Meet the Startup Poised to Become the “Base Protocol” of India
Matic Network has gained a lot of traction and popularity, with many pegging it as India’s base protocol.
Every major crypto nation has its own Ethereum, it seems. China’s is NEO, while India’s is tipped to be Matic Network, a project that has emerged from nowhere to catapult into the top 100 by market cap, aided by a string of partnerships and a Binance IEO. Unlike NEO, Matic is not an aspiring Ethereum killer, it should be noted. Rather, it is a scaling solution that uses sidechains, based on a modified version of Plasma. It works with, not against, Ethereum.
Decentralized apps have a lot going for them, but running at speed on the congested Ethereum network is not one of them. The number of Ethereum scaling solutions that have been proposed to combat this problem almost rivals the number of ICOs that have launched on Ethereum. Only a handful of proposals have garnered enough acclaim and momentum to be taken seriously however: Raiden Network, Plasma, various sharding implementations – and now Matic.
From obscurity to ubiquity
In less than three months, Matic has captured the attention of the crypto community, from traders to developers, inked partnerships with the likes of Chainlink, Ankr, and Decentraland, and completed a slew of integrations including the DAI stablecoin, which is now running on the network, as well as Plasma implementations for PoS sidechains. It’s a prolific workrate for a nascent crypto network, made all the more impressive given the team’s origins. Matic boasts a wholly Indian team. While the skill set of the tech-savvy nation has never been in dispute, politics has impinged upon the industry, impacting India’s vast well of homegrown talent, and forcing some crypto projects to relocate. This hype was solidified with Coinbase’s announcement it is looking into listing Matic in the near future.
India’s love-hate affair with cryptocurrencies is well documented. Broadly speaking, its people are enamored with crypto assets; their government not so much. A proposed bill, whose particulars are still under wraps, is under debate in India. Its architects would seek to ban Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies outright. While some of the more draconian elements of the bill, such as 10 years imprisonment for flouting the ban, are almost certainly apocryphal, the gravity of the sentiment expressed by ministers and senior banking officials supporting the initiative should not be underestimated.
Despite this gloomy outlook for a country that has contributed so much to crypto, on both the consumer and developer sides, there is cause for optimism. A number of educational programs on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have been flourishing in the region, one of which was actually initiated by the Indian government’s Ministry of Human Resource Development. When it comes to developing new frameworks for issuing, scaling and improving crypto assets, India is still very much open for business, and projects such as Matic Network have wasted no time in pressing ahead with the task at hand.
The quest to scale crypto networks
There’s a wealth of work to be done, too: scaling crypto networks is one of the greatest challenges faced by the industry today. Millions of dollars and thousands of developers, including many of the brightest minds in the space, are being put to work on cracking the conundrum of how to scale a blockchain without sacrificing security or decentralization. The arrival of Libra onto the scene, with its promised 1,000 tps, has added to the sense of urgency. While no one is pretending that Facebook’s forthcoming crypto network will be remotely decentralized, its high throughput has ramped up the pressure on existing crypto projects.
For Matic Network, this has meant pressing ahead with trials of its Plasma-based framework that enables transactions to be completed quickly and cheaply with the sort of finality that is associated with mainchains. Think less gas, more mass. Matic sidechains promise an impressive transactions per block, with the potential for millions in the future. A series of PoS checkpoints verify the network’s state before transactions are broadcast to the Ethereum mainchain.
Plasma, price runs and industry players
Although Matic is a relatively new name in the scaling game, having shot to attention in May after embarking on a dizzying price run, the project has been some time in the making. Its origins can be traced back to late 2017 when CEO Jaynti encountered issues with Plasma and saw the scope for improving upon it through a new implementation. Since then, a whirlwind 18 months has seen Matic Network attract funding from Coinbase Ventures, complete its Initial Exchange Offering on Binance Launchpad, and then embark on a meteoric rise that caught almost everyone by surprise.
Its team appears to have emulated Binance CEO CZ’s ethos of focusing on building, in confidence that price will follow fundamentals. A spate of hackathons, conferences, layer 2 panel discussions, meetups, dApp development courses and developer support programs initiated by Matic have proven, beyond all doubt, that the project is committed to enhancing the crypto ecosystem. While powerless to dictate the whims of government ministers and the Reserve Bank of India, whose opposition to cryptocurrencies is showing no signs of abating, CEO Jaynti and his team are focused on fights they can win: equipping Ethereum to handle the demands of dApp developers, merchants and the millions of other users who require access to sound blockchain technology and the financial freedom it can bestow.