While it’s true that Ethereum has been the leading smart contract platform since day one, a major cause of concern for Ethereum skeptics is the rising gas fees on the network — a concern that does indeed hold some merit to it.
At the time of writing, the following were the estimated gas fees for performing various functions on the Ethereum blockchain.
Safe to say, if Ethereum aims to achieve widespread adoption, it cannot hope to attract small users who’d be forced to pay $30 just to execute a transaction on Uniswap.
The significance of lower gas fees becomes all the more visible when alternative, scalable blockchains such as Solana and Binance Smart Chain are steadily rising through the ranks to challenge Ethereum’s moat.
While Ethereum 2.0 promises to bring sharding and zk-rollups to vastly mitigate the transaction gas fees, it is still at least a few years away. Until then, it is up to Layer-2 scalability projects to carry Ethereum’s transaction load.
In this article, we will look through two such Ethereum scaling projects, Polygon (MATIC) and Loopring (LRC ).
Table of Contents
Polygon – Scaling the Ethereum Smart Contract Economy
Previously known as Matic Network, Polygon (MATIC) is both a sidechain and a sister-chain to the Ethereum network.
India-based Polygon aims to make the act of executing transactions on Ethereum an affordable one, and to achieve that, uses its own Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain and Commit Chain connectivity.
Polygon calls itself the “Ethereum’s Internet of Blockchains” and offers a vast suite of tools and services to developers to build their own decentralized applications (dApps), smart contract functions, and other offerings on Ethereum at minimal costs, and with enhanced security.
Notably, Polygon’s PoS blockchain functions as a Commit Chain to the main Ethereum network that essentially brings over 100s of Ethereum dApps on Polygon’s platform, facilitating them to execute transactions without causing any network congestion on Ethereum.
At the center of the Polygon network is the MATIC token which has multiple use-cases such as functioning as gas fees, currency required to build on Polygon, and others.
Polygon’s potential use-cases cut across different industries such as lending and borrowing, token swapping, NFTs, video games, and others.
Notably, major DeFi protocols such as Aave (AAVE), Curve Finance (CRV), and SushiSwap (SUSHI) have already been deployed on Polygon.
Shortly after their launch on Polygon, the aforementioned projects witnessed a steep surge in user adoption courtesy of cheap transactions and lucrative yield farming incentives launched by them to attract more value to the Polygon ecosystem.
According to data from DeFi Llama, Polygon currently has a TVL of more than $8.6 billion with a total market cap of $8.642 billion.
Loopring – Scaling Ethereum AMMs
According to its official website, Loopring is an Ethereum Layer-2 scaling protocol that enables developers to build high-throughput, low-cost, non-custodial automated market makers (AMMs), orderbook exchanges, and payment applications on Ethereum via zero-knowledge proofs.
For the uninitiated, zero-knowledge proofs are a protocol method where a user can prove to the other user that they accurately know the value of x without sharing any other details about their identity.
Coming back to Loopring, the Layer-2 scalability solution offers up to 2,000 TPS compared to Ethereum’s 15 TPS.
The protocol’s own exchange, the Loopring Exchange can be accessed at exchange.loopring.pro and is inarguably the leading decentralized exchange built on an Ethereum zkRollup in existence today.
Users are only required to connect their MetaMask or WalletConnect-compatible wallets with the Loopring Exchange to enjoy the platform’s gas-free, high-speed, and secure trading services.
It is worthy of note that Loopring is a blockchain agnostic protocol which means that essentially any smart contract protocol can build and integrate with Loopring seamlessly. To date, Ethereum and NEO blockchains have already been integrated into Loopring while there are plans to integrate more chains in the future.
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Loopring recently launched the Loopring 3.0 with enhanced and innovative features that ensure users have direct and full control over their capital at all times. Notably, Loopring 3.0 has migrated most transactions off-chains which vastly reduces the load and congestion on the Ethereum blockchain.
The following graph shows Loopring 3.0’s performance compared to the platform’s previous iterations.
According to data on DeFi Pulse, Loopring is currently the 9th largest DEX in terms of TVL ($131 million), just above Polygon-based Dfyn Network.
Loopring’s native LRC token currently ranks #139 on CoinGecko in terms of reported market cap. LRC trades at $0.44 and boasts of a market cap of more than $550 million.
While both Polygon and Loopring aim to scale Ethereum, their use-cases are not completely overlapping.
While Loopring is primarily focused on developing DEXes and payment mechanisms powered by Ethereum, Polygon has cemented itself as its own ecosystem that gives users all the tools required to build from scratch on Ethereum with minimal price-based entry barriers.
Ultimately, it is the wider Ethereum community that benefits as ETH scaling solutions continue to innovate and compete with each other.
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