Ethereum high fees have been a problem for quite a long time now. They don’t seem to be going anywhere soon either. However, with crises come also opportunities. Alternative networks have learned how to attract Ethereum’s outflowing traffic, driving unprecedented growth. Today, we’ll look into one of them in particular: Polygon, formerly known as Matic Network.
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Polygon origins: Matic Network
Despite its recent success, Polygon isn’t a new player in the crypto space. Founded in 2017 as Matic, its goal was to improve Ethereum with better infrastructure development and instant blockchain transactions.
Matic Network is a permissionless, EVM-compatible, proof-of-stake secured Ethereum sidechain. It relies on its parent chain’s strong security for validator staking and checkpoints. PoS ensured faster transactions with lower gas fees whilst preserving all Ethereum features, like smart contract support.
Along the way, the team found a clear problem. Most developers were finding it hard to build on Ethereum due to do the lack of a proper scaling landscape. They then decided it was time to take it to the next level. Thus, Polygon was born.
Polygon: Ethereum’s Internet of Blockchains
Polygon claims to be “the first well-structured, easy-to-use platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development”. Not only it aims to be a scalability and infrastructure solution for Ethereum connecting L2 chains and sidechains. It also seeks to improve builders and devs’ experience through a series of services and solutions.
All in all, Polygon’s structure turns Ethereum from a regular blockchain to a multi-chain system. Similar to Polkadot and Cosmos, but with better security and efficiency. Plus, it is capable of benefiting from Ethereum’s network effects.
To be as clear as possible, Matic wasn’t replaced by Polygon. It was rather integrated into it. All its solutions, its PoS chain and the $MATIC token are still fully functional. And will continue to be as a part of the Polygon environment.
Polygon’s ecosystem and benefits
As we mentioned, Ethereum scalability and gas crisis has driven a lot of attention and traffic to other chains, and Polygon was not an exception. In fact, it was one of the networks that came out on top alongside BSC.
As of June 2021, the network has integrated many Ethereum (and other blockchain’s) projects. Among them, we can count Aave, SushiSwap, Beefy, Autofarm, Curve and Reef. It also features its own native projects like Quickswap, the chain’s flagship DEX, and Polymarket.
One of the main reasons the network grew so popular in Q2 2021 was its users’ ability to use these renowned DeFi platforms. All while avoiding Ethereum’s high costs. Plus, most ERC-20 tokens, specially stablecoins, are available on it, allowing users to jump in between chains smoothly.
These features make Polygon an ideal alternative for decentralized finance retail investors who don’t enjoy large budgets and aren’t comfortable with volatility.
How to get started on Polygon
Taking your first steps on Polygon is very easy and manageable using Metamask. First of all, you should have some funds on your Ethereum wallet. Also, make sure to set up Matic Mainnet on the app. The information you need to enter on the custom RPC is as follows:
- Network Name: Matic Mainnet
- New RPC URL: https://rpc-mainnet.matic.network
- ChainID: 137
- Symbol: MATIC
- Block Explorer URL: https://explorer.matic.network or https://explorer-mainnet.maticvigil.com/
Once you have correctly set up Matic on Metamask, you must:
- First, head to https://wallet.matic.network/ on your web browser and select Metamask wallet. Then sign the request.
- You will see your Matic wallet interface with your Metamask address connected. Click on the “Move funds to Matic Mainnet” button.
- You will see the Matic Bridge. Select the token and the amount you want to send to your Matic address. Then click “Transfer”. You’ll have to go through a series of confirmations and it will take some minutes. Eventually, your funds will arrive.
Furthermore, other alternative bridges enable cross-chain transfers from BSC. They are more limited and don’t support as many tokens. Also, they may suffer from occasional liquidity shortages. However, if your timing is right, you should have no problem transferring stablecoins using them. xPollinate is a good example.
Polygon’s success and popularity is not a fortuitous event. It’s the consequence of hard work and consistency from a team determined to innovate and improve Ethereum’s scalability. A much-needed upgrade. On the same note, it’s not a coincidence that $MATIC price rose from a single cent to an all-time high of $2,45 in 2021.
But price isn’t everything, and its numbers may not reflect the value behind a project. For now, all we can say is that Polygon is a practical, effective and user-friendly solution for a real problem. That should be enough to keep an eye on it. Meanwhile, the average Ethereum user remains grateful.