Polygon and Polkadot are two popular blockchains that attract users with high scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. But how do the two platforms differ from each other?
An increasing number of companies are embracing blockchain and leverage the technology to build their solutions. This is driven by the growing interest in cryptocurrencies and the wide range of use cases the technology offers.
It is now projected that the global blockchain technology market size will reach $1,235.71 billion by 2030.
In this article, we will compare two of the most popular blockchain platforms: Polygon and Polkadot. Both are striving to achieve the best interoperability and scalability, yet they use different approaches.
Read on to discover their key benefits, limitations, and technical peculiarities, and define which platform is your winner in this Polygon vs Polkadot competition.
What is Polygon?
Polygon is a Layer 2 scaling solution originally created to solve Ethereum’s scalability issue. It offers noticeable performance improvements, enabling faster and more cost-effective transactions for users. Additionally, Polygon leverages Ethereum’s robust security and well-established ecosystem and community.
Overview of Polygon’s benefits and limitations
There are several key benefits that make Polygon so attractive to users and developers, namely:
- Interoperability — thanks to its bridges, Polygon can seamlessly interact with other blockchains like Binance Smart Chain and Avalanche, facilitating cross-chain asset and data transfers.
- High scalability — Polygon manages to process up to 65,000 transactions per second (tps) and requires only 2 seconds to confirm a block.
- Low transaction cost — as of writing, the average transaction fee on Polygon is $0.01.
- Top-level security — the blockchain has inherited all the tried-and-true security features of Ethereum. Besides, Polygon operators are also stakers so they are deeply invested in the fraud-free functioning of the network.
- EVM compatibility — Polygon supports the Ethereum Virtual Machine which allows developers to easily migrate their Ethereum-based decentralized applications to Polygon.
- Sustainability — since Polygon works on Proof-of-Stake consensus and requires no mining, it consumers fewer resources. According to the report from The Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute, the Polygon network emits 50.13 tons of CO2e yearly. It is roughly the same carbon footprint as generated from eight round plane trips from Munich to San Francisco.
However, Polygon also has some limitations you need to consider. These are:
- Ethereum dependency — Polygon relies on the Ethereum mainchain to function and secure transactions. This means that any vulnerabilities or attacks on Ethereum could impact the security of Polygon.
- Centralization concerns — some experts state that Polygon is not fully decentralized because it is controlled by a rather small number of entities.
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What is Polkadot?
Polkadot is a blockchain network allowing different blockchains to seamlessly communicate with each other and perform transactions. Since it is composed of multiple blockchains that run concurrently, Polkadot is called a “multichain”.
Overview of Polkadot’s benefits and limitations
- Interoperability — due to its multichain architecture, Polkadot can connect various blockchains, both public or private, allowing users to transfer assets and data among different networks.
- High scalability — thanks to its parachains which allow for the parallel processing of transactions, Polkadot’s average speed is 1,000 tps. However, it was announced that it will reach 100,000 or even 1 million tps after the major network update.
- Low transaction fee — fast transaction processing contributes greatly to the Polkadot gas fee, which remains below $1.
- Robust security — Polkadot maintains a high level of protection with the help of a shared security model, where the overall network security is strengthened by the pooled security of all parachains and validators.
- Customizability — Polkadot allows developers to build and customize their own parachains for any project and purpose. They have the freedom to choose architecture, create tokens, and maintain governance according to their preferences. Sustainability — Polkadot is PoS blockchain so it does not put a heavy strain on the electricity grid. Based on the survey from The Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute, Polkadot produces 33 tons of CO2e annually, making it one of the most eco-friendly blockchains to date.
Yet, Polkadot has some limitations as well. These include:
- Limited number of parachains — currently, only 100 parachains can exist, and to deploy one, you need to win a slot at an auction by outbidding other participants.
- Complexity — Polkadot’s architecture and concepts are quite complex and pose a steeper learning curve for developers.
For better convenience, we prepared an infographic that provides an easy-to-understand overview of the benefits and limitations of both Polygon and Polkadot.
Our blockchain team absolutely nails Polkadot development. See for yourself
Polygon vs Polkadot: technical overview
To provide you with an in-depth comparison of Polygon vs Polkadot, we will take a closer look at the technical features of both blockchains, such as architecture, consensus algorithm, tokenomics, programming language, and ecosystem.
Polygon’s architecture is three-layered. There are:
- Ethereum layer is a set of smart contracts on the Ethereum mainnet.
- Heimdall layer or validation layer manages validators, block producers selection, spans, the state-sync mechanism between Ethereum and MATIC, and other vital aspects of the system.
- Bor layer or block producer layer is responsible for aggregating transactions into blocks.
Polkadot also has a multi-layered architecture, comprising the following components:
- Relay Chain maintains the network’s shared security, consensus, and cross-chain interoperability.
- Parachains are project-specific blockchains connected to the Polkadot network that can have their own tokens and optimize their functionality for specific use cases.
- Parathreads pay-as-you-go parachains used by blockchains that don’t need continuous connectivity to the Polkadot network.
- Bridges connect parachains and parathreads with external networks like Ethereum and Bitcoin for communication and interaction.
Polygon uses the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, which requires a set of validators for proposing and voting on block creation. The influence of a validator’s vote is determined by their stake in the network. The greater the stake, the more significant their vote becomes.
To become a Polygon validator, you need to lock up at least one MATIC token as a stake in the ecosystem. Validators are selected through a regular on-chain auction. Currently, the number of active validators is 100.
In its turn, Polkadot runs on a modified version of PoS called Nominated Proof-of-Stake (NPoS). It is a combination of PoS with a variant of Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT).
