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Despite being a tough year for pretty much everyone (with the possible exception of Amazon and takeaways), the Polkadot network and community is coming out of 2020 with the wind very much behind its sails. So now that we’ve reached the end of 2020, for better or worse, let’s have a roundup of what we achieved and what we’re planning to do over the course of 2021…

I tend to start these roundups with a few statistics, and this year seems no exception. Development has continued apace, with the Rust codebase standing at well in excess of half a million…

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Two weeks ago we started the first vote on the fledgling Polkadot network. That vote has just ended and the results are clear.

With a turnout just shy of one third of the tokens, the recent Polkadot redenomination poll was a major result for stakeholder decision-making. This number is all the more impressive considering that both the Web3 Foundation and Parity Technologies abstained from the voting.

The poll itself was to determine the final “meaning” of the DOT token, specifically how many of the lowest denomination of Polkadot’s balances, the Planck, should constitute a single DOT. …

Polkadot just moved into Phase 3; Phase 4 will be coming later today. Here’s what’s happening…

Unlike any other blockchain to date, Polkadot’s launch process is a multi-stage affair, phased over several weeks, where pieces of new functionality are added, piecemeal, until the initial “production version” is hit. I use quotes here because Polkadot is not designed to be a single blockchain, neither in space nor time. Polkadot is an amorphous multi-chain capable of fussless assimilation of new technologies and features over time, much like a website which evolves and iterates as you visit it day after day.

In case you missed the last episode…

Polkadot began…

Polkadot is on the cusp of launch and the DOT holders must move to elect the first Polkadot council.

It has been a busy week already, with the first vote started on Polkadot to finally determine how many Planck we shall place in a standard DOT. As that continues, a second feature will be enabled on the Polkadot network’s chain candidate: Council elections. If this all goes to plan, then the following upgrade will be to enable all governance functionality and remove the Web3 Foundation’s administrative (“Sudo”) privileges, phases 3 and 4 in our launch plan. …

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A vote has been started that will alter the course of Polkadot and define the final denomination of its native DOT token. It affects all Polkadot stakeholders. If you have claimed your DOT on the mainnet, or you plan to, then you can — and should! — vote.

Two months ago, a vote was conducted on Polkadot’s “wild cousin” network, Kusama. The vote was over a simple, non-binding declaration that the assembled Kusama community be in favour of changing the denomination of the “DOT” token, essentially multiplying all balances across the system by one hundred. …

The first chain candidate for the Polkadot mainnet has been running stably for over two weeks now; it’s time to move on to the next phase.

As you might know, the launch of the Polkadot network is split over several stages, starting with the most centralised, restrictive and permissioned network based around a proof-of-authority (PoA) consensus. This initial stage has been running (as I write this) for 19 days without a problem, hopefully a sign of things to come. …

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Polkadot’s first chain candidate (“CC1”), which may well become the Polkadot mainnet, has been launched. Here’s what you get now and what’s coming up soon.

As I write this, my laptop node has 12 peers. Barely half an hour ago, it had none. Polkadot CC1 is freshly born; beginning its “life” at 17:36:21, Zug time. We’re now at block #400, with Grandpa and Babe chugging along quite happily. So far so good.

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Kusama is about to get a new logic core; here’s the details of this and a few earlier ones.


  • Runtime version: 1037
  • Supported natively by: n/a
  • Polkadot Git commit hash: f570356
  • Substrate Git commit hash: 860b79b
  • Council motion: #85

Key changes

  • Multisig accounts and pseudonymous sub-accounts (#4462): Support for stateful threshold multisig transactions/accounts/wallets and pseudonymous “sub” accounts (accounts controlled by other accounts).
  • Indirectly slashed nominators stay nominating (#4553): If a validator is slashed (e.g. for being offline), their nominators were all forced to chill, depriving other, unrelated, validators of nominations. This logic is removed.
  • Rebonding (#4374): Unbond operations can now be cancelled…

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A little chaos ensued on the Kusama network, Polkadot’s canary-net. Here’s a quick summary of the cause and solution.

At around midday UK time on Saturday, a referendum ended on an upgrade proposal (ostensibly meant to update the Kusama blockchain to Kusama runtime version 1034). The associated upgrade happened, switching out the core logic of the Kusama blockchain with the new logic of the upgrade. However, due to a naming issue related to a recent change which split apart the Kusama logic from the provisional Polkadot logic, the upgrade inadvertently updated the chain not to the Kusama runtime but to…

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Happy (Kusama) New Year

Well, it’s already the end of 2019; an annual retrospective over what we achieved, where we are now and our plans for the next 12 months.

I started the last year-end round-up with some statistics, and it seems fitting to continue the trend and report some numbers from this year. In total, the Polkadot project, including Substrate, Grandpa, Cumulus and a few bits of support code, has over three hundred thousand lines of code! That’s three times as much as was done last year, and it includes neither our UI nor much of our smart contract codebase. 121 people made…

Gavin Wood

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