In many industries, the project that makes it first to market is often the top dog. However, while Ethereum was first to market when it comes to DApp development, there are other projects vying to take its place. Polkadot is a serious contender for Ethereum’s throne as king of DApp development.
What is Polkadot?
Polkadot is a blockchain network that allows developers to create decentralized applications on a shared platform. It uses a combination of parachains, Proof of Stake protocols, and Virtual Machine based technologies.
This system is sometimes referred to as a ‘sharded blockchain.’ Polkadot is attempting to answer some of the issues confronting Ethereum, such as its difficulty in scaling to allow fast transactions and more users on the network.
Polkadot released its whitepaper in 2016 and was founded by Gavin Wood, one of the co-creators of Ethereum. Polkadot’s goal is to create a fully decentralized cross-chain platform that guarantees users control over their data and security and full para chain function.
As of 2021 Polkadot is available to be purchased and traded on Kraken, Coinmerce, and Uphold.
Polkadot Use Case: Interoperability Through Parachains
Other projects will build their networks and applications on Polkadot parachains. This has multiple benefits, including interoperability — all these networks will be able to interact with each other without the need for additional coding.
Polkadot also claims that parachains are more customizable and grant developers more flexibility than competitors like Ethereum.
Polkadot parachains are connected to the overall infrastructure via a ‘Relay Chain.’
This relay chain effectively moors the new chain to the overall structure and enables cross-chain interoperability via a set of strong governance protocols.
Polkadot has promised that there will be 100 of these para chain ‘slots’ available, with each being auctioned off and voted upon by the community of stakeholders and council members.
How Will Polkadot Parachains be Used?
Each one of these slots represents a high degree of the potential of future use by a wide variety of enterprise blockchains and different blockchain projects. Though it must be noted that it may be some time before all 100 slots are at a state of full functionality. The first slot to have been auctioned and won was by decentralized finance platform Acala.
Acala is a Smart Contract platform that is designed to service Polkadot’s DeFi needs, from the moving of digital assets to general cryptocurrency exchanges. But beyond these more basic functions, the purpose of Acala is to act as a liquidity pool from which Polka will fiance further projects among the network.
This form of financing is an important first step in Polkadots use, as it will serve to create the launch momentum for even further projects. By using staking protocols and stable coin liquidity provisions Acala may provide the financial framework from which other blockchain systems may develop and anchor themselves to the overall Polka system.
It is even possible that projects voted on and financed by Acala, may one day bid for and occupy auction slots of their own.
POLKADOT USE CASE: CONNECTING TO ETHEREUM
Moonbeam won the second available auction slot and is a solid example of Polkadot’s use case in regards to cross-chain/para chain operability. Moonbeam and its native token GLMR was launched in January 2020 by Darek Yoo. The purpose and function of Moonbeam are to enable seamless cross-chain operability to Ethereum.
Moonbeam acts as a seamless bridge for Ethereum developers to expand the use of Ethereum Solidarity code, Ethereum Virtual Machine, and its various other tools over to Polkadot. Moonbeam uses a system that enables permissionless dApps to act smoothly through both Ethereum and Polkadot and perhaps even beyond. This bridge may also act as the para chain hook up to future chains that are anchored to Polkadot, further increasing the scope of Polkadots cross-chain ambitions.
Ethereum is an immensely successful and popular space for users, investors, and developers and by seamlessly integrating the entire crypto ecosystem that is Ethereum into that potentially even larger ecosystem that is Polkadot, a new level of connectivity is achieved.
For example, developers of dApps who specify in the use of Ethereum Solidarity code can enjoy a degree of integration and networking that previously just wasn’t effective or even possible for smaller creators and it is Moonbeam through Polkadot that enables this.
Moonbeam’s main net launch is scheduled for December 2021 and may well prove to be an impressive addition to Polkadot’s ambitious project.
Is Polkadot the Next Ethereum?
While Polkadot is certainly a contender on the list of potential “Ethereum Killers,” it’s perhaps more accurate to say that Polka could one day be to Ethereum, what Ethereum is to Bitcoin. In many ways, Ethereum answered some of the technical problems that were faced by Bitcoin and its associated technologies.
While Bitcoin will likely always have a central place of importance for the market, Ethereum nonetheless made leaps in the technology and grew to occupy a new emerging space in the blockchain industry. Many investors believe that Polka will one day occupy this new space within the blockchain industry.
At the time of writing, Polkadot has successfully achieved a Testnet Rollout, a Kusama Rollout, and Parachain Slot Auction and as of the time of writing is undergoing a current parachain auction.
Undoubtedly Polkadot talks about an impressive technological game and has many exciting use case examples. But it appears that much of Polka’s future use case and its alleged Ethereum replacing potential hinges on the technology that is still in the process of a full rollout. This technology is exciting and in this early stage appears to be achieving its stated goals, therefore it is very likely that much of the hype surrounding Polka may well be justified.