Polkadot

The Projects

Intermediate

By Adriana Hamacher

Learn

Feb 4, 2019

Polkadot is a cryptocurrency network that wants to help weave all the disparate blockchains together.

What you will learn

What you will learn

Polkdaot is an ambitious project to connect blockchains, enabling them to communicate and to pool security and privacy.

Currently, blockchains operate separately and in silos. Polkdadot promises to create an internet of interoperable blockchains for a decentralized web. Developers could easily build and experiment. Users would benefit from seamless interoperability.  

What is Polkdot?

Polkadot is a network designed to join the dots with all other networks. It's commonly referred to as a multi-chain network, because it can join networks together. Its ultimate aim is to act as a framework for all blockchains that opt-in a bit like HTML. The idea is to take care of messy and costly cryptocurrency mining processes (including validation of transactions and security protocols) and enable developers to focus on creating dapp and smart-contract functionality.

DID YOU KNOW

Polkadot is being built by Gavin Wood, a co-founder of Ethereum.

Why is it important?

Developers building innovative, decentralized systems currently have to engineer these systems from the ground up. The industry is lacking a framework, so that engineers can focus on areas where they best contribute value, instead of constantly having to reinvent the wheel.

How does it work?

Blockchains can connect with Polkadot and work in parallel as so-called “parachains” to access the network’s proof-of-stake (PoS) validation of transactions, decentralized consensus and security.

In the network’s so-called “relay chain, transaction addresses are checked and data is standardized so that every system can understand it. This is where all the chains pool security.

While functionality is taken care of, blockchains connected to Polkadot can use their own PoS mechanism, decide when and how to update their code and run the dapps or tokens they choose.

DID YOU KNOW

Polkadot is developed by the Web3 Foundation and Parity Technologies, whose co-founders are Gavin Wood and Jutta Steiner.

What problems does it solve?

The two issues blockchain-based systems most need to solve are scalability—the number of transactions per second the network can handle—and governance: how the community manages protocol upgrades and changes. Polkadot aims to solve both of these problems.

Does Polkadot have a cryptocurrency?

Yes, DOT, the internal token of the Polkadot network, allows holders to vote on potential code changes, which then automatically upgrade across the network if a consensus is reached.

What are Polkadot’s aims?

Polkadot wants to become the bedrock from which all blockchains will grow out of. The belief is, by creating an even playing field--as opposed to the fragmented one that exists currently--companies will be free to innovate knowing that the foundations are solid. 

What other projects are in this space?

Polkadot is not the only platform focusing on improving scalability, governance, and interoperability.

Dfinity claims to have the answer to scalability and WanChain is also addressing interoperability. But it’s Cosmos that’s pitched as Polkadot’s biggest competitor. It’s been working on blockchain interoperability since 2014. It’s broadly similar to Polkadot and is expected to launch in February 2019.

DID YOU KNOW

Polkadot previously raised more than $145 million via a token sale in October 2017. However, the participants will not receive their tokens until the Genesis block is launched in 2019

The future

The network launch is scheduled to go live later in 2019, and run through a series of milestones that will likely last through the end of the year.

If successful, Polkadot will take blockchain technology to the next level. However, the project is being developed over two years and there’s a question mark over the length of time needed and whether it can stand up to its competitors.

By Adriana Hamacher

Learn

Feb 4, 2019

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2019 © Decrypt Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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