After three years of development, Polkadot, an innovative project seeking to connect different blockchain networks together, launches at last
Polkadot is a sharded blockchain that has been in development since 2017. It’s creator, Gavin Wood, also helped co-found Ethereum. Polkadot’s purpose is to help promote interconnectivity between different blockchains.
So far, what has been launched is known as the ‘first chain candidate’ which will eventually become the Polkadot mainnet. In its infancy, the blockchain will operate on a Proof of Authority basis to ensure stability in these early stages. Later it will switch to a proof of stake system.
The proof of stake system will allow stakers to vote on issues concerning spending as well as further development of the blockchain. Thus decentralising the governance of the blockchain after the initial period of its establishment.
Polkadot represents a commitment to helping unite the different blockchains. At the moment it is impossible, for example, for dApps on the Ethereum network to communicate with dApps on the EOS network. Polkadot seeks to overcome this by providing a means for the two networks to communicate with each other. This will also work with transactions as well.
Wood argues that Polkadot is ‘The biggest bet in the ecosystem against chain maximalism’. What Wood means by chain maximalism, is one chain becoming superior or more dominant than other chains and thus starving them of use.
Such maximalism can be seen with Bitcoin at the moment. However, with dApps networks not anywhere near the mainstream yet, this has yet to become a problem for creators and is one that Polkadot will hopefully prevent from happening. In achieving its goal, Polkadot would ensure that an app made on the EOS or NEO network could not be rendered useless just because the Ethereum network is the most popular, as the dApps on all of these networks can interact seamlessly.
In the true spirit of blockchain technology, Wood has said he believes it’s not about ‘backing one winner above all others’. As such, Polkadot is seeking to link together all the efforts of different blockchains rather than see them compete against each other separately.
The Polkadot tokens, DOT tokens, are not available to purchase as of yet. This has raised some eyebrows, especially after the controversy following Polkadot’s ICO back in 2017. Out of the $140 million worth of DOT tokens sold in the ICO, $98 million have been rendered unreachable by a bug within the Ethereum code. It is unclear as to whether these coins will ever be able to be retrieved.