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About Polkadot

Polkadot is an open-source sharded heterogenous multi-chain protocol created by the Web3 Foundation to facilitate an internet-wide decentralized web. Dubbed a Layer 0 platform, Polkadot provides the base infrastructure that allows independent blockchains to exchange information and transactions in a trustless way. This interoperability aims to spark a new wave of decentralized applications.

Launched in 2020 after several years of development, Polkadot seeks to solve major obstacles around scalability, network governance, and interoperability that have hindered mainstream blockchain adoption. Its native DOT token plays key roles in governance, operations, and creating parachains on the network.

History of Polkadot

Polkadot was founded by Ethereum co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Gavin Wood in 2016 through the Swiss Web3 Foundation. Development was supported through a 2017 ICO which raised $145 million for the project.

Wood and his team began designing Polkadot to solve limitations he observed with the Ethereum network after co-founding it. They devised a shared multi-chain framework with improved governance, better security, and crucially – the ability for public, consortium, and private chains to all exchange information. This interchain functionality aimed to pave the way for more practical, real-world applications of decentralized technology.

After four years of steady open-source development, Polkadot’s mainnet finally launched in May 2020. The network has since seen rapid growth in developers building parachains, users staking DOT, and institutional interest. In August 2022, amendments to enable seamless interoperability between Polkadot and other chains were enacted, delivering on promised capabilities.

Polkadot Multi-Chain Framework

At its core, Polkadot is a heterogeneous multi-chain protocol, meaning it supports different types of chains interacting. This multichain framework has three central components:

The Relay Chain: The central chain responsible for network security, consensus, and interoperability. It coordinates consensus and transaction delivery between chains.

Parachains: Sovereign blockchains that plug into the relay chain to avail shared security and cross-chain communication. There are public utility chains, private enterprise chains, and more.

Bridges: Specialized chains called bridge parachains that link external blockchains like Ethereum to connect them to Polkadot’s ecosystem.

By splitting up transactions across chains with diverse purposes, Polkadot solves the scalability and customization limitations of single-chain alternatives.

How Polkadot Achieves Interoperability

A crucial way Polkadot improves on predecessors is via native interoperability between heterogeneous chains. This allows decentralized applications that were previously siloed to communicate in a trustless decentralized manner.

Interoperability works through the parallel processing framework that allows parachains and parathreads to exchange transactions and state information via the relay chain. Cumbersome processes like atomic swaps are avoided. Further, by using bridge parachains like Chainlink middlewares, external chains can seamlessly operate in tandem with Polkadot applications.

This interoperability opens the door to constructing end-to-end decentralized apps that bring together isolated DeFi protocols, NFT marketplaces, supply chain blockchains etc. into unified user experiences and products.

Consensus Mechanism

Polkadot uses a nominated proof-of-stake (NPoS) consensus mechanism to achieve decentralization while avoiding the inefficiencies of direct democracy.

With NPoS, DOT holders get to nominate validators to represent them in consensus based on reputation and stake deposits. The community elects a validator set entrusted with confirming transactions and processing parachain bids. This avoids centralized control by miners in proof-of-work chains, while staking ensures accountability and incentives toward honesty.

The parachain auction process to access Polkadot’s resources also utilizes an optimal assignment algorithm to ensure fair distribution under constraints. This helps prevent monopolies over parachain slots.

DOT Token

DOT is the native cryptocurrency of the Polkadot network used for governance, operations, and parachain auctions. Key utility includes:

  1. Network control: DOT holders control governance by voting on upgrades and policy changes.
  2. Validator staking: Validators must stake DOT to secure relay chain operations and earn block rewards.
  3. Parachain bids: Projects bid DOT in auctions to connect their chains as parachains and parathreads.

A maximum supply of 1 billion DOT tokens was created at genesis. Ongoing inflation funds rewards for validators, with an upper limit of 10% annual inflation. DOT’s successful debut trading in 2020 saw it become a top 10 market cap cryptocurrency driving renewed excitement in decentralized technologies.

Governance Model

Protocol changes and project funding on Polkadot are controlled via community governance involving DOT token holders and the council:

Referenda: DOT holders vote on proposed amendments and determine outcomes autonomously.

Council: A smaller group elected by token holders to propose expedited changes. Serves as an on-chain moderator.

Treasury: Fraction of DOT goes toward a common treasury fund to support parachain teams.

This on-chain process aligns Polkadot development with user needs transparently and prevents centralized control. The Web3 Foundation avoids protocol-level interventions despite its key initial role, deferring to stakeholders.

