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What is Polkadot?

The term "polka dot" is also used for a pattern consisting of a field of equally sized dots with equal spacing. The term will therefore not have been chosen by chance. Yayoi Kusama brought the polka dot popularity. She is a Japanese artist who painted buildings and also people all over the world with this polka dot or dot pattern. So where Polkadot got their name from for their networks is obvious by now. After all, Kusama is their test network.

The Polkadot network aims to make networks interoperable. This is not just about individual blockchains, but other types of tokens or data transfer should also become possible using their network. Their flagship product is the parachain. This is a separate blockchain that is still connected to their main network, which they call the Relay Chain. Polkadot is an open source project founded by the Web3 Foundation. Polkadot has energy efficiency very high on its agenda and succeeds very well. The technology is designed to prevent forks because of their decentralised governance. It is a very technical and comprehensive project, so sit back and take a good look at it.

How does Polkadot work?

How does Polkadot work?

Polkadot is a sharded blockchain. Polka connects blockchains into a single network, allowing them to exchange transactions and data between different blockchains with the guarantee that this can be done securely. Each chain can be optimised for its special purposes, after which the Relay Chain brings them all together. 


Imagine that on 1 March 2030, everyone has to go and get a new kind of identity card at the town hall. You can imagine that's going to mean huge queues. For every new counter you open, the queue will reduce dramatically. Suppose you open a second counter, the queue will only be half as long for each counter.

That's sharding. In many networks, like Bitcoin, every transaction has to be approved by every miner or validator. That takes an awful lot of computer time and energy. In Polkadot, this work is divided. The network is divided into shards, which validate a portion of the transactions. This way, a network becomes much more scalable, because you do everything much faster.

Polkadot netwerk

What exactly is Polkadot and what does their network look like?

In the picture, you can see the Relay Chain in the middle. You can think of it as the hub, tying everything together.

Parachains en bridges

On the side, you can see the parachains. These are individual blockchains that let the Relay Chain interact with each other.

It also shows a bridge. A bridge is a bridge to another network. If you want Polkadot or a parachain to communicate with another network, such as Ethereum, you need a bridge.

A parachain works with nominators, validators, collators and fishermen. Polkadot uses the Nominated Proof of Stake consensus mechanism, where there are different roles for validators who stake their DOT tokens.

This is all a bit much at once, but we will start describing the above pictures bit by bit.

The Relay Chain

This is the core and most important part of the Polkadot network. Validators stake DOT, the token of the Polkadot network, on the Relay Chain. This Relay Chain has limited responsibilities so that the network can remain scalable and secure. Validators only deal with Nominated Proof of Stake, governance and parachain auctions.

No smart contracts occur on the Relay Chain, for instance. That is handled on parachains or bridges.

Parachains in detail

Parachains are separate blockchains connected via the Relay Chain. Parachains are dedicated to a specific task or function. The name comes from the parallelism of these chains to the Relay Chain. Parachains share the security of the entire network and can communicate with other chains through the Cross Chain Message Passing protocol (XCMP).

Parachains usually have their own tokens, although Polkadot does not require this. A parachain can be set up fairly easily with Substrate, a kind of blockchain with pre-programmed functionalities. If you want to participate, you can bid for a slot at an auction. About 100 slots or places can be connected to the Polkadot network, so they hold regular auctions for a new place when one becomes available.

Use case examples of parachains to join:

  1. Common good. These are parachains that are essential to the Polkadot network. One example is Alcala, which ensures the entire network stays fast.

  2. Auction grant. Here, you bid on one of around 100 slots.

  3. Parathreads. Hierbij bied je voor elk block.

There are a number of roles you can play in a parachain:

  • Nominator. Polkadot works with Nominated Proof of stake. The nominator secures the Relay Chain by choosing reliable validators. You then stake DOT and earn interest, but do not have to become a node.

  • Validator. These strike the DOT crypto and validate data from collators. They create new blocks on Polkadot.

  • Collators. Maintain a full node of a parachain. Because collators know each other as peers, equals, they can send cross-chain data. Collators collect transactions and send them to validators for approval.

  • Fishermen. These are tasked with keeping an eye on collators so that they do not present erroneous or corrupt blocks.


The bridge works basically the same as the parachain in terms of design, but has a different function. The Polkadot network connects independent blockchains, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Through bridges, Polkadot becomes interoperable and can connect to almost any blockchain.

The bridge can perform an important function in reducing transaction costs and increasing speed on expensive networks.

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Extra information about Polkadot (DOT)

History of Polkadot

Dr Gavin Wood was working at Ethereum. He had developed Solidity (smart contract programming language) and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). He was not satisfied with how Ethereum was progressing and felt it was time to start his own project. He wanted to create a new version of Ethereum.

In 2016, he left Ethereum and started preparing what would one day become Polkadot. He founded Parity Technologies and the Web 3 Foundation and started working on his big project. He coined the term web 3.0. He also invented Proof of Authority and Whisper.

He and his team started working with Rust and JavaScript and began developing parachains of shards.

Parity Technologies developed the blockchain tool Substrate to enable Polkadot's parachains and Relay Chain.

Dr Gavin Wood wrote Polkadot's white paper in October 2016.

Wood, together with Robert Habermeier and Peter Czaban, founded the Web 3 Foundation, which raised about 500,000 ETH (price $300 per ETH) via an ICO in 2017 in a Dutch auction (price goes down gradually) to start Polkadot. This Web 3 Foundation launched Kusama, Polkadot's test net, in 2019.

In 2020, it finally did. Polkadot's main net came online, after they had done enough testing on Kusama to be confident that their main project would work well.

DOT tokenomics

The DOT coin is the cryptocurrency of the Polkadot blockchain. There are more than a billion DOT coins and the supply is without limit. So the Polkadot crypto is not really rare, but supply and demand determine the price. After all, DOT coins have high utility value in many areas.

DOT tokens have three functions: staking, governance and bonding. You can vote on the future of the project by striking and making your voice heard. By bonding, you capture tokens to create a parachain. When the parachain dissolves, you get them back.

DOT staking

If you want to stake DOT coins, you can start with just a single one. With the stake mechanism of the DOT network, you can historically get around 20% rewards per year, depending on your wallet. Polkadot suggests the highest rewards if you stake on their own network, rather than third-party exchanges.

Staking the Polkadot crypto on their native platform gives you the benefits of completely trustless and decentralised staking, full control, best network security, voting rights and a simple interface on their Staking Dashboard.

Polkadot expectation

Expectations for the Polkadot blockchain are very high. The DOT coin could well go high as the network grows. DOT tokens have been going over the counter for considerably higher prices since its inception, although a bear market is obviously not good news for the Polkadot exchange rate.

We expect the Polkadot project to become increasingly solid as the use case grows. If you want to buy Polkadot, it is best to do so in a bear market, and the time of writing seems to us to be an excellent tim

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