What is MATIC? Everything you need to know about Polygon

Anton Ioffe - January 19th 2024 - 6 minutes read

In the intricate web of blockchain innovation and digital transactions thrives Polygon (MATIC), a platform that has rapidly emerged as a cornerstone of scalability and efficiency alongside Ethereum, the behemoth of smart contracts. As we take a deep dive into the layers of this multifaceted ecosystem, our exploration will take you through the pioneering vision of its creators, the robust features that set it apart, and the potential paths it might carve through the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency. Join us on a journey to unpack the complexities and striking advancements of Polygon, offering a glimpse into its synergistic relationship with Ethereum and foreshadowing the inflection points that could redefine the future of decentralized applications—and possibly the very fabric of the cryptosphere itself.

Deciphering the Layers of Polygon (MATIC): The Bedrock of Scalability

At its core, MATIC is the native token of Polygon, a multifaceted platform designed to address critical scalability issues faced by the Ethereum blockchain. Launched originally as Matic Network in 2017, Polygon evolved to become a connective layer bringing various blockchain networks together. With its inception rooted in enhancing Ethereum’s capacity for handling a vast number of transactions, MATIC emerged as a facilitator for the network’s operation, including governance, staking, and paying transaction fees. The token’s utility is tightly woven into the fabric of Polygon's ecosystem, thereby underpinning the platform’s integrity and efficiency.

Polygon's leverage as a Layer 2 scaling solution, which rests atop Ethereum, cannot be overstated. By implementing More Viable Plasma (MoreVP) and adopting mechanisms like ZK-Rollups and Optimistic Rollups, the network has significantly boosted transaction throughput. This enhancement occurs without compromising on user experience or security, showcasing Polygon's commitment to a seamless and fortified blockchain environment. With such advancements, MATIC functions not just as currency within the ecosystem but as a pillar that reinforces the broader goal of rapid and mass adoption of decentralized applications (DApps).

The vision behind Polygon is to democratize access to a scalable blockchain experience, and MATIC is the linchpin in this pursuit. As Ethereum shifts to a Proof of Stake consensus, the immediacy of Polygon's original mission may recalibrate, but the platform's focus on providing high-performance, user-centric infrastructure remains. Through MATIC, Polygon continues to facilitate a robust, accelerated network that enables the expansive growth of the blockchain ecosystem, ensuring its position as a bedrock of scalability amidst the evolving landscape of distributed ledger technologies.

Polygon stands as a unique puzzle piece within the blockchain ecosystem, providing a multifunctional platform that bridges the aspirations of developers and the needs of users. At its core, the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism is the engine that drives Polygon's offerings. Staking MATIC tokens not only underpins the network's security but also forges a more economical and faster transaction process. Validators play a pivotal role in maintaining the Polygon network by staking MATIC, which in turn drives down fees and accelerates transaction veracity and speed. As such, the PoS mechanism becomes not just a facilitator of blockchain operations but also a financial incentive model that encourages participation and investment in the ecosystem.

Coupled with its stout security protocol is Polygon's exceptional ability to cater to developers, fostering an environment of innovation and flexibility. With the Polygon SDK, developers are equipped with a powerful toolkit to create bespoke blockchain networks, including those featuring cutting-edge technologies like ZK-Rollups and Optimistic Rollups. This flexibility positions Polygon as an evolutionary framework, continuously shifting Ethereum towards an expansive 'Internet of Blockchains'. It's here that Polygon’s vision of an interconnected blockchain experience begins to materialize, underscoring the founding team's commitment to turning scalability from a barrier into a bridge towards mass adoption.

The founders of Polygon—Jaynti Kanani, Sandeep Nailwal, Anurag Arjun, and Mihailo Bjelic—harbor a grand vision for the platform, one that is meticulously carving out its niche in the Web 3.0 transition. With a robust investment initiative injecting $100 million into the seamless merge of decentralized internet ideologies and practical applications, Polygon transcends being merely a layer of technology. Supporting over 7,000 blockchain-based projects, the platform is a testament to innovation and a hotbed for growth. The founders' vision elevates the platform from a technical solution to a vibrant ecosystem, where their values of openness, collaboration, and community empowerment dictate the ever-evolving landscape of blockchain technology.

