Almost exactly five years after the vision for a heterogeneous multi-chain framework was first outlined in the Polkadot Whitepaper (also known as the Polkadot Paper), parachains are now officially ready for release in Polkadot.
As Cointelegraph en Español learned, The news that Polkadot is now technically capable of supporting its first parachains, announced by Polkadot founders Gavin Wood and Robert Habermeier, was followed shortly thereafter by a motion for the Polkadot Council to open the first parachain slot auctions of the network, proposals to start on November 11, 2021.
Parachains are the various specialized blockchains that connect to the Polkadot relay chain and constitute the “multi-chain” aspect of the Polkadot multi-chain architecture. They represent the final piece of core technology outlined in the Polkadot White Paper, and their launch marks a final stage in Polkadot’s multi-phase launch process, which began on May 26, 2020 with the launch of the initial version, of Proof of Authority, from the Polkadot Relay Chain.
Speaking at the Sub0 conference, on behalf of Parity Technologies, the engineering team commissioned by the Web3 Foundation to build the initial implementation of Polkadot, Wood and Habermeier announced Parity’s position that all technical barriers to launching parachains in Polkadot have been overcome.
They explained that the code for the parachains, auctions and crowdloans are now ready for an initial production release at Polkadot. The last technical steps required to complete before launching the parachains in Polkadot were the completion of the full Polkadot code audit, which is now done, and the completion of the parachains disputes, which can now move forward.
Additionally, parachains have already been running on Kusama, Polkadot’s “canary network,” since Statemine’s launch on June 3, 2021. Since then – reportedly – 11 parachain auctions have taken place successfully in Kusama, with a total of 12 live parachains.
These parachain teams have carried out several “forkless” updates to the network and have processed several million transactions. Along with the Kusama parachain auctions, more than 2.4 million KSM have been contributed to crowdloans by more than 49,000 unique addresses, demonstrating significant community involvement in the parachain launch process. The fact that this activity has taken place in Kusma for more than four months without significant problems is an important factor in considering that the parachains are ready for launch in Polkadot.
An important point to keep in mind, Habermeier explained, is that being ready for an initial production release does not necessarily mean that the code is fully mature. Being ready means that the parachain code is complete, unit tested and integration tested, audited and deployed and demonstrated on Kusama and Rococo, but may still contain undetected bugs.
The road to maturity means making sure your code is highly optimized, combat-tested, and stable. According to Habermeier, among the optimizations that are being carried out are contextual execution, which will speed up lock times; parathreads, Polkadot’s pay-per-use model for the parachain connection; and various low-cost network optimizations.
Due to this gap between readiness and maturity, Parity has recommended a conservative approach to deploying parachains, suggesting that a reasonable approach would be to ensure that, until the code is mature, the total number of parachains incorporated into Polkadot does not exceed 75% of the number running on Kusama in a Given moment. It was also noted that should unexpected and significant problems arise, the Polkadot government may have to pause auctions until those problems are resolved.
Parity’s technical recommendations cleared the way for the Polkadot government to determine the initial auction schedule. Shortly after the announcement of technical readiness for the parachains, motion 118 was submitted to the Polkadot Council to begin auctions on November 11, 2021.
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