Polygon, formerly known as the Matic Network, is a scaling solution that aims to provide multiple tools to improve the speed and reduce the cost and complexities of transactions on blockchain networks.
At the center of Polygon’s vision is Ethereum, a platform that is home to a range of decentralized applications, ones where you can join virtual worlds, play games, buy art, and participate in a range of financial services. However, this much activity on its blockchain has rendered Ethereum almost unusable, as the cost of transmission is rising and traffic is becoming clogged.
Enter Polygon. In a nutshell, Polygon bills itself as a layer-2 network, meaning it acts as an add-on layer to Ethereum that does not seek to change the original blockchain layer. Like its geometric namesake, Polygon has many sides, shapes, and uses and promises a simpler framework for building interconnected networks.
Polygon wants to help Ethereum expand in size, security, efficiency, and usefulness and seeks to spur developers to bring enticing products to market all the quicker.
After the rebranding, Polygon retained its MATIC cryptocurrency, the digital coin underpinning the network. MATIC is used as the unit of payment and settlement between participants who interact within the network.
What Can You Do on Polygon?
Polygon allows you to do pretty much everything you do on Ethereum, but without the high gas fees or the low throughput.
Polygon went from being a simple scaling solution to becoming a more broad and complex ecosystem where users and developers alike have a wide set of use cases, including launching Ethereum-compatible blockchains, use Ethereum-based decentralized applications (DApps), mint non-fungible tokens (NFTs), become node validators, delegators, stake MATIC, and much more.
There are numerous successful projects that work on Polygon, such as yield generating protocols like Aave or Curve Finance, decentralized exchanges such as SushiSwap, and the most popular decentralized NFT (Non-Fungible Token) marketplace, OpenSea.
You can use Polygon as the base blockchain on these protocols instead of Ethereum. For example, OpenSea allows you to choose Polygon instead of Ethereum as the main network and use it every time you trade NFTs — you just need to have a Polygon-compatible wallet like MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet and connect it to OpenSea.
It’s also worth noting, though, that not all protocols that are built on Ethereum have their Polygon iterations, and to this extent, there are certain limitations.