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Decrypt Crypto Project of the Year 2022: Polygon – Decrypt

In the middle of a fueled by contagion crypto winter that has chilled VC firms, coin holders, and NFT collectors look alikea project above all has made undeniable progress in integrating the masses and having the infrastructure to support them: Polygon, Decryptfor Crypto Project of the Year.

In 2022, Polygon’s perception has grown from one of many Ethereum evolve networks into a platform of choice for major household brands and enterprises seeking to exploit Web3 tech, powering everything from customer loyalty programs to web identity and metaverse. And it has made progress in its plans to support that growth through zero knowledge proof scaling technology.

Over the past few months, despite the loss of confidence in the crypto space due to the terra collapse and most recently FTXPolygon has attracted a wide range of massive, well-established brands that are creating applications at the top of the Ethereum scaler.

Starbucks, Instagram, Reddit choose Polygon

The Reddit chat community was among the big announcements, and this is the first to show tangible results. Reddit has rolled out ‘Avatar Collectible’ NFTs this summer based on its mascot Snoo, and rather than charging money for each one and making it a pure revenue game, the company increasingly offered them for free to its most active users as a reward.

Within months, a Reddit executive announced that users had created over three million Polygon wallets claim the NFTs. Now, more than 5 million colorful avatars have been created in over 4.3 million unique wallets, a significant uptick in adoption, despite some corners of Reddit being deemed anti-crypto.

Efforts by other brands, with earlier or still-to-be-deployed rollouts, could potentially reach a much wider reach (and perhaps less online) quota of users.

Meta, for example, unfolds NFT hit via Instagramultimately allowing its over one billion users to create their photos and images on Polygon.

The coffee giant Starbucks is launching a new rewards program based on NFT it’s already saw “unprecedented interest” despite being open to beta testers. And Nike plans to put digital clothing on Polygon early 2023.

“Even in the wake of FTX, I don’t see people backing down. I see people thinking about Web3 as central to their strategic future, from a technology perspective,” said Ryan Wyatt, CEO of Polygon Studios . Decrypt. “The conversations are ongoing, and I think every one of those companies thinking about Web3 will think of Polygon first when making a decision.”

Wyatt adds that while Polygon Studios supports brands and partners in a variety of ways, whether it’s investment, strategy, or technical advice, the ultimate goal is to become increasingly self-sufficient over time.

“The more we advance in this area, the easier it will be for these companies to self-service on board,” he says.

Polygon rejection

wyatt joined Polygon Studios, the business development company backing the decentralized blockchain platform, in March after leading YouTube Gaming for several years.

As a newcomer to the crypto industry, he said Decrypt previously, he saw a need for tech-savvy Web2 veterans to partner with the Web3 minds behind Polygon, to better speak to companies considering moving into this space. He describe this mixture as his team’s “secret sauce” to attract brands that might have considered other platforms.

But amid the rise in the number of big brands choosing Polygon, new backlash goes beyond the often tribal disputes spilling over social media. Recently, Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal ended up in a Twitter dispute with Mert Mumtaz, co-founder of Helius, startup centered on Solanaon investments and the integration of Polygon Studios.

“Polygon uses the money to pay people to use the chain and acquire businesses,” Mumtaz wrote, alleging that Polygon’s core team is paying builders to choose the platform.. Nailwal defended Polygon and railed against Solana in a tweeted quote thread, noting Solana’s downtime issuesand sparked a discussion that dominated Crypto Twitter for a few days.

“All of this isn’t to say that Polygon isn’t open to strategic deals, but we’re not stupid to give away millions of dollars for free,” Nailwal wrote in the thread. “The truth is, all brands want to rely on Ethereum and not half-baked L1s. Polygon is just a way for them to access Ethereum.

The thread drew comments and criticism from across the industry as other founders and builders weighed in on the debate. Mike Dudas, founder of venture capital firm 6th Man Ventures, suggested that Polygon’s management was not honest about its branding deals.

