Interview with Jaynti Kanani — Co-founder & CEO of Polygon
Last week, we had a chance to talk to Jaynti Kanani — experienced blockchain engineer, co-founder and CEO of Polygon (previously Matic Network). He told us about his background, discussed project’s journey & its future goals, described what kind of problems the team is trying to solve, and why it is important.
Let’s start with more general questions. What brought you to the blockchain space? What first attracted you to cryptocurrencies?
I was in the blockchain space and particularly in scaling to solve my problem. I was doing a side project — Game of Theories — where you can bet on TV series/Movie universe theories using real money and win if you are right. The idea came from “Game of Thrones”. People were discussing “what happened next” or “what will happen to this character” after each episode. And I wanted to make it more interesting. To integrate the payment system into that project, I started looking into Bitcoin/Ethereum. And then, I started going all-in crypto!
Could you tell a little bit about Polygon. What led you to develop it, and what kind of problems are you trying to solve?
At that time, people were trying to use CryptoKitties, and I thought that everytime people try to deploy anything on Ethereum, you will need scalability or else the developer experience will be degraded.
And that’s when I started Matic (now Polygon)! It was late 2017.
Polygon is the first well-structured, easy-to-use platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development.
Currently, it provides a PoS commit-chain with 100 validators running the network all around the globe. In simple terms, it helps developers to scale their DApps. On Ethereum, if your transaction takes 5 mins/$100 to confirm, with Polygon chain, it will take 2–10 seconds/$0.0001 to confirm!
In future, Polygon will provide more offerings like Optimistic Rollup, ZK Rollup, stand-alone chains using Polygon sDK or any other kind of infrastructure tools required by the developer.
What differs Polygon from other L2 solutions?
What sets Polygon apart from other L2 solutions is our Layer 2 aggregation approach, which allows developers to pick the scaling solution best suited for their needs, be it ZK, OPR, Data availability chain or other scaling approaches like our PoS commit-chain.
We just released our Polygon SDK. Its offering aims to introduce structure to the ecosystem and provide a framework for Multi-chain Ethereum to grow further and faster.
Multi-chain Ethereum will be akin to other popular multi-chains, but with some major upsides:
- Ability to benefit from Ethereum’s network effects;
- More flexible and powerful;
- Seamless integration with other Polygon ecosystem products.
Why did you decide to expand the scope of Matic’s original vision?
Matic started with Plasma and then we incorporated a PoS bridge into our chain because of the demand from developers. We realized there is no one solution fit for all applications. With different kinds of applications, developers should have a way to choose the trade-offs. And that’s what we want to achieve with our expanded scope.
We are now expanding the suite of solutions we want to offer to the community to include other L2 approaches like Optimistic Rollups and ZK Rollups.
However all the existing solutions and implementations will continue to exist and operate as integral parts of this extended platform.
In this new paradigm, the $MATIC token will continue to exist and will play an increasingly important role, securing the system and enabling governance.
Doesn’t Ethereum 2.0 that can scale on its own reduce the need for Polygon?
Ethereum 2.0 doesn’t provide infinite scalability. The best case scenario is 64 shards, which is similar to today’s Ethereum chain. Assume a single chain improves with Proof-of-Stake, and has 50 transactions per second. With 64 shards, that means 3,200 transactions per second. When dapps start utilizing onchain aspects, the demand will rise, and we end up in the same position.
The costs of transactions are alarmingly high today. If they were to reduce by a factor of 50, transactions would still be costly for any dapp with meaningful adoption. Finally, Ethereum 2.0 is at least two years away, but scalability is required today.
We believe that Layer 1s like Ethereum are settlement platforms, they are not meant to have the “business activity”. Layer 2 will build upon the experience offered by ETH 2.0 to ensure an even better experience for the end-user.
What will be next? What core modifications do you envision for Polygon in the long-term?
Our focus has always been on supporting and helping developers grow, along with moving towards further decentralisation and security for the network.
We envision active governance of the network as we get further decentralised and are working on ways to empower our communities.
We are also aggressively pushing the adoption of Blockchain and Polygon with the incredible decentralized Dapps be it DeFi, NFT or Gaming and also with traditional enterprises and Web2.0 applications.
How are you going to structure governance? Do you have a plan to cope with voter’s apathy?
We haven’t explored governance actively. And that’s where we need more help from the community. Voter’s apathy is a real problem and I feel it will be a major problem when we have more protocol and platform. DAO has a major non-tech problem to solve.
According to CAP theorem there is always a choice between Availability and Consistency. What is Polygon’s approach? What factors led you to choose one over another?
Polygon chooses availability and gets eventual consistency in the current PoS network same as Ethereum. We made a design choice to replicate the same behavior as Ethereum consensus and reduce our engineering efforts at the beginning. And of course, it’s easy to implement :)
What are your plans on formal verification of the tech you’re providing to multiple protocols? How do you ensure the security of the code that already supports billions of assets?
We haven’t done formal verification but our code is audited by multiple security firms. We take security very seriously. We are also actively looking to hire security experts and strengthen our security team in-house to make sure we don’t miss out on any small thing related to security.
We’ve lost count of the number of projects Polygon has partnered with since the rebrand. What is your favourite project from the ecosystem? Which ones are particularly exciting?
There are 450+ Decentralized Applications building on Polygon, with more than 100–200 in the pipeline, with many we are not aware of due to the decentralized nature.
But we see almost 5–10 projects launching every day, and our network has crossed 310M txns from 1.8M+ unique wallets. The list of projects on Polygon as maintained by our community can be found at https://awesomepolygon.com/
It’s tough to choose the Top 5 since there are so many high-quality projects but by users in the last 30 days, the top DeFi projects are: Quickswap, Sushiswap, Curve, Paraswap and Aave.
It seems like the Indian ecosystem is flourishing, but it’s also being hampered by regulatory uncertainty. What are your thoughts on the current state of crypto in India? How has the current crisis affected Polygon’s expansion?
The current state of crypto in India is still being discussed and researched, and there have been attempts to get more clarity on how crypto can be regulated. It does make it tricky for crypto businesses, however Polygon has remain unaffected since the crypto related activities of Polygon are taken care of my non India entities.
Aside from crypto, what is your favorite thing to do? Do you have a hobby?
I am a movie buff. I watch movies, TV series, and anime a lot. That’s my favorite thing when I am not working.
Polygon is the first well-structured, easy-to-use platform for Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development. Its core component is Polygon SDK, a modular, flexible framework that supports building and connecting Secured Chains like Plasma, Optimistic Rollups, zk Rollups, Validium, etc, and Standalone Chains like Polygon POS, designed for flexibility and independence.