Web3's Gavin Wood Launches Kusama Network to Test Polkadot Protocol
The Web3 Foundation launched a live experimental version of the Polkadot network on Friday. Here's what Kusama will be testing.
Developers will soon be able to test applications on a live version of blockchain interoperability protocol Polkadot.
Kusama, an experimental and unaudited version of the $1.2 billion network, was launched on Friday at the tail-end of Berlin Blockchain Week.
As highlighted in a blog post by Polkadot creator Gavin Wood, it will be somewhere between one to four weeks before developers can begin tapping the full functionality of the network. Until at least 50 “well-backed” validators are operating on the network, transfers of KSM tokens between users will not be possible.
Wood explained in the post which actions are now live:
Once fully functioning, the Kusama network is expected to act as the proving ground for some of the most bleeding-edge technology planned for the actual Polkadot network, which is tentatively expected for launch early next year.
Wood spent much of Berlin Blockchain Week explaining the goals of the project.
Already, one of the teams expected to build on Polkadot is planning to run its applications on Kusama in the coming weeks.
project lead Ingo Ruebe said:
Running KILT’s “virtual structures” on Kusama will serve to answer many questions, Ruebe said, including the auctioning structure of Polkadot parachains.
Polkadot parachains are basically individual blockchains that rely on a central blockchain, called the relay chain for enhanced security and network interoperability.
“The auctioning mechanism means you have a fixed number of parachain slots and the relay chain can only process so many parachains per block,” Wood said in an interview with CoinDesk. “It’s like how bitcoin can only process so many transactions per block and ethereum so much gas per block.”
According to Wood, the upfront cost for developers to lease a parachain slot on the Polkadot relay chain “could be very expensive.”
“With parachains, it’s a long-term commitment. You deposit [DOTs] two years at a time. You have to deposit a fair amount of DOTs to get this lease. It’s a fairly heavy tax,” said Wood.
This is why the Kusama network will help test a new Polkadot innovation known as parathreads.
Parathreads, according to Wood, allow developers to deploy an application for a fixed fee and process one block on the network at a time. Calling it a “pay-as-you-go” model, Wood said many applications could benefit from this kind of flexibility.
“A lot of use-cases really don’t need to be processing every single block,” said Wood. “At busy times they may want to process every block but at off-peak times, they want to process every five, 10 or 100 blocks.”
It’s precisely this kind of functionality that teams like KILT Protocol are eager to test out on Kusama.
Gavin Wood (second from right) speaks at Web3 Summit 2019, photo by Christine Kim for CoinDesk
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.