Polkadot

Why Polkadot?

Polkadot provides us with appropriate tools and infrastructure for successful development and deployment of the Fractal protocol, without the compromises we would have to make with other platforms.
Their vision is a world with multiple blockchains, each tailor-built for a specific purpose. In order to deliver on this vision, Polkadot created Substrate (an SDK for Polkadot-compatible blockchain building) and an infrastructure to connect and secure these unique blockchains.

Pooled security

Building a unique blockchain is often the only way to get around issues of transaction costs and scalability of the currently available public infrastructure such as Ethereum. Securing a unique blockchain is no easy feat: they require the recruitment and continuous incentivization of validators in order to keep attackers at bay.
Polkadot addresses this issue by offering a Relay Chain with its own validators, whose provisioned security is pooled and shared among the unique blockchains connected to it.

Scalability and cheaper transaction fees

Polkadot is able to process 10,000 times more transactions per second than what Ethereum can currently offer. This is a staggering improvement to scalability, a critical requirement for projects like ours which anticipate and require high frequency blockchain usage.
A consequence of this massive performance uplift is the corresponding decrease in competition for bandwidth. Together with the ability of unique chains to control their own transaction fees, this provides an environment in which scale isn't only possible, but accessible.

Interoperability

The first generation of blockchain technology, led by Bitcoin, is little more than a distributed ledger of balances and mechanisms to transfer said balances. The second generation, led by Ethereum, who claims to be a "world computer", provides a complete execution environment where arbitrary computation and storage can occur trustlessly. This allows for arbitrarily complex applications to be built on top of it, but they're still bound by the rules of Ethereum itself, and can only communicate with other applications on the same network.
We see Polkadot as a third-generation blockchain. By securing these purpose-built unique blockchains, they allow developers to focus on building the blockchain that's fittest for their use case. By connecting them, they make it possible to leverage functionality available in other blockchains. Additionally, Polkadot is currently building bridging infrastructure to enable unique blockchains to communicate with other non-Substrate blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
While this might sound complicated, Polkadot places a high premium on developer experience, and has invested significantly in building a growing ecosystem of tools for builders. In particular, Substrate and Cumulus make it easy to create a unique blockchain and connect it to their Relay Chain for security and interoperability guarantees.

Development and deployment paths

While Polkadot's mainnet has been released and is live, the Polkadot ecosystem is still under active development. In particular, parachain functionality isn't yet available in the live network, and consequently neither is smart contract support.
Polkadot has two major testnets which serve different purposes: Westend is a simple Polkadot clone, while Rococo can be used for testing parachains.
Kusama, Polkadot's canary network, is also live. It is not a testnet, but more of a pre-production network where new features are made available for testing prior to deployment in Polkadot. Kusama has an independent governance body which makes decisions four times as fast, a value-bearing token, and little reason not to be used as a production network. In fact, should governance in Kusama turn out to work better than in Polkadot, we might witness a shift of attention away from Polkadot.
Polkadot's chain, the Relay Chain, is deliberately bare and doesn't support smart contracts itself. However, Substrate offers two pallets for smart contract functionality, supporting Wasm and EVM. Smart contracts functionality will be made available through purpose-built parachains making use of these pallets. Edgeware, despite naturally not yet being connected as a parachain, is live with its own validator set, and supports both ink! (Wasm) and Solidity (EVM) smart contracts. Moonbeam is close to a production deployment and will focus initially on EVM, bridging to Ethereum, and providing network migration support.
Parachains are Substrate-based blockchains with their own runtime logic. They benefit from the pooled security and cross-chain messaging provided by the Relay Chain. Building a Substrate-based chain allows for more, lower-level control and flexibility over e.g. fee structures and monetary policy. Alternatively, a Substrate-based chain can also connect to the Relay Chain as a parathread, which is similar to a parachain but with less execution and pricing guarantees. These operate in a pay-as-you-go model.
Parachain slots are allocated to the winners of an on-chain auction process. Polkadot offers a crowdloan mechanism for projects to raise funds in a PLO (Parachain Lease Offering).
See the attached Deck for more information:
Polkadot Network Builder's Deck v1.2.pdf
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Polkadot Network Builder's Deck
Last modified 5mo ago