Operation ‘Nightfall’ – Polygon’s 'Hybrid' Scaling Solution

In this week’s newsletter, I’m super excited to finally have the honour of writing about yet another fine product that was recently announced by the Polygon team. Last week, the team at Polygon officially announced that they currently have another form of a very much needed Ethereum scaling solution in the works. Now this new solution is still under development, and is most likely some time away, however it is of course just so great to see Polygon continue to roll out this incredible suite of Ethereum scaling solutions to meet the need of our current, but most importantly our newest users. This new product is a separate venture to the recent Polygon x Hermez merger which is primarily focused on payment options using zk-Rollup technology.

This new product is also another form of collaboration and in this case, it is a partnership between Polygon and EY. So, before I go into too much detail about what exactly this new product is, and how it works, I want to talk a little about EY and give a brief introduction about why this partnership is so important to our ecosystem.

In a nutshell, EY aims to help support businesses as well as businesses within the blockchain industry by solving many regular pain points and some of the toughest issues that many businesses currently face today. They currently work with multiple start up projects and have even at some point worked with various Fortune 500 companies. EY specialises in four categories of service – assurance, consulting, strategy and transactions, and tax. So, if you are either a currently thriving and flourishing project that needs a little help steering the ship, or if you are a small start-up that is looking to make sure that everything is in order before you launch, then EY offers an easy and simple solution to some of these pain points that many new businesses face. And of course, in the blockchain chapter of their business, their latest venture is project ‘Nightfall’ which aims to help scale Ethereum in a new and innovative way, I will elaborate on this below.

Introducing ‘Nightfall’ – Polygons Latest and Greatest

As we all know, as more and more users have continued to adopt and onboard onto blockchain technology, the demand for using the Ethereum network has increased at breakneck speeds. This in turn means that Ethereum transaction fees (gas) will most likely continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Usually, I would associate high gas costs to being somewhat of an unfortunate situation however, this time I am not going to class the situation within that category. Why you ask? Well it’s simple, because it actually doesn’t matter all that much to the end user anymore, not in regard to fulfilling your everyday DeFi needs anyway. As I’m sure all of you know by now, Ethereum currently has a flourishing Layer 2 ecosystem that is just starting to officially roll out to mainnet, and this will continue to happen for as long as gas fees on the Ethereum network continue to rise.

Polygon has been at the forefront of this effort for quite some time now, providing Ethereum users with successful products such as Polygon SDK, the Polygon POS chain, Polygon Avail, Polygon Hermez, and now to add to this extensive collection of scaling solutions, we have been introduced to ‘Polygon Nightfall’. Before I dive too deep into this new venture, I want to talk about the history of project ‘Nightfall’, as it was previously a private venture which was originally established by the EY team back in 2019.

Originally, back in 2019 ‘Nightfall’ was established by the EY protocol which at the time was a set of protocols that aimed to give users the ability to complete private transactions on the Ethereum network. Here’s some food for thought – originally this venture was actually the first major contributing protocol (or very close too) that was attempting to facilitate private transactions for its users on top of the Ethereum network. But of course, just like any other protocol building on Ethereum, the EY team quickly realised that gas fees on the Ethereum network were going to continue to rise alongside the increasing demand for the network. This prompted the EY protocol to start exploring Ethereum scaling solutions in order to counter the high gas costs while still facilitating an increasing amount of demand for the Ethereum network. This ultimately resulted in the project known as ‘Nightfall 3’, a scalable version of ‘nightfall’.

This lead EY to eventually participate in discussions and ultimately decide to collaborate with Polygon. This makes perfect sense seeing as though Polygon has been exploring as well as providing multiple Ethereum scaling solutions to users over time. So eventually, the ‘Nightfall 3’ project evolved into ‘Polygon Nightfall’, a scaling solution that aims to ultimately become a privacy focused rollup. Now what makes this type of rollup so different from others, is of course for one, users can expect to be able to complete private transactions on a scalable level, but also how this new rollup works is that it actually aims to take the best aspects out of both zk-Rollups and Optimistic Rollups and combine them into one. Essentially becoming a ‘hybrid rollup’, and the first of its kind.

It is still unknown exactly which features this rollup will inherit from its counterparts, all we know for certain is that it will inherit most major aspects of an Optimistic Rollup that is also able to integrate with cryptography based features that are currently only available within a zk-Rollup. Hopefully because of the hint of cryptography based features, we might be able to see a hybrid rollup that doesn’t have the current seven day withdrawal delay that is experienced with current Optimistic Rollups. Only time will tell but what we do know for certain is that Polygon is aiming to change the game in regard to scaling Ethereum, as originally quoted by Sandeep Nailwall – co-founder of Polygon.

Thanks for reading everyone!

Liam Donald

This newsletter is for educational purposes only and should never be considered as financial or investment advice