ directly by Ethereum or a set of validators.

Polygon Framework

Preset Ethereum-compatible blockchains can be deployed in one click with the Polygon framework. The framework integrates several modules that perform different functions, right from staking, consensus, and governance to execution environments and dispute resolving.

Features of Polygon

  • Interoperability
  • Ethereum compatibility
  • Sovereignty in Blockchain networks
  • Scalability
  • Security
  • Modularity
  • User experience
  • Developer-friendly

Polygon Chains

Polygon combines the features of Ethereum and sovereign Blockchains to develop full-stack scaling solutions. The Polygon technology can be utilized as both a framework and protocol to build Ethereum-compatible Blockchain networks, referred to as Polygon Chains. These chains can be further explained under two categories- Secured Chains and Stand-alone chains.

Secured Chains

Secured chains leverage ‘security as a service’ to establish their own validator pool. This service can be provided by Ethereum directly. Alternatively, a team of validators can also provide the security service through:

  • Polygon Proof-of-Stake
  • Zk Rollups
  • Optimistic Rollups
  • Validum chains

The Polygon PoS is added to the security layer of Blockchain networks launched on Polygon. Polygon also uses the Plasma scaling technology to implement Plasma chains and move assets between the root chains and child chains via Plasma bridges.

ZK-Rollups are alternative scaling solutions to Polygon PoS and Plasma chains. ZK-Rollups is used to bundle large numbers of transfers off-chain to a single transaction. To store final public records on the Ethereum main chain, zk-Rollups use zero-knowledge proofs. Additionally, optimistic rollups facilitate near-instant transactions. Fraud proofs are used by optimistic rollups that run on top of the Ethereum chain.

Stand-alone chains

Stand-alone chains are also supported by Polygon, enabling the networks to gain full autonomy and control of their security levels. Stand-alone chains have their own community or a set of validators that monitor security levels across the chains. Because stand-alone chains are utilized for sovereign Blockchain networks, the chains offer tremendous flexibility and independence. Stand-alone chains can be implemented through-

  • Application-specific chains
  • Industry/enterprise chain

Polygon SDK

The Polygon SDK is the most common framework used to deliver a high level of flexibility and compatibility with Ethereum. Because Polygon SDK already has a custom-built provision for EVM implementation, developers can continue using Solidity to build and deploy smart contracts on Ethereum. This also allows building smart contracts that are integrated with the best features of Ethereum. The next best thing about Polygon SDK is its features of modularity, i.e. consensus mechanisms, runtime, and DB engine selection. Also, the Polygon SDK has been built in a way that keeps the core layers intact while offering greater pluggability and extensibility. Developers can build node extensions and auxiliary extensions easily. The SDK also has a developer-friendly plugin system that allows easy and quick extensions for standard and core components in the ecosystem.

The Architecture of Polygon SDK

With a primary focus on making the ecosystem developer-friendly as well as extensible, the Polygon SDK architecture modules cover the whole Blockchain stack for development. The features of the SDK architecture are as follows:

Networking

The base layer utilizes libp2p, which is modular, fast, and extensible. This base layer highly supports the advanced features of Polygon SDK

Synchronization and Consensus

The Polygon SDK differentiates mechanisms for synchronization and consensus, improving modularity features. The separation of these mechanisms makes it easier to implement custom sync and consensus mechanisms.

Blockchain

As the central/main layer, the Blockchain layer coordinates everything in a Polygon-based SDK system.

State

The State layer determines how the state changes when a new block is added to the system. Change of state occurs due to state transition logic contained in the State layer.

JSON RPC

The JSON RPC layer is an API layer that allows developers of decentralized applications (dApps) can interact with the Blockchain.

TxPool

The TxPool or transaction pool is connected with other modules, which allows transactions to be added from multiple entry points in the system.

GRPC

All kinds of operator interactions within the system are supported by the GRPC layer. The GRPC layer enables the node operators to interact freely with the client. As such, this layer also contributes to an enhanced UX experience.

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How does Polygon work? – The Polygon Architecture

Polygon architecture comprises four abstract, composable layers. They are the Ethereum layer, security layer, Polygon networks layer, and execution layer. The Ethereum and security layers are non-mandatory while the Polygon networks and execution layer is mandatory in the architecture model.

