What is Kusama? Polkadot’s Canary Network Explained

By October 10, 2021DeFi
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Polkadot has undoubtedly change into one of many extra common initiatives within the cryptocurrency subject. However, probably the most modern facets of its ecosystem is Kusama, Polkadot’s canary community.

While new blockchain initiatives can appear extraordinarily repetitive and spinoff, Kusama stands out because it is genuinely helpful.

This information goals to answer a number of the following questions on Kusama: What it is, what it will probably do, and what dangers are inherent with a canary community.

Overview of Kusama

Before we dive in, we have to set up two key gadgets: Polkadot and a “canary network.” To recap, Polkadot (DOT) is a blockchain community that:

  • Connects blockchains to one another
  • Enables customers to simply build a blockchain with their Substrate framework
  • Hosts blockchains, dealing with their safety and transactions
  • Bridges blockchains on Polkadot with different networks resembling Ethereum and Bitcoin

Next, the time period “canary network.” The title stems from the time period “canary in a coal mine.” Miners used to hold canaries with them into the mine as a result of the birds would sing of their cages and cease signing if there was a harmful fuel leak and so they died.

They acted as an early warning to the miners and alerting them of hazard. Kusama performs the identical operate as a digital copy of Polkadot, permitting essentially the most practical testing surroundings attainable for blockchain initiatives. The excellent news is, Kusama acts as a “canary network” with out truly harming any birds.

Photo by Jelle Taman on Unsplash

Features of Kusama

Kusama has a number of apparent options but in addition acts as its ecosystem inside the bigger Polkadot ecosystem. The greatest one is its almost an identical resemblance to the Polkadot structure and structure.

It acts as a testnet, however the time period doesn’t fairly cover the extent of testing initiatives can conduct earlier than launching their parachains on Polkadot.

Kusama is repeatedly battle-testing not simply the varied initiatives on it however the ecosystem itself. It is at all times one step forward of Polkadot, making an attempt out new options that the latter want to ultimately deploy as soon as the kinks are labored out, offering the staff with a automobile that enables them to be far more modern and take massive dangers, with out placing the Polkadot ecosystem in peril.

Other options on Kusama embrace:

  • Participate by buying KSM, Kusama’s native token. According to Polkadot’s wiki, Those who participated within the Polkadot sale can declare a proportional quantity of KSM by way of the Kusama Claims course of.
  • Acquiring a parachain slot (obligatory for testing on Kusama making this is a significant characteristic). Chains might be voted in as “common good” parachains, win a parachain public sale, or arrange as a “parathread,” which is primarily a pay-as-you-go entry with an public sale for every block.
  • Set up as a validator. This is a superb method to stroll by way of the method and perceive expectations/necessities earlier than shifting to Polkadot, because the minimal requirement for staking on Kusama is decrease. Alternately, customers can set themselves up as a nominator, a task that requires some staking however permits a “set it and forget it” strategy. Nominators appoint their stake to validators and get both a portion of the reward share or are slashed if the validator they nominated acts poorly and is slashed.
  • Staking additionally permits customers to suggest and vote on referendums, which is able to assist the community evolve and enhance over time.


With any formidable project, there’s additionally at all times a threat. For Kusama, its existence is largely meant to mitigate threat from Polkadot. To try this, nevertheless, it has to tackle a higher than common threat acceptance coverage, and even when particular person initiatives are risk-averse, they might be affected by a significant challenge brought on by one other chain’s take a look at, or perhaps a take a look at from Kusama itself.

Nothing is assured in a hyper-innovative trade, and blockchain is definitely no exception. Technical glitches, market fluctuations, and authorities regulation all contribute their very own potential points to working a parachain on Kusama. To be truthful, these latter dangers are current for any blockchain as nicely.


Kusama is not with out a humorousness, and so they have an excellent concept of what goal the platform performs within the bigger Polkadot ecosystem.

A tagline for Kusama is “expect chaos,” and it’s a good reminder that this is a testnet when all is stated and finished. The proven fact that it is probably the most practical testnets on the market, and virtually a clone of Polkadot for that very purpose, makes chaos all of the extra probably. However, it is all for a really optimistic and purposeful objective: to make the Polkadot Ecosystem, and each parachain it hosts, essentially the most examined and sturdy blockchain initiatives attainable.

For extra details about Kusama, please go to the project’s official website.

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