Polygon Block Performance

jp12
6 min readJul 27, 2022

Ethereum became the most popular DeFi chain in 2021 and reached around 200M unique addresses. While growth in the Ethereum ecosystem has been positive for the market as a whole, it has also demonstrated some of the notable shortcomings of Ethereum. For one, transactions on Ethereum have become very expensive. With the average transactions costs increasing over 100 Gwei or $10 and as high as $100, the barrier to entry has become increasingly high for many around the world.

Source

Side-chains or collectively L2 chains have stepped in to solve the scalability problem on Ethereum. Polygon is one such blockchain platform solving for high speed and low cost transactions. Polygon was initially launched as MATIC Network in 2017, but later as the project grew and expanded, it was rebranded to Polygon in February 2021. Polygon became a solution to some of the significant challenges that Ethereum encounters today.

# Polygon Roadmap

In a few short years, Polygon has amassed an impressive set of milestones.

  • 2017 — The foundation of MATIC.
  • 2019 — IEO on a Tier-1 exchange.
  • Q2 2020 — The launch of mainnet & POS Chain & Plasma Chain.
  • Q4 2020 — The onboarding of Top Games.
  • Q1 2021 — MATIC was rebranded to Polygon.
  • Q2 2021 — The onboarding of major DeFi protocols; Mark Cuban makes an investment in the project & market cap exceeds $10B.
  • Q2-Q3 2021 — The launch of Polygon Edge & The launch of Polygon Studios; The launch of Polygon Avail & Rollups — Optimistic, ZK & Stand-alone, Secure Chains.
  • Q4 2021 — The launch of zk-STARK based scaling solution Polygon Miden.
  • Q1 2022 — $450M fundraise from Sequoia Capital India, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Galaxy Digital and others; The launch of Polygon ID.
  • Q2 2022 — The launch of Polygon Avail testnet & Polygon Nightfall mainnet beta.
  • Q3 2022 — The launch of Polygon Nightfall mainnet.
  • Q4 2022 — Polygon goes carbon negative.

Source: https://blog.bitfinex.com/education/what-is-polygon-matic/

# Polygon Ecosystem

Polygon is also home to some of the biggest Web3 projects from DeFi protocols like Aave and Uniswap V3, NFT marketplaces OpenSea and Web3 gaming efforts, including DraftKings. Polygon also powers the mass market by collaborating with global brands, including D&G, Macy’s, LOL Surprise!, DraftKings, Adobe and others. Being compatible with EVM smart contracts has given Polygon a leg up when wooing Ethereum developers to build on Polygon.

Examples of DApps built on Polygon PoS:

  • DeFi — Aave, Curve, Sushiswap, Pool together, QiDao, Balancer Gains trade, Synfutures, Quickswap, Lido, Uniswap.
  • NFT — Opensea, Aavegotchi, Digitalax, Royal, Ethernity, Valuables (used by Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey), RECUR, Stephen Curry, Deadmau5, UNXD (Dolce & Gabbana drop), Unstoppable Domains, Sweet, Venly (previously Arkane), Clinique, Associated Press, Autograph, Showtime.
  • Gaming — Ubisoft, Atari, Animoca, Horizon Games (Skyweaver), Pegaxy, Zed Run, Big Time Studios, Stardust, Gala Games.
  • Metaverse — Decentraland, Somnium Space, Sandbox, Atari (multiverse), Aavegotchi.

# Data Analysis

To build a vibrant ecosystem, the blockchain needs to be performant. In this analysis, we’re going to look at how Polygon has been performing over the last year.

Methodology — For, all of the metrics I’m calculating the hourly average, maximum and minimums.

Here’s a preview of what I found.

Full analysis below.

## Transactions per block

The first metric we’re looking at is the “Transactions per block”. This metric is a strong indicator of how much activity there is on the chain. Normally a lot of L1 chains talk about how many 1000s of transactions they can process per second. But that metric will never be reached if there is no activity on the chain.

  • In Polygon’s case, we’re seeing average number of transactions per block hovering between 70–100.
  • The maximum transactions per block has a much wider variance between 400 to as high as 1200 transactions per block!
  • On the minimum side, we’re seeing the numbers drop down to as low as 1 transaction per block and generally hovering around 20.

