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News Report

Polygon Hard Fork Aims to Tackle Gas Price Spikes, but Can It Keep up With Ethereum?

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price

In Brief

  • The Polygon community announced that its blockchain will be undergoing a hardfork.
  • The hard fork intends to reduce gas fees and address chain reorganization.
  • Although a Layer-2 solution built on Ethereum, gas fees on the Layer-1 blockchain are currently lower.
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Polygon has announced it will be performing a hard fork, upgrading its proof-of-stake chain to boost performance.

Since Polygon launched its PoS chain, it has been making incremental improvements to the protocol. Two of the latest steps to improve performance and predictability were recently discussed and approved by the network.

Based on discussion and feedback from the community, the hard fork intends to reduce the severity of gas spikes. It will also address chain reorganizations, in an effort to reduce time to finality. 

Polygon Upgrades and Expectations

As part of the dual intentions for the hard fork, Polygon has prepared a pair of proposals with their expected results. In order to reduce exponential gas prices, the hard fork will decrease the rate of change for the base gas fee from the current 12.5% to 6.25%.

Whenever gas exceeds or falls below the target gas limits in a block, this would help smooth out the rate for the base fee. While Polygon still expects gas prices to increase during peak demand, it said the growth curve should flatten.

Second, Polygon hopes to improve transaction finality with the hard fork by reducing chain reorganizations. It hopes to do this through decreasing sprint lengths from 64 to 16 blocks. By decreasing the depth of reorganizations this way, the hard fork will lower the chances of a secondary or tertiary validator kicking in to produce blocks. Polygon said this would result in improved transaction finality and fewer reorganizations overall.

According to Polygon, dApps deployed on the protocol and MATIC token holders will not be affected by the hard fork. Unlike them, for whom no additional steps are required, validators and infrastructure providers will need to upgrade before Jan. 17.

Comparison to Ethereum 

Although Polygon said the hard fork would reduce gas prices, compared with Ethereum they currently do not appear terribly competitive. Gas prices on Ethereum currently average some 35 gwei, while on Polygon the figure is closer to 88.

Gwei is a denomination of cryptocurrency, representing one-billionth of a single Ethereum token. Ethereum has been on an upwards trend since the new year, hitting just shy of $1,600 over the past day.


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