2022-08-05 18:31:28 UPDATED


Polygon believes in Web3 for all. Polygon is a decentralised Ethereum scaling platform that enables developers to build scalable user-friendly dApps with low transaction fees without ever sacrificing on security.







What is Polygon ?

Polygon is a Layer 2 scaling solution that achieves scale by utilizing sidechains for off-chain computation and a decentralized network of Proof-of-Stake (PoS) validators.

Polygon strives to solve the scalability and usability issues while not compromising on decentralization and leveraging the existing developer community and ecosystem. Polygon is an ​off-/sidechain scaling solution for existing platforms to provide scalability and superior user experience to DApps and user functionalities.

It is a scaling solution for public blockchains. Polygon PoS supports all the existing Ethereum tooling along with faster and cheaper transactions.


Key features & highlights

  • Scalability: Fast, low-cost and secure transactions on Polygon sidechains with finality achieved on mainchain and Ethereum as the first compatible Layer 1 basechain.
  • High throughput: Achieved up to 10,000 TPS on a single sidechain on internal testnet; Multiple chains to be added for horizontal scaling.
  • User experience: Smooth UX and developer abstraction from mainchain to Polygon chain; native mobile apps and SDK with WalletConnect support.
  • Security: Polygon chain operators are themselves stakers in the PoS system.
  • Public sidechains: Polygon sidechains are public in nature (vs. individual DApp chains), permissionless and capable of supporting multiple protocols.

The Polygon system was consciously architected to support arbitrary state transitions on Polygon sidechains, which are EVM-enabled.

Delegator and Validator Roles

You can participate on the Polygon network as a delegator or validator. See:


If your goal is to become a validator, it is essential that you understand the Polygon architecture.

See Polygon Architecture for more information.


To have a granular understanding of Polygon's architecture, check out the core components:


To have a granular understanding of the core components, see the following codebases:


Node setup

There are basically two ways of running a Validator Node on Polygon, using Ansible or directly from the binaries. You can check how to do this with the links below:

Staking operations

Check how the staking process is carried out for the validator and delegator profiles:

Delegators are token holders who cannot, or do not want to run a validator node themselves. Instead, they secure the network by delegating their stake to validator nodes and play a critical role in the system, as they are responsible for choosing validators. They run their delegation transaction on the staking contract on the Ethereum mainnet.

The MATIC tokens are bonded with the next checkpoint committed on the Ethereum mainnet. Delegators also have an option to opt out of the system whenever they want. Similar to validators, delegators have to wait for the unbonding period, which consists of approximately 9 days, to end before withdrawing their stake.

Fees and Rewards

Delegators stake their tokens by delegating them to validator, obtaining a percentage of their rewards in exchange. Because delegators share rewards with their validators, delegators also share risks. Should a validator misbehave, each of their delegators are at risk of being partially slashed in proportion to their delegated stake.

Validators set a commission percentage to determine the percentage of rewards that will go to them. Delegators are able to view the commission rate of each validator to understand each validator's reward distribution and a relative rate of return on their stake.


These are validators who take all of the rewards and are not looking for delegation, as they have enough to self-stake to stake on their own.

Delegators have the option to re-delegate their tokens with other validators. Rewards are accumulated at every checkpoint.


Delegation should not be seen as a passive activity, as delegators are an integral part of maintaining the Polygon network. Each delegator is responsible for managing their own risk, but in doing so, delegators should aim to elect validators that are behaving well.

Who is a Delegator

Who is a Validator

A validator is a participant in the network who locks up MATIC tokens in the system and runs Heimdall validator and Bor block producer nodes in order to help run the network. Validators stake their MATIC tokens as collateral to work for the security of the network and in exchange for their service, earn rewards.

Rewards are distributed to all stakers proportional to their stake at every checkpoint with the exception being the proposer getting an additional bonus. User reward balance gets updated in the contract which is referred to while claiming rewards.

Stakes are at risk of getting slashed in case the validator node commits a malicious act like double signing which also affects the linked delegators at that checkpoint.


Those who are interested in securing the network but are not running a full node can participate as delegators.


