Polygon Labs, the team behind the Layer 2 scaling network Polygon, has launched its new token contract on the Ethereum mainnet.

The POL token has been designed as a so-called “hyperproductive token” that will power an ecosystem of zero knowledge-based (ZK) Layer 2 chains via a native re-staking protocol. This restaking protocol will allow POL holders to validate multiple chains and perform multiple roles on each of those chains, including sequencing and ZK prof generation.

The upgrade does not change anything for users of Polygon’s Proof-of Stake or zkEVM networks currently, and all existing contracts will continue to function in the same manner.

However, POL is part of a technical upgrade which would eventually make it the native token of the Polygon network, replacing the existing one MATIC which has been around since the network first launched in 2020.

The token will function in a similar regard to productive tokens that allow their holders to become validators on the network and receive rewards, but will take things a step further with the ability for them to validate across multiple chains. 

The transition from MATIC to POL will require a simple technical upgrade, according to the Polyogon Labs team, which would involve sending MATIC to an upgraded smart contract that returns the equivalent amount of POL. 

“Practically speaking, POL is an upgrade and renaming of the MATIC token. From the protocol viewpoint, MATIC and POL would not and can not coexist; POL can only replace MATIC,” said the team in a blog post earlier this year.

The upgrade is part of the network’s wider goal of bringing its Polygon 2.0 roadmap to life, which it envisions will be the “value layer of the internet.” The network would essentially be a cross-chain coordination protocol that unifies other protocols across zkEVMs, PoS and Supernets.