The Matic Network (MATIC) is a project that’s been working on a solution to the scalability issues of the Ethereum blockchain.
Their vision is to improve scalability through proof of stake sidechains, and they believe that once scalability issues are resolved we’ll also get lower transaction fees, faster confirmations, and a number of other benefits. They are also one of the latest ICOs to be conducted on the Binance Exchange Launchpad.
Yet, how is this project different from the other scalability solutions?
In this Matic Network review I will take an in-depth look into the project and attempt to answer this. I will delve into their tech, development, roadmap and the long term potential and use cases for the MATIC token.
Matic Network Goals
In addition to solving scalability issues, the Matic Network is also focused on improving usability without losing the benefits of decentralization. They also hope to leverage the existing developer community in providing improved dApp functionality and improved user experience.
The founders of the Matic Network noticed that even though dApps are being proposed and developed in large numbers, the networks they run on are hardly prepared to support mass adoption of dApps. Plus in many cases, the user experience is quite poor, and the dApps are not designed to be approachable for the average user.
Overview of the Matic Network. Image via Matic.network
The first blockchain chosen to highlight the potential of Matic is Ethereum. The developers already have a working implementation on the Kovan testnet. While it is an adapted version of the Plasma network, ultimately the Matic development team envisions using it as a side chain scaling solution for any blockchain.
Below is a deeper look at the problems of current blockchains and how the Matic Network plans of solving them.
Addressing Blockchain Challenges
Despite how advanced blockchain technology has become, there are still a number of problems that they face. In some cases, trying to improve one challenge could lead to potential sacrifices on other features.
The Matic Network has taken stock of all of the challenges that blockchains currently face and have attempted to address these through a number of solutions.
Scalability can be achieved by adding additional side chains horizontally, with each side chain theoretically adding the capacity for 216216 transactions per second using the same proof-of-stake checkpoint layer. This gives the Matic Network the ability to scale to millions of transactions per second.
Size of Blockchain
Because public blockchains require each node to manage a full copy of the blocks and state of the chain, as time goes by and the blockchain grows larger, fewer nodes tend to participate, which threatens the decentralization of the blockchain.
In the case of the Matic Network, it is possible for the primary layer to store only the blocks from the last checkpoint to the most recent checkpoint. It can do this because all the prior blocks have been submitted to the main chain. This allows even mobile devices to run a node.
In most cases, blockchain transactions are slow, especially when it comes to proof-of-work blockchains. Matic uses Proof-of-Stake (PoS) to avoid this limitation, but in a special way so it is also able to maintain decentralization.
Matic Network Architecture. Image via Whitepaper
In the Matic Network consensus is done through a selection of block producers who are chosen by a set of stakers. Matic then uses proof-of-stake as a layer that validates blocks and publishes Merkle roots of the side chain blocks to the Ethereum mainchain. This allows Matic Network to keep block confirmation times under 2 seconds while also providing a high level of decentralization.
Low Transaction Throughput
In public blockchains, there is always a lag between blocks as there needs to be enough time between blocks to ensure propagation. Block sizes are also intentionally kept small to encourage rapid propagation. This limits the number of transactions per block.
Matic Network avoids this problem by producing blocks in a Block Producer layer. This allows for the rapid creation of blocks, and decentralization is ensured through the use of proof-of-stake checkpoints. This configuration theoretically allows for 216216 transactions per second on each side chain.
Multiple micropayment channels with other off-chain solutions
Solving the problem of opening multiple channels to allow for micropayments is complex, and several projects have proposed solutions. The Matic Network has solved this issue by using an Ethereum Virtual Machine, which negates the need to open payment channels for micropayments.
Instead, any valid Ethereum address is also a valid Matic address, which means any receiver doesn’t need to be in the Matic Network. They only need a Matic Wallet to retrieve the payment.
High Transaction Fees
The limited block size of most blockchains has led to variability in fees based on the pending transaction pool, and in some cases, fees have become exorbitantly high for periods of time.
Matic is able to take advantage of economies of scale by completing a large number of transactions in the Block Producer layer. This keeps costs for each individual transaction low.
So far most dApp user interfaces are quite poor compared to established centralized counterparts. This needs to change. If mass adoption is to occur the dApp user experience needs to be as good as, or better than, the current centralized apps.
The Matic team is working to create mobile and web browser integrations and protocols to improve usability in a secured interaction environment for dApps.
Matic Network Team
The Matic Network team remains quite small, consisting of the three co-founders, six engineers, a head of operations, one project manager and one community manager.
Jaynti Kanani is the CEO and one co-founder of Matic. He comes from a software engineering background and was most recently a data scientist at Housing.com.
Sandeep Nailwal is the COO of Matic and a second co-founder. In addition to working as a blockchain developer he also previously held the position of CEO of Scopeweaver, and CTO (E-commerce) of Welspun Group.
