Why Web3 Developers Are Choosing Polygon Over Other Solutions 

When it comes to deploying on Ethereum, there is only one place that lets developers easily migrate their projects, offers a broad range of scaling options and has some of the industry’s lowest transaction rates. These are just some of the reasons why the number of teams using Polygon jumped 100-fold in the past year.

The number of decentralized applications (DApps) building on Polygon reached 3,000 as of October, from 30 same time last year, according to Alchemy, a developer platform that tracks the teams building on a number of blockchains. In the increasingly crowded space of Layer 2 competitors, Polygon emerged as the go-to scaling solution that’s enabling Ethereum to become the most definitive, fundamental settlement layer of the growing Web3 ecosystem.

One reason Polygon is the destination for some many projects is its complete compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This allows Polygon to tap into the established community of developers who can easily migrate their work to and from the Ether network leveraging their existing tools.

Polygon also offers not one, not two, but an entire suite of solutions that provide users with an extremely high degree of real-time operational flexibility and scalability. At the same time, its highly developed messaging protocol makes cross-chain communication extremely streamlined and hassle-free for users.

Then there is the plain economic sense. The past year saw the cost of transactions on the Ethereum skyrocket, with the average fee rising as high as $200 in early September. Even after the deployment of the recent London Hardfork aimed at stabilizing rates, high gas fees have continued to persist. Polygon users pay just a fraction of what its costs to transact on Ethereum. 

Since its inception in 2017, Polygon has morphed from a simple Layer 2 Ethereum scaling solution to a thriving ecosystem of popular Web3 projects making it a sustainable base of operations. Polygon solutions range from Polygon SDK, which provides a framework enabling developers to build Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks, to Polygon Hermez, a decentralized Zero-Knowledge rollup that inherits its security from Ethereum Layer 1. Polygon also is building some other exciting solutions like a privacy-centric rollup with EY, Polygon Nightfall, and a general purpose data availability layer, Polygon Avail.

Polygon hosts some of the biggest Web3 platforms and developers in the industry, from decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols such as lending platform Aave to luxury brands company Dolce & Gabbana, and even NFT marketplaces including OpenSea and Mark Cuban’s Lazy.com. Some of the DApps that have already integrated Polygon are Sushi, Aavegotchi, and Arc8.

The research, development, and investment channeled into Polygon has transformed the network into a sought-after developer hub. Just as Amazon Web Services lets users choose between Linux, Windows or other OS to facilitate their dev-related activities, Polygon provides a similar option for the builders of Web3.

Polygon’s native architecture explained

Polygon’s underlying philosophy is that Ethereum scaling is a spectrum, which leads to a very open-minded approach that goes beyond the narrow definition of a Layer 2. Polygon was designed to support secured chains, such as L2, as well as stand-alone chains, an umbrella term for appchains or sovereign sidechains. The former promise a high level of data integrity and network privacy by making use of a ‘security-on-Ethereum-as-service’ setup. The latter offer a high degree of sovereignty and operational flexibility to its ‘child chains,’ but  somewhat downplays the importance of security.

Here is Polygon’s digital ecosystem at a glance:

  • Ethereum Layer — helps facilitate a range of internal operations including checkpointing, dispute resolution, staking, finality, and messaging between all of the participating Ethereum and Polygon chains.
  • Security Layer — offers digital protection to any Polygon-compatible platform via the ‘validator-as-a-service’ protocol, essentially allowing projects to gain seamless access to Ethereum’s validator pool.
  • Polygon Network Layer — the substrate where all Ethereum-compatible blockchains are deployed is essential for the smooth functioning of all the key operational processes taking place within the network.
  • Execution Layer — can be thought of as the run-time environment where all of the participating blockchains can be deployed. For example, the Ethereum Virtual Machine is implemented and utilized within this layer for the execution of various smart contracts. 

The technology that drives Polygon

Some of the ways Polygon is overcoming Ethereum’s scaling issues include:

  • Polygon PoS — The Polygon mainnet runs on Proof Of Stake (PoS). PoS consumes far less energy than Proof of Work (PoW), which requires every node to validate every transaction, and offers a much higher transaction throughput. That makes PoS more efficient and scalable than its precursor.
  • Optimistic Rollups — Optimistic rollups (OR) are a popular scalability solution due to their smart contract capabilities and the rise of DeFi. Unlike ZK-rollups, ORs rely on fraud proofs. All transactions are correct unless proven a fraud. While this enables near-instant, cheap transactions, it comes with the downside that withdrawals to Layer 1 may take up to a week, as some time is needed to challenge the proof.
  • Zero-Knowledge (ZK) Rollups — ZK-rollups use validity proofs and combine on-chain and off-chain processes, validating transactions faster than traditional Layer 1 blockchains like Ethereum mainnet, while also ensuring that gas fees remain minimal. An advantage of ZK-rollups is their Merkle Tree architecture, which enables the off-chain storage of data. Only the most important data relevant to the smart contract is stored on the Merkle Trees, and they are accessed and requested to output information less frequently than in Layer 1 solutions, saving huge amounts of processing power and time for the blockchain network.

ZK-rollups in particular offer a promising answer to Ethereum’s scaling woes. Earlier this year, Polygon merged with Hermez, an open-source ZK-Rollup optimized for low-cost token transfers on the Ethereum blockchain. The company has also committed $1 billion from its treasury to fund efforts to develop its ZK thesis, in a bet that this technology will be the catalyst for the next wave of crypto adoption.

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