The NPoS consensus mechanism enhances decentralization by ensuring a fair distribution of stake and maintaining a balance between the influence of smaller and larger DOT holders in the voting process.
Any user who has staked at least 1 DOT can become a validator and be able to vote on proposed changes to the network. The network’s nominators select 297 active validators.
Discover the various types of consensus algorithms in our comprehensive overview
Both Polygon’s MATIC and Polkadot’s DOT tokens are used for:
- Staking — allow users to earn rewards in return for securing the network.
- Governance procedures — enable users to influence the networks’ development, upgrades, and other important protocol-level matters.
- Network fee payments — serve as the means of payment for the fees associated with networks’ transactions.
- Liquidity provision — allow token holders to participate in yield farming and other liquidity mining opportunities.
The main distinction between the two tokens lies in their supply dynamics. MATIC is a deflationary token, which means its supply gradually decreases over time, while DOT is inflationary, with new tokens entering circulation.
MATIC’s maximum supply is 10 billion tokens. As of June 29, 2023, the circulating supply is 9.31 billion, with 0.69 billion MATIC tokens in reserve. The amount of MATIC burned each year is estimated to be around 0.27%.
As for DOT, there are currently 1.25 billion tokens in circulation, and there is no predetermined maximum supply for the token.
Purchase and storage
Both tokens are available for purchase on reputable exchanges. Binance, Kraken, Coinbase Pro, and Huobi are just a few of the options.
The wallets created for storing MATIC tokens include Polygon Wallet Suite, Metamask, Venly, and more. DOT token holders also have a broad choice in terms of crypto wallets, such as Enkrypt, Fearless Wallet, Polkawallet, Ledger, etc.
What is tokenomics and why is it important? Let’s puzzle it out
Polygon is written in Solidity, the same language Ethereum uses. This is one of the most popular blockchain programming languages, offering a wide range of libraries, tools, extensive documentation, and a thriving community of developers.
In the meantime, Polkadot is written in Rust. It is a safe and fast programming language well-suited for developing blockchain applications. Plus, Polkadot supports other programming languages, such as Golang, C++, and even Solidity. It is possible because Polkadot uses WebAssembly (Wasm), which is a bytecode format that can be executed by any Wasm-enabled browser or runtime. This way, developers don’t need to learn a particular language to build within the Polkadot ecosystem.
Polygon has a well-established ecosystem with more than 37,000 dApps. The most popular ones include QuickSwap, Lens Protocol, Aavegotchi, and Crypto Unicorns. Also, Polygon is supported by a range of other decentralized solutions, including Uniswap, SushiSwap, OpenSea, The Sandbox, Stargate, and many more.
Besides, Polygon’ ecosystem is packed with NFTs minted under the names of notable corporations. The NFT collections from such giants as Meta, Starbucks, Reddit, and Nike are all based on Polygon.
Polkadot can’t boast such an impressive ecosystem yet. Currently, it has over 300 dApps, which is a more modest number compared to Polkadot. However, it comprises some effective solutions such as Acala, Deeper Network, Litentry, and more. Plus, popular projects such as Alchemy, Lido, and TrustWallet established support for Polkadot.
In April, 2023, it was announced that Mythical Games decided to leave Ethereum and migrate to Polygon with an aim to “create the biggest, most connected gaming ecosystem in Web3”.
Their NFT-based game, NFL Rivals, achieved 1 million downloads within just two months of its release. Such success can inspire more developers to build gaming and other dApps on the Polkadot platform.
In the following infographic, you will find a concise summary of all the crucial aspects discussed above.
Check out Rio DeFi — a blockchain ecosystem for DeFi applications PixelPlex built on Polkadot
Polygon or Polkadot: which blockchain to choose for your project?
So, is it Polkadot or Polygon? When deciding on the most suitable blockchain for your project, you should first have the answers to the following questions:
- What is the scale of your project? How many people will use the platform? How many transactions per second do you need to support?
- Does it require interoperability with other blockchains? If yes, what exact blockchains?
- How easy is it to develop a solution on each platform? What tools will your development team need to use, and how active is the developer community?
If you intend to develop a large-scale solution that will handle a high volume of simultaneous transactions, we recommend choosing Polygon. It is also an obvious choice if seamless connectivity with the Ethereum ecosystem is essential for your project.
A solid developer community and popularity of the Solidity programming language work in favor of Polygon as well.
However, you should remember that Polygon is quite dependent on Ethereum, so if some trouble occurs on the Ethereum mainnet, it will affect Polygon.
Polkadot will be a better choice if you seek interoperability with lots of different blockchains. Even though the network can not process as many transactions as Polygon, its tps is still high and allows it to execute lots of transactions without delays.
Yet Polkadot’s architecture can be complex to grasp, and its toolkit may not offer the same level of user-friendliness as Polygon’s.
What the two blockchains have in common is low environmental impact. Their annual CO2e production is quite small and relatively the same. Yet, if you are very much invested in keeping your project’s ecological footprint as low as possible then Polkadot is a go-to solution for you.
In any case, we highly recommend you to seek professional advice from experienced blockchain consultants to be 100% sure you make the right decision. After all, the success of your project will greatly depend on the selected blockchain platform.
There is no exact answer as to who wins in the Polygon vs Polkadot battle. Both networks offer tangible benefits and allow for the development of robust blockchain-based applications. Thus, when choosing between Polygon or Polkadot, it is crucial to consider the unique characteristics and requirements of your project.
Having been in blockchain development for 10+ years, the PixelPlex team have built dozens of decentralized solutions and tried out multiple networks, including Polygon and Polkadot.
Reach out to us and our blockchain development team will readily provide expert advice on the network that best suits your project and implement the solution of any complexity.