Polkadot (DOT): a Detailed Guide
Polkadot is a protocol that aims to make blockchains interoperable in two ways. First, it enables cross-chain swaps between established networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum via bridges, and second, it allows businesses to create customizable blockchains that are interoperable through the main Polkadot chain.
Given the Polkadot blockchain features and dynamic, some even call the platform an “Ethereum killer”. In this article, we will investigate why it was given such a name, and you will learn how you can leverage a Polkadot node and block explorer to profit from its rapid growth.
Polkadot (DOT) Ecosystem
Today’s blockchains are separated from each other: their protocols are different and don’t allow for direct value and data exchange between each other. As a result, we have distinct ecosystems that barely intersect, and this hinders the adoption of cryptocurrency and diminishes its usability.
When Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood launched Polkadot in 2020, he aimed to integrate the best of all blockchains with an interoperable protocol. This is what Polkadot does: it builds break-in and break-out smart contracts that will bridge blockchains like Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc.
With Polkadot, Ethereum-based smart contracts will be able to trigger a Bitcoin payment, and cross-chain swaps between Litecoin and XRP will become possible. Users will be able to easily move their assets across the crypto market without having to look for trusted middlemen.
Polkadot also has something to offer to business and enthusiastic developers. Usually, when they build decentralized apps using smart contracts, they have to deal with all the shortcomings of the blockchains they are deploying on: high and unpredictable fees, inability to affect the upgrades in the network.
Polkadot allows businesses to build on distinct blockchains called parachains that they can fully control and customize. This is a much more flexible approach to dApps that allows devs to optimize their blockchains to whatever needs they have, launch custom tokens on these chains, and so on.
The central element of the Polkadot ecosystem is the Relay chain — the key DOT network layer and a bookkeeper of all transactions. Parachains are all connected to the Relay chain, they benefit from its security and interoperate using it. When enough dApps on parachains are deployed, we will see Polkadot as a system of independent but closely connected applications where users will find it easy to transfer their assets from one parachain to another.
The Polkadot (DOT) token is not only the fuel for transactions made in the network. Here’s what it also serves:
- Governance. Users can vote in parachain auctions and on protocol upgrades.
- Operation. DOT powers the fundamental consensus mechanism of Polkadot. Token holders can actively participate in the network and stake DOT, thus counteracting consensus violations.
- Incentives. Tokens are distributed between active community members.
Latest Polkadot Updates
The number of parachain slots available in the Polkadot network is limited — there are only about 100 of them. These slots will be assigned through parachain auctions. In October 2021, the Polkadot developers announced that the first auction for parachain slots will be held on November 11.
The auctions have drawn much attention from the community members because there is a mechanic that allows them to raise money. And in general, Gavin Wood’s brainchild is actively developing and raising millions of investments, which drives the current DOT price growth.
What are parachain auctions?
Parachains connect to Polkadot by attaching to a slot on the DOT blockchain (Relay chain) for 96 weeks (the current set will go until late 2023). Slots are assigned based on community voting (auction), then in 96 weeks the voting repeats. Such a system motivates potential parachain owners to deliver maximum value and explain it to the community.
Polkadot on NOWNodes
If you got inspired by promising Polkadot and its use cases, you may already be considering building in this network. A dApp, exchange, wallet, analytical platform — all these can be launched in Polkadot and bring value to your community.
The first thing you need to launch something on Polkadot is a stable connection to a full node — a full-fledged Polkadot network participant. You can install one yourself, but this will require you a set of special skills along with investment in hardware, electricity, and other associated costs. Also, you’ll need a DOT block explorer — a live source or the Polkadot data that will keep you updated on the network’s state.
NOWNodes provides access to a Polkadot’s full node and block book explorer via API, which allows businesses to build on Polkadot without the need to maintain their own node. Here’s what we offer:
- Connection speed of 1 GB/sec,
- API response time of less than 1 second and with a 99.95% uptime,
- 40+ other nodes available, so if you need more than just a DOT node, you won’t have to spend your time searching for other services,
- Trust that we earned in the community: Atomic Wallet, Spatium, and many other strong projects have entrusted us with their node maintenance and are happy with our service.
To start using the Polkadot node or block explorer and get crypto API node access, get node API key by leaving your email in a form on our main page:
20,000 requests per day are free; to get more, see the pricing section or simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find the best solution for you.
Polkadot is a protocol that aims to revolutionize cryptocurrency by doing 2 things: first, breaking the barriers between established blockchains, and second, allowing the creation of custom blockchains instead of launching dApps on existing networks.
The latest developments and the price dynamic hint that the current Polkadot trajectory is supported by the community. This is why now may be a good moment to start developing something on Polkadot before the environment becomes too full. Get your crypto API key, access the node, and start building on Polkadot today!