Polygon's technology can solve some of Ethereum's congestion problems.
Polygon (MATIC) is one of the few cryptocurrencies that has continued to perform during the recent crypto slump.
Originally named Matic Network, the India-based cryptocurrency was founded in 2017 with a mission to solve scalability issues on the Ethereum network. Ethereum is the second-biggest cryptocurrency and serves as a platform for various things, including decentralized applications (Dapps) and other digital currencies.
However, the Ethereum network is congested and users face high transaction fees. It does have an upgrade in the works to address these issues. But its move to Ethereum 2.0 (Eth2) will take time. And with 80% of the decentralized applications market using Ethereum, many developers are looking for other solutions.
That's where Polygon comes in. It sits on top of the Ethereum blockchain to provide faster and cheaper transactions.
Mark Cuban's Polygon investment
Mark Cuban is a big cryptocurrency fan and has already invested in a number of crypto companies. According to Cuban's site, "Polygon is the first well-structured, easy-to-use platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development."
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We don't know how much he's invested in the company, but his support is a big boost for Polygon. Cuban told Cointelegraph he is an active user and said he wants to integrate Polygon into his non-fungible token (NFT) gallery, Lazy.com. NFTs are a form of digital collectible that use programmable blockchains like Ethereum.
One thing that makes Polygon stand out is it's capable of processing many more transactions per second than Ethereum, and it does so at a fraction of the cost. It uses an additional layer, which it calls a sidechain, that works in parallel with the existing blockchain technology to improve its performance.
Should you follow Mark Cuban's lead?
Polygon's price is up over 10,000% since the start of this year. Crypto prices have risen across the board since January, but that is a huge jump. Its market cap of over $11 billion makes it the 15th biggest cryptocurrency right now, according to CoinMarketCap data.
A jump that big is impressive, but you also have to consider Polygon's long-term potential. The price may continue to rise, especially as more people realize what the technology is capable of. But, while various crypto analysts are optimistic about its price, it's probably not a great move to buy Polygon if you're looking for short-term returns of that magnitude.
It's also worth thinking about what will happen when Ethereum moves fully to the much-needed Eth2. This is taking place in stages, and right now, it looks like the platform won't fully solve its scalability issues before 2022. Assuming Ethereum can upgrade without any hitches, Polygon's solutions may not be as necessary in a year's time.
In theory, Polygon's utility goes beyond Ethereum. It can layer onto any blockchain to add speed and -- importantly -- it also allows different platforms to work with each other. But Polygon is not the only cryptocurrency that's developing this functionality, so there's also the chance that someone else will develop a better solution.
More generally, when you buy any cryptocurrency, you need to be prepared to enter what is a relatively untested market. We don't yet know what will happen with regulation in the U.S., and with so much hype and such a complex technology, it is difficult to be sure which cryptocurrencies will deliver on their potential.
If you do decide to buy, several top U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges trade Polygon.
One thing we all learned in the last month is that you need to be ready for volatility. Only invest money you can afford to lose and don't jump in just because you know an influencer like Mark Cuban did. He's clearly a successful investor with a good understanding of the crypto space. But only you know your risk tolerance and financial goals, so it's important to do your own research and make your own decisions.
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We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
Emma Newbery owns Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Polygon.
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