- Network name
- Polygon Mainnet
- Chain ID
- Block explorer
Polygon styles itself as "Ethereum's internet of blockchains". In short, Polygon is a collection of tools and features which improve the scalability of Ethereum and connect EVM-compatible networks.
Recognising that high demand for Ethereum mainnet has increased transaction fees and congestion, Polygon's solutions are intended to expand capacity and dramatically reduce transaction costs for users. Founded as Matic Network in 2017, the project completed a rebrand in February 2021 to its current name, although keeping the name of its token, MATIC, consistent throughout.
From a user perspective, the main element of the Polygon project is likely to be the Polygon Proof of Stake (PoS) network. This is a sidechain: its own network, distinct from Ethereum mainnet, although accessible via bridges (see Using bridges below).
In addition to the PoS, the Polygon team is also working on several layer 2 (L2) networks, which are in varying stages of development. These include Hermez, Miden, and Zero. It also has a highly active ecosystem of dapps, including DeFi, gaming, and NFTs -- all recorded at awesomepolygon.
Polygon is an EVM-compatible network, which means you can use your MetaMask wallet to access dapps on Polygon. You will have the same address, and simply need to make sure you have Polygon added as a network in MetaMask, and switch between Ethereum and Polygon as appropriate.
The most important thing to bear in mind when using Polygon is the form taken by its native token, MATIC.
MATIC is commonly bought/traded on both centralized and decentralized exchanges as an ERC-20 token, i.e. a token usable on Ethereum. If you want to use these ERC-20 tokens on Polygon itself, you will need to use a bridge to swap your ERC-20 MATIC 1:1 for Polygon network MATIC (see below).
For example, when you buy on a centralized exchange (e.g. Binance, Coinbase, Kraken), your ERC-20 MATIC will go straight into your exchange wallet. Do not send this straight to the wallet you intend to use on Polygon -- you may lose the tokens. This is the because the exchange's wallet is unlikely to support Polygon. Theoretically, these funds could be retrieved by importing that wallet's private key into another wallet, such as MetaMask. However, as wallets generated by centralized exchanges are typically custodial, you would need to be able to obtain the wallet's private key through customer support routes -- which might not be possible.
- ERC-20 MATIC on Ethereum is more useful for staking or delegation.
- MATIC on Polygon is more useful if you want to make transactions on Polygon mainnet. This includes interacting with dapps.
If you send MATIC from one MetaMask wallet to another without bridging, you will not lose the tokens. This is because MetaMask supports both networks. Just make sure you have the right network selected and that you have the token added, and your tokens will be visible.
Let's say you have two MetaMask addresses -- wallet A and wallet B. Wallet A holds 100 MATIC on the Polygon network. If you send 10 MATIC to wallet B without bridging, all you need to do to access those tokens is switch wallet B to the Polygon network, and they will be there (assuming the transaction is complete and that the tokens have been added)
However, if you wish to transfer your MATIC from Polygon to Ethereum (convert them into ERC-20) or vice versa, you will need to use a bridge.
If you want to bypass ERC-20 MATIC and go straight to MATIC usable on Polygon, you could:
- Use a direct on-ramp service supported by Polygon. Read more about these methods here.
- Buy MATIC from an exchange which supports Polygon mainnet, such as Binance.com (n.b.: not Binance.us) or Crypto.com. When withdrawing to the wallet you want to use for transactions on Polygon, make sure you select Polygon as the network (if there is an option).
If the wallet is EVM-compatible, see if you can export your private key.
Once you have it, import the wallet into MetaMask. Once the import is complete, you should be able to add the Polygon network to that account and view the tokens.
However, if you sent the tokens to a wallet you do not control--e.g. by inputting the wrong address--you cannot use this method to get the tokens back.
Relevant support articles
Analyzing Polygon's Proof of Stake Network (ConsenSys Blog)
awesomepolygon (register of Polygon dapps)