For crypto gamblers getting up to speed on all the latest developments in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, we share some information about Polkadot. It is one of the latest blockchain protocols that connect various specialized blockchains into a single unified network. It was designed to dismantle internet monopolies and was envisioned to return control to individuals on a decentralized platform.
The Polkadot system operates in a distinctive manner that aims to combine a network of heterogeneous blockchains, commonly referred to as parachains and parathreads. These parachains and parathreads are secured and connected to the Polkadot Relay Chain. Additionally, these chains are connected to external networks through bridges, in some circumstances. This enables the Polkadot system to enjoy additional flexibility.
Main Components Of The Technology
The core element of Polkadot’s operations is the relay chain. This critical element is responsible for its shared security, cross-chain interoperability, and consensus.
It is important to note that consensus on the Relay Chain can be achieved by two single-responsibility mechanisms. Each of these mechanisms makes vital contributions to the network. The first mechanism covers block production while the second mechanism is responsible for accomplishing finality.
Parachains can be described as sovereign blockchains and are networks that possess their own tokens. More often than not, these networks are optimized for specific types of uses.
With parachains, they have the freedom to create their own governance mechanisms. This facilitates maximum freedom on the network without interfering with the operations of other parachains.
Although parathreads operate very similarly to parachains, there are some minor but notable differences. Parathreads operate on a pay-as-you-go model as it is more cost-effective. Due to the framework of this model, it is not necessary for blockchains to have continuous network connectivity to function optimally.
A vital element of Polkadot is called bridges. This component enables parachains and parathreads to connect and communicate with external networks such as Bitcoin.
Bridges help to increase the interoperability of the Polkadot network.
What Problems Does Polkadot Address?
The network was developed to address one of the most critical problems that the blockchain sector is faced with: interoperability.
With the market being in a state of saturated compartmentalization, a need was identified to bring unison to various blockchains that are in operation. Blockchains’ essential function as separate groups of information means they are limited when it comes to leveraging information that is possessed by other networks.
With Polkadot, the posts have been shifted as they aim to integrate a variety of proprietary technologies. One notable function is that the technology has the ability to communicate data from private blockchains to public networks, and vice versa.
Advantages Of The Network
Polkadot offers several fundamental advantages that enhance the vision of earlier blockchain networks.
When blockchains operate in isolation, their abilities are hindered as they can only process a limited amount of traffic. With Polkadot, however, it operates on a sharded multi-chain network. This enables it to process multiple transactions on several chains concurrently through parallel processing. This goes a long way in eliminating the congestion that may occur on legacy networks that only process transactions in a singular formation.
Furthermore, the power of parallel processing helps to improve scalability and creates the most suitable conditions for increased adoption and future growth. Parachains are these sharded chains that are linked to Polkadot as they operate on the network in parallel.
In terms of the architecture of blockchain, they are all unique in composition. In light of this, blockchains often make tradeoffs to support particular features and use cases. As an example, one chain could be optimized for a specific use case while another chain might be optimized for identity management. With Polkadot, however, each blockchain can have a unique design optimized for particular use cases.
The end result of this means that the network protocol is in a position to offer better services. Moreover, it has the ability to improve efficiency and security by omitting unnecessary code. Polkadot’s foundation on the Substrate development framework has given their team the ability to create and customize their blockchain quicker and more efficiently than before.
Through Polkadot, applications and networks have the ability to share information and functionality without having to rely on any centralized service providers whose data practices may not be entirely transparent.
Whereas other networks usually operate on standalone platforms, there is cross-chain communication and interoperability with Polkadot’s offering. This encourages more opportunities for the introduction of innovative services and enables users to transfer information amongst various chains.
Communities have the liberty to govern their network in terms of what they consider important. This, in essence, gives them a transparent share in the future operations of Polkadot’s governance network in its entirety.
Teams are capable of customizing and optimizing their blockchain’s governance to suit their needs, play around with fresh ideas, or swap-in pre-built modules for quicker deployment.
Additionally, blockchain governance models on Polkadot’s network can be refined and upgraded as requirements and conditions change with time.
Just like most software that is developed, blockchains need to be upgraded to keep up with times and address the different needs that arise through technological advancement. Upgrading conventional chains, however, are not as straightforward.
To perform an upgrade with conventional chains, a hard fork is required. This creates two separate transaction histories that have the ability to divide a community in two parts. This process can take a matter of months. On Polkadot, forkless upgrades are possible and this enables blockchains to transform and adapt comfortably as more improved technology becomes available.
When all of these core features are taken together, this provides an abundance of opportunities for new services that gives individuals complete control of their digital lives. Teams are in the process of creating impactful solutions on behalf of the network for a wide variety of applications that include finance, digital identity, crypto gambling, supply chain management, social networking, and cloud technologies.
Web3 Foundation is the organization that spearheads the development of Polkadot and they have provided fantastic support towards its advancement. Their contribution helps to fund projects at all stages of the Web3 technology stack and this includes low-level infrastructure and ecosystem components like parachains, bridges, wallets, and tooling.