“Polygon absolutely pays for corporate deals,” Dudas wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “Many big names building on Polygon have been encouraged to do so by financial support, among many other factors. It’s fine and it’s a good deal, but don’t lie about it.

Asked about the role of financial incentives in bringing brands to Polygon, Wyatt says Decrypt“Polygon has a $100 million ecosystem fund in which we invest in developers of all sizes. While this strategy is not unique, as most major protocols have been funded significantly over the years with a clear mandate to build and advance their ecosystems, the network effects have been substantial Builders want to be where other builders are, and this is one of the main reasons why they continue to build on Polygon without further financial incentives.”

And despite Nailwal’s criticism of Solana’s issues, Polygon also ran into technical issues. In March, the sidechain network went offline for about 11 hours due to a node problem. And last December, a surprise (and controversy) hard fork of the Polygon blockchain was executed to fix what was described as a “critical network vulnerability”.

incoming zkEVM

To support its growing ambitions for mainstream adoption, Polygon is also developing the technology to power project creators of all sizes across its three zero knowledge proof (zk) scaling programs. Such solutions aggregate batches of transactions on a separate chain and then commit them to the main blockchain (Ethereum), allowing for much higher transaction throughput.

The star among the pack seems to be Polygon’s zkEVMwhich promises full compatibility with the Ethereum virtual machine through an equivalent environment. As such, developers’ existing smart contracts, wallets, and Ethereum development tools can use it effortlessly.

The zkEVM polygon was fully unveiled this summer and launched its testnet in October, with the claiming team it is the first zkEVM to have a public testnet with source code proving it produces ZK proofs. The platform aims to handle 2,000 transactions per second (tps) – up from 30 tps on the Ethereum mainnet, but still below Solana’s recent average.

“All researchers in the community agree that zk is the future,” Nailwal said. Decryptadding that today’s “intermediate technologies” like optimistic rollups are only palliatives.

He says development on zkEVM, including testnet deployment, has already exceeded expectations and a mainnet implementation may not be far off. “I think we’re very, very close to the mainnet, or some form of early mainnet,” Nailwal adds.

Polygon acquired and implemented three different zk scaling teams, with Polygon Zero and Polygon Miden completing the package. Nailwal says taking a multi-pronged approach to zk templates will provide more flexibility for creators as they look to scale their decentralized applications (dapps) to reach a large audience.

“We are extremely confident – more confident than when we took those big bets last year – that these were made the right way,” Nailwal said.

A ‘bright spot’ amid price cuts and bankruptcies

Amid discontent from some corners of the crypto world, Polygon contributors and supporters continue to build. Nailwal describes this year’s growth as “surreal” and says that while brand moves are making headlines, he’s also seen increased activity from native Web3 builders.

Polygon has certainly not been immune to market woes. Its MATIC token is down 69% year-to-date, almost on par with ETH’s losses (-68%) and a few points less than BTC (-65%), but significantly better than SOL (-93%).

Withstanding the decline of the crypto market better than many other coins, aided by occasional pops recently linked to brand moves, MATIC has climbed to the 10th largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization. Nailwal describes it as an achievement for the ecosystem and his team, but says Polygon builders and supporters can’t let their heads down.

Wyatt Says 2022 Crypto Crashes Revealed “What Had Been Seen As Crypto’s Golden Children” [to] to be complete scammers and frauds, and not representing this space. Polygon leaders aim to focus on building, controlling what they can, and avoiding “self-inflicted harm,” he adds.

Polygon’s growth in 2022 and its ability to attract major consumer brands has been a rare bright spot in an extremely difficult year for the crypto industry. Wyatt is proud of the accolade, but he doesn’t want it to be a rare attribute for crypto projects in the future.

“I want us to be a bright spot for space every year,” he says. “But I think for space to really grow and get to where we need it, we need a lot of bright spots.”

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