What is Polygon & What Problems Does It Solve?
Polygon is a multi-chain Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum. With Polygon’s innovative technology, the network provides a high-performance infrastructure for decentralized applications (dApps) and enables developers to build and deploy blockchain solutions quickly and easily.
Polygon’s multi-chain architecture offers a suite of solutions that cater to different needs within the decentralized ecosystem. These solutions include Polygon PoS (Proof-of-Stake), Polygon zkEVM (Zero-Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine), and Polygon Miden, among others. Each of these components serves a specific purpose, such as improving transaction throughput, enhancing privacy, or providing app-specific chains. Polygon’s architecture is designed to be flexible, modular, and developer-friendly, making it an ideal choice for businesses and projects seeking to leverage the power of blockchain technology.
If you are interested in reading about Polygon’s network overall, check out our recent article titled “Examining the Progress and Growth of Polygon: An Overview.”
Polygon’s Multi-chain Architecture:
Polygon has adopted a multi-chain approach to address various scalability and interoperability challenges faced by blockchain networks. This approach consists of several key components, including multiple public, and application specific blockchains.
- Polygon PoS (Live): The Proof-of-Stake (PoS) chain is an Ethereum-compatible Layer 2 solution that provides a secure and scalable environment for building and deploying decentralized applications (dApps). With a robust PoS consensus mechanism, it offers faster and cheaper transactions compared to Ethereum’s main chain.
- Polygon zkEVM (Live): The zkEVM (Zero-Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine) is another Layer 2 solution that leverages zero-knowledge (zk) proofs to provide enhanced privacy and scalability. It enables developers to create privacy-preserving dApps and smart contracts while retaining compatibility with Ethereum’s ecosystem.
- Polygon Miden (Coming soon): Miden is a privacy-focused Layer 2 solution that is based on zk-STARK technology to enable confidential transactions and shield data from being publicly accessible. This ensures that users can interact with dApps and smart contracts while maintaining privacy and security.
- Polygon Supernets: With Polygon Supernets, developers can create and deploy their dApps on a dedicated blockchain network that is customized to suit their application’s specific needs. This approach enables developers to enjoy greater flexibility and control over their dApps’ functionality, governance, and performance, without being constrained by the limitations of shared blockchain networks.
- Polygon ID: Polygon ID is a decentralized identity solution within the Polygon blockchain ecosystem that aims to revolutionize the way users manage and control their personal data. It serves as a secure, user-centric identity management system that empowers individuals with greater control over their digital identities and facilitates seamless interaction with decentralized applications (dApps) and services.
New Technology Updates & Products
One of Polygon’s most widely used scaling solutions is Polygon PoS, a Polygon sidechain that relies on Ethereum’s security and is powered by validators such as Figment. Polygon PoS has its own set of 100 validators which validate transactions and commit checkpoints to the Ethereum mainnet for consensus purposes.
Polygon PoS has reward issuances which go to validators for staking and checkpointing the network as well as to delegators who stake to validators.
Rewards on Polygon PoS come from two different places:
- Staking reward issuance (derived from annual inflationary issuances) for active Delegators and Validators.
- Transaction fees at the Bor layer.
Polygon PoS currently has 36.20% of all its MATIC tokens staked. Historically, Polygon PoS has always had a low stake ratio in comparison to the average stake ratio of other top PoS assets, which is closer to 66%, although this is likely due to the utility of the token.
Polygon PoS’s Three Layer Architecture:
- The Smart Contract Layer: This layer resides on Ethereum, as do all of Polygon’s other staking contracts.
- The Bor Layer: This layer is tasked with production and aggregation of blocks.
- The Heimdall Layer: This layer participates in consensus by committing checkpoint transactions to the Ethereum mainnet. The Heimdall layer is the validation layer and works in tandem with the smart contract layer. This layer’s main functions are validation, block producer committee selection, and checkpointing.
Parallel EVM Upgrade: Polygon’s Block Software Transactional Memory (STM)
Polygon is upgrading its mainchain Proof-of-Stake platform which is currently the most widely used component of Polygon’s tech stack. The network will implement the Parallel EVM upgrade which is projected to double its speed.
