What is Polkadot

12 mins read

Currently, many block chain projects such as Bitcoin block chain and Ethereum block chain have been launched, but there are still many issues such as scalability, governance, interoperability, develop ability, and practicality. Under such circumstances, the Web3 Foundation, which was founded by key people in the block chain industry, started the development of “Polkadot”, a project that connects different block chains in order to solve the problems of existing block chains.

The Web3 Foundation ‘s vision is to transform the existing centralized web structure of the Internet into a fully decentralized web structure, and Polkadot will be the first product in the Web3 Foundation.


How Polkadot Chains

Before thinking about how Polkadot connects different block chains, it’s a good idea to first understand what Polkadot is trying to do by connecting chains and what kind of world it is aiming for.

As I explained at the beginning, Polkadot is trying to connect block chains to create a new decentralized web. The world view of the “new web” is often described as “Web3”, and in this article, the world of the “new web” is described as “Web3”.

In contrast to “Web3”, the current Web is called “Web2” and has a centralized web structure. In Web2, the Internet is dominated by giant technology companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, which have vast amounts of data about their users. And we analyze the huge amount of data to do business and make big profits. However, there are various problems related to data handling, such as rarely collected data being used without the user’s intention, or data being leaked due to security vulnerabilities.

In contrast to this extremely centralized Web2, “Web3” is trying to create a decentralized Web. In Web3, data is recorded in the distributed ledger and distributed storage, and various privileges can be managed by the user by the distributed ledger such as block chain. By doing so, we will try to create such a decentralized web world view where users can manage the data themselves, control the authority to handle the data themselves, and protect the privacy of individuals. doing.

To realize this Web3, it is already possible to create a decentralized Web like Web3 using IPFS, which is the distributed storage that is currently in operation, and Ethereum, which is the distributed ledger. But in order to achieve Web3 in the broader sense, many chains need to be able to do the same and better than IPFS and Ethereum. Looking at the current state of the block chain industry, there are many block chain projects, and it is expected that block chain projects will appear one after another in the future. There is a good chance that it will create a better chain that can embody Web3, which was not possible with previous chains. At that time, Polkadot was developed to embody Web3 in a broad sense by seamlessly connecting each chain.

o, back to the main subject, how do you connect different block chains? There are three elements in Polkadot to connect different block chains: “Relay chain”, “Para chains” and “Bridges”.

“Para chain” refers to a unique chain that wants to be interconnected and compatible. The chain that you want to interconnect as Para chain is not only the original block chain made exclusively for you, but also the existing typical block chains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, even if we want to make these Para chains compatible, the specifications are different because the consensus building method is different and the block generation speed is different. With this, it is not possible to connect each chain. Therefore, “Bridge” is in between. Bridge absorbs this difference such as consensus building. And this Bridge does not directly connect Para chains to each other, but each Para chain is connected to a large chain “Relay chain” via the Bridge. The data written from each chain is recorded in this Relay chain, and it is possible to refer to it from other chains. In this way, the Relay chain between them enables inter chain communication that allows different block chains to communicate with each other.

In this way, we are trying to create a decentralized Web3 world by successfully combining “Relay chains”, “Para chains” and “Bridges” to connect different block chains.


Role of Polkadot Network Participants

Next, I will explain the participants of Polkadot and their roles. If you compare the participants here with Bitcoin, it is easy to understand if you think of them as nodes that generate and approve blocks, but in Polkadot, the way and roles of participants are a little complicated. Polkadot has four types of participants: “Validator”, “Nominator”, “Collator” and “Fisherman”.

Collator is responsible for collecting Para chain transactions as blocks and sending them in a concealed form to the Relay chain. It also supports full Para chain nodes. To become a Collator, you need to directly stake the tokens used in Polkadot called DOT. Staking refers to locking crypto assets to the block chain network, and temporarily preventing crypto assets from being freely handled by the owner.

The Validator is responsible for approving the Para chain blocks sent by the Collator and writing them to the Relay chain, making it the most important participant in Polkadot’s network. Like Collator, you need to stake DOT tokens directly to become a Validator. By staking the DOT, we encourage the Validator to act obediently to the network, such as by confiscating the staken DOT if the Validator does something wrong.

Nominator is responsible for selecting the Validator, and you can select the Validator by staking the DOT token directly on the Validator. Nominator does not generate blocks directly, but receives some rewards from Validator when the blocks generated by the Validator of its choice are approved.

Finally, Fisherman, unlike other participants, is responsible for monitoring the Validator for fraudulent activity, despite the direct block approval process. If the Validator behaves illegally, the DOT token can be confiscated from the Validator, and the Validator is monitored to support the Polkadot network. Again, you need to stake DOT tokens directly to become a Fisherman.




Possibility of Polkadot

Polkadot explained that it connects different block chains, but it is not just trying to solve the “interoperability” that refers to connecting different chains. There is a block chain development framework called ” Substrate ” developed by Parity Technology, which develops Ethereum node operation software. By using this framework, it is possible to customize the block chain independently, and it is said that the “scalability” that has been regarded as a problem in the block chain so far will be improved. Also, unlike Bitcoin, it is necessary to stake DOT tokens in order to become a Polkadot network participant, so it is difficult for participants to take fraudulent actions. Therefore, all participants are trying to ensure “security”. In this way, Polkadot has great features not only in “interoperability” but also in “scalability” and “security”.

In addition, Polkadot is said to have the potential to solve the “Fat protocol” that is said to be a problem of the block chain industrial structure. In block chain development, protocol development is easier to monetize than application development, existing block chains need to develop applications under constraints, etc. Many projects are biased toward protocol development for various reasons. Was there. However, Polkadot has a mechanism that allows you to intuitively develop applications because you can design your own without being bound by the existing block chain mechanism such as gas cost and transaction processing speed. As a result, Polkadot is expected to move from the current protocol development to the application development phase, with more applications being developed than ever before.



The future of Polkadot

It is estimated that Polkadot raised 5 million DOT through ICO in October 2017 at a price of about 15 billion yen, and then distributed 500,000 DOT in September 2019 to raise 6.5 billion DOT.

Looking at the environment surrounding the Polkadot, in San Francisco Commonwealth Labs is Substrate smart contract platform Edge ware or develop, engaged in a block chain related business LayerX block chain for dealing with data that has been concealed Zero chain with Substrate development or have won also grant four times from WEb3 Foundation Stake Technologies to extend the functionality of the Substrate Plasm such or develop, we have developed a service that many of the companies associated with Polkadot. In addition, Ethereum co-founder and former CTO Gavin Wood is also involved in the development of Polkadot and is receiving a lot of attention. In the future, I would like to pay attention to what kind of innovative application can be made at Polkadot after solving “interoperability”, “scalability” and “security”.



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