Polygon vs. Ethereum: Bridging the Gap or Widening the Divide?

Polygon and Ethereum, at their core, are two platforms designed with a common goal: to foster the growth and development of decentralized applications. However, their approaches to achieving this goal starkly contrast. While Ethereum prioritizes decentralization and security, leading to congestion and high fees, Polygon acts as a complementary solution aiming to alleviate these pain points. With Polygon's modified proof-of-stake mechanism enabling a throughput of approximately 7,000 transactions per second—as opposed to Ethereum's 13-15 TPS—the platform presents itself not as a competitor, but as an enhancer, addressing Ethereum's scalability concerns without sacrificing its foundational consensus principles.

The relationship between Ethereum and Polygon is marked by an elaborate dance of co-dependence and augmentation. While Ethereum brings to the table an unmatched level of security and an established network of trust, Polygon introduces speed and affordability, with transaction fees on its network around $0.01, significantly lower than Ethereum's variable fees that can peak at $10-30. This synergy allows developers and users to enjoy the benefits of the robust Ethereum blockchain while simultaneously leveraging the high efficiency and low-cost transactions provided by Polygon, effectively marrying scalability with security and decentralization in a way that one platform alone has not achieved.

Despite its intentions to serve as a bridge to a more advanced blockchain ecosystem, there are lingering questions concerning the long-term dynamics between Polygon and Ethereum. As Ethereum continues evolving, particularly after its switch to a proof-of-stake consensus in 2022, the need for complementary scaling solutions like Polygon may shift. Moreover, the intricate interplay of both networks raises concerns about whether enhancements on one platform could potentially cannibalize the other's value proposition. As the blockchain community watches these two platforms weave a more interconnected future, it becomes essential to consider how changes to Ethereum's infrastructure and Polygon's ambitions to support a broader range of protocols could alter their symbiotic relationship.

The Path Forward for Polygon: Evolution and Potential Points of Inflection

As Polygon navigates the complex and ever-evolving landscape of blockchain technology, it sharpens its focus on areas with potential for high growth, specifically in gaming and NFTs through the launch of Polygon Studios. This initiative is poised to potentially propel Polygon to the forefront of decentralized gaming and digital collectibles, realms that are rapidly gaining popularity and traction. By doubling down on these industries, Polygon stands to not only diversify its offerings but also possibly unlock new streams of revenue and user engagement. The success of Polygon Studios, fueled by strategic partnerships and continual technological advancements, could solidify Polygon's position as a leading platform in the increasingly competitive blockchain space.

The road ahead for Polygon, however, is marked by challenges and opportunities alike. The dynamic shift towards the next iteration of the internet - Web3 - beckons a critical pivot for Polygon. As more decentralized applications and endeavors are integrated into this new paradigm, Polygon's adaptability and performance will be under scrutiny, especially as other networks vie for dominance and Ethereum itself undergoes substantial scalability improvements. The ability of Polygon to maintain relevancy and extend its ecosystem in light of Ethereum's upgrades will be instrumental in dictating its future growth and market position.

Furthermore, the cryptocurrency market is known for its volatility and regulatory uncertainty, which could either serve as tailwinds or headwinds for Polygon. Market sentiment, developer adoption, and user base growth will play significant roles in determining the trajectory of MATIC, Polygon's native cryptocurrency. As investors and stakeholders closely monitor these developments, the strategic decisions made by Polygon's leadership will have a substantial impact not only on its market capitalization but also on the broader landscape of blockchain technology. It is through these inflection points that the path forward for Polygon will be carved, with the potential to redefine the cryptosphere for developers, investors, and everyday users.


Polygon (MATIC) is a platform designed to address scalability issues faced by the Ethereum blockchain. As a Layer 2 scaling solution, Polygon enhances Ethereum's transaction throughput without compromising user experience or security. It functions as a bridge between Ethereum and other blockchain networks, offering high-performance infrastructure for the growth of decentralized applications (DApps). While it complements Ethereum by providing speed and affordability, questions remain about the long-term dynamics between the two platforms. Polygon's focus on gaming and NFTs through Polygon Studios could unlock new revenue streams and solidify its position in the blockchain space. However, its ability to adapt and extend its ecosystem in light of Ethereum's upgrades and navigate market volatility will be instrumental in determining its future growth and market position.