## Block times

Block time is another important metric as it represents how long before the transaction is processed and considered to be included in the blockchain. It’s hard to build applications like Central Limit Order Book (CLOB) DEXs on a chain with large block times.

  • For Polygon, on average block times are hovering between 2.3–2.6 seconds which is pretty quick. For reference, this is quicker than Terra’s block time which was around 6–7 seconds.
  • The minimum block times are consistently around 2 seconds.
  • The max block times in most cases around 8 seconds but can be as high as 10–16 seconds with a peak up to 24 seconds.

# L1 Comparison

Now it’s time to compare Polygon with other popular L1 chains. Using data from Flipside Crypto, I was able to compare Polygon metrics we saw above with these other chains:

  • Solana
  • Ethereum
  • Avalanche
  • Osmosis
  • Algorand
  • Flow
  • Arbitrum
  • Optimism

Chart key
- Use the “Statistic” control to see the L1 comparison across different hourly statistics
- Use the Y-axis scale control for a closer look at some of the L1 chains closer to the x-axis (lower y-axis values)
- Use the “Select L1 chains” filter to compare only a subset of the chains

Here’s what I found.

## Transactions per block

  • Compared to all other L1s in this analysis, Polygon ranks at #3 on the “Transactions per block” metric. Solana ranks at #1 and Ethereum ranks at #2 but Ethereum’s block times are much much longer as we’ll see in the next chart.

So essentially, Polygon is effectively at #2 in this L1 comparison.

  • Polygon’s main EVM-based competitors vying for L2 crown Arbitrum and Optimism have a long long way to go as they are ranging around 1–2 transactions per block on average.
  • Algorand surprisingly did quite well and seems to have peaks reaching Polygon’s average transactions per block values.
  • Avalanche surprisingly has a lot lower transactions per block than expected (around 5 on average).

> Note: For the range plot, I took an average of all statistics e.g. avg of all max values

Using a dot range plot, we can see that Solana has the largest range between the min and max transactions per block followed by Ethereum and Algorand.

## Block times

  • Looking at block times, we find that Polygon is not the quickest blockchain like Solana but its certainly not the slowest like Ethereum.
  • Polygon performs squarely in the middle in this comparison with Ethereum, Osmosis and Algorand doing worse than Polygon.
  • L2s like Arbitrum and Optimism fare better than Polygon with block times closer to 1 second.

> Note: For the range plot, I took an average of all statistics e.g. avg of all max values

Comparing the block time range across all the chains is pretty interesting to see how large the range is on average. A consistent block time free from downtime is essential to the functioning of the chain.

  • Ethereum has the largest range ranging from 1 second to 83 seconds!
  • Algorand has the tightest range between 3.7–5.3 seconds!
  • Polygon does fairly well with a range between 2–8 seconds.

## Hourly comparison

Analyzing the metrics by hour of day can be interesting as it can illuminate global usage patterns i.e. number of transactions can be a proxy for which time-zone the chain is being used in most.

By using a radial chart, we can represent the hours of the day as the spokes. The radar size represents the metric being measure (e.g. transactions per block (TPB)).

From the below chart, we can notice a few patterns:

  • Algorand has an unusual spike around 1100 UTC and the average TPB jumps from 50 to 100!
  • Ethereum has a pretty consistent usage pattern with the average TPB hovering around 200.
  • Solana’s average TPB hovers around 400 for most of the day but between 1300 and 1900 UTC, it jumps to around 450. This is likely when USA wakes up and SEA goes to sleep and this period is when the highest activity is on-chain.
  • Osmosis sees a spike between 0900 and 1100 UTC and the average TPB jumps from ~40 to ~50 which is a 25% increase.

Click the “statistic” button to view patterns for other hourly patterns.

# Conclusion

In this analysis, we looked at the blockchain performance of Polygon using two metrics — block time and transactions per block. We found that:

  1. Polygon effectively ranks at #2 for transactions per block metric which means it has a lot of activity on the chain.
  2. Polygon’s block time hovered around 2s on average which is very competitive and only beaten out by L2s (Optimism and Arbitrum) and Solana.

--

--

jp12

Product strategy by day. On-chain crypto analyst by night.