TLDR; We chose Polygon for its confirmation time, transaction fees, rapidly growing community, EVM compatibility and ZK innovation.
I’m Chris, the co-founder, CEO and chief architect of the Verida protocol which has developed the missing infrastructure to upgrade crypto to a fully featured web3 infrastructure that can deliver exceptional applications to disrupt web2 incumbents.
Verida has developed blockchain aware decentralized identity and a new type of decentralized database storage infrastructure that is private and encrypted by default.
On top of that infrastructure, we have developed a secure single-sign-on solution, added a decentralized E2E encrypted P2P messaging protocol and built a next generation “Web3 wallet” that combines crypto, identity, private encrypted data and messaging in a single user experience.
Why is blockchain selection important?
Verida is designed to be multi-chain. The protocol supports decentralized identities, private data and messages are all stored off-chain on a decentralized network. This data can then be bridged on-chain where required… So why does blockchain selection matter?
The protocol still requires blockchain for discovery and coordination. Decentralized identities must be registered on the blockchain so they can be discovered by other users and applications to verify signatures. The network of storage nodes must be discoverable by end users and applications. Eventually the Verida token will need to exist on a primary chain to create the economic and security model of decentralized private data storage and messaging.
All that being said, our architecture is intentionally designed to minimize on-chain activity and keep the blockchain footprint as small as possible. We have designed the protocol to support a primary blockchain for our core smart contracts, but it is possible to upgrade to support additional chains in the future.
We have big goals. We see billions of users and devices using the Verida protocol in the future, so making well informed decisions now will pay off significantly in the future. Our objective was to make a decision that can last at least 5 years of significant growth of existing web3 users and adoption of a much larger cohort of web2 users.
This was a very time consuming process and a decision we put off for as long as possible. While every project has unique requirements, I hope this is helpful for other projects trying to make an informed decision on which blockchain to use.
What were we looking for?
We initially set out a range of key requirements:
< $0.005 per transaction when the underlying chain is at a mature stage of global adoption
A path to 10,000 TPS for transactions (~1bn / day = 8 /day for 100m users)
Confirmation time less than 3 seconds, ideally less than 1
Users can conduct transactions at no cost (or support sponsored / meta transactions)
We do not want to spin up our own blockchain nodes
We also had a set of other considerations that were important:
Chain can store small amounts of data for low cost
Has viable bridge to Ethereum
Has a pathway to bridge to other chains (ideally a direct bridge, not via Ethereum)
VDA gas fees
Users can pay network gas fees using VDA (Verida native token)
Strong community support
Large investor backing or large treasury giving long term chance of success
Active developer community providing support and improving the technology
Growing collection of dApps that could also leverage the Verida network
The TPS can scale as the network grows
The cost per transaction can remain low as the network grows
Reliability and security
History of hacks
Look at Network uptime
Behaviour and actions of the team
While it wasn’t an initial requirement, we ultimately decided that the blockchain we chose must be EVM compatible. This would provide us maximum flexibility to port to another EVM compatible chain in the future.
As the Verida protocol is designed to be multi-chain, this also means we have minimal technical uplift to support any EVM compatible chain with our future enhancements (ie: personal data bridge).
Which blockchains made it to the shortlist?
We initially started with 100 blockchains, which way too many. Confirmation time, transaction cost and EVM compatibility allowed us to quickly shorten this to ~20 options. The process was rather recursive. As we dove deeper into some of the blockchains we learned about new capabilities and had to determine if they were worthy of special consideration or tweak our criteria.
Cosmos, Avalanche and Polkadot are all great projects, but were eliminated as we don’t have a requirement to run our own application specific blockchain.
Solana was closely evaluated, but decided against due to the significant centralization risks, poor reliability and the one dimensional approach to scaling.
Algorand and NEAR protocol were also closely evaluated. We are fans of both approaches to scaling, the demonstrably low transaction fees and low confirmation times. Both have active communities and (for the most part) are well run operations. However… neither natively support EVM and that eliminated them at this stage. We still have active plans to work with both chains to ensure Verida network data can be brought on-chain where required, including support for leveraging Verida’s multi-chain identities.
Harmony One is EVM compatible, touts low transaction fees and low confirmation times. It initially looked promising, but has struggled for adoption and had many challenges meeting its milestones.
Why did we ultimately choose Polygon?
First and foremost, they met the key technical criteria:
Low confirmation times
Low transaction fees (~$0.002)
Reliable (although we have since had issues with Mumbai testnet)
High (and scalable) transactions per second (7,000)
Polygon also brings numerous other benefits:
A very large and rapidly growing ecosystem (7,000 projects)
A significant funding war chest, guaranteeing they will be around for many years to come
Leading the world in zero knowledge research which aligns with our objectives around securing (and unlocking use cases) for individual’s private data
There is a fairly painless route to migrate to another EVM chain or spin up our own application specific blockchain in the future if we decide that is necessary
After we made the internal decision to proceed with Polygon, they have since announced they are working with the likes of Disney, Nike, Starbucks and Meta. While that doesn’t guarantee success, there is clearly a momentum towards Polygon that is going to ensure they will be around for quite some time.
Polygon is heavily investing in zero knowledge technology to support decentralized identity and privacy preserving, scalable, public blockchains. This aligns very well with the objectives of Verida to secure private data of individuals (off-chain), but enable it to be used on-chain in a privacy preserving manner where appropriate.
It’s impossible to predict the future. There are newer chains such as Aptos and Sui garnering a lot of attention at the moment. There’s a huge amount of investment and hype around alt L1’s and L2’s, but we are more than comfortable with our decision to leverage Polygon PoS for our primary blockchain.
You can learn more about what we are building at https://verida.network/
I’ll check back on this thread regularly over the next 24 hours, so feel free to comment with any questions.