Ethereum layer

The Ethereum layer consists of a set of smart contracts implemented on Ethereum. This layer is used to deploy and execute mission-critical components of the logic, allowing staking, transaction finality, and communication between Ethereum and Polygon chains. The layer also has other uses like message relaying and dispute resolution.

Security layer

The security layer plays the role of a ‘validators as a service’ that runs alongside the Ethereum layer. The layer provides additional security to the Polygon chains for a nominal fee. It is a very specialized layer that can validate the Polygon chain periodically, offering functions like validator management (registration, rewards, deregistration, etc.) and validation of Polygon chains. A key aspect of the security layer is that it is abstract and be used for different use cases with different features. The layer can also be implemented directly on Ethereum instead of alongside the Ethereum layer.

Polygon networks layer

The third and mandatory layer is the Polygon network that is a collection of sovereign blockchain networks. Each blockchain network has its own community and performs functions like a local consensus, transaction collation, and block production. The Polygon protocol also allows the networks to connect with each other by exchanging arbitrary messages.

Execution layer

The execution layer is where smart contracts are executed for transactions agreed upon and included in the Polygon networks’ blockchain. The layer is also known as the Polygon’s Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) implementation as it consists of two other sublayers-

  • The execution environment, Polygon’s Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) implementation
  • Execution logic, a state transition function of a Polygon network, usually written as Ethereum smart contracts

What is the Polygon token (MATIC)?

The Polygon token is called MATIC. It is the base resource of the Polygon ecosystem and has various uses other than just exchange payments.

Governance

MATIC is used as a governance token in Polygon. The token allows network governance through Polygon Improvement Proposals (PIPs), where token holders can make or vote on proposals to influence the future outcomes of a project.

Pay gas fees

MATIC is used to pay transactions fees like gas fees on Polygon

Staking

MATIC tokens can be staked on Polygon. The network provides interest on token exchanges, enhancing security across the network. While the interest rates keep fluctuating, token holders currently earn an annual rate of 15% staking Polygon.

The MATIC token has found its place in major cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, and Binance.

How can Polygon be used?

While most Polygon PoS solutions are in their development stages, Polygon PoS chains can be used in different ways through wallets and MATIC tokens. Some of the fastest, safest and secure ways of using Polygon are as follows-

Polygon Wallet

The Polygon wallet can be used to send and receive crypto-assets in the Polygon chain. With MATIC tokens listed on global cryptocurrency exchanges, the Polygon wallets allow users to trade in crypto-assets safely. Currently, the available Polygon wallets are Metamask, WalletConnect, and Coinbase Wallet.

Polygon Bridge

The Polygon Bridge connects Ethereum and Polygon blockchains. The Polygon wallet complements the deposit and withdrawal of MATIC tokens between the two networks. The transfer of tokens through the Polygon Bridge facilitates the transfer of digital assets.

Polygon Staking

Polygon Staking is a good way to park your MATCI tokens and earn rewards and interest money. At present, staking on Polygon offers an annual rate of 15% along with rewards for MATIC token holders. The option for staking is already live on the Ethereum chain.

Widget Dashboard

Widget Dashboard is where you can manage all your Polygon wallet widgets in one place.

Work with LeewayHertz for your upcoming projects

Combining the features of Ethereum with the scaling benefits offered by Polygon can provide brilliant solutions to make your upcoming projects more efficient and profitable. With Polygon chains becoming live on Ethereum, our experts are working to explore different implementations of Polygon with Ethereum.

Our Blockchain experts can help you take advantage of full-stack interoperability solutions offered by Polygon. We can develop Polygon wallets, develop applications using the Polygon Bridge and customize interchain development to enhance the security, scalability, and interoperability of your Blockchain projects. We can build and develop robust applications on Polygon and offer consultation services that can maximize your returns from Blockchain projects

If you are looking to realize the benefits of Polygon and Ethereum implementations for your business projects, get in touch with LeewayHertz.

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Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the founder and CEO at LeewayHertz. The experience of building over 100+ platforms for startups and enterprises allows Akash to rapidly architect and design solutions that are scalable and beautiful.
Akash's ability to build enterprise-grade technology solutions has attracted over 30 Fortune 500 companies, including Siemens, 3M, P&G and Hershey’s. Akash is an early adopter of new technology, a passionate technology enthusiast, and an investor in AI and IoT startups.

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