Blog Crypto Polygon vs Solana: Which Ethereum Competitor Will Win?

Polygon vs Solana: Which Ethereum Competitor Will Win?

date June 22, 2022 time 5 min read 269 views

If you like to keep tabs on up-and-coming blockchain projects, you’ll probably know a few protocols that have been named as potential candidates for displacing Ethereum. But how do Polygon vs Solana compare in this battle, and which one stands the best chance of achieving the ultimate accolade? We’ll answer all this and more.

The battle among projects outside of Ethereum and Bitcoin has heated up significantly in recent years. Although no competitor has quite reached the same market cap or level of notoriety as these two giants, a few protocols are gradually edging closer. Today, we’ll be weighing up two of them by comparing Polygon vs Solana.

Solana is much bigger than Polygon in terms of market cap ($10.8 billion compared to $3.3 billion in June 2022), and it’s also received a little more mainstream attention thanks to the speedy price increase of its native cryptocurrency. But we’ll be looking a little deeper than these figures to help you understand the features of both blockchains, what makes them usable, and their future prospects. You might be surprised at what we find.

Solana vs Polygon: What to consider

If you’re here, chances are that you have at least a vague idea of what Polygon and Solana have to offer. Or maybe you’ve come across their accompanying cryptocurrencies, MATIC coin and SOL token, and you’re curious about what lies behind the hype. Either way, let’s take a few moments to explain what they’re all about.

Ethereum was once seen as the gold standard for launching dApps, but there are some new kids on the block.
Ethereum was once seen as the gold standard for launching dApps, but there are some new kids on the block. (Source: Unsplash)

Solana and Polygon are both primarily Ethereum competitors since their primary use function is hosting decentralized applications (dApps). Although they have their own cryptocurrencies, they’re not trying to be alternative currencies, which is the aim of projects like bitcoin.

While they have similar aims, they go about achieving them in slightly different ways.. To outline their similarities and differences and help you pick your winner, we’ll run through:

  • Protocol features
  • Scalability 
  • Use cases

Protocol features

Solana is a Layer 1 blockchain, while Polygon is a Layer 2 scaling solution. This means Solana aims to be a complete alternative to Ethereum by providing a replacement blockchain with similar yet more efficient and scalable features.

Rather than being a direct competitor, Polygon wants to make Ethereum better and more scalable.
Rather than being a direct competitor, Polygon wants to make Ethereum better and more scalable. (Source: Polygon)

Polygon’s purpose is to work with the Ethereum blockchain to make it better and more scalable. It’s compatible with the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM, meaning Ethereum developers can easily move their projects across to Polygon without having to start from scratch. This also makes it much easier to bridge tokens from other major networks with minimal fees.

Its ultimate hope is to create a “multichain” system where we can move seamlessly between different blockchains and harness the best features on all of them, including opportunities to invest and borrow money.

Scalability 

Scalability is something we’ve mentioned a lot already, so let’s dive a little deeper.

Polygon and Solana both use proof-of-stake (PoS) systems, which means they verify their transactions while remaining decentralized by nodes in the network staking their holdings of MATIC and SOL respectively. If these stakers make the right decision, they get a reward (in the form of cryptocurrencies); otherwise, a penalty (losing a portion of their holdings). 

Polygon processes around 50 transactions per second, while Solana processes close to 1,700 transactions per second. Naturally, these vary a little from day to day. This is partly because Solana combines PoS with a system called Proof of History, which allows it to arrange the order of transactions to make its transaction times even faster. Yet Polygon theoretically has the capability to handle transactions even more quickly than Solana, so these numbers could change in the future.

Both protocols blow Ethereum out of the water, which still relies on a Proof of Work protocol (although it’s in the middle of a transition to PoS). It handles around 15 transactions per second, which is partly why so many people are looking for alternatives in the first place.

Finally, transaction fees on the two protocols are similar, at around the $0.0001 mark. However, these numbers are always fluctuating. 

Use cases

Since Polygon is EVM compatible, there are various applications on the protocol. This includes major crypto lending platforms like AAVE and Curve. It also has some promising GameFi applications, including Crypto Raiders, Crazy Defense Heroes, Sunflower Farmers, and Crypto Unicorns. Some of these are big names in the play-to-earn community.

Solana is making headway with its NFTs, but still needs to work on its games. (Source: Solana)

Solana doesn’t do so great when it comes to applications, although it does have a few games, like Neopets, Genopets, and CryoWar (more obscure than the titles from Polygon).

However, Solana stands out for its NFTs. It’s already made some headway in establishing itself as an NFT platform, with an OpenSea integration, plenty of its own NFTs on the market, plus its own marketplace called Solsea. It’s aiming to rival Ethereum by boasting lower fees and better speeds.

Although Polygon is capable of hosting smart contacts and NFTs—and even has integrations with OpenSea itself—it hasn’t made much headway here yet.

Polygon vs Solana: The verdict

Solana and Polygon both have plenty going for them, and slightly different strengths. While Solana is great for NFTs, Polygon wins for gaming and applications.

Overall, Solana remains the best-known cryptocurrency with the biggest market cap, yet Polygon has the most use cases. Polygon arguably has more chance of success too, since it’s aiming to work with Ethereum and not against it, and could work alongside many other successful crypto projects through its mission to be a sidechain platform

However, Solana has a few upgrades in the works to help it scale and become more user friendly. Could this tip the balance? We’ll leave it to you to decide.

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Where do you stand on the Solana vs Polygon debate? Whether you think Polygon, Solana, Ethereum, or another protocol will ultimately take the winner’s crown, looking at the use cases of these platforms is a positive reminder of what the crypto world can offer. Especially during times of doom and gloom, like bear markets.

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George Schooling

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