Working towards a completely decentralized web, the Web3 Foundation has commissioned Parity Technologies to build the Polkadot network, which intends to facilitate scalability and enable interoperability between blockchains. Polkadot has licensed its protocol specification under Creative Commons and code under FLOSS. Polkadot aims to tackle scalability issues presented in existing blockchains by decoupling the consensus mechanism from the state-transition mechanism. This would reduce the time to consensus, thereby increasing transaction capacity, by dropping the requirement that consensus be synchronous.
The genesis block launch of Polkadot is expected in Q3 of 2019. Polkadot plans to facilitate higher transactional throughputs and increased speed of processing through the use of multiple chains in parallel (hence the name ‘Parachains’), as opposed to the typical one-at-a-time (and so by each node) transaction processing of blockchain state mechanisms. Pooling security allows different chains to leverage each other’s effort expended towards consensus. In contrast, other projects run multiple PoW mechanisms independently, not collaborating nor benefiting from the computations contributing to the security of independent chains. A proof of concept recently went live on a testnet, focusing on coordinating consensus and transactions between chains.
The Polkadot network’s native token, the DOT, will serve functions of governance, such as determining fee structures and participating in decision making around network updates, and will also be instrumental to Proof-of-Stake style consensus towards the operation and maintenance of the network. Participants can stake (bond) their DOT to nominated validators, whom ultimately facilitate cross-chain transactions via the Relay Chain. Creating a new Parachain will require tokens to be staked, acting as a measure of the importance of Parachains and discouraging their arbitrary growth in numbers. Of the 10 million DOTs created, half were purchased in the Polkadot token sale and the remaining half will remain under the control of the Foundation.