Unreal Library: Ethereum vs. Polygon (L2 Scaling Solution): Differences in User Experience
As network usage on Ethereum has soared between fall of 2020 and into 2021, the Ethereum layer two scaling solution race has also been picking up steam. The abundance of new DeFi protocols put tremendous pressure onto Ethereum’s existing layer one infrastructure, which caused gas prices to skyrocket while significantly slowing down the network. With Ethereum struggling to keep up, Polygon (previously known as Matic) stepped up to the plate and came to be known as a refuge for DeFi projects. Originally founded in 2017, Polygon’s lightning fast speeds and near-zero transactions might, in retrospect, make it seem like an obvious leader for aiding in Ethereum’s scalability issues, but in reality, it took the DeFi summer putting enough pressure onto the Ethereum mainnet to force users to give Polygon its fair due.
So where exactly does Polygon get its edge?
In short, Polygon is faster and less expensive than its big brother Ethereum. Polygon runs on multiple side chains to process transactions at a much faster rate than Ethereum’s layer 1. Even just one such chain can achieve speeds of 10,000 TPS. Compared to Ethereum’s 30 TPS, that’s blazing fast, and it makes Polygon’s appeal easy to see. Not only is it faster and orders of magnitude more affordable to use, Polygon is also more environmentally friendly and less hardware intensive because it relies on a POS rather than a POW consensus algorithm — an upgrade which Ethereum itself will be moving to with the implementation of ETH 2.0 (whenever that may be).
Then there’s the cost. The vast majority of transactions on Polygon cost only a small fraction of a single $MATIC token, (currently valued at $1.0445 at the time of writing). Compare fractions of a penny with the astronomical gas prices common on Ethereum’s layer one and yet another Polygon advantage becomes clear.
What’s more, Polygon’s team has been diligent in their efforts to integrate new platforms and functionality and establish partnerships with industry-leaders to ensure that a majority of Ethereum’s functionality carries over and can be easily replicated on Polygon. Just as easily as traders can utilize UniSwap on Ethereum, they can employ QuickSwap DEX on Polygon (and with much lower fees at that). Popular wallets like MetaMask are also easily equipped to operate on the Matic Mainnet just as they do on Ethereum. Bridging assets over from Ethereum to Polygon (or vice versa) requires a simple one-time fee (paid in ETH on layer one), but once your funds are on Polygon, you can trade, interact with smart contracts, or transfer assets for a fraction of the cost of doing business on the Ethereum mainchain.
With no set launch date in site for ETH 2.0, the retail crypto community has begun to take note of Polygon’s increased performance, with user growth outpacing layer one for the first time recently. Investors too it seems are waking up to Polygon’s potential, with a huge swath of new DeFi projects launching natively on Polygon or simultaneously operating on both Polygon and Ethereum. Even venture capital titan Mark Cuban weighed in recently, sharing his experiences using Polygon in a blog post.
Additionally, the large uptick in Polygon’s use is actually relieving pressure on Ethereum itself, driving fees and transaction times down at a time when the number of crypto users is massively increasing. Some have gone as far as to suggest that this pressure release valve Polygon is providing will help support and even save Ethereum in the long run. When you consider the level of decentralization possible on the Ethereum network compared to competitors like BSC, it’s clear that many crypto native users prefer to stick with more decentralized platforms; however, functionality has to play a role as even die-hard Ethereum users resent paying such exorbitant fees and coping with severe network lag during periods of high congestion.
Polygon provides users with the confidence and trust they’re accustomed to in the secure, established, decentralized Ethereum platform while allowing for much faster and less expensive transactions. As more complex, network intensive DAPPs are developed, a dual approach to managing your DeFi funds would allow a good balance of security and usability, as a result both networks will continue grow and thrive side-by-side
While Ethereum will likely continue to be the dominant smart contract platform for the foreseeable future, sidechains like Polygon that help keep the user experience palatable without interrupting the overarching security and decentralisation that Ethereum provides are likely to continue growing as well. Whether you’re a die hard Ethereum maximalist or new crypto user, in a 24/7 world — where speed is king, Polygon’s many advantages are clear to see.