Kusama —— An Experimental Blockchain Platform for Polkadot Network
- Kusama is an experimental blockchain platform that is designed to provide a massively interoperable and scalable framework for developers.
- A key difference between Kusama and Polkadot is that Kusama has modified governance parameters that allow for faster network upgrades, with seven days to vote on referendums and eight days to implement those upgrades after a vote.
- Kusama's infrastructure includes the Relay Chain, the Parachains, and the Bridges.
- KSM is the native token of Kusama network, the KSM tokens for network operations, serving multiple purposes such as: Validate the network; Nominate validators; Bond parachains or parathreads; Vote on governance referenda.
Kusama is Polkadot’s “canary network”, a scalable, multi-chain network for radical innovation and early stage Polkadot deployments. For developers, Kusama is a proving ground for all things Polkadot I.e runtime upgrades, on-chain governance, parachains, parathreads, etc.
Kusama is built on Substrate — a blockchain building kit developed by Parity Technologies. Kusama has almost the same codebase as Polkadot — one of the most successful interoperable blockchains.
- The Relay Chain is the central chain of the Kusama network. All validators of Polkadot are staked on the Relay Chain.
- The Parachains are parallel chains that connect to the Relay Chain and are maintained by their validators, called Collators.
- The Bridges are special blockchains that allow Parachains to connect to and communicate with external networks like Ethereum and Bitcoin.
KSM is the native token of Kusama network, the KSM tokens for network operations, serving multiple purposes such as:
- Governance: Where participants can manage protocol updates and fixes.
- Staking: Where the tokens are staked to ensure the network remains secure, as good validators are rewarded, and bad actors lose their stake.
- Bonding: Where new parachains are supported by bonding tokens.
- Fees: For ferrying messages across parachains.
Kusama was founded in 2019 by the same team that created Polkadot, a company known as Parity Technologies. Its founder is Dr. Gavin Wood, a world-renowned computer scientist and programmer, who also co-founded Ethereum.
Parity Technologies has an extensive team comprised of some of the world's most successful blockchain engineers, and has over 100 employees in total spread throughout the world.
In addition, Kusama is funded by grants from the Web3 Foundation, which was launched to help "nurture and steward technologies and applications in the fields of decentralised web software protocols." The Web3 foundation also supports Kusama with research and community development thanks to its growth team.
Kusama & Polkadot: Similarities and Differences
Since governance in Polkadot and Kusama is decentralized and permissionless, networks will evolve independently, converging or diverging over time based on the decisions of their respective communities.
Kusama was released as an early version of the same code to be used in Polkadot, which means that they share the same underlying architecture: a multi-chain, heterogeneous design based on the nominated proof of stake (NPOS). They also share key innovations such as governance, hot-swappable runtimes for forklifts, in-chain updates, and cross-message passing for interoperability. That is, Polkadot and Kusama share the vast majority of their underlying technology.
- The first key technical difference between Polkadot and Kusama is that Kusama has modified the governance parameters that allow for faster updates.
- Kusama will have a lower barrier to entry for development teams wishing to deploy as parachains, as the network will likely have a lower adhesion requirement than Polkadot.
- Different use cases
Polkadot has following main use cases:
- Enterprise and B2B applications
- Financial applications
- High-value applications requiring bank-like security, stability and robustness
- Upgrade path for early-stage applications
Kusama has main use cases as follow:
- Early-stage startup network
- Experimentation on new ideas
- Applications that don’t yet require bank-like security and robustness
- Pre-production environment for polkadot