Polygon, a scaling solution to the Ethereum blockchain, aims to “unify liquidity” of the various networks in its ecosystem as part of a new architecture under its rebrand as Polygon 2.0.
The plan also provide for restaking tokens, allowing investors to simultaneously stake the same tokens on multiple projects. And Polygon plans to give developers the ability to "add new decentralized chains on demand," according to a statement – joining competitors including Arbitrum, Optimism and zkSync's Matter Labs that have made their networks easier to copy, in the pursuit of fostering broader ecosystems of specialized but compatible blockchains.
Under the new tech stack, Polygon says it will link the various Polygon chains through a shared crypto bridge powered by zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs, one of this year’s hottest blockchain technologies. CoinDesk reported exclusively earlier this year that Polygon would emphasize ZK technology in its future project roadmap.
"Unified liquidity is the key to everything in Polygon 2.0,” said Brendan Farmer, the co-founder of Polygon in a press release. “We need to support unlimited scalability, but the entire Polygon 2.0 ecosystem must still feel like using a single chain. The validity of cross-chain transactions is guaranteed by ZK proofs posted to Ethereum, but we want bridging to feel seamless. We can’t make users wait for a chain to generate a proof or settle on Ethereum.”
With the new architecture, a coordination layer would come to exist to confirm cross-chain transactions, while the shared bridge will be powered by ZK proofs.
“With zero knowledge proofs, we can basically bridge or initiate cross-chain transactions in a way that's safe, and in a way that is instant,” Farmer told CoinDesk in an interview.
“And so what we want is this coordination layer for the shared bridge that allows for like an unlimited number of chains, but for those chains to sort of behave in a unified way,” Farmer said. ”For a user, it feels like you're using a single chain.”
Polygon provided this technical description of how it works: "Native Ethereum tokens will be deposited into a single contract on Ethereum, so when a user transacts across Polygon chains, the corresponding assets will be mapped to the tokens deposited on Ethereum. No need for wrapped tokens and the corresponding UX difficulties." UX stands for user experience.
The proposal also calls for an emphasis on restaking, which allows users to repurpose their staked crypto to ensure the security of other applications on a blockchain. Many protocols, like Eigenlayer, have recently embraced restaking.
Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder behind the Ethereum blockchain, has expressed reservations about restaking, fearing that it could create systemic risks for blockchains.
“I think restaking is a really nice answer to that question where there will be validators that stake the token in order to validate chains on Polygon,” Farmer said. “They'll be able to not only validate one chain, but they'll be able to restake their tokens to actually serve as decentralized validators.”
The announcement about Polygon’s new architecture and tech stack comes just a few days after it shared a proposal to upgrade its Polygon PoS chain to a zkEVM validium. Polygon has shared that it will also be releasing announcements over the next few weeks on its token, $MATIC, and its governance process.
“I think one of the guiding principles behind Polygon 2.0 is we want to build this sort of foundational piece of the internet, the value layer for the internet,” Farmer said.
Despite Polygon’s series of announcements, its MATIC token is down 30% over the past 30 days, the second worst performance among digital tokens tracked by the analysis firm Messari with a reported market cap of at least $500 million. A major overhang is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s labeling the MATIC token earlier this month as security – a designation that could bring added regulatory scrutiny. Tokens from other layer 2 projects are also down over the past 30 days, but not as much: Optimism has lost 13%, and Arbitrum is down 6%.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.