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Matic is renamed Polygon to pursue the ‘Polkadot on Ethereum’ strategy

The Matic Network, a project to develop an Ethereum-based Layer-Two solution and an independent proof-of-stake blockchain, announced on Tuesday that it would be renamed Polygon. While the existing products and the token would remain largely the same, the new branding signals a strategic change towards a layer 2 aggregator.

In addition to the in-house platforms, Polygon should also support other scalability solutions from Ethereum, in particular Optimistic Rollups, ZkRollups and StarkWare’s Validium. The strategy is implemented through a new Polygon SDK, which enables developers to build their DApps on a scalable and Ethereum-anchored infrastructure without having to select a specific technology.

Sandeep Nailwal, co-founder of Matic and Polygon, stated that the approach also includes a variety of interoperability mechanisms. These include asynchronous messaging systems based on the Ethereum Virtual Machine, which are intended for EVM-compatible chains; Message delivery based on status channels, a more complex version of the core concept of the Lightning Network; and a potential “overlay rollup” that combines other Layer 2 platforms and enables instant inter-rollup transactions. Polygon would maintain full connectivity to Ethereum through a variety of Layer 2 security mechanisms, in addition to using Matic’s existing asset bridging implementation.

As part of the new strategy, the project also involved well-known Ethereum developers and influencers such as Hudson Jameson, Ryan Sean Adams, Anthony Sassano and John Lilic as advisors. According to Nailwal, some of the consultants described Polygon’s approach as a kind of “Polkadot on Ethereum” which is not an official slogan adopted by the team, but which nonetheless provides “an easier to understand narrative for the community”.

Polygon’s SDK and platform would transform Ethereum into a multi-chain system, which the team believes is no different from other projects like Polkadot, Cosmos or Avalanche. Still, Nailwal believes the Ethereum-centric strategy offers several significant advantages over competing systems. Polygon would benefit from Ethereum’s general network effect from DApps and its rollout while being “inherently more secure” as Ethereum is the larger and battle-tested blockchain.

Finally, Nailwal said that Polygon “is more open and capable, especially in terms of the types of architecture it can support”. The platform can integrate any Ethereum scalability solution while adopting “Ethereum’s ethos of open innovation”.

Polygon’s strategy, if successfully implemented, could have a significant impact on the Ethereum ecosystem. The new “roll-up-centered” roadmap envisages that shards will be used to connect a large number of Layer 2 solutions. But while shard architectures involve cross-shard communication, interoperability between layer 2 chains is less immediate and often requires going through Ethereum’s main block chain first. For decentralized finance projects where ease of composition is critical, this problem could mean having to pick “the winning rollup” even if it is crowded or otherwise unsuitable for their needs. Hence, simple interoperability could be key to ensure that Ethereum’s current roadmap has practical scalability for DApps.

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