Polygon Rewind: Accomplishments and Vibe Check after a Year of Building

Polygon is in a new era. Get in, we’re going to the past!

Polygon Labs
May 24, 2024
Image source: Dribbble


  • “Polygon” is more than Polygon Proof-of-Stake—it’s an aggregated blockchain network, and since the Polygon 2.0 roadmap was launched nearly a year ago, as a series of community proposals, there have been a lot of developments
  • The first components of the AggLayer went live in February 2024, with three chains connecting: X Layer, Astar zkEVM, and Polygon zkEVM
  • A number of chains began to build with Polygon CDK (Chain Development Kit), an open source collection of software components that makes it easy to build and launch custom-designed zero-knowledge blockchains
  • After reaching community consensus, the contracts for POL went live on mainnet
  • Governance proposals reached community consensus, including a framework for community-driven funding of the Community Treasury, and an independent Community Treasury Board

Time for a vibe check: A series of community proposals set forth as Polygon 2.0 during the hot summer of 2023, reimagined nearly every aspect of Polygon networks—and laid the groundwork for an aggregated blockchain network. Developers and key community members have spent the last year building.

So, what’s been accomplished in that time? 

Actually, a lot; enough to lose track of. It’s worth taking a stroll down memory lane. 

  • It’s been a huge year for a community of builders and enthusiastic advocates. 
  • Developers from across the broader Polygon community, including Polygon Labs, have broken fresh technological ground and reoriented, with community consensus, the direction of Polygon.

If you’re not in the know, or want to re/defamiliarize with how Polygon is evolving, take a peak at this recent post that sums it all up: 

Psst: Polygon is more than Polygon PoS—it’s becoming an aggregated blockchain network where a web of sovereign chains feels like a single one. The last twelve months have been the first steps to get there. 

Let’s see what’s been done.

Building the AggLayer

The Aggregation Layer, or AggLayer, is the first aggregated blockchain network, and the first components went live in February 2024

Arguably, this is one of the biggest accomplishments of the last year, so let’s slow down to understand what it is and what it means for users, developers, and Polygon.

The AggLayer is a credibly neutral service that will accept proofs from connected chains; verify that chain states are consistent; aggregate these proofs; and settle to Ethereum. The barrier to entry will be low. Three chains have already connected:

  1. X Layer, a ZK chain built using Polygon CDK (Chain Development Kit) by the centralized exchange, OKX. It will give a decentralized route for millions of OKX users to seamlessly experience cross-chain network effects and a massive ecosystem
  2. Astar zkEVM, a general purpose ZK chain built by Japan’s Web3 leader
  3. Polygon zkEVM, a full-featured, EVM-equivalent rollup

So, what is the AggLayer? An aggregated approach is the synthesis of the monolithic versus modular dialectic that’s been at the center of the blockchain scaling debate.

In short, an aggregated approach combines the best of both worlds: a modular, multichain ecosystem that settles on Ethereum. The AggLayer enables access to shared state and liquidity across connected chains, providing users with a single-chain experience even as they navigate between different chains and execution environments.

The AggLayer will make this thesis a reality. It achieves three critical objectives:

  1. Asset fungibility: A unified bridge ensures that L1 assets can be safely locked and used across different chains. Eliminates the need for cumbersome withdrawals and bridging services.
  2. Trustless: Users are not required to make any additional trust assumptions. In the context of cross-chain interoperability, this means security that is at least as strong as the underlying domains.
  3. Low-latency transaction and messaging: The AggLayer enables chains to coordinate and operate at lower-than-Ethereum latency. Fast transactions between chains.

These capabilities give rise to shared liquidity.

As the AggLayer continues to evolve, it will unlock new possibilities for developers and users, enabling a new era of interoperability and innovation in the multichain ecosystem.

Read more: 

  1. Aggregated Blockchains: A New Thesis 
  2. The Beginner’s Guide to Aggregated Blockchains
  3. DeFi 101: Smart Contracts, Aggregated
Proposal to move Polygon PoS to ZK – and connect to the AggLayer

Polygon PoS has been cooking. With more daily active users and better UX than ever, the chain has quietly become a technical behemoth and a real example of sustained adoption in the crypto landscape. Highlights over the last 12 months: 

  1. Quietly launched parallelized EVM last summer
  2. Three major upgrades in Inborg, Aalborg, and Napoli:some text
    1. Reduced deep reorgs
    2. Increased finality
    3. Introduced adoption for RIP-7212, the first rollup improvement proposal, for better account abstraction
    4. Plus a bunch of other improvements and support for precompiles 

Even while the community reached consensus to achieve all of these upgrades—last June, a technical proposal laid out the case to migrate the current Polygon PoS architecture to a zkEVM validium. Doing so would make Polygon PoS a true L2.

