Published on:

November 4, 2022
How do Polygon Supernets differ from Avalanche Subnets?


Last few months have witnessed tremendous popularity for blockchain protocols with promise of higher throughputs and scalability.  We have seen the rise of numerous app-chain platforms, each with their own unique advantages. Among these, Avalanche and Polygon are ranking at the top with unique approaches and features called the subnets and the supernets. With the Avalanche subnets and Polygon supernets, developers can seamlessly work on launching more and more blockchain applications also called app-chains. However, they facilitate customized capabilities for precise applications and allow for quicker and economical transactions.

Avalanche offers a high degree of security and scalability, and Polygon provides users with a more user-friendly experience and comes at a low cost. So, what are the distinctive features of these platforms and how is one different from the other? To answer these questions, we need to take a closer look at each platform’s features and capabilities. In this article, we try to delve deeper into the points of comparison between Avalanche subnets Vs Polygon supernets.

Emergence and Popularity of App-Chain Platforms

The release of Avalanche’s subnets and Polygon’s supernets has been of significant critical value on the complete cycle of blockchain development platforms. While comparing, one may find several similarities in supernets and subnets on the surface-level. However, there are several notable differences between the two.

App-chains reduce the expenses developers face by delivering flexibility and lower transaction costs. Because app-chains require more technical knowledge than monolithic blockchains, they are typically more costly and complicated for developers to build and operate without using platforms. For this reason, developing app-chains is costly, risky, and practically impossible for most developers. It is also necessary to devise appropriate network security measures for app-chains and for this reason there can be incentives in place for decentralized validator participation.

Polygons supernets and avalanches subnets allow developers to create application-dedicated blockchains. The introduction of the new features with avalanche subnets and polygon supernets solve some major problems in the blockchain world, such as abstracting away knowledge about networks required for launching an independent app chain or network that can operate without any connection with another one; this provides greater flexibility when it comes down deciding how things should work together rather than being forced into one specific design. 

Before diving into a comparison, let’s examine the problems they address. 

Polygon’s Supernets and Avalanche’s Subnets allow developers to create application-dedicated blockchains (app chains). They provide better user experiences through faster transaction speeds, reduced fee variability, and tailored network incentives. Polygon and Avalanche are praised for addressing the prominent issues of the ecosystem by removing the blockchain-domain knowledge and providing blockchain-as-a-service

What is Polygon’s supernet?

Supernet is a scalability solution provided by Polygon that allows developers to create their own blockchains with decreased costs. Developers building on Polygon get access to validators, tools for immediate integration, and third-party services for implementation, design, and management. 

Supernets solve problems for a development framework (Polygon Edge) that helps to build Ethereum-compatible blockchains. Polygon Edge comes with extra features such as added security and decentralization. Supernets are collections of connected networks that serve as a data-sharing hub or for collaborative work. They can help organize vast quantities of data and facilitate communication between several groups of users.

Supernets have various benefits, including interoperability, specificity, and security-as-a-service. Each supernet has a specific use case where validators from the Polygon PoS chain can secure the supernet. Also, supernets can communicate and exchange value/messages with the Ethereum mainnet.

Supernet comprises three modes for developers to quickly deploy their projects: 

  1. Supernet Sovereign Chain: It is managed by a single validator and helps reduce maintenance costs.
  2. Supernet Shared Security Chain: It is validated by expert validators to offer better decentralization. However, the validators need to stake a minimum of 20,000 MATIC.
  3. L2 Chain: It aims to scale Supernets using ZK-rollups technology and is still under development.

What are the benefits of Supernets?

Supernets help curb Polygon Edge’s challenges, a modular framework for developers who require customizable features in their blockchains. These challenges are as follows:

  1. Bootstrapping a decentralized validator set is complex as it affects the security of the network and bandwidth consumption.
  2. Polygon Edge offers numerous solutions that confuse developers in making an informed choice between several chain configurations.

Supernets help withdraw these problems and allow developers to save on costs by building projects in a customizable environment. Hence, supernets enhance Polygon’s scalability while keeping decentralization and security. 

What is Avalanche’s subnet?

Subnets, released in May 2022, are validators that function together to achieve consensus on the state of blockchains. Subnets help enable application chains by providing validators that can be shared between blockchains. Within the Avalanche ecosystem, subnets allow developers and businesses to create customized blockchains. 

Subnets are configurable for developers to create blockchains with customizable blockchain virtual machines (EVM, AVM, etc.). Subnets are helpful for entrepreneurs as they allow them to build private blockchains without requiring a token. 

The Avalanche’s mainnet comprises three chains: X-Chain (Exchange Chain), P-Chain (Platform Chain), and C-Chain (Contract Chain).

  1. X-Chain is a payments chain optimized for NFT minting and UTXO transfers. 
  2. C-Chain is an EVM smart contract platform allowing for the seamless creation of exclusive decentralized applications. 
  3. P-Chain is responsible for coordinating Avalanche validators and takes part in creating and managing subnets.

All the activity of the Avalanche network happens on the primary subnet that contains all the validators. The validators are required to validate the Primary Network or the X, P, and C chains. The process helps to streamline the connectivity between subnets and feels much more native. The addition of subnets allows validators to validate additional blockchains on Avalanche.

What are the benefits of Subnets?

Subnets include several blockchains, rules sets, distinctive virtual machines, and requirements for participation. They allow a network to operate freely, making gas fees less expensive for users to use applications. 