Matic Network Co-founders
And finally, there is Anurag Arjun, who is the third co-founder of Matic and the CPO (Chief Product Officer). His background is in engineering and he has over a decade of product management experience.
The Matic Network is also partnered with several important blockchain projects, including MakerDao and Decentraland. In addition, Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano, the CEO and CTO of Decentraland serve as advisors to the project.
Matic Marketing and Social Networks
While Matic has a good group of partners and advisors, and it is notable that they’ve been chosen to launch their ICO on the Binance Launchpad platform, they have a very poor social media presence.
On Reddit, which is known as one of the top social platforms for crypto, the Matic Network has just 13 readers. The YouTube channel has no subscribers, and the Twitter account has just 2351 followers.
Matic also has a Medium blog, which was previously updated once a month or every few weeks. It’s been updated more frequently recently, I would guess in anticipation of the project’s ICO.
The largest group of followers is the project’s Telegram channel, where there are nearly 9500 members.
The Matic Network is conducting an ICO on the Binance Launchpad platform on April 24, 2019. Unlike a typical ICO where tokens are simply sold, Matic is conducting their ICO as a lottery, with a total of 16,666 winning lottery tickets.
There is a total supply of MATIC of 10,000,000,000 and 19% of that, or 1,900,000,000 is being made available for the ICO. That means each winning lottery ticket will receive 114,068.44 MATIC, which is $300 worth at the ICO price of $0.00263.
Lottery tickets will be allocated based on each users Binance coin (BNB) balance, with the final calculation occurring at 00:00 UTC on April 24, 2019. Ticket claims for eligible users will begin at 08:00 UTC on April 24, 2019, and continues for 24 hours.
Once the ticket claim period ends the winning tickets will be drawn and will be announced at 14:00 UTC on April 25, 2019. Payments will be made in BNB within 24 hours and users must ensure they have sufficient BNB in their account if they have a winning ticket.
The MATIC tokens will allow holders to become stakers and receive staking rewards. As network usage increases the value of MATIC tokens is expected to increase commensurately.
Matic Network Strengths
One of the strengths of the project is the broad number of available use cases. These include decentralized exchange, identity features, credit scoring, atomic swaps, payments, and gaming networks among others.
One very interesting feature Matic has been developing is Zappier integration through Dagger. This allows developers to connect Ethereum platforms with hundreds of applications and is expected to help boost user and developer adoption.
Something that I am quite interested in when looking at cryptocurrency projects and ICOs is the amount of development work that is being done. One of the best ways to assess this is through the amount of code commits they have pushed in to their public GitHub.
So, I decided to dig into the Matic Network GitHub and take a look at the code commits that have pushed. These are only the repos that they have made public and there are many more that are still being worked on. Below are the commits for the top two most active public repos.
Code commits to repos in past 12 months
As you can see there has been quite a bit of activity in these repos. This is in fact more than we have seen on other projects that have completed their ICO 2 years ago. There are also a further 13 other public repos.
Moreover, it is important to point out that these are only their public commits to their main GitHub. According to this Binance Rating Report, they are working on a further 17 private repositories that have plenty more code.
All this shows that the Matic Network is indeed actively rolling out product and working on their protocol. This should be seen as another pro of the project when compared to other ICOs.
This frenetic pace of development can be considered reasonable when one is to look into their updated roadmap.
Matic Network Roadmap
The team has an ambitous roadmap in front of them and these include numerous core product releases, DApps, integrations and interoprability.
Below are some of the most important milestones laid out per quarter:
- Mainnet Release in Alpha Stage
- Development of Plasma cross asset swaps between different ERC standards
- Deposits / Withdrawals of Ethereum based assets using plasma
- Onboarding PoS validators
- Release of Matic Wallet and the WalletConnect integration
- Mainnet Beta release of Network
- Asset swap support on the Mainnet
- Plasma Watcher nodes
- Fast exits plasma implementation released on Testnet
- Smart contract support with PoS guarantees
2019 Q4 and 2020
- Complete release of Matic Network Mainnet
- Transaction relay pool to allow easy asset movement from Ethereum to Matic
- Plasma fast exits moved onto mainnet
- Smart contract support with Plasma Guarantees
So, it seems that there is quite a lot ahead for the developers. This road-map may change as we move into the rest of 2019 but given that the team has been able to meet milestones previously, I remain quite optimistic.
Matic is focused on improving the scalability of Ethereum in an adapted Plasma network. Because scalability is so important to the Ethereum network there are several competing projects aiming to do the same, but if Matic can deliver a solution first, or the best solution, they stand to become one of the top blockchain projects.
The mission of Matic hasn’t been proven yet, but development on the testnet seems positive. One thing the project could use is improved marketing and social network growth. This would give the developers a built-in promotion community.
Featured Image via Fotolia