What Is The Parallel EVM Upgrade?
Parallel EVM is a parallelization engine that allows transactions to be executed in parallel based on Diem’s Block Software Transactional Memory (STM). This means more transactions can be executed simultaneously, saving time. So far, most distributed ledger technologies have relied on blockchains that order transactions sequentially in the correct order and thus can not be parallelized. However, Polygon’s parallel EVM solution sought to recreate the benefits of the initial Diem project’s Block STM and transaction parallelization techniques.
Although Polygon could not use Block STM directly for multiple reasons, it takes what is called the “minimal metadata approach.” The PoS chain will write and record all transaction data in a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) and then take this transaction data and append it as metadata to the relevant block.
This allows the PoS chain to execute transactions in parallel before their validation and thus, saves time by not requiring time-based, sequential transactions. So far, Polygon’s version of Block STM has only managed to test this with Bor nodes but not on Erigon, but on the Bor nodes it led to a x1.6 increase throughput and that 55% of transactions on the mainchain are capable of being performed parallel.
The zk-EVM is a Layer 2 scalability solution created by Polygon to support scaling Ethereum. At its core, zk-EVM is a combination of zk-proofs with an EVM equivalent which allows extremely low fees and improved speeds for validity and finality due to the zero-knowledge elements. zkEVM uses a virtual emulation of the EVM and is thus an EVM equivalent rather than the original EVM itself.
Polygon achieved this by “recreating all existing EVM opcodes for transparent deployment of existing Ethereum smart contracts.” Polygon has zk-rollups that run on Ethereum. The zk-EVM still operates as a state machine performing all major state changes and verifying them using zero knowledge-based validity proofs.
The three main components of zk-EVM protocol are:
- Trusted Sequencer
- Trusted Aggregator
- Consensus Contract (PolygonZkEVM.sol, deployed on L1)
Polygon has initiated 2 permissionless public testnets for zk-EVM and is now issuing a 3rd called the “audit upgraded” testnet. The audit upgrade is required to integrate the solutions of the zk-EVM’s audit findings and add FFLONK which is a zk-SNARK trusted setup according to Polygon’s announcement.
During the first iterations of the zk-EVM testnet, Polygon implemented zk-recursion allowing a merkle tree-equse batching process in which zk proofs are batched and then finally consolidated in a single zk-proof, further improving transactions per second (TPS), speed and aggregate efficiency. The zk-EVM mainnet beta went live on March 27th, bringing these scalability features to the broader community.
Polygon supernets give developers the ability to create and deploy their dApps on a dedicated blockchain network that is customized to suit their application’s specific needs. Polygon Supernets have a large degree of flexibility and can be private or public, have shared security with a validator set ready to bootstrap the network, or be sovereign and validated by a single validator.
Soon supernets will be an independent Layer 2 powered by zk-rollups from the zk-EVM tech stack. The zk-EVM will allow these types of supernets to exist and provide further scalability to Layer 2s as zk-rollups.
Polygon Edge is a modular and extensible framework for creating blockchains with plugin functions. Similar to substrate, the Polkadot based SDK framework, Polygon Edge is built for Ethereum and allows users to create supernets (similar to Avalanche’s subnets) which are blockchains with cross-chain communication capabilities on EVM compatible networks.
Polygon has a supernet fund dedicated to the expansion of supernets and has so far garnered multiple notable partnerships such as Nubank, Gameswift, and even Cosmos SDK based cross-chain router protocol Axelar.
Staking with Figment
If you are interested in staking Polygon, Figment offers a host of services aimed at delivering safe and reliable staking rewards for your assets. Figment is the world’s leading provider of staking infrastructure. Our 200+ institutional clients rely on Figment to provide best in class services including rewards optimization, rapid API development, rewards reporting, partner integrations, governance, and slashing protection.
Figment’s Protocol team has extensive Polygon knowledge intended to help dive into the specifics such as upgrades and staking information. Contact us at email@example.com to learn more about staking.
The information herein is being provided to you for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should it be relied upon as, legal, business, or investment advice. Figment undertakes no obligation to update the information herein.