September 1, 2022

Gas fees on Ethereum vs. Polygon

Ethereum is the tried and true, trusty favorite, but Polygon has become a formidable contender in its own right. Not to mention, it’s much, much cheaper.

Vojtech Rychnovsky

Co-founder, CTO

The Ethereum blockchain changed the game completely when it smashed into the blockchain scene as the first distributed supercomputer. Now, over 7 years after its initial release, Ethereum remains the most popular and trusted blockchain for dApps (distributed applications). It’s more distributed, more widely used, and arguably more secure than any other blockchain out there. However, its popularity, unfortunately, has an effect on the cost of computing power on the blockchain.

What are gas fees?

In order to perform computations on Ethereum, a fee must be paid to miners to process the transaction. These fees are known as gas fees. Whether you’re sending ETH (the native currency on the Ethereum blockchain), minting an NFT,  or deploying a smart contract, every little bit of computation must be compensated by paying a gas fee.

Different types of transactions use different amounts of gas depending on how computationally intensive they are. In addition, the more traffic the blockchain is experiencing, the higher the gas fees. In the case of Ethereum, as the most popular blockchain for dApps, gas fees have reached astronomical levels, in some cases becoming prohibitively expensive for users.

What is an L2?

A Layer-2 (L2) blockchain is a blockchain that processes transactions in parallel to another blockchain and synchronizes with the main chain periodically. The popular blockchain Polygon began as an L2, but has become a popular blockchain in its own right. While compatible with Ethereum, Polygon is many times faster, processing up to 10,000 transactions per second (tps)  as opposed to Ethereum’s 14 tps. As a result, it is also much cheaper, with gas fees rarely exceeding a few cents, as opposed to reaching hundreds of dollars in some cases on Ethereum.

How do gas fees compare on Ethereum vs. Polygon?

As we’ve mentioned, Polygon is many times faster and cheaper than Ethereum. But let’s get into some numbers to give you a clearer picture of the difference. Before we do, there are a few key points to understand in terms of where these numbers are coming from:

  1. “Gas used” is the same everywhere, it’s determined by the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine).
  2. Every network has its own “Gas price,” which is determined by the traffic load on the blockchain at the given moment of computation. Higher traffic = higher gas price.
  3. The price for any computation is determined by: Gas used * Gas price.
  4. For comparison, the gas prices in ETH and MATIC (the native currencies of each respective blockchain) are computed into USD.

For the gas fee calculations in Chart 2, the following gas prices (date: 17.08.2022) were used:

Chart 1

The following chart compares common NFT operations on Ethereum and Polygon in terms of the gas fees they incur:

Chart 2

As you can see, gas fees on Ethereum are more than 400x more expensive than on Polygon at the time of writing. 

Which blockchain should I launch my NFT collection on?

This is a slightly complicated question. In terms of price, it seems like a no-brainer to go with Polygon. Since it’s EVM compatible, it is a convenient and viable alternative to Ethereum and will suit most people’s purposes perfectly.

However, as previously mentioned, going with the most distributed and popular blockchain does have significant benefits. It instills trust in users, of which there are many more on Ethereum. More decentralization also increases the security of blockchains, and Ethereum is as decentralized as they come. So, despite the inconvenience and cost, there are still good reasons for people to launch NFT collections on Ethereum over Polygon.

Want to launch an NFT collection?

Whichever blockchain seems like a better choice to you, Artiffine can create and deploy a custom smart contract for you, build a stunning NFT minting site, and help walk you through all of the strategic and legal aspects of launching your collection. If you want a trusted partner and professional creative studio to transform your NFT dreams into reality, get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help you along on your journey.

Try our free Gas Fee Calculator to compare gas fees between Ethereum and Polygon.

Vojtech Rychnovsky

Co-founder, CTO

September 1, 2022

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