Validators on the Polygon network are selected through an on-chain auction process which happens at regular intervals. These selected validators participate as block producers and verifiers. Once a checkpoint is validated by the participants, updates are made on the parent chain (the Ethereum mainnet) which releases the rewards for validators depending on their stake in network.

Polygon relies on a set of validators to secure the network. The role of validators is to run a full node, produce blocks, validate and participate in consensus, and commit checkpoints on the Ethereum mainnet. To become a validator, one needs to stake their MATIC tokens with staking management contracts residing on the Ethereum mainnet.

Core compenents

Heimdall reads the events emitted by the staking contracts to pick the validators for the current set with their updated stake ratio, which is used also by Bor while producing blocks.

Delegation is also recorded in the staking contracts and any update in the validator power or node signer address or unbonding requests comes into effect when the next checkpoint gets committed.

End-to-end flow for a Polygon validator

Validators set up their signing nodes, sync data and then stake their tokens on the Ethereum mainnet staking contracts to be accepted as a validator in the current set. If a slot is vacant, the validator is accepted immediately. Otherwise, one needs to go through the replacement mechanism to get a slot.


There is limited space for accepting new validators. New validators can only join the active set when a currently active validator unbonds. A new auction process for validator replacement will be rolled out.

Block producers are chosen from the validator set where it is the responsibility of the selected validators to produce blocks for a given span.

Nodes at Heimdall validate the blocks being produced, participate in consensus and commit checkpoints on the Ethereum mainnet at defined intervals.

The probability of validators to get selected as the block producer or checkpoint proposer is dependent on one’s stake ratio including delegations in the overall pool.

Validators receive rewards at every checkpoint as per their stake ratio, after deducting the proposer bonus which is disbursed to the checkpoint proposer.

One can opt out of the system at any time and can withdraw tokens once the unbonding period ends.


See Rewards.

Setting up a validator node

See Validate.

olygon Network is a blockchain application platform that provides hybrid Proof-of-Stake and Plasma-enabled sidechains.

Architecturally, the beauty of Polygon is its elegant design, which features a generic validation layer separated from varying execution environments like full-blown EVM sidechains, and in the future, other layer 2 approaches such as zero-knowledge rollups.

To enable the PoS mechanism on our platform, a set of staking management contracts are deployed on Ethereum, as well as a set of incentivized validators running Heimdall and Bor nodes. Ethereum is the first basechain Polygon supports, but Polygon intends to offer support for additional basechains, based on community suggestions and consensus, to enable an interoperable decentralized Layer 2 blockchain platform.

Polygon PoS has a three-layer architecture:

  1. Staking smart contracts on Ethereum
  2. Heimdall (Proof of Stake layer)
  3. Bor (Block producer layer)

Polygon smart contracts (on Ethereum)

Polygon maintains a set of smart contracts on Ethereum, which handle the following:

  • Staking management for the Proof-of-Stake layer
  • Delegation management including validator shares
  • Checkpoints/snapshots of sidechain state

Heimdall (Proof-of-Stake validator layer)

Heimdall is the PoS validator node that works in consonance with the Staking contracts on Ethereum to enable the PoS mechanism on Polygon. We have implemented this by building on top of the Tendermint consensus engine with changes to the signature scheme and various data structures. It is responsible for block validation, block producer committee selection, checkpointing a representation of the sidechain blocks to Ethereum in our architecture and various other responsibilities.

Heimdall layer handles the aggregation of blocks produced by Bor into a merkle tree and publishing the merkle root periodically to the root chain. This periodic publishing are called checkpoints. For every few blocks on Bor, a validator (on the Heimdall layer):

  1. Validates all the blocks since the last checkpoint
  2. Creates a merkle tree of the block hashes
  3. Publishes the merkle root to the main chain

Checkpoints are important for two reasons:

  1. Providing finality on the Root Chain
  2. Providing proof of burn in withdrawal of assets

A bird’s eye view of the process can be explained as:

  • A subset of active validators from the pool are selected to act as block producers for a span. The Selection of each span will also be consented by at least 2/3 in power. These block producers are responsible for creating blocks and broadcasting it to the remaining of the network.
  • A checkpoint includes the root of all blocks created during any given interval. All nodes validate the same and attach their signature to it.
  • A selected proposer from the validator set is responsible for collecting all signatures for a particular checkpoint and committing the same on the main-chain.
  • The responsibility of creating blocks and also proposing checkpoints is variably dependent on a validator’s stake ratio in the overall pool.

