Polygon: L2 or not L2?

14 min readJun 21, 2021

Article by Alfonso De La Rocha


It’s time for another L2 comparison! The other day I came across a project I wasn’t aware of: Polygon. Polygon is advertised on its official site as the “Ethereum’s Internet of Blockchains”. What does this mean?

Polygon seems to be tackling all of Ethereum’s current limitations at the same time: its current low throughput (which hopefully will be improved with Ethereum 2.0); the poor UX provided for applications as a result of gas fees and the delayed PoW finality; and what they call “no sovereignty” which translates into the lack of composability of the Ethereum stack; and its governance dependence, which limits the influence decentralized applications can have over the underlying blockchain substrate. They aim to solve all of this by building “a protocol and a framework for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks.”

If you’ve been reading my publications lately, you may already be aware of how several projects in the community are trying to mitigate some (or all) of the aforementioned limitations by building Ethereum-compatible blockchains. They’re building completely new blockchain protocols like Polkadot which are EVM-compatible or implementing Layer 2 solutions built on top of Ethereum’s mainnet, such as Metis, Optimism, or Arbitrium.

Polygon is attempting to resolve multiple challenges at the same time, offering one-click deployment of the preset blockchain network (Polygon commit-chains); a set of modules to develop custom networks (like what you can do with Parity’s Substrate); an interoperability protocol for exchanging arbitrary messages with Ethereum and other blockchain networks; and adaptor modules to achieve interoperability for existing blockchains (similar to Polkadot’s bridges).

Source: https://polygon.technology/

When I read this list of promises from Polygon, I thought: “Wow! They are basically trying to do everything!” But the more I read, the more I wonder if they were trying to bite off more than…