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Marc Boiron, CEO of Polygon Labs, has expressed his dissatisfaction with layer 3 (L3) networks, stating that their existence is hurting the value of Ethereum.

His statement comes amid growing excitement around L3 networks such as Degen Chain, built on top of L2s to facilitate application-specific dApps that offer solutions such as scalability, cost and interoperability.

Polygon’s CEO wrote on

Furthermore, he expressed concerns that L3 networks could compromise the security and overall value of Ethereum. Therefore, if all L3s settle on one L2, Ethereum will not attract any value, bringing a security risk.

Boiron’s view, however, has been challenged. One commentator argued that L2s in Ethereum “ARE value in Ethereum”, to which Boiron partially agreed, but maintained that the value of L2 does not equate to the value of Ethereum.

Boiron clarified that Polygon Labs is focused on scaling Ethereum while ensuring a fair distribution of value between Polygon and Ethereum. He reiterated Polygon’s mission to scale Ethereum using EVM parallelization and prioritizing privacy, arguing that L3s are not aligned with that goal.

In a March 31 post, Helus Labs CEO Mert Mumtaz’s vision aligned with Boiron’s stance, characterizing L3s essentially as centralized servers, settling into other centralized servers (L2s) controlled by multisigs.


Meanwhile, Peter Haymond, senior partnerships manager at Offchain Labs, challenged Boiron’s perspective and highlighted several benefits of L3s that don’t harm Ethereum’s value. These advantages include the cost savings of native L2 to L1 bridging, the accessibility of on-chain proof, the use of custom gas tokens, and specialized state transition functions.

Arbitrum Foundation researcher Patrick McCorry expressed surprise at Boiron’s point of view, saying that L3s offer significant advantages, especially in allowing L2s to evolve into settlement layers, thus reducing the cost of running bridges and depending on the Ethereum as a global ordering service and final arbiter of settlements.

The debate surrounding L3s was initially sparked by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin in late 2022 when he mentioned that these networks would serve a purpose other than scaling by offering specialized functionality. He emphasized that a third layer on the blockchain would only be justified if it introduced unique functions not provided by layer 2.

Currently, the current leaders in the L3 ecosystem are Orbs, zkSync Hyperchains, Xai, and the recently launched Degen Chain. Of the current L3 tokens, only four are listed on CoinGecko, showing that the sector is still small.

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