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LearnCrypto 101

A beginner's guide to Polygon

Lipsa Das
    Beginner's Guide to Polygon

    Key Takeaways

    • Polygon helps Ethereum battle two key issues — high transaction fees and scalability.
    • As a Layer-2 blockchain, Polygon groups and processes transactions on a separate chain and syncs it with the Ethereum blockchain, reducing congestion and speeding up the main network.
    • Whether you want to play NFT games or swap tokens on Ethereum, Polygon provides a cheaper and faster way to do it, and all you need is your Phantom wallet.

    What is Polygon?

    Polygon began as Matic Network in 2017 as a Layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum. Polygon helps Ethereum address the blockchain trilemma — security, scalability, and decentralization. Blockchains usually struggle to address all three simultaneously. Scalability often comes at the cost of security and vice versa. Polygon’s technology addresses this, and here’s how:

    Think of Ethereum as a busy highway that can get congested with traffic, making it slow and expensive to use. It supports the second-largest cryptocurrency and is the most popular chain among decentralized applications (dApps) — of course, the demand can sometimes be overwhelming. The easiest way to reduce congestion on a highway is to divert traffic.

    Now, imagine that Polygon is a high-speed, toll-free bypass that runs parallel to the highway, allowing you to reach your destination faster and at a lower cost. This is what Polygon does for Ethereum users — it provides a faster and cheaper alternative.

    How does Polygon work?

    Ethereum can only handle less than 20 transactions per second (TPS) so Polygon tries to take some of the network load off. Polygon, which, in theory, can process up to 7,200 TPS, ensures some of the transactions are processed off the main Ethereum network, which reduces congestion and increases Ethereum’s capacity.

    In Polygon, multiple transactions are grouped in batches. These batches of transactions are updated on the Ethereum mainnet. This means Ethereum has to process only the final state of each batch, rather than processing each transaction individually. This reduces the cost and time required to update the Ethereum mainnet.

    What is MATIC?

    Before Polygon changed its name, it was known as Matic Network. Now, MATIC is the ticker for its native token. If you want to conduct any transaction on Polygon, let’s say, buy a non-fungible token (NFT), for instance, you need MATIC to pay Ethereum transaction fees (also known as gas fees).

    While paying gas fees is the most standard use for MATIC, it’s also a governance token. So, if you have MATIC, you can vote on what the network does next. And because Polygon has its proof-of-stake layer, you can stake MATIC, too, in exchange for rewards.

    What can you do on Polygon?

    Polygon allows you to experience all that Ethereum has to offer — but in a faster, cheaper way.

    Phantom is compatible with Ethereum and Polygon, so you can easily use any application on either blockchain without ever having to manually switch networks. You can access and trade on decentralized exchanges (DEXs) like Uniswap and Sushi, participate in yield farming on platforms like AAVE and Curve, and interact with NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible.

    Connect to apps

    As the leading Layer-2 solution, Polygon allows you to access most of Ethereum’s apps, and then some. You can swap tokens, lend or borrow assets, trade NFTs, play games, send money overseas, and much more.


    Sushi is a DEX where you can swap cryptocurrency tokens on the Polygon blockchain. And since you’re using Polygon to swap tokens, it would be faster and cheaper than Ethereum. All you need are some MATIC tokens to pay gas and swap fees.


    Galxe helps you earn rewards for learning about crypto and completing actions in web3. These actions can range from participating in Galxe spaces, curating digital credentials on the platform or contributing to the liquidity pool.

    It records these actions on the blockchain through On-chain Achievement Tokens (OATs) which you can use to prove your crypto expertise.

    Further, Galaxy ID lets you replace your wallet address with a universal username you can use anywhere in web3. Think of it like a web3 LinkedIn profile.

    Stargate Finance

    Stargate is a bridge that helps you transfer assets between eight blockchains, including Ethereum, Polygon, Avalanche, and Arbitrum. As the moniker suggests, a bridge forms a pathway between two or more blockchains and issues wrapped versions of tokens on another blockchain.

    Stargate is unique because it doesn’t need you to wrap tokens multiple times. Wrapping assets means you must swap them more times, and pay fees each time.

    Instead, Stargate helps you swap native assets, like USDT on Ethereum to USDC on Polygon.

    Play immersive games

    Polygon’s ecosystem is built to play games — due to its lower fees and fast transaction speeds. Games typically have lots of microtransactions, which can be a nightmare on Ethereum when it’s busy, but Polygon makes it much easier.

    Plus, in web3 games, you own in-game assets as NFTs so you can enjoy playing and get rewarded while you’re at it. So, whether you like battling monsters or exploring new gaming worlds, you can do it all via Polygon.

    Planet Mojo

    Planet Mojo is a metaverse planet-based game. On this planet, you build teams made up of magical creatures to fight against the monsters — if you’re into aliens and all the sci-fi games, this is perfect for you. Game assets, like the creatures and land, are NFTs, so you can own them.

    Listen to our podcast with Planet Mojo CEO Mike Levine here


    Shatterpoint is a multiplayer role-playing game built on Polygon. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world, and you must build and manage your army of soldiers. Use your army to battle against other players and gain control of valuable resources. Each soldier is an NFT so you can trade or sell them in the marketplace.

    Collect and trade NFTs

    With Phantom, you can easily access NFT marketplaces like OpenSea on Polygon. Polygon allows you to explore NFTs without the heavy gas fees of minting and trading one. Plus, Polygon’s NFT collections are super accessible for beginners — making it the perfect place to start your journey.


    y00ts is a generative art collection of 15,000 sheep-like NFT avatars from Dust Labs, the team behind the massively popular DeGods NFT collection. y00ts is all about community. Holders can join clubs based on the attributes of their y00ts, as well as stake their NFTs to earn rewards. As one of the top projects on Polygon, they're on the expensive side, but it's a small price to pay to enter y00topia.

    Rekt Dogs

    Rekt Dogs is a collection of cute cartoon dog profile picture NFTs. Rekt Dogs focus on Dynamic NFTs through upgrading individual traits of your NFT, controlled by their ecosystem token REKT. Further, they plan to collaborate with the artists in the community, to generate more traits and operate a trait focused NFT marketplace.

    Polygon - Ethereum scaled

    Polygon makes it faster and cheaper for you to use Ethereum apps. Whether you’re looking to swap tokens or play games, trade NFTs, or lend assets, you can do it all with Polygon. Plus, your Phantom wallet makes it seamless for you to interact with the entire ecosystem.

    Don't have Phantom yet? Download Phantom and read our setup guides to get started with the exciting world of Polygon.