Polkadot (DOT) is one of the biggest and most popular digital currencies in the world, currently occupying the 10th spot on the list of largest cryptos by market cap. However, with the project’s market cap being at $30.8 billion, and the next biggest one being Dogecoin at $31.5 billion, DOT is not too far from progressing to 9th, or even 8th spot, currently occupied by USD Coin with $32.2 billion.
The project was founded by a Swiss foundation known as the Web3 Foundation, for the purpose of facilitating a fully functional and user-friendly decentralized web, commonly known as Web 3.0.
In other words, this is a project that aims to decentralize the internet by focusing on interoperability between the blockchain ecosystems. With all the development that the crypto industry has seen thus far, this is believed to be the next big goal that the industry has to pursue, and Polkadot is the leading project, spearheading the development.
The project actually functions as an open-source sharding multichain protocol that facilitates the cross-chain transfer or any data, as well as any asset types. By decentralizing the web and giving it to the users to control, operate, and enjoy various benefits that it has to offer, the project aims to revolutionize the internet itself.
Of course, that is easier said than done, and Polkadot is still facing a lot of major challenges that it needs to overcome in order to achieve its purpose. If it manages to do so, it would be the first blockchain project that did it, which is no easy feat. However, with an extremely capable team behind it and massive community support, Polkadot is actually making quite sound progress in disrupting the internet as we know it.
Polkadot development so far
According to the project’s launch roadmap, Polkadot has set up a series of challenges and goals for itself, and most of them have been achieved already. The first big move was the launch of Polkadot itself, which was done in Proof of Authority mode. As soon as the network stabilized and gained a sufficient number of well-staked validators, the project moved to the next phase, which is enabling Nominated Proof of Stake with a Sudo call to change eras.
During the NPoS phase, Polkadot’s network ran with a decentralized set of validators, while Sudo was used to increase the number of validators. When this version of the network stabilized, the Sudo key issued a runtime upgrade to enable the governance system, thus bringing true decentralization to the project.
Next, the project enabled balance transfers, and finally, it was time for Parachain rollout, which is the latest phase that the project has entered, and the current challenge that the project is trying to overcome.
The rollout of parachains is an important if difficult step for Polkadot. Essentially, they are parallel chains which function as independent chains that can have their own tokens, be optimized for specific use cases, and alike. Creating parachains is one of the three purposes of the DOT token itself, with the other two being providing network governance and operations.
Obviously, with parallel chains, the pressure will be removed from the main chain, thus improving the scalability of the project as a whole. Meanwhile, custom blockchains are very easy to develop, which can be done extremely quickly. They can then be connected to Polkadot’s main network in only a few minutes.
Other than that, the network is adaptive and flexible, which is a great thing when it comes to sharing information and functionality between participants. In a way, it will be like apps on a smartphone.
And, one of the project’s biggest strengths is the ability to roll out upgrades without the need for a fork, meaning that the community will have firm control of the blockchain, and not have to deal with different variants like Ethereum or Bitcoin.
The project’s roadmap stresses that parachains will be tested and optimized on the testnet and Kusama before they reach the project’s network governance. However, after the code has been fully tested, audited, and benchmarked, and parachains are running smoothly, the project will begin parachain slot lease auctions.
Parachain slots are expected to be auctioned one-by-one, where each auction would last about two weeks, which is something else that the community can look forward to. But, once the parachains are live and become a part of the project’s main network, this will officially mark the completion of the network launch. Polkadot will be ready to start revolutionizing the internet in full, while currently, it is still only setting the stage.
The real question is — how will the network evolve from there? Its initial vision and design will be set by the devs, but any further decision that affects it will be brought by the community through the voting process of DOT token holders.
One final thing to note is that Polkadot still has a handful of upgrades that are currently under development, and are expected to come out soon after the parachain rollout phase. Those include the upgrades to its Cross-Chain Message Passing (XCMP) and the launch of pathreads.
The two, as well as any following upgrades, can be enabled by the project’s community once development, testing, benchmarking, and auditing are complete.
Given the size and ambition of the project, it will be interesting to see how big of a change it will bring to the internet, and whether it can truly disrupt the internet we have today with Web 3.0. Of course, the adoption of the new version of the web is expected to be relatively slow, so there may still be years before the project becomes as impactful as it is hoping to be.
But, the same was said for Bitcoin back in the day, and while it has been years since its launch, early movers can definitely agree that it was well worth the wait. Polkadot has all the markings of the next big revolutionary project, and it only requires time and patience until it reaches its full potential.
To learn more visit our Investing in Polkadot guide.