Today is an exciting and meaningful day for Polkadot. Indeed, Polkadot’s launch is officially complete, with all auction-winning parachains currently producing blocks on the network after five years of research and development and a multi-stage launch that began in May of 2020.
With the start of lease period six at 10:07 pm UTC yesterday, Polkadot’s first batch of five auction-winning parachains began their onboarding process. All five have now successfully onboarded to the network this morning.
Acala, Moonbeam, Astar, Parallel Finance, and Clover were the winning parachains in Polkadot’s first auctions. After securing a remarkable level of community support through crowd loans totaling nearly 100 million DOT locked, they’ve all been successfully onboarded and are now producing blocks.
In fact, the launch of Polkadot brings the original concept expressed in the Polkadot Whitepaper (aka the Polkadot Paper) in 2016 to fruition. Polkadot’s core properties and the network’s sharded multichain design were specified in the Polkadot Paper. The article indicates that parachains are the final component of basic functionality to be fully introduced. The community of DOT holders, who will approve any future updates, will determine how Polkadot progresses from here.
Path to Parachains
They are a crucial component of Polkadot’s original design, providing blockchain teams with several key advantages over alternative and older solutions. This concept dates back to the early days of Ethereum when Polkadot creator and Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood and others initially considered how a next-generation, sharded version of Ethereum might appear.
However, the first tangible steps for parachains were in the summer of 2016. The discovery was a sharded blockchain network might allow each shard or blockchain to have its design. The Polkadot Paper presented the vision for parachains shortly after the idea for heterogeneous sharding was born.
Polkadot and parachains started with the first commit to the Substrate Repo on November 7th, 2017, by Polkadot founder and parachains Lead Developer Robert Habermeier. Substrate, which serves as the foundation for Polkadot and all of its parachains, has received over 6000 commits from over 300 contributors, indicating a massive effort from the Polkadot developer community. After more than three decades of development, Polkadot launched on May 26th, 2020. While Parachains gained their first dedicated testnet with Rococo that August.
The first parachain, Statemine, went live in June 2021. Followed by Kusama’s first set of five parachain auction winners over the following weeks. Since then, Kusama has seen the launch of 18 parachains. With a new batch of 5 parachains set to join the network on or around January 10th, 2022. Several Kusama parachains have completed forkless upgrades and processed tens of millions of transactions.
What Comes Next?
On or around December 23rd, 2021, the next round of Polkadot auctions will commence (block 8263710). The second phase will consist of six auctions. The six winning parachains expects to onboard on or around March 11th, 2022.
Additionally, Polkadot has been planned for several future updates to improve the network’s capabilities. Polkadot’s on-chain governance community will have to accept this and all future updates. Parathreads, which would allow parachains to join the web on a pay-per-block basis instead of leasing a slot via auction. The full launch of XCM, Polkadot’s cross-chain message format, are among the proposed additions.
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