Kusama network was explained as a risk-taking, fast-moving ‘canary in the coal mine’ for its cousin Polkadot in its whitepaper. It’s basically an unaudited version of Polkadot but holds real economic value. Kusama was built to spark innovation and make fast experiments. It holds no promise! While Kusama uses the ‘Substrate’ framework of Polkadot, it offers the opportunity to the developers to deploy their work rapidly or prepare for the deployment on Polkadot. A discussion about Polkadot can’t be completed without discussing Kusama, which provides a pre-production sandbox environment for Polkadot due to its flexible governance parameters. While there is high speculation about the Polkadot parachain launch date, let’s try to understand the situation after judging the present state of Kusama.
Kusama parachain is already launched
Polkadot was designed as a heterogeneous scalable multi-chain but it exists as a single chain only to date. The design feature of Polkadot has something called ‘Parachains’. These are user-generated networks and can be customized for any use. The main blockchain is called the ‘Relaychain’ and this is the chain where all transactions are finalized. While ‘Parachains’ are yet to be launched on Polkadot, Kusama has already become a heterogeneously-sharded blockchain. ‘Shell’, the first live parachain of Kusama, went online two weeks ago. ‘Shell’ was an empty parachain but it was upgraded to ‘Statemine’ last week. The official blog post says: “Shell was but a hollow vessel that did nothing but wait to be upgraded into something rich and functional. Like a butterfly springing from its chrysalis, this Shell parachain was upgraded to Statemine last week, Kusama’s equivalent of the Polkadot’s Statemint common-good parachain.”
Importance of Kusama ‘Statemine’
‘Statemine’ is the Kusama instance of Polkadot’s ‘Statemint’ parachain. This parachain is important as it’s a common-good chain that allows the hosting of arbitrary assets. The assets can be both fungible and non-fungible. To simplify, we can say it makes the groundwork for bringing tokens to the original blockchain. The real-world or virtual assets as wrapped tokens, non-algorithmic stablecoins and NFTs are coming to Kusama first and then to Polkadot. The creation of assets on the blockchain will be permissionless. ‘Statemine’ is a low-cost chain, so transactions are cheaper than the main chain. KSM movement between Kusama and ‘Statemine’ will happen freely using the ‘XCM Protocol’ and other parachains also will be able to interact with ‘Statemine’. This is really a very important development for Polkadot ecosystem.
Kusama Parachain Slot Auctions will happen now
Polkadot or Kusama has a concept called ‘Parachain Slot Auctions’. The parachains slots are auctioned at the open market to select which parachains will be added to the ‘Relaychain’ and receive core blockchain functionality. The official blog post says that: “Teams that have the confidence and backing of the KSM-holding community will be prioritised with a side-effect of ensuring that the most KSM is locked up for as long as possible.” Kusama Council and the validators are confident that there is no technical problem in the parachain function and the auction process will find no barrier. 15th June is the decided date for starting Kusama Parachain Slot Auctions. If the first auction is successful, further parachain slots will be auctioned.
Due to the sharded structure, Polkadot or Kusama comes with a lot of complexities. Post successful functioning of parachains, focus will be ‘Parathreads’. Parathreads are similar parachains but these participate in the blockchain security without having a dedicated parachain slot. Again, for simplification, we can say that parathreads are ‘pay-as-you-go’ parachains. But will two stranger parachains trust each other? Achieving homogeneous sharding across all parachains is challenging, but without that, there won’t be any purpose of existence for Polkadot or Kusama. ‘Spree’ or Secure Protected Runtime Execution Enclaves will ensure that and it’ll be another update for smooth movement of tokens between stranger parachains. Let’s come back to the ‘title’ of this article. When will we get Polkadot parachains? Kusama parachain slot auction is very nearby and once it takes place; the logic will be proved to be working in the wild. Then it can be only a matter of time to implement the same logic on Polkadot. The successful implementation of the parachain structure of Polkadot will be an important milestone in the history of blockchain technology as it’ll pave the way to bring truly interoperable, scalable and secure network protocol for the next generation web.