As you might already know, parachains are different individual layer-1 blockchains, running in parallel within the Polkadot ecosystem, on the Kusama network – and soon to be Polkadot as well. While they leverage the central Relay Chain to stay connected and secured, they benefit from Polkadot’s other properties, such as its security, scalability, interoperability, and governance.
The uses of parachains are multiple. Taking the advantage of Polkadot’s cross-chain composability feature, any sort of data or asset can be sent between parachains. While it makes Parachains eligible to connect to external networks, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, the property also exposes a parachain to a host of new cases and applications.
These benefits are what make parachains the talk of the town. Becoming a parachain allows your project to operate without paying any fees, gas, or otherwise. You get unmatched access to the relay chain and can write transactions whenever you want. It gives parachains a striking edge over parathreads, which are essentially pay-as-you-go parachains.
Kusama Parachain Auctions
What is a Parachain auction? These are auctions held on the Polkadot relay chain. They determine which blockchain will connect to the parachain slot. Quite similar to the regular auctions we see in the world of mainstream physical transactions, here too, the teams bid on Kusama on Polkadot. Bidding on Kusama requires using KSM tokens, the native ones of the platform. Generally, the party who bids the highest
Being Polkadot’s canary network, Kusama rolled out five auctions during the period between June 15th, 2021, and July 20th, 2022. The five winners of these auctions were Karura, Moonriver, Shiden, Khala, and Bifrost. Here, we will have a look at the progress made so far by each of these winners. However, we will start with Kusama’s first featureful parachain, Statemine. The inclusion of Statemine, a common-good parachain for digital assets, dates back to its pre-auction time.
Parachain Progress so Far
The latest update is that the Kusama community has just voted to upgrade Statemine parachain’s runtime. It became permissionless after successfully demonstrating its teleport functionality, both to and from Statemine, and implementing the security auditors’ recommendations.
Earlier, the Kusama Council had exclusive authority over asset creation. During the trial phase, the Parity and Web3 foundation teams and the Kusama Council evaluated Statemine’s performance. Subsequently, it lifted the restrictions, allowing anyone to create assets.
Karura, a DeFi-specific hub, was the first of the five to win a Kusama parachain auction. Since winning the auction, it has crossed many milestones. It has completed the Karura Genesis launch and finalized the distribution of KAR tokens.
On the governance front, it has decided to govern via the Proof of Authority or PoA consensus mechanism. It has also completed its tech verification and runtime upgrade, the enabling of inter-Kusama KSM transfer from Kusama to Karura, the enabling of appointed council governance and token transfers. Currently, the work for the Claim KAR functionality is in progress, along with the processes of enabling the Karura DEX and kUSD borrow functionality.
Moonriver has completed the launch of its Genesis block, simultaneously bringing its network to a centralized model where the governance and infrastructure will be run by the Moonbeam team.
On July 9th, 2021, the Moonriver team made an announcement. It began with decentralizing and adding third-party collators to the active set. The third announcement came on July 23rd, 2021, as Moonriver decided to use the Sudo Key to issue a runtime upgrade, along with enabling governance.
After winning the Parachain auction, Shiden has upgraded the collator runtime to bring compatibility with the latest Kusama version. It has also adjusted the transaction fees for vesting tokens, enabling the batch utilization module. It is also done with the Kusama PLO reward distribution.
After completing the first round of Kusama Paradrop, Phala has completed the PHA mainnet migration. It has also finalized its token distribution model, with an allocation of 70% for the miners, followed by provisions for private sale (15%), airdrop (9%), team (5%), and incentives (1%).
Leveraging Web3 analytics, you can now tokenize your data to make profits for them. The decentralized dark pool will allow free on-chain trading. It has also introduced Phala DAO, a new concept council. Its liquid democracy capability exhibits a Phala-empowered novel democratic voting mechanism, realizable only on the power networks.
It has also fixed the chain-stuck problem, integrated Phala, rewarded crowd loan contributors on Khala, and published the Khala wallet.
According to the latest weekly report of Bifrost, the fifth winner of the Kusama auctions and a DeFi protocol designed to stake liquidity of different PoS chains, the mainnet is live with the collator upgraded to version 0.98. In node developments, Bifrost has fixed the SALP asset issue and added real-time refresh of addresses and plug-ins, while combining the optimized connection code load tokens.
It has also optimized its Dapp code structure and SALP code and solved the issues of data retention in the input box and incomplete flexible fee data loading.
Now that the initial winners are on track with their development, teams are free to extend their lease by winning another auction before their current slot lease period ends. Projects that have crowd loaned KSMs can unlock and return the tokens to the contributor’s control at the end of the lease period. It would be interesting to see how many of these projects renew their lease by the end of their tenure.