Developers will soon be able to test applications on a live version of the Polkadot blockchain interoperability protocol.
Kusama, an experimental and untested version of the $ 1.2 billion network, was launched on Friday at the end of Berlin Blockchain Week.
As highlighted in a blog post by Polkadot inventor Gavin Wood, it will take between one and four weeks for developers to begin using the full functionality of the network. Until at least 50 “well-supported” validators are working in the network, transfers of KSM tokens between users are not possible.
Wood explained in the post what actions are now live:
“The activated functionality is limited to the use of the modules staking, sessions and claims; in particular, the bonding, the nomination and the issuing of an intention to become a validator, the setting up of session keys and the claiming of KSMs are supported. “
Once the Kusama network is fully operational, it is expected to serve as a testing ground for some of the most advanced technology planned for the actual Polkadot network, which is expected to launch early next year.
Wood spent much of Berlin Blockchain Week explaining the goals of the project.
. @ gavofyork talks about what to do on Kusama?
• Increase your $ KSM by participating in Kusama’s NPoS by validating and nominating validators.
• Participate in on-chain governance: propose or vote on referenda or become a council member.
• Experiment with parachets pic.twitter.com/3MMBsqWfq5
– Kusama (@kusamanetwork) August 18, 2019
One of the teams expected to build on Polkadot is already planning to run its applications on Kusama in the coming weeks.
Ingo Ruebe, project manager of the KILT protocol, said:
“We want to be part of this ecosystem, but have the feeling that conceptually everything has not been thought through to the end, so there are still questions open.”
The operation of KILT’s “virtual structures” on Kusama will serve to answer many questions, Ruebe said, including Polkadot-Parachains’ auction structure.
Polkadot parachains are basically individual blockchains based on a central blockchain called a relay chain for improved security and network interoperability.
“The auction mechanism means that you have a fixed number of parachain slots and the relay chain can only process a limited number of parachains per block,” Wood said in an interview with CoinDesk. “It’s like Bitcoin can only process so many transactions per block and Ethereum so much gas per block.”
Wood said the upfront cost for developers to lease a Parachain slot on the Polkadot relay chain could be “very expensive”.
“At Parachains, it’s a long-term commitment. You deposit [DOTs] two years in a row. You must deposit a reasonable amount of DOTs in order to receive this lease. It’s a pretty high tax, ”said Wood.
Because of this, the Kusama network will be helping with testing a new Polkadot innovation called Parathreads.
According to Wood, parathreads allow developers to deploy an application for a fixed fee and process one block at a time on the network. Wood called it a “pay-as-you-go” model and said that many applications could benefit from this type of flexibility.
“Kusama is a way to test the economic security of Polkadot before we take off … and if there is chaos we welcome that.” pic.twitter.com/KyMInJkbad
– Kusama (@kusamanetwork) August 19, 2019
“Many use cases don’t have to process every single block,” says Wood. “You might want to work on every block at peak times, but every five, 10 or 100 blocks at off-peak times.”
It is precisely this type of functionality that teams like KILT Protocol want to test on Kusama.
“We are completely unsure of the price of a parachain and it is not possible to make a business decision about being a parachain.” [or a parathread] if we don’t know. “
Gavin Wood (second from right) speaks at the Web3 Summit 2019, photo by Christine Kim for CoinDesk