Polygon (MATIC) on Ethereum L3s: “L3s Don’t Make Any Sense”

Polygon Labs doubles down on the Layer 3 chain criticism.

Robot sitting confused about what to do with polygon matic space.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Polygon Labs is doubling down on the Layer 3 chain criticism.
  • The firm contends that Layer 3 chains can achieve all of the benefits they hope to achieve with Layer 2s without the downsides.
  • The firm further argues that the only real benefits of Layer 3 chains accrue to the parent Layer 2.

As the Ethereum roadmap becomes increasingly rollup-centric, the emergence of a new type of rollup, Layer 3 chains, which use Layer 2 chains as settlement layers instead of the Layer 1 chain, has sparked debates.

In recent months, these debates have seen contributions from several quarters in the crypto space, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Polygon (MATIC) Labs CEO Marc Boiron.


In a recent blog post, Polygon (MATIC) Labs reiterated its CEO’s views, asserting that these new types of rollups largely serve no purpose.

Just a Gimmick?

“L3s don’t make any sense,” an amused Polygon co-founder Brendan Farmer asserted in a clip shared by the official Polygon X account on Thursday, May 23, to introduce a blog post comparing the supposed benefits of Layer 3 chains to Layer 2 chains built with the CDK and connected to the AggLayer.

In the blog post, Polygon Labs argued that, in reality, Layer 3 networks had no real novel scaling benefits and only reproduced the current problems of fragmentation faced by Layer 2 chains.

According to the firm, the only real benefits of Layer 3 chains accrue to Layer 2s at the users’ expense.

Polygon (MATIC) Labs Bust Layer 3 Myths: Is Aggregation the Answer?

As highlighted by Polygon Labs, arguments for Layer 3s typically include greater customizability, lower costs, better interoperability, and easier onboarding. However, according to the firm, all these supposed benefits can be achieved by Layer 2s leveraging tools the Polygon stack offers.


Polygon Labs argues that the claim that Layer 3 chains are more customizable than Layer 2 chains is false. The firm contended that Layers 2, particularly those built with the firm’s CDK, are customizable in any way without the downsides of losing their sovereignty as with Layer 3 chains, which they argue are subject to the Layer 2s they are built on.

This sovereignty argument will again support the firm’s claim that Layer 3 chains offer greater cost benefits than Layer 2 chains. Polygon Labs argues that while Layer 3 chains could become subject to “extractive fees” from their parent Layer 2 chain, zero-knowledge-powered Layer 2 chains plugged into Polygon’s AggLayer can further lower fees by aggregating proofs.

Polygon Labs argued that claimed better interoperability also came at a high cost to developers and users due to the aforementioned extractive fees. Again, the firm noted that this was another problem solved by AggLayer, its interoperability solution that promises near-instant and atomic transactions. 

Lastly, on easier onboarding through centralized exchanges, Polygon Labs highlighted that, in this case, the Layer 3 chain depended on the Layer 2 chain to connect to as many exchanges as possible. In contrast, with an AggLayer connected chain, new Layer 2 chains can onboard users from any other exchange connected Layer 2.

Polygon Labs further argued that in addition to failing to deliver on their promise, Layer 3 chains faced downsides like relying on Layer 2 for security instead of Ethereum, lacking sovereignty and governance, and continuing fragmentation beyond a connection to a single Layer 2 ecosystem. 

According to the firm, Layer 2s only championed Layer 3s because they wanted to increase blockspace demand and were building outside ZK technology.

On the Flipside 

  • Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin has argued that Layer 3 chains make no sense as scaling solutions but could serve other purposes, such as data availability layers.
  • Projects championing Layer 3 chains are Polygon Labs’ competitors.

Why This Matters 

Layer 3 chains are among the most recent trends in the Ethereum space. The recent debates about them could help users better understand how they work.

Read this for more on the Ethereum Layer 3 debate:
Vitalik Buterin Dispels Layer 3 Hype: ‘Not a Magic Scaling Fix’

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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Okoya David

David Okoya is a crypto news reporter at DailyCoin based in Nigeria. He covers various topics related to the cryptocurrency industry, including exchanges, regulations, and price movements, and strives to bring fresh angles to breaking news. With experience as a freelance crypto news writer, David upholds the highest journalistic standards, telling complete stories and answering lingering questions whenever possible.