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What is PolkaDot?

What is PolkaDot?

Polkadot is a decentralized version of Bitcoin’s blockchain with global support. The only difference is that it can be distributed and shared on any devices. Polkadot differs from Bitcoin in that the Polkadot blockchain uses hashrate mining to establish a blockchain network and to validate transactions.

Polkadot can scale to the largest number of users, allowing people around the world to participate in the network.

Polkadot will also be a platform that allows Ethereum users to manage their own smart contracts.

You can access the white paper and previous CoinDesk articles regarding Polkadot here.

The team

The Polkadot team, led by Henry Brade, consists of core developers from the Ethereum platform team, including Vlad Zamfir, Charles Hoskinson, Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Poon. Other team members come from blockchain companies such as ConsenSys, Cubits, Factom and Digital Asset Holdings.

Polkadot: Engineering a blockchain upgrade

Polkadot’s focus is on maintaining the speed and efficiency of Bitcoin while eliminating its flaws.

Polkadot was developed because Bitcoin’s scalability limitations are hurting the Bitcoin ecosystem, and Bitcoin users are finding their network mostly unusable. Polkadot will use a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism for managing the network, which solves Bitcoin’s scaling issues and introduces the possibility of hierarchical deterministic consensus (HD, or a consensus that can survive the destruction of the consensus ledger). Polkadot will also make changes to the consensus rules to prevent fees from being rewarded at arbitrary values and the creation of ghost chains that allow validators to transfer their blockhashes to other participants. Finally, Polkadot introduces transactions that are not only p2p but also include multi-signature features, allowing blockchain network participants to create groups of users to join the network through one wallet.

The future

Polkadot was announced publicly in April 2016 and, as of now, there have been several successful tests involving 40,000 users. More than $300 million in ether has already been distributed among about 16,000 active Polkadot nodes. However, the initial proof-of-concept is running on the PoC.

So what’s next?

In March 2017, the Polkadot team plans to release the Polkadot Solidity compiler to allow Ethereum developers to build and publish their own applications on Polkadot. At the same time, the team also plans to expand the network with multiple wallet options and integrate Bitcoin to support micropayments. In December 2017, Polkadot will begin the second phase of its development, which will include two main features: Lightning and sharding.

Lightning, which was developed with the help of code from The Lightning Network, will enable transactions to be carried out directly between Polkadot and Bitcoin. Sharding, or creating a secondary blockchain network that allows transactions to be distributed, is similar to Lisk’s sharding proposal. Polkadot will employ these two features to provide scalability and a distributed ledger that allows users to run programs that will support different types of data.

Each year CoinDesk will publish “five ways blockchain is changing business.” Read more in our 2016 series.

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VanillaPlus recently sat down with Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, to discuss Bitcoin’s scalability, the importance of decentralization, the vision of Ethereum and more. Watch the video interview here.