Polkadot co-founder Gavin Wood has suggested in a recent interview that parachains are “technologically” ready to launch on his sharded blockchain protocol Polkadot, and it is now down to the platform’s governance process to set that in motion.
Parachains are highly customizable layer-1 blockchains that run in parallel on Polkadot, connected to the shared security of the layer-0 central Relay Chain, and can include their own economies and native tokens.
The long-awaited parachain rollout marks the final piece of the core functionality for the project to be delivered, realizing the multi-chain architecture of both Polkadot and its sister network Kusama.
Kusama Parachain Success Clears Path for Polkadot
As the canary network and live proving ground for Polkadot’s technology and functionality, Kusama cleared the path for Polkadot’s parachains following a governance vote in June to commence the auction process of slot leases to add parachains to Kusama.
A schedule for the first batch of five separate Kusama parachain auctions was then set between June and July, with each auction lasting 7 days. All slot auction bids were cast by crowdloans for the full duration leasing period, meaning the prospective parachain projects leveraged support from the decentralized community of KSM token holders for their bids, incentivized via project tokens or other rewards. Promisingly, 80% of prospective Kusama parachain projects, responding to an anonymous survey, said they planned to launch on Polkadot too.
Kusama’s maiden parachain auction was won by Acala’s DeFi hub Karura, with Moonriver’s decentralized smart contract platform and Shiden’s multi-chain dApp hub securing the second and third slots. Trustless computation platform Khala picked up the fourth, with DeFi staking service Bifrost claiming the final berth in the first round of auctions.
Following the success of this first round, the schedule for the second batch of slots 6-10 was approved by the community to commence on September 1. Decentralized identity project KILT, privacy preservation protocol Calamari, and liquidity infrastructure platform Basilisk picked up slots 6-8, with auction 9 currently underway at the time of writing.
Days Rather Than Weeks
Addressing the inevitable “when Polkadot parachains?” question from the interviewer, Wood said, “Sorry I can’t give you a date. I’d love to, but what I can tell you is things are going well on the Kusama side for trying out parachains. The audit, I’m not sure if it’s complete yet, but if it’s not complete, it’s going to be completed in the next few days. Right? Days, not weeks.”
Wood added, “We need to fix any of the issues that come from the audit. As far as I know these are relatively small issues, nothing huge. And then after that, it’s really just up to the governance of Polkadot.
“Polkadot’s a governable meta protocol. We have to get this through governance. I can’t flick the switch myself, but what I’m able to do is say, technologically speaking, parachains are ready – and it’s up to the governance of Polkadot to get them out there.”
Given the apparent stabilization of the initial Kusama parachains that are working almost seamlessly, following the imminent completion of the audit, DOT stakeholders will be able to vote to enable parachain functionality on Polkadot and agree on an initial slot auction schedule.
Projects behind successful Kusama parachains, such as Acala and Moonbeam, are expected to be the leading contenders to become one of the initial Polkadot parachains, completing the launch stage of a network seeking to deliver an interoperable, scalable, secure, and decentralized multi-chain ecosystem for Web 3.0.
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