Polygon Aims to be the AWS of Web3

Polygon is betting big on zero-knowledge (ZK) technology. In July 2022, the company launched Polygon zkEVM, which it describes as a ‘major leap forward.’
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Meta recently announced that it would allow its users to post NFTs across both Instagram and Facebook. A few months back, a fintech company, Stripe, announced that it would make payouts to its creator community. A year ago, global professional services and technology firm, EY, started offering its flagship blockchain products. The American professional football league NFL started selling NFT collections last year. 

At the core of everything these companies are developing – Polygon remains ubiquitous.

Polygon is one of the most widely used platforms for Ethereum ‘Level 2’ scaling and infrastructure development, besides Solana, Polkadot, Fantom, LoopRing, Arbitrum (Offchain Labs), Immutable X, Tezos, and Flow blockchains. It is used to build blockchain games, mint NFTs and more. It is revolutionising how companies look at DeFi (decentralised finance), NFTs (non-fungible tokens), Web3 and blockchain. 

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“We partner with companies that make life easier for developers. We are the last man standing, but we want to make sure each and every person in that value chain is successful along with us. The vision of us being the AWS of Web3 is not far-fetched. We are already on that journey. We will probably get there sooner than most of our competitors,” said Dalip Tyagi confidently. He currently heads Polygon as the SVP and head of developer relations. 

Tyagi told Analytics India Magazine that he joined Polygon eight months ago. Prior to this, he worked in senior leadership roles at Amazon, Meta (previously Facebook), and Microsoft, among others, leading global marketing teams and developer initiatives. “It was the right time for me to jump into the industry, considering it is pretty nascent and highly fragmented, and best is yet to come,” said Tyagi when asked about his career transition. 

Further, he lauded the work culture and the value the company is adding to the entire ecosystem. Tyagi said that the energy, excitement, humility, and ability to make mistakes while learning keeps the team motivated at all times.“But, every single day coming out and making new and continuous improvements in the processes, how do we do it better than the previous day? That is what keeps us going. That is what makes us a unique company,” said Tyagi, sharing his personal experience at Polygon. 

Tyagi said that Polygon looks to invest in technologies that are future leaning. “We invest in them ahead of the curve,” he added, saying that at the core, they are looking at investing in more secure, faster and scalable solutions and products. He also said that they are emotionally connected with developers and will continue to invest in the future. “If you look at the past few months. It has been a golden time for us. However, the best is yet to come,” said Tyagi. 

“Our investment in India will continue to grow,” he added, saying that its Web3 hackathons (BUIDL IT) conducted by Polygon saw about 300 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth, and most of it is from India. “We are on track; our hockey stick is going to bend the other way around,” said Tyagi. Besides India, Polygon sees larger adoption in Africa, Latin America, Europe and the US. 

India’s future relies on Web3  

India is the biggest exporter of technology, and technology services, not necessarily the consumer market. It is growing too. But, a substantial portion is still based on how we export the technology outside of India and how we have a skilled workforce that can build. That is why India has become a country with outsized impact,” said Tyagi. 

Citing prominent names in Web2 like Microsoft, Google and others, Tyagi said that some big names have set up their research centres in Gurugram, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. “Each and every single web company has a presence in India. I expect the same will happen for Web3,” he added, pointing at the trends of how Indian enterprises are looking at Web3 as a future.  

Stressing on some of the drawbacks of Web2 in terms of UI/UX, efficiency, transferring data, safety and security, and more, Tyagi said today, large data brokers in the middle are controlling the identity and everything; with Web3, you are giving control back to the users. He believes that all of these things are coming together. “You will see this merger that happens globally,” said Tyagi. 

He further told AIM that with the sheer size of the talent pool, alongside the quality impact on Web2 and all the educational institutions that are continuing to churn out high-quality engineering graduates, India will continue to have that outsize impact in the global market, as well as in the home market. 

