Introducing Polygon Supernets, Powered by Polygon Edge; $100M Ecosystem Fund

We announced Polygon Edge in May 2021, and have been building heads down with a vision for it to become the gateway to multi-chain Ethereum. 

Polygon Edge is a customizable blockchain stack that enables you to build and launch dedicated blockchain networks tailored specifically to your needs. It is a modular framework designed to support a variety of scaling and infrastructure solutions, from sovereign and enterprise EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) chains to full-blown Layer 2 solutions.

Scaling and throughput present the biggest challenges for developers with public networks. Polygon Edge offers solutions that allow fast and smooth scaling even in the case of extreme transaction load, enabling developers to build applications with millions of daily active users and manage tens of millions of transactions per day.

From Shared to Dedicated Web3 “Hosting”

To understand the potential of Polygon Edge, one needs to look at how dedicated hosting improved web application performance. A shared hosting service was the most apparent option for publishing a new web application more than a decade ago. That resulted in unpredictable performance due to the unforeseeable needs of other apps hosted on the same shared server of a shared server. Affordable and accessible dedicated and cloud solutions have since made it easier for applications to scale and perform consistently by having their own servers with the same level of security, and not be affected or dependent on other applications.

In a similar manner, Polygon Edge allows you to easily deploy your Web3 applications on your blockchain network without sacrificing security or performance. 

With Polygon Edge's inbuilt support for EVM, Solidity smart contracts can be easily ported to a Polygon Edge network without any modifications. Any developer with experience building on Ethereum can do the same with Polygon Edge, utilizing tools including Truffle suite, Hardhat, MetaMask, Remix, and block explorers with ease.    

As mentioned above, Polygon Edge is modular and configurable. We are following the increasingly popular modular blockchain design approach, and instead of a monolithic client architecture we introduce separate modules for every important layer of the stack (execution environments, consensus, data availability, networking etc). These “blockchain legos” provide significant benefits in terms of performance and configurability, and they make building dedicated Edge networks much easier. 

Polygon Edge infrastructure tooling enables users to configure and launch their dedicated Edge chain with a couple of lines of code in the configuration file. Without it, projects would have to fork an Ethereum mainnet node and invest months of development time to make modifications to fit their business needs. Our step-by-step documentation and support team additionally simplify the whole process.

At the time of writing, over 20 Web3 applications and enterprises are using Polygon Edge to achieve:

  • Higher performance;
  • Constant and predictable throughput for their use case; 
  • Customization through the configuration of every aspect of their blockchain network.

We are proud of the success Polygon Edge has had so far, but believe its potential is much larger.

Current Challenges

As explained above, Polygon Edge makes building blockchain networks much easier compared to the alternatives. Nonetheless, we were able to identify some common challenges faced by the projects that are using it: 

  • Complexity of bootstrapping a decentralized and reliable validator set with well-designed coordination mechanisms. 

This challenge can significantly impact security of the network, so it has to be taken seriously. Additionally, it often consumes a lot of bandwidth of the application team, when they should ideally be focusing on their actual product and goals. 

  • Technical complexity of blockchain networks and relevant security challenges and concerns. 

Even though Polygon Edge offers out-of-the box blockchain networks, running, maintaining and upgrading them is not a trivial task and it unavoidably introduces certain attack vectors and concerns. Unfortunately, application developers might not be well positioned to address these challenges and the industry has already witnessed multiple major exploits on dedicated, i.e. application-specific networks. In the best case, these challenges consume a lot of bandwidth of the application team, which they could have spent working on their core product and goals. 

  • Complexity and challenges of protocol-level token design. 

Projects that want to use their native token to secure their dedicated Edge-based network via Proof of Stake are faced with complexities and subtleties of token rewards, inflation and other aspects necessary for any Proof of Stake implementation to be secure, sustainable and reliable. This often 1) distracts project founders from designing their token with their application incentives and adoption in mind and 2) consumes a significant portion of the token supply which otherwise could have been used for development and adoption of the application/project itself.

  • Complexity of choosing or switching between different architectures. 

Polygon is an agnostic multi-chain platform that supports multiple scaling and infrastructure solutions, and Polygon Edge follows the same path. Projects building on Edge should be able to choose between several different solutions and chain configurations, such as sovereign chains (Proof of Authority or Proof of Stake based), Layer 2 solutions (with on-chain or off-chain data availability) etc. However, choosing the optimal solution or upgrading to a different one can be challenging.    

