Polygon is a “layer two” or “sidechain” scaling solution that runs alongside the Ethereum blockchain — allowing for speedy transactions and low fees. MATIC is the network’s native cryptocurrency, which is used for fees, staking, and more. You can buy or sell MATIC via exchanges like Coinbase.
The Ethereum blockchain is home to a vast range of economic activity — from NFT markets and games to the growing DeFi ecosystem. Ethereum is well suited to this activity because it’s compatible with smart contracts, which can be used to build a vast range of applications.
However, the growing popularity of these applications adds many transactions to the Ethereum blockchain — and as a result, transaction fees (also known as “gas”) can sometimes rise to the point where making small or frequent investments can be economically unviable.
Enter Polygon, which is a “Layer 2” scaling solution (or “sidechain”) that’s emerged to provide faster transactions and lower costs for users. It acts as a speedy parallel blockchain running alongside the main Ethereum blockchain. To use it, you can “bridge” some of your crypto over to Polygon, and then interact with a wide range of popular crypto apps that were once exclusive to the main Ethereum blockchain.
Polygon has its own cryptocurrency, called MATIC, which is used to pay fees on the Polygon network, for staking, and for governance (which means that MATIC holders get to vote on changes to Polygon). You can also buy and sell MATIC via Coinbase and other exchanges.
The name MATIC comes from an earlier stage in Polygon’s development. After launching as Matic Network in October 2017, developers rebranded as Polygon early in 2021.