To put it simply, wMATIC is “wrapped MATIC”, but before we get into that, let’s begin by introducing some core concepts:
First, there’s the MATIC token
Though it was originally built on the Ethereum blockchain, MATIC is the native currency of the Polygon Network.
Second, there are alt tokens
When a dApp (or decentralised application) is built on Polygon, Ethereum, or numerous EVM-compatible blockchains, the dApp usually implements its own form of token. For example, think of 99Starz STZ token, or QuickSwap’s QUICK token.
Finally the ERC-20 Standard
Even though Polygon is layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum, the Polygon Network still relies on the ERC-20 standard that defines how tokens are transferred and how to keep an invariable and continuous record of those transactions on the Polygon Network.
Why You Need wMATIC
MATIC Doesn’t Conform to the ERC-20 Standard
Just like ETH, which was the prototype of Ethereum tokens and as such was built before the ERC-20 standard existed, MATIC also doesn’t conform to the ERC-20 Standard.
Wrapping MATIC allows you to trade directly with other ALT tokens
You need wMATIC to be able to trade MATIC for other ERC-20 tokens on decentralised platforms like QuickSwap. Because decentralised platforms running on Polygon use smart contracts to initiate trades directly between users, each and every user must employ the same standardised format for every token they trade. This uniformity ensures that tokens don’t get lost in the deep sea of smart contract transactions.
Ultimately, for MATIC to be used with smart contract functionality, it needs to be “wrapped” into a ERC-20 token. Ie. MATIC must become “wrapped Matic” or “wMATIC”.
Ready to Wrap?
Interestingly enough, you don’t actually wrap anything.
When you “wrap” MATIC, you aren’t really wrapping as much as you are trading for an equal token called wMATIC via a smart contract.
If/when you want to get unwrapped MATIC back, you’ll simply trade it back for plain MATIC. Instructions for how to do so can be found in this excellent tutorial prepared by Deopuraraghav — one of QuickSwap’s star Dragon Riders.
The Future of wMATIC
Hopefully, wMATIC’s days are numbered
Just as steps are being taken to update Ethereum’s codebase to make ETH compliant with its own ERC-20 standards, those same updates are being explored to bring MATIC into compliance with Polygon’s standards. As technology is constantly evolving, it is possible that the ERC-20 standard itself may be replaced as new standards get adopted to resolve problems that earlier web developers hadn’t yet thought of.
We hope this provided an adequate explanation of what wMATIC is and why Polygon Network users need it to interact with smart contracts like the one that enables lightning-fast, and nearly-free trades on QuickSwap. Let us know if you have any additional questions about wMATIC, and remember to follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on all things QuickSwap — Polygon’s most-established DEX.
Exported from Medium on May 2, 2023.