Today I will show you how to use the polygon network aka MATIC. The BIGGEST barrier to new/small DeFi participants is transaction fees. During the NFT craze of August 2021, fees climbed into the hundreds of dollars on the Ethereum network. Not great for experimentation for new users.
Polygon solves this.
What is Polygon (MATIC)?
Polygon is a layer two chain, meaning its built on top of Ethereum. Polygon sacrifices decentralization for faster and cheaper transactions. Instead of 5–10 minutes and 20–100 dollars per transaction its 10 seconds and a PENNY. I really like Polygon’s functionality especially for doing a bunch of DeFi transactions and learning more about different DeFi functions and projects.
This article will assume that you have a Metamask wallet and understand how onramp fiat currency into the DeFi system. If you need help doing either one of these you can check out my first two articles:
Once you have these things down you are ready to start using the Polygon network. This article is a guide that will show you how to start using the Polygon network by going through:
- Adding the Polygon network to your Metamask Wallet.
- Bridging ETH from the Ethereum Network to the Polygon Network.
- Using a Polygon Faucet to power your first transactions.
- Using a DEX to exchange ETH for MATIC token.
Adding the Polygon Network to you Metamask Wallet
The first thing you need to do is add the MATIC network to your Metamask Wallet. Click the Metamask widget icon in the top right hand corner of your screen.
Once Metamask is open, click the Ethereum Mainnet button on the top middle of metamask.
Click Custom RPC to set up the MATIC network.
Fill out the network name as follows:
You can copy/paste the following into the corresponding field in your MetaMask Wallet.
- Network Name: Matic Mainnet
- NewRPC URL: https://rpc-mainnet.maticvigil.com/
- Chain ID: 137
- Currency Sumbol: MATIC
- Block Explorer: https://explorer.matic.network/
You should now have the MATIC network selected! Matic Mainet should be the network shown at the top of MetaMask and the checkmark should be next to Matic Mainnet for your networks.
Bridging ETH from the Etherum Network to the Polygon Network
Now that the Polygon network is mapped, its time to bring cryptocurrency over to it. The easiest way to do this is to “bridge” ethereum over and use a decentralized exchange or “DEX” to convert the ethereum to polygon. Bridging is technically transactions so you have to pay ETH gas fees to transfer. You can bridge from ETH to MATIC using this website (https://wallet.matic.network/bridge/).
Enter in the amount of Ethereum you want to bridge over and hit transfer. You will get two popups:
The first popup will let you know what bridging can and cannot do…Click OK
The second popup will let you know how much gas costs. If you are OK with the cost…click ok.
OR you can wait until gas prices go down!
You will then be asked to confirm the transfer.
Finally you will be asked to confirm the transaction in MetaMask.
If you accept the bridging transfer will initiate and your funds will be transferred to the MATIC network in ~10 minutes.
Using a Polygon Faucet to power your first transactions.
Polygon is just like Ethereum in that you need gas to pay for fees…But the gas is SOOOOOOO much cheaper. Your first stop is going to be to a “faucet” to fill up your tank (https://matic.supply/). The Polygon faucet will provide you with just enough Polygon to do a transaction or two. Hit connect.
Select your wallet.
Allow Polygon Faucet to access your metamask wallet by hitting next and then connect.
Click the I am human button and fill out the captchca.
Using a DEX to exchange ETH for MATIC token.
The MATIC faucet will give you enough for a couple of transactions but you will need to exchange your Eth for MATIC in order to power the tens or perhaps hundreds of transactions.
The best place to do this is on SushiSwap.
Click on the link or go to sushi.com and click Enter App
One in the Sushi App, make sure the Polygon Network is selected in the top right hand corner of your screen.
There are three things you need to do now to swap from Ethereum to MATIC:
- Ensure “swap” is selected.
- Choose MATIC and wETH as the two tokens
- Enter the amount of MATIC that you want (I recommend 5).
Now you can click “Swap.” A popup will appear in the Sushi App asking you to confirm the transaction details.
If everything looks good to you hit “confirm swap.” A popup will appear from MetaMask asking you to confirm the transaction.
Click confirm and the transaction is on its way. You should get confirmation within 30 seconds.
You are now set up to use DeFi protocol on the Polygon network.
Now that you are on the Polygon network you can learn about DeFi quickly and cheaply by doing. Specifically you can:
- Use a decentralized exchange to transact (you’ve done this already)!
- Provide liquidity to a decentralized exchange.
- Try your hand at yield farming.
- Lend/borrow on AAVE
The sky really is the limit with DeFi, and now that you know how to use the polygon network to interact quickly and cheaply, you are ready to explore!