  • Discussion is ongoing. A core part of the Polygon 2.0 vision is uniting a fragmented crypto landscape, enabling shared liquidity and state across sovereign chains—which includes connecting the behemoth, Polygon PoS, to the AggLayer, too.
  • Other solutions for connecting PoS to the AggLayer in the near-term remain an area of active investigation.  
Polygon CDK, for sovereignty and horizontal scale 

There have been so many announcements in the last year about Polygon CDK (Chain Development Kit) that it can be hard to keep track of who is building what. First, a brief reminder: Polygon CDK makes it easy for developers to design and launch chains on Ethereum, or migrate existing chains. Chain design is made seamlessly modular and sovereign, with developers enjoying freedom to tailor a chain's architecture to specific needs. By offering a set of supported, open-source components, Polygon CDK enables developers to create custom blockchain solutions that cater to their unique requirements.

As a stack, Polygon CDK is undergoing research upgrades, such as:

A quick rundown of major Polygon CDK-related announcements and projects building with the open-source tech stack:

Many others are planning on using aspects of the Polygon CDK stack, including Gnosis Pay, Canto, Palm Network, and IDEX, among others. 

And best of all, Polygon CDK continues to expand. All extant Polygon technology, from the open-source Type 1 ZKEVM prover to the underlying technology of Polygon zkEVM, will be folded into Polygon CDK. 

This includes the recently announced Polygon Miden. Read more: Introducing Polygon Chain Development Kit and Polygon CDK: Your Guide to Sovereign L2 Scaling, From A to ZK.

POL, live on mainnet

The formal specifications of a multiphase upgrade to Polygon were outlined in a Polygon Improvement Proposal, PIP-18, in September 2023 on the community forum—and after reaching community consensus, the contracts for POL are live on mainnet

In Phase 0, it was proposed that Polygon PoS and Polygon zkEVM would not change anything for end users. 

The proposal covered multiple changes to be implemented in the system smart contracts of these chains on Ethereum, the core of which are:

  1. The initiation of the POL upgrade
  2. The upgrade from MATIC to POL as the native (gas) token for Polygon PoS
  3. The adoption of POL as the staking token for Polygon PoS
  4. The launch of the Staking Layer and migration of Polygon public chains to consequently leverage it

By October, after community consensus, POL went live on mainnet. A quick roundup:

  • As a next-generation token, POL will help power the diverse, growing number of chains in the Aggregation Layer (AggLayer) via a native re-staking protocol.
  • Staking Hub allows POL holders to validate multiple chains and perform multiple roles on each of those chains (sequencing, ZK proof generation, participation in data availability committees, etc.). 

Next on the roadmap? Initiating the migration of MATIC to POL as the native gas token for Polygon PoS and migrating the staking token for PoS from MATIC to POL.Read more, here: Polygon 2.0 Milestone: POL Contracts Are Live on Ethereum Mainnet

Governance, Ecosystem Council, and the Community Treasury Board 

A new governance system was proposed to reflect the evolving nature of Polygon technology and protocols. This model, which for protocol governance draws heavily from Ethereum’s, was meant to ensure decentralized decision-making, allowing the community to actively participate in the governance process. 

The system is built on three pillars: Protocol Governance, System Smart Contracts Governance, and Community Treasury Governance. 

Each of these pillars plays a vital role in maintaining the network's integrity and growth, transparency, and effectiveness. This governance framework is a testament to Polygon's commitment to a community-driven approach in the growth and evolution of its ecosystem.

So what was actually accomplished?

  • The Polygon Protocol Council, approved by the community in a Polygon Improvement Proposal (PIP-29), is a community-governed body of 13 members responsible for narrow-in-scope changes to system smart contracts implemented on Ethereum for existing and future Polygon protocols.
  • A framework for community-driven funding, as laid out in the Polygon Funding Proposal framework (PFP-1), has reached community consensus, with the first season of grants just around the corner.
  • The Community Treasury Board and Governance Framework, as proposed in PFP-2, would establish a decentralized, community-first approach to distributing grants to Polygon-based projects

The future of Polygon relies on community input, feedback, and approval. Join the conversation by tuning into the Polygon Protocol Governance Calls, on the Polygon Foundation handle, or heading to the forum. 

Read more: 

Aggregating it all together: The road ahead

Polygon is all in on aggregation. 

  • With the AggLayer, new and existing chains 
  • With Polygon CDK, any project can seamlessly launch a ZK-powered chain, or migrate existing ones–with all of the liquidity, users, and state–into the AggLayer. 

For Polygon Labs, this is the path ahead: Contributing to an aggregated web of sovereign chains.

2024 is year zero for Polygon as the aggregated blockchains network that looks, feels, and scales like the Internet. The tools to achieve this are already here: the AggLayer, Polygon CDK, and robust ZK technology.

Ready to dive, get started on your aggregated future? Jump into the docs today

Tune into the blog and our social channels to keep up with updates about the Polygon ecosystem.

Together, we can build an equitable future for all through the mass adoption of Web3.

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