Bor (Block Producer Layer)

Bor is Polygon block producer layer - the entity responsible for aggregating transactions into blocks.

Block producers are periodically shuffled via committee selection on Heimdall in durations termed as a span in Polygon. Blocks are produced at the Bor node and the sidechain VM is EVM-compatible. Blocks produced on Bor are also validated periodically by Heimdall nodes, and a checkpoint consisting of the Merkle tree hash of a set of blocks on Bor is committed to Ethereum periodically.

Polygon PoS Architecture

What are the competitive advantages of Polygon over its competitor?

  • L2 scaling solutions

Polygon is committed to achieving scale with decentralization. Polygon uses periodic checkpoints and fraud proofs. When users want to withdraw their assets, they use the checkpoints to prove their assets on side-chain, while fraud proofs are needed to challenge fraud or any bad behavior and slash stakers.

Other projects like Loom are also offering L2 scaing solutions. Loom recently announced plans of Zombiechain that may have similarities to Polygon. But there two key elements that we differ on:

First and foremost,The focus is different. Loom is focusing on games and social apps (requiring relatively less decentralization) while Polygon is focusing on not just financial transactions/ trades but games and other casual Dapps as well. We also have plans for full-blown financial services like lending/trading DApps (token swaps, margin trades and much more)

Secondly, Plasma Cash, which is what we believe Loom wants to use "in future", will have block times greater than the Ethereum block times as you need to push every block of the sidechain to the main chain, while Polygon uses checkpoints for 1-second block times (with PoS layer)

As Plasma Cash works with Non-Fungible Tokes (NFT), it works great for game cards and social state changes where you have pre-defined fees (bundled as NFT - eg "20 tokens" to play game equals 1 NFT coin on plasma cash). For normal token transfers, you may need to swap tokens (like currency notes & change) on top of plasma cash which makes it difficult to implement while offering a friendly UX. It is still being discussed on plasma calls, while Polygon uses state-based plasma (closer to Plasma MVP).

  • L1 scaling solutions

Apart from that, amongst other scaling projects like Ziliqa and Quarkchain, Polygon stands out due to its ability to achieve scale while maintaining a great degree of decentralization.

More importantly, these scalability projects have a reinventing the wheel problem. They are creating new blockchains where the developer community, product ecosystem, technical documentation and more importantly businesses need to be built from "scratch". Polygon on the other hand, it being an EVM enabled chain, programming language, developer documentation etc is available off the shelf to Polygon. All the Dapps/assets built on Ethereum mainchain have scalability available at the click of a button. This is made possible by Polygon being an EVM based side chain.

  • Payments

In payments, Raiden Network can be a competitor. Raiden thas implemented Lightning network on Ethereum. An important issue is of capacity/liquidity on the hubs. But this issue gets further amplified for Raiden as Lightning network has only one asset (Bitcoin) for hubs to maintain liquidity while Raiden Network would have to achieve liquidity for the countless number of assets (Ether, ERC20 Tokens)

We believe that Polygon has an edge in terms of usability because, in Raiden, both sender and receiver have to create their payment channels. This is very cumbersome for users. While with Polygon's underlying technology there is no requirement of payment channels for users and they only need to have a valid Ethereum address to receive tokens. This is also in line with our long-term vision of improving the user experience for decentralized applications.

  • Trading and Finance

Polygon intends to enable DEX's (eg 0x), Liquidity pools (eg. Kyber Network) and other kinds of financial protocols like Lending protocols (Dharma Protocol) on its platform, which will allow Polygon users acees to varied financial serivce applications like DEXs, Lending DApps and many others

  • Others

Also, Polygon's core focus on creating applications having an enhanced user experience will aid in the mass adoption of DApps. For the same end objective, we are intent on building ecosystem tools. Our products like Dagger (which is well known in the Ethereum community) and Opensigner (implementation of Walletconnect protocol and complete Node.js implementation) are a testimony to the same -





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