Contrary to reports at the time, Polygon never attempted to slay Ethereum. Back in 2021, various organizations, including CoinGecko and the Nasdaq, labeled Polygon as a “faster and cheaper” blockchain than Ethereum and built a perception among some that the project’s proof-of-stake blockchain intended to become an “Ethereum killer.”

The label couldn’t be more inaccurate, claims Polygon and Avail co-founder Anurag Arjun.

“I don’t think that was the intent. For sure, maybe a perception, but in terms of actual action, I mean Polygon built one of the first zkEVM rollups on Ethereum,” the Indian-born tech entrepreneur tells Hall of Flame.

“I think that fact alone says a lot about the strategy and the future,” he says on a call from Dubai, just like every other crypto tycoon these days.

He explains that Matic (Polygon’s original name) was initially built on the 2017 premise that it would be a Plasma solution — which was one of the first L2 scaling solutions for Ethereum.

Also read: Slumdog billionaire: Incredible rags-to-riches tale of Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal

“So the motivation behind building the company was to build out a scaling solution for Ethereum; of course, Plasma didn’t work out then; it wasn’t ultimately feasible,” Arjun says.

He says this is why Polygon pivoted to the Polygon PoS network in 2020 before ultimately building out a suite of ZK-rollup solutions.

“And so that’s why we had to pivot to the Polygon PoS chain. And, of course, there was time required for us to build out the rollup solution, which is there right now.”

Arjun acknowledges that from the outside, switching from a Plasma solution to a PoS network might have looked like they were trying to “build a competitor to Ethereum.”

However, internally, it was simply a product pivot. Polygon needed to “ship something useful to users to get feedback again.”

The feedback helped the team “massively” with its ZK-rollup solutions.

(Anurag Arjun)

History of the Polygon network

Arjun, Jaynti Kanani and Sandeep Nailwal formed Matic Network in 2017 after meeting in a buzzing co-working space, a classic start for crypto hustlers.

He noted that Kanani and Nailwal were already tight, having connected through a WhatsApp crypto trading group.

Despite the trio now being labeled by GQ India as India’s first “crypto billionaires,” Arjun reiterates that the ride wasn’t always so smooth sailing, especially after the Plasma solution didn’t work out in “the depths of the bear market.” 

It was a struggle for the team to get any sort of major funding. Fast forward to 2024, and Polygon is seen as one of the biggest players in the blockchain industry. 

Arjun left Polygon in 2023 to concentrate on running Avail, a product within the Polygon family that also separated from the company at the same time.

There were no hard feelings when Arjun and Avail parted ways from Polygon Labs. They just figured that Polygon had too many products under its umbrella. 

Avail was heading in a different direction as an independent layer 1, focusing on power infrastructure, while Polygon brands were sticking with the Ethereum L2 ecosystem play.

Polygon is now led by Marc Boiron, with Nailwal being the last remaining original co-founder at the company, serving as the chief business officer.

What led Arjun to X fame?

With 123,900 followers, Arjun has more followers than many shameless “influencers” could ever dream of. 

But if you were playing a game of “who’s most likely to have over 100K followers” at a dinner party, his humble and polite tone would probably make him the last pick.

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In “the early days” of Polygon, he wasn’t even active on Twitter (now X); he was too busy working on the project.

“I initially kind of shunned social media in general because I was just too heads down building, but probably around four years ago, I started tweeting,” he says.

As the project started to grow, Arjun felt a responsibility to inform everyone about what was happening and also “inspire other people to learn.”

(Anurag Arjun)

Over the years, as Polygon took off, he saw a big spike in followers. His content still includes learning threads like in the early days, but now he also drops hints about his success. 

For example, a cheeky public service announcement saying he’s happy to throw cash at projects that are building something meaningful in the industry.

Also read Slumdog billionaire 2: ‘Top 10… brings no satisfaction’ says Polygon’s Sandeep Nailwal

What type of content does Arjun do?

Arjun says his social media content is a mix. It is a bit of a brain dump for “whatever” is on his mind, but for blockchain-related stuff, it is “mostly the role of rollups.”

“Mainly, what is the infrastructure required to run these rollups because essentially I believe these are really useful for blockchains,” he says.

(Anurag Arjun)

The reason he keeps going on about rollups is that he thinks a lot of people don’t really get what they’re for.

“Rollups actually are very poorly understood in the sense that they are bringing change in how blockchains are constructed,” he declares.

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“Rollups are also blockchains, but they are not standalone blockchains. There is this base layer, and on top of that, you can construct many rollups,” he adds.

What type of content does Arjun like?

Arjun says that he keeps his following list “pretty tight.” During our chat, he quickly checks and notes that he is “following 800 people,” which doesn’t sound that tight, but for a founder, it means many people he meets don’t get a follow back after the interaction.

Since our chat, he has followed 24 more people, but I’m yet to be one of them, unfortunately.

When it comes to content he enjoys, he’s especially a fan of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s work, as well as the content from many Ethereum Foundation researchers, such as core developer Peter Szilágyi. According to Arjun, Szilágyi “can be very aggressive, but he’s a true builder.”

(Anurag Arjun)

What are Arjun’s predictions? Rollups to the moon

When questioned about potential price movements for Polygon’s native token MATIC over the next six months, Arjun was quick to let me know that he isn’t a trader.

“I don’t comment on pricing. I am not a trader myself. I don’t trade at all in general,” the billionaire says.

After chatting with Arjun for 45 minutes, it’s pretty clear he’s not the type to start shouting out bullish price predictions.

(Anurag Arjun)

He takes the opportunity to switch subjects from talking about price predictions to hammering home how optimistic he is about blockchain rollups.

“I think I am very bullish on rollups being the future of how blockchains are created,” he says.

Ciaran Lyons

Ciaran Lyons is an Australian crypto journalist. He’s also a standup comedian and has been a radio and TV presenter on Triple J, SBS and The Project.

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