Polkadot Parachains

Parachains are sovereign application-specific chains that extend Polkadot’s functionality. They leverage Polkadot’s security and networking in return for fees. There are over 100 active parachain projects across domains like DeFi, crypto-gaming, identity, privacy etc.

Popular examples include privacy-focused Celer, interoperable-by-design Acala connecting the decentralized finance ecosystem, and entertainment hub Unique utilizing NFTs. Such projects supercharge development by avoiding bootstrapping distributed networks individually. Specialized needs from high transaction throughput to confidentiality get built-in.

Teams bid DOT in auctions to connect parachains or parathreads with finite lease periods, introducing market competition. Users can transfer assets across parachains via XCM protocol in a trustless way without third-party custodians. This plug-and-play convenience enables both a secure launchpad for new ideas plus seamless composability between decentralized applications.

Developing on Polkadot

The Substrate modular framework and availability of parachain slots substantially lowers barriers for blockchain innovators on Polkadot.

Substrate: Flexible heart that fast-tracks building application-specific chains and parachains with in-builtUpgradeability, security, governance and more.

Parachain slots: Make launching decentralized networks easy without bootstrapping security and consensus individually.

EVM compatibility: Supports existing Ethereum dApps and Solidity smart contracts for easy migration.

These developer-friendly capabilities and active funding aim to make Polkadot the gold standard for decentralized application creation.

Major Projects Building on Polkadot

As the Polkadot ecosystem matures, several prominent projects across DeFi, crypto-gaming, identity, and more are leveraging Substrate and Polkadot parachains for easy deployment. These include:

  • Acala: All-in-one DeFi hub
  • Moonbeam: Ethereum-compatible smart contract parachain
  • Unique: Crypto entertainment and NFTs
  • Clover: Bringing decentralized finance to major blockchains
  • Phala: Confidential computations parachain

Such initiatives signal the agenda-setting potential of leveraging Polkadot’s out-of-the-box infrastructure. Financial transactions, digital identity services and online experiences can all get redefined under enhanced privacy, accessibility and user control.

Investment Appeal of DOT Token

As Polkadot’s base layer, DOT has an investment case tied to exponential growth in parachains and network activity. Holding DOT unlocks governance rights, staking rewards from securing the network, and benefits like early access to crowdloans.

If Polkadot becomes a staple fabric for an internet of blockchains, powering tens of thousands of decentralized apps seamlessly communicating, associated usage and traffic would make DOT invaluable. Plus only half the supply is currently circulating, with active staking and bonding creating scarcity.

Of course, Polkadot reversing its impressive growth trajectory is a risk. Ethereum also continues attempting similar interoperability solutions. But the project’s technological head start and early mover advantage in multichain give DOT significant upside potential.

Future Roadmap and Growth Potential

Having successfully launched with core interoperability functionality, Polkadot’s roadmap involves onboarding more parachains and parathreads to further security and functionality. Expressive runtimes like Moonbeam extend capabilities. Ongoing research around network performance optimizations and governance decentralization continues.

If the network can onboard hundreds of community-driven chains seamlessly leveraging Polkadot’s relay chain security and cross-chain features, it unlocks Mainstream decentralized apps. Vitalik Buterin also voted Polkadot as the most innovative cryptography project, signaling continued impact on Web3.

With strong fundamentals and rapid rates of deploying parachains already, Polkadot has a genuine chance at establishing itself as the internet of blockchains fulfilling web 3.0’s promise.


Polkadot is an innovative multi-chain protocol that allows multiple blockchains to interoperate and share information. It’s a means to connect different blockchains in a secure and scalable way.

Polkadot was founded by Dr. Gavin Wood, who is also known for co-founding Ethereum. He’s a significant figure in the blockchain space and has a track record of forward-thinking in this domain. Dr. Gavin Wood’s profile.

Polkadot operates using a hub-and-spoke model. The central hub, known as the Relay Chain, provides security and consensus. The spokes, termed “parachains”, are individual blockchains that can have their own tokens and functionality. These parachains connect to the Relay Chain, leveraging its security while retaining their unique attributes.

DOT is Polkadot’s native token. It serves multiple purposes including governance (enabling holders to have a say in changes to the protocol), staking (securing the network), and bonding (creating new parachains by locking up DOT tokens).

DOT can be purchased on many cryptocurrency exchanges. Some of the most popular ones include Binance, Kraken, and Coinbase. It’s crucial to do research and choose a reputable exchange.

For enhanced security, one can use hardware wallets or non-custodial solutions. An example of a non-custodial cryptocurrency wallet is IronWallet. It’s paramount to always keep private keys secure and never share them.

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