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From Rags to Riches: The Inspiring Journey of Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal

From Rags to Riches: The Inspiring Journey of Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal

Part 2: Overcoming Challenges and Building for the Future

In Part 1 of our feature, we shared the incredible story of Sandeep Nailwal, the co-founder of Polygon (formerly Matic Network), who rose from poverty in a Delhi ghetto to become a leading figure in the cryptocurrency space. Now, we continue his journey as he faces challenges and works towards building Polygon into one of the biggest projects in the industry.

A Shift in Direction

By mid-2019, Matic Network had raised $5 million in a Binance initial exchange offering and had launched the alpha version of its Ethereum layer-2 sidechain. However, it became clear that the Plasma technology they were pursuing was not gaining traction in the market. The team decided to pivot and build an Optimistic rollup instead, renaming the project “Optimism” in early 2020.

Despite the shift in direction, Nailwal and his team were determined to follow through with their original vision of building a Plasma-based solution. They faced challenges as the market crashed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they persevered and launched their mainnet in May.

A Multichain Future

After facing doubts about the viability of Plasma technology, Nailwal and his team realized the importance of being adaptable and not relying on one particular technology. They also recognized the need to expand their reach beyond India and gain recognition in the Western world.

In early 2021, Matic Network rebranded as Polygon and set out to become “Polkadot on Ethereum.” They aimed to incorporate Optimistic rollups, zero-knowledge rollups, and other scaling solutions into their network. However, they soon realized that Optimistic rollups were only an intermediate solution and that zero-knowledge proofs (ZK) held the key to infinite scalability.

The Rise of Polygon

Polygon’s market cap soared from $87 million at the beginning of 2021 to nearly $19 billion by the end of the year. Its ability to scale Ethereum and attract a large user base contributed to its success. The project underwent a series of acquisitions, including the Hermez network and the Mir team of ZK-proof experts, to strengthen its capabilities.

Nailwal emphasized the importance of collaboration and autonomy within the various teams working under the Polygon umbrella. This approach led to the development of the ZK EVM in just 12 months, a feat that was previously thought to be years away.

Building for the Future

Polygon continues to invest in different ZK solutions, including Miden and Nightfall, while maintaining a diverse ecosystem of teams and approaches. This strategy allows them to explore multiple avenues without limiting themselves to one specific technology.

With the recent $450 million raise led by Sequoia Capital India, Polygon is well-positioned to further its mission of achieving widespread adoption and making a significant impact in the blockchain space.

Sandeep Nailwal’s journey from poverty to building one of the most successful projects in the cryptocurrency industry is nothing short of inspiring. His determination, resilience, and vision have propelled Polygon to new heights, and it will be exciting to see what the future holds for this innovative project.


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