Polygon At a Glance 

Bengaluru- and Singapore-based Polygon (previously ‘Matic Network’) is one of the few blockchain startups to have made it big in the global arena. The company was co-founded by Anurag Arjun, Jaynti Kanani, and Sandeep Nailwal in 2017. Later, Serbia-based software engineer Mihailo Bjelic joined the firm as another co-founder in 2020, alongside rebranding the company from Matic Network to Polygon. 

Co-founders of Polygon

Over the years, the company has invested in multiple blockchain startups, including thirdweb, Insomnia Labs, Unstoppable Domains, Mighty Bear Games, Optic, Gnosis, Revoland, Sidus Heroes, Thred Apps, and Mech, among others. The company has invested in over 34 blockchain and NFT startups and successfully exited from one company (Health Hero). 

In 2021, Polygon acquired two zero-knowledge (ZK-based) companies, namely Mir Protocol ($400 million) and Hermez Network ($250 million). These investments came after the company, last year, had announced its strategy of investing in ZK-focused initiatives and projects, where it had allocated a $1 billion strategic fund

In 2022, the company raised $450 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital India. Besides Sequoia, the company is backed by multiple investors and VC firms globally. Some prominent names include Mark Cuban, Tiger Global Management, Coinbase Venture, and others. 

Most recently, Polygon joined Disney’s 2022 Accelerator Programme to develop AR, NFT and AI experiences. It was one of the six startups to make it to the programme, besides Flick Play, Inworld, Lockerverse, Obsess and Red 6. 

Polygon told AIM that it currently facilitates more than 37,000 dApps across the globe. The company has recorded more than 160+ million unique users and over 3+ million daily transactions, and since its inception, it has recorded close to 3.4 billion transactions and counting.  

The company has over 450+ people and a fully-remote team. It has grown significantly in the last six months. The company told AIM that it is looking to hire 100+ people across geographies across all the business units in the coming months, particularly in business development, marketing, engineering roles, and more. “There is no way for us to slow down. We will continue to see growth both in bringing new products and launching them (particularly in the areas of DeFi, NFT, and Web3), supporting them, and going after all the big opportunities we see in the marketplace,” they added. 

Polygon claimed that it is carbon neutral and is going carbon-negative in 2022. 

What’s new? 

Polygon is betting big on zero-knowledge (ZK) technology. In July 2022, the company launched Polygon zkEVM, which it describes as a ‘major leap forward.’ The company believes it is the first Ethereum-equivalent scaling solution that works seamlessly with all existing smart contracts, developer tools and wallets, using advanced cryptography called ‘ZK proofs.’  

The team said, up until the Polygon zkEVM launch this year, many of the greatest minds in Web3 believed that this breakthrough would take up to ten years to realise. It is the first ZK scaling solution that is EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) equivalent: all existing smart contracts, developer tools, and wallets work seamlessly. 

Tyagi is super excited about zero-knowledge technology as well. He said, “It is really fascinating. The things that are possible say, you can be on a blockchain—which is by definition public—but you can also be anonymous at the same time. “That is truly empowering to own how the data is created, distributed, managed, and monetised at the end of the day. It is truly about making a creator-led economy, and zero-knowledge has the potential to change,” he added, saying he is always up for an open, decentralised and equitable web. 

Last month, Etherium announced that it would be switching to proof-of-stake (PoS), slated for mid-September. Many wonder how this merge would impact ‘Layer 2’ platforms like Polygon. “We are kind of okay, more than kind of—we are extremely, unbelievably, falling-out-of-our seats excited by Ethereum’s upcoming transition to PoS,” said the team. 

Proof-of-stake (PoS) is a type of consensus mechanism used by blockchain to achieve distributed consensus. In proof-of-work (PoW), miners prove they have capital at risk by expanding energy. In PoS, validators explicitly stake capital in the form of ether into a smart contract on Ethereum. 

Polygon said that Ethereum would be more environmentally friendly. But, it will not lower its gas fees or increase its speed. “The network depends on Polygon and other Layer 2 solutions to solve this,” the team added. 

Amit Raja Naik
Amit Raja Naik is a seasoned technology journalist who covers everything from data science to machine learning and artificial intelligence for Analytics India Magazine, where he examines the trends, challenges, ideas, and transformations across the industry.

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