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About Polygon (MATIC)
Launched in October of 2017, Polygon (previously known as the Matic Network) is a blockchain-based protocol aiming to deploy a multitude of scaling solutions to the Ethereum Network, creating an “internet of blockchains” in the process.
Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus protocols (which Ethereum currently uses) have long been plagued by low transaction throughput and high gas prices. Even with ETH’s impending shift to Proof-of-Stake (PoS), third-party scalability solutions such as Polygon will still be needed if the larger network is to become, as some have forecast, the lynchpin of the global, decentralized economy.
Polygon plans to be the Swiss Army Knife in this scenario, offering an ecosystem of scaling solutions off which developers can piggyback. While other multi-chain scaling solutions, such as Polkadot and Cosmos, have succeeded in terms of garnering interest within the crypto space, both are fairly one-dimensional in terms of actual scalability solutions, with neither taking the all-encompassing approach of Polygon. If push comes to shove, Polygon could serve as a key cog in the Ethereum ecosystem, supporting a throughput of (potentially) millions of transactions per second at minimal cost.
The protocol’s “secured chains” offer a number of layer 2 scaling solutions including zk rollups, optimistic rollups, and perhaps most importantly Matic plasma. Secured chains utilize the “security as a service model” by outsourcing validation consensus to the Ethereum main chain by way of fraud proofs, or to a group of professional validators shared by the Polygon network.
There seems to be some debate over what a layer 2 scaling solution actually is. Some parties make a distinction between layer 2 and side layers, while others lump everything in as layer 2.
(This is one explanation: https://finematics.com/polygon-commit-chain-explained/)
Polygon’s “stand-alone” chains utilize their own consensus protocols with an independent set of validators, offering a high degree of flexibility and independence. Within this category falls sidechain solutions, enterprise chains, and the Matic POS chain.
MATIC is Polygon’s native token. It’s a utility token serving two distinct roles on the network. First, MATIC serves as the means by which users pay network fees accrued from executing transactions on the protocol. Second, MATIC holders can stake their tokens to smart contracts deployed on the Ethereum main chain in order to take part in the validation process and receive a cut of transaction fees produced by the network.
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