Especially five components of the network are crucial to its operational readiness:
- Polygon PoS
- Polygon Plasma
- ZK Rollups
- Optimistic Rollups
- The Ethereum Layer
Polygon PoS adds an overall Proof-of-Stake consensus protocol to Polygon’s network of sidechains.
Plasma is a scaling solution to move assets between the root chain and its child chains through Plasma bridges.
ZK Rollups are an alternative scaling solution where many transactions are bundled off-chain into a single transaction. It uses zero-knowledge proofs for the final record on the Ethereum main chain.
Optimistic Rollups run on top of Ethereum to enable near-instant transactions with the help of so-called fraud-proofs.
The Ethereum Layer
At some point, Polygon needs to interact with Ethereum. This is realized with a set of smart contracts deployed to Ethereum. They enable the communication between Ethereum and all Polygon chains, take care of staking and transaction finality, and the overall communication between the two.
Standalone and Enterprise Chains
Standalone and enterprise chains are the sidechains you implement and deploy with the help of the Polygon SDK. They encourage local communities, governed by their members, developed by the community. Those communities are responsible for consensus on their own, local level, and can interact with all other sidechains and Ethereum to their liking.
Corporations might launch their own sidechain for their projects, keeping control of the direct infrastructure while gaining the opportunity to interact with many other chains. Communities can launch their chains where they develop and deploy their projects on. There are few restrictions on what you can do with your sidechain, making the solution so flexible and worthwhile.
Polygon As A User
Users interacting with Polygon usually only see Polygon as a whole blockchain, and the underlying architecture is not important for the everyday user. Any Ethereum-compatible web wallet can connect to Polygon, acquire funds (MATIC), and interact with dApps deployed somewhere within the network. OpenSea
, for example, has allowed minting and trading NFTs on Polygon for a while now. You only need to switch the chain your wallet is connected to, and everything works. The UX is not different from Ethereum, which makes Polygon also an excellent solution usability-wise. Overall, the space might still have a UX problem, but it doesn’t get any worse by choosing Polygon. One could even argue that lower transaction fees and higher processing time improve the UX because who likes waiting for minutes or hours until you finally know whether your NFT mint was successful?
The next time you open Uniswap, go to OpenSea or even want to deploy a smart contract, think about Polygon for a moment. It might be a valid alternative to deploying on Ethereum, at least for now, until Ethereum 2.0 finally hits and hopefully solves many of the original issues. And even after that, Polygon offers a unique approach to scaling and community building with custom sidechains that are fully interoperable with Ethereum.