Polkadot and Kusama’s core developer Gavin Wood announced in a blog post today that Polkadot is now entering the fourth and final phase for its mainnet launch which began on an incremental basis ten months ago with the Rococo testnet.
The final phase involves the deployment of parachains to Kusama, Polkadot’s canary network, and sees the integration of the Kusama network for hosting parachains on Polkadot’s Substrate framework, which is developed by Parity Technologies, the technology firm behind Polkadot.
The move is in line with Polkadot’s vision of becoming fully decentralized and permissionless, according to Wood. Polkadot’s blockchain is built as a heterogeneously sharded and scalable multichain, allowing a wide array of integrations to an inclusive system that enables staking, seamless upgrades, and an open, functional governance system for users and stakers.
According to the announcement, the parachains via Kusama will be launched after a full external audit on the new version of both Polkadot and Kusama. This will happen through auction-based crowdloans. Wood added that the auctions would require at least one functional parachain to proceed with the four remaining auctions, with announcements disclosing details a week in advance.
Parity Technologies has recently updated Polkadot to version 0.9 (v9010). This recent release includes implementations for the deployment logic for parachains on the network, with parachain slot auctions and crowdloan logic functionalities updated for the auction bids.
The external audit disclosed by Polkadot involves three steps:
1. A Shell parachain (empty parachain) deployment for Kusama. This parachain is able to produce blocks and has no other functionality. It receives messages from Polkadot’s Relay Chain for governance and waits for upgrade authorization to a new logic, which is its only other function. As the first system parachain, this “common-good” parachain will be given identity 1,000, or identity 0. According to Wood, this governance motion has been passed by the Polkadot community.
2.The second step involves executing the upgrade, with governance voting to upgrade the Shell parachain into the network’s Statemine parachain, the Kusama instance of Polkadot’s Statemint parachain. This common-good chain enables nodes to host arbitrary assets (tokens) that can be categorized between fungible and non-fungible (ERC-20, ERC-721, etc.). The establishment of the Statemine parachain also gives way to a low-cost chain serving as the transference point for the Relay Chain’s two native tokens, a transfer that involves KSM (Kusama) and DOT (Polkadot).
3. The third and final step required for the external audit is the execution of auctions. This step will be initiated once parachains that hold transactions and consensus among Kusama’s 900 decentralized validators are of an optimal performance and reliability.
Polkadot also has three features set for future release in Polkadot’s development pipeline: Parathreads, Off-chain XCMP and Spree.
Parathreads work as pay-as-you-go parachains, in the sense that it does not require a parachain team to win a slot auction or establish provenance as a common-good parachain. Parathreads can be paid directly for each individual block it seeks to create.
Off-chain XCMP comes as an upgrade to the XCMP (Cross-chain Message Passing) introduced by Polkadot with version 0.9. The new XCMP optimizes bottlenecks which can be encountered with a Relay-chain. Data is aggregated and routed directly between two existing parachain collators, hence allowing for the same secure and decentralized execution between chains without exclusively relying on a Relay-chain.
Spree (Secure Protected Runtime Execution Enclaves) is Polkadot’s latest feature in development. It allows an instruction logic to be homogeneously sharded across all parachains while retaining security, opening interaction between competing parachains. Properties and attributes that are written to one chain can thus be migrated and moved to other chains while retaining the same smart contracts and value logic.
Wood disclosed that Polkadot’s plans for the next two months would involve optimization for the network in terms of performance, refactoring, and reliability.
The Polkadot ecosystem currently has an intentionally capped transaction volume for stability. According to Wood, once the codebase for Polkadot becomes sufficiently robust and faster, the limitations to block processing will be lifted and undergo volumetric increase according to its theoretical rate of 2,000 milliseconds per finalized block.
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