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Polygon hard fork prompts a 20% rally in the price of MATIC

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(Kitco News) – Polygon (MATIC), an Ethereum layer-2 scaling protocol, has successfully completed a hard fork designed to help address the gas spikes and chain reorganization issues (reorgs) that have plagued the network.

The upgrade to Polygon PoS, an Ethereum-compatible proof-of-stake sidechain, occurred at 10:45 UTC (5:45 a.m. ET) on Jan. 17 according to data from Polygonscan. The upgrade came about after a pair of Polygon improvement proposals were submitted in December. Roughly 87% of the Polygon validator teams that voted on the proposals approved the upgrades.

The hard fork was first announced by Polygon in a blog on Jan. 12, which also revealed that several longer-term technical upgrades to Polygon PoS are being worked on – including promising options for scaling like parallelization and Polygon zkEVM.

One reason the upgrade was needed was due to frequent “gas spikes” where the cost to conduct a transaction would exponentially jump during surges in demand on the network. The fork is expected to help reduce major fluctuations in gas prices.

The second reason cited by Polygon was to reduce what’s known as “sprint length” – which is the number of blocks produced by a validator – in order to reduce the time taken for validation. Doing so lowers “the chances of a secondary or tertiary validator (who hasn’t discovered the primary) kicking in to produce blocks, resulting in fewer reorgs overall,” the blog said.

The first proposal included in this hard fork adjusted the mechanism that sets gas fees with the goal of keeping gas prices low when there is a lot of activity on the network.

The second proposal was designed to reduce the amount of time it takes to finalize a data block in an effort to prevent frequent reorgs. Reorgs occur when a validator node receives information that temporarily creates a new version of the blockchain.

“By decreasing the sprint length, the hardfork will help reduce the frequency and depth of reorgs, and improve transaction finality,” Polygon said. “The change will not affect the total time or number of blocks a validator produces, so there will be no change in rewards overall.”

In the time since the hard fork was first announced on Jan. 12, the price of Polygon’s native MATIC token has increased 20.7%, climbing from $0.845 on Jan. 11 to its current trading price of $1.02.

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