  1. Subnets allow customization of gas tokens, where users can use native tokens or multiple tokens for gas optimization. 
  2. Subnets may also ask validators to meet specific hardware requirements for the easy functioning of the application. 
  3. Subnets offer privacy and regulatory compliance to organizations. But one can access permissioned subnets only if they have special licenses for the locations.  

Blockchains can create a subnet to harness Avalanche’s consensus mechanism for faster finality, performance, and increased security. As mentioned above, subnets offer several advantages to the crypto ecosystem and have caught the attention of major corporations such as Deloitte and Mastercard.

What are the differences between Supernets and Subnets?

A subnet is a scalability solution allowing users to build their own L1 blockchain. Both Subnets and Supernets allow developers to develop or deploy app chains quickly. Avalanche uses Snowman Proof-of-Stake consensus protocol that enables scalability and infinite decentralization by providing probabilistic consensus. 

Polygon’s IBFT (Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerance) is a consensus protocol that guarantees consensus. But the achieved consensus is at loss of permissionless participation and does not favor decentralization. However, the two scalability solutions have some more prominent differences.

  1. Transactions per second: Avalanche can process up to 4500 transactions per second (TPS) compared to 1,500 (TPS) of Polygon.
  2. The number of validators: While Supernets only have 100 validators because of the limit imposed by IBFT consensus, Subnets have no such restriction and possess around 1,300 validators.
  3. Validator staking requirement: A user needs to stake a minimum of 2000 AVAX to become a validator of Subnets. However, the same user requires only 20000 MATIC to become a validator of Supernets. 

Although subnets require all validators to validate the entire primary network, supernets are far away from this process. Supernets and subnets have contradicting views on Slashing (penalizing malicious validators by taking stakes from bad actors). 

While Ethereum argues that the validators with greater amounts will tend to show good behavior, Avalanche believes that delegators might not have control over delegators putting their stake at risk. It can eventually lead to the centralization of staking, thus harming the believers of decentralization. 

Why are Subnets and Supernets helpful?

It is essential to dive into the case study of Axie Infinity to understand the importance of subnets and supernets. You might be familiar with the Ronin bridge attack that happened last year. But do you know what the reason behind the hack was?

Axie Infinity’s transaction volume rose as the platform gained popularity last year. To allow seamless transactions without downtime, the development team decided to create a Ronin sidechain for scaling the application. However, the Ronin sidechain had only nine validators, out of which attackers managed to hack five validators. The loss of decentralization led to the largest-ever crypto hack, which resulted in a loss of more than $600 million. 

The developers of Axie Infinity could have prevented the attack by using a subnet or supernet to decentralize blockchain using platform-provided validators. The process would have protected the blockchain from attackers. 

Avalanche Projects

Developers have launched the initial projects on Avalanche’s subnet to use its characteristics. Initially, Crabada and DeFi Kingdoms were the two games that joined the subnet ecosystem.

All thanks to subnets, DeFi Kingdoms possess a flexible tokenomics mechanism where one can use AVAX or a subnet-native token to pay gas fees. Crabada is a GameFi project that harnessed the potential of subnets to deliver a better user experience by lowering gas fees.

Avalanche has introduced an exciting concept for platforms to maintain low gas fees. Initially, projects will launch on C-Chain until the volume drives up and fees start rising. Once the project is experiencing a good user base, they can move to their own subnet for lower fees. The complete cycle is repeated as the projects evolve in the Avalanche ecosystem

Polygon Projects 

SX Network, Zo World, and Uttarakhand State Government medical device solutions are the top projects that highlight the capabilities of supernets and use cases. SX launched the prediction market application and moved to build with Polygon Edge because of the outstanding features.  

An Indian state deployed a SettleMint network with Polygon Edge integration to track medical equipment in seven medical colleges. The platform tracked assets through RFID, which decreased downtime and helped automate the ordering processes. 

Zo World is a decentralized travel project that allows users to complete quests, mint NFTs, and earn tokens. The team utilizes supernets because of the low fees, instant finality, minimum investment, and easy maintenance.  

What are the associated risks with subnets and supernets?

Although supernets and subnets provide decentralization and scalability, both have certain limitations. Polygon can only take 100 validators for each supernet in consensus. Although it might be sufficient for some platforms, it might pose a problem of decentralization for high-value blockchain projects. Hence, it is also essential for users to understand the risk, as each app chain has its own level of decentralization. Users should be aware of the platforms, the type of security they offer, and the level of decentralization with them.  

Supernets and subnets can accelerate the future growth of the Web3 ecosystem with revolutionary technology. They offer new possibilities to protect against hacks and ensure the user’s security.

About Zeeve

Zeeve is a one-stop place for deploying your Avalanche and Polygon nodes on the enterprise-grade Web 3.0 infrastructure platform. We provide end-to-end services for deploying, monitoring, and scaling nodes. 

You can easily use Zeeve’s resources to deploy the nodes in seconds with the desired cloud. We provide ready plugins, including APIs, tools, and libraries, to ensure complete reliability, availability, and functionality for developers to build DApps and smart contracts

Zeeve’s built-in architecture for deploying nodes enables users with confidential real-time communication over a secure platform, low deployment costs, and simple configuration. The node’s features can be configured to perform various functions out-of-the-box. 

Zeeve provides an adequately secure environment that ensures blockchain systems can correspond with one another and share information. You can sign up today to access a supernet and subnet where blockchains are interlinked to establish trading systems and exchange usable data. Zeeve focuses its efforts on establishing a platform that facilitates communication pathways between blockchains. 

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