Evolution Of Polkadot’s Framework
Polkadot has laid the framework for an evolving decentralized network that comprises a dynamic ecosystem of interconnected yet independent blockchains, each with its own specialization. This framework serves as the foundation for a new trajectory of decentralized networks. This is illustrated in the following ways.
Design Of Trust
The digital infrastructure of Polkadot protects users’ interests through its design. There is inherent privacy protection and no need to trust service providers to act in good faith with your information. The protection is effortlessly executed in the background of the apps that are being used.
This means, going forward, users may not even be aware that they are engaging in blockchain-based services. The infrastructure is open and verifiable, and this creates an element of trust with its users.
Accessible Financial Services
With Polkadot’s network, there is greater access for users to engage in financial services. While financial services were traditionally reserved for a select portion of society, there are now impactful financial services and access to wealth creation platforms available to a greater part of society. These manifest in the form of decentralized and peer-to-peer alternatives to traditional financial service providers.
These improved platforms are highly secure and user-friendly and designed for users to participate and benefit.
In terms of Polkadot’s framework, trade networks and economies are more representative. This makes it a more efficient platform that is beneficial to all users. No longer will services extract value from users without reciprocating proportional value in return. Users can find comfort in the fact that it will not be exploited as community-owned alternatives provide more value and embrace the freedom of choice.
Polkadot has facilitated new categories of services that encourage new markets with improved opportunities and possibilities.
Communication and Collaboration
Polkadot’s platform is reliable, open-source, and peer-to-peer, and this aids greatly in the improvement of communication and collaboration. This creates powerful avenues for users to collaborate with the need to rely on central authorities. This, in turn, leads to an abundance of innovation without restrictions.
Users who wish to start and develop their own projects and businesses will benefit immensely through this decentralized economic model that lowers the entry barrier for both individuals and communities. Moreover, this enables people from all over the world to work together more efficiently.
Governance Of The Network Protocol
Polkadot employs a multi-layered governance model that enables the protocol to be updated without resorting to hard forks.
The system is designed to integrate transparent on-chain voting that is intended to promote a cohesive community.
The Polkadot community comprises two distinct groups, namely Council Members and the Technical Committee.
These are members that are elected to represent passive stakeholders and serve two primary roles. They have the ability to propose new referenda in the network, and they are capable of voting down proposals that they view as cost-prohibitive or dangerous.
This committee comprises teams that are actively involved in the development of Polkadot. Their duties entail proposing emergency referenda. Their function is particularly helpful in fast-tracking voting procedures as well as implementing vital upgrades to the network.
Polkadot’s Consensus Mechanism
In terms of consensus mechanisms, Polkadot approaches it differently. It employs a consensus mechanism commonly known as GRANDPA (GHOST-based Recursive Ancestor Deriving Prefix Agreement).
GRANDPA enables Polkadot to facilitate a more secure platform with greater resilience. More specifically, it enables networks to pool security, and the additional protection is aggregated and applied to all.
When compared to earlier-generation cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, GRANDPA is extremely scalable and offers a major upgrade. This system offers almost instant confirmation times, with transactions being complete in under a second generally.
To facilitate such efficiency, GRANDPA has introduced some new roles to the consensus mechanism. These are explained below:
- Nominators – these are responsible for securing the Relay Chain and are required to choose reliable validators and stake dots in the Polkadot ecosystem.
- Validators – these are responsible for securing the Relay Chain and perform this task by staking dots, validating proofs from collators, and actively participating in consensus in conjunction with other validators within the platform.
- Collators – the main objective of Collators is to maintain shards through the process of gathering shard transactions from users. Once they have gathered that information, they typically produce proofs for the validators.
- Fisherman – these are unique monitoring protocols that monitor the network and report any bad behavior to the Validators. This function can be performed by Collators and any Parachain Full Node on the Polkadot ecosystem.
Polkadot was developed to simplify ordinary programming tasks commonly associated with DAPP development. It was created using Substrate as it was the ideal option to simplify the process of creating, implementing, improving, and experimenting with various types of application-specific blockchains.
Through this integration, developers were able to focus their attention on innovation as opposed to the mechanics of developing and operating a blockchain. The integration of a flexible cross-platform network for peer-to-peer applications is referred to as libp2p.
The combination of libp2p with a runtime environment enabled developers to code in a variety of languages, thus improving on Ethereums original framework.
Polkadot, commonly referred to as DOT, can be found on several reputable exchanges in the market. You will not find direct fiat to DOT trading pairs, so you will need to load fiat currency and transfer it over to Ethereum or Bitcoin. Once that is done, you can trade these cryptocurrencies directly for DOT.
The Bottom Line
With Polkadot’s ecosystem growing significantly, its unique design enables projects to have greater possibilities for innovation and flexibility. Polkadot is contributing immensely towards blockchain technology reaching its full potential by unifying many specialized chains into a single scalable network.
This, in turn, opens the door to new markets and forges a bright new path for future decentralized economies. The future of decentralization does, indeed, look bright with Polkadot’s vision on this upward trajectory.