Empowering developers to build what they want has always been Polygon’s mission. To solve the challenges mentioned above, the Polygon core team has designed Polygon Supernets, building on the success of Polygon Edge. 

Enter Polygon Supernets

We think of Supernets as Polygon Edge networks on steroids. Supernets are blockchain networks with several important characteristics that aim to mitigate the aforementioned challenges and enable mainstream adoption of Polygon and blockchain technology in general. Here are the most important of those characteristics.

  • Supernets are dedicated

Every Supernet is built and run for a specific application, project or use case. The advantages of this “dedicated Web3 hosting” are already described above.

  • Supernets can be secured by Polygon’s MATIC 

For Edge users that want to use Proof of Stake as a security mechanism, we are introducing a “shared security” layer in the form of a MATIC-staked validator marketplace. Projects that opt in for this service will instantly get access to a decentralized, reliable Proof of Stake validator set and skip the challenges of bootstrapping a validator network. Additionally, Polygon validators will stake MATIC and receive rewards in MATIC, so there is also no effort required from application/project teams when it comes to validator incentivization and sustainability. With this service, projects can enjoy all the benefits of Proof of Stake security, whilst not wasting any bandwidth or resources on it; they can fully focus on their core product and goals. This service is not mandatory; nonetheless, we expect it to be very popular given the advantages it offers. We will be sharing more details on the service in the following days and weeks.

  • Supernets are connected with each other and Ethereum

Every Supernet is able to exchange value and messages with other Supernets and with the Ethereum mainnet. Currently and in the near future, this can be done using different bridge implementations and integrations that Edge offers. In the long term, we are considering starting a broader, formal effort to design and establish a cross-chain communication protocol to connect all Polygon networks and potentially even other Ethereum ecosystem networks.

  • Supernets can be managed by certified Edge partners

As mentioned above, launching, running, maintaining and upgrading a blockchain network are not trivial tasks, and application developers often don’t have the expertise and bandwidth to perform them properly. To mitigate this challenge, we are introducing Edge Certified Partners, a group of certified dev shops and teams that can help or completely take over some or all of these operations and allow the application/project team to focus on what they know and do best.

  • Supernets can utilize any scaling architecture

With the above in mind, it is important to say that all the aforementioned “blockchain legos”, i.e. architectural options offered by Polygon Edge will remain available through Supernets. The introduction of Supernets is only making all of them easier to deploy and run. The following table covers four typical types of Supernets we expect to see in Polygon’s multi-chain ecosystem:

Additionally, any Supernet can change its underlying architecture at any point. For example, a Supernet could decide to start as a sovereign Proof of Authority network, then migrate to Proof of Stake, and finally to a full blown Layer 2. Polygon Edge already offers easy upgradeability from Proof of Authority to Proof of Stake, and the same will be offered for Layer 2 solutions.

$100M Adoption Fund

Polygon’s goal is to bring mass adoption to Web3. We are very excited about the concept of Supernets as we see them as a major step towards achieving this goal. We can already see the contours of Polygon as a massively scalable multi-chain system, comprised of:

  • Multiple Publicnets (public networks like Polygon PoS or upcoming Polygon Hermez);
  • Potentially unlimited number of Supernets where all Publicnets and Supernets can easily connect and exchange value and information.

To further ignite this vision into reality, Polygon is committing $100M for development and adoption of Supernets. The funds are immediately available and can be used for:

  • Development contracts and grants;
  • Research contract and grants;
  • Third party integrations and partnerships;
  • Project onboarding and migration;
  • Liquidity mining;
  • Acquisitions.

​​"For mass adoption of Web3 to take hold, it is critical to abstract the complexities of blockchain development and simultaneously offer scaling ability and personalization,” said Mihailo Bjelic, Co-founder of Polygon. “Polygon Supernets deliver all this, enabling any project to fast-track their blockchain ambitions and join the growing Polygon multi-chain ecosystem."

Learn more and apply to get your own Supernet today.

The Polygon Edge/Supernets team is hiring. Be sure to check our careers page for the latest openings

Let’s create the future of Web3 together!

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