- Polygon is an Ethereum scaling platform.
- Mir works on zero-knowledge proofs.
- With Mir, Polygon can expand the scaling solutions it offers.
Ethereum 2.0 is supposed to solve Ethereum's congestion problem. But that doesn't mean Polygon, which has helped lower fees and ease demand pressure, is going away.
At its ZK Day event today, the scaling platform announced the acquisition of Mir protocol, a platform that uses "zero-knowledge proofs" for building decentralized applications away from the Ethereum network. According to Polygon, the deal will be worth as much as $400 million in MATIC tokens.
The acquisition confirms earlier rumors that the project would spend a sizable portion of the $1 billion it's committed to Ethereum scaling on a Mir acquisition. In August, Polygon merged with ZK-rollup project Hermez in a $250 million deal.
Zero-knowledge proofs are all about privacy—they're a cryptographic way of verifying something without handing over private information. Imagine having $100 in your pocket and being able to prove this without opening up your wallet. Mir takes that concept and runs with it so that developers can build whole applications with in-built privacy.
Mir has caught wind of some interesting announcements that could be happening this week. Watch this space 😎
— Mir (@mirprotocol) December 7, 2021
Polygon, formerly known as the Matic Network, is a protocol that sits atop Ethereum and is designed to take pressure off of it. As NFTs, decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, and blockchain games grow more popular, there is more competition for Ethereum transactions to be pushed through, resulting in high congestion and fees.
Polygon's basic strategy has been to use sidechains—blockchains that snake out from another chain so they can accommodate more transactions. It's kind of like adding another leg to run faster or putting a charging pack on your phone to increase the battery's lifespan.
But its long-term roadmap shows Polygon moving into a variety of different solutions to make Ethereum faster and more usable. "We have made a strategic decision to explore and encourage all meaningful scaling approaches and technologies at this stage," said Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal in a press release. "We believe this is the way to establish Polygon as the leading force and contributor in the ZK field and onboard the first billion users to Ethereum.”
ZK rollups, Mir's specialty, are a key part of that strategy. ZK rollups use zero-knowledge proofs to "roll up" multiple transactions into one big transaction. Instead of the Ethereum blockchain being bombarded with a bunch of small requests to send funds, bid on NFTs, or make trades, it can let those be handled off-chain and sign off on them in one go. All privately.
"We are introducing a recursive proof system that is orders of magnitude faster than anything else and is practical to verify on Ethereum," said Polygon co-founder Mihailo Bjelic about the acquisition. "This is a huge win for the entire industry.”
More importantly, it can translate to Ethereum 2.0, the upcoming upgrade which switches out the current mining-based model in favor of coin lockups to secure the network. While that change should increase the blockchain's bandwidth on its own, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, who appeared at today's event, has said the network should use it in conjunction with other scaling solutions.
"Rollups are still an early-stage technology, and development is continuing rapidly, but they work and some (notably Loopring, ZKSync, and DeversiFi) have already been running for months," he wrote in January of this year. "Expect much more exciting work to come out of the rollup space in the years to come."