Kusama is an experimental development environment for projects and a scalable network of blockchains built using the substrate. And the codebase of Kusama is almost the same as Polkadot. Kusama offers projects a platform to examine their idea which can be implemented further on the Polkadot network.
Kusama is known as Polkadot’s “canary network” – a testbed used to validate and verify the network capabilities. The term comes from the practice of sending canaries to evaluate the safety of coal mines back in the day.
Kusama does the same for blockchain developers on the Polkadot network. It allows them to test their applications to check whether it is safe to launch them on the Polkadot network. By experimenting on Kusama they can launch robust applications on the Polkadot network.
Features such as parachain slot auction and matchable apps are part of Kusama network parachains. The designs of Polkadot and Kusama are similar however Kusama has traction by being known as a testing platform for Polkadot.
There are many features that sets Kusama apart from other blockchain networks. Let us take a deep dive into the world of the Kusama network and its hidden potential that is yet to be explored.
Parathreads allows projects to participate in Polkadot security without needing to lease a dedicated parachain slot and it acts as an idea for parachains. Currently, Kusama has 11 parathreads that have been registered as potential parachains of which 9 are running a crowdloan.
For a fixed specified registration fee anyone can access the parathreads. Parathread can be shared among multiple projects which can take turns to produce blocks when needed.
Parathreads function on a “you pay as you go basis” and it is comparatively cheaper than parachains.
Parachains are a form of an abridged set of blockchains that utilize and share from the security provided by the Relay Chain. Parachains were created to host Smart Contracts and decentralized applications for Kusama and Polkadot.
Relay chains are designed to host up to 100 parachain each and parachain slot auction is the method by which ecosystems decide which projects get a slot. Users do not require to pay for parachain auctions in the form of money or cryptocurrencies. However, it is locked under a smart contract that connects the project’s parachain to the Relay Chain.
A parathread can “upgrade” to a full parachain which in turn becomes a parathread. This can happen if a parachain swaps a parachain slot with the said parathread. It depends upon the chain on whether it decides to stop being a chain and continue as a thread without swapping the slot. And if the slot is not occupied then it would be auctioned off in the next auction period.
A new crowdloan campaign for a slot can be created by anyone who has registered a parachain by depositing a specified number of tokens.
Configuration of a campaign is done based on range of slots, cap, and duration. The team will not need to restart the campaign just because they do not secure a slot on their first attempt so the duration can last for several auctions.
Treasury funds are collected through transaction fees, slashing, staking inefficiencies, etc. A spending proposal can be made to spend the funds held in the Treasury and if approved by the Council it will enter a waiting period before distribution. And this waiting period before distribution is known as the budget period, and its duration is subject to governance, with the current default set to 6 days.
Treasury tries to spend as many proposals in the queue as it can without running out of funds. If the budget period ends without the treasury spending all its funds, a percentage of the funds will suffer a burn, which thereby causes deflationary pressure. The percentage currently stands at 0.2% on Kusama, where the amount currently goes to the Society instead of getting burned.
So, whenever a stakeholder intends to propose a spend from the Treasury, they must reserve a deposit of at least 5% of the proposed spend. If the proposal is rejected the deposit will be slashed and if it is accepted, it will be returned to the stakeholder.
Delegators in the Kusama ecosystem are known as the Nominators. The role of the nominator is to choose reputable validators. To secure the network, nominators also stake their KSM holdings.
Nominators must also stake their tokens behind a validator to participate in the nomination process. By staking each nominator can nominate a list of up to 16 validators that they would like to support. And they share rewards if the validator is elected to the active validators set.
Validators are responsible for securing the network by running validators nodes. They can also maintain the network by validating and adding new blocks. To agree on consensus issues, they also work with other validators.
It was started to serve two main purposes i.e., to give a structured on-ramp to validators to join the active set of validators on Kusama and Polkadot and to further decentralize the validator active set.
Collators are responsible to maintain parachains on the Kusama Network. Additionally, they collect transaction information on the chains for making decisions on changes.
This collected information is transferred by collators from the parachains to the relay chain validators through new blocks. The relay chain validators will then scrutinize and verify these new blocks before including them in the relay chain.
The Governance actors determine how the network grows and the general future outcome of its growth. They can make decisions on the programming of the network by voting. Governance actors are categorized into three groups that are Referendum Chamber, Council, and Technical Committee.
The Referendum Chamber includes all the KSM holders who can propose and vote on a referendum. The members of the Referendum Chamber can also join the council if voted in.
The members of the council elect the council members every two weeks. They make decisions on whether to override and propose referendums as well as push for quick implementation of a referendum that is critical to the network. They are also responsible for the election of the Technical Committee members.
The technical committee is elected by the council, and it includes developer teams that have contributed significantly to Polkadot or Kusama ecosystem. The primary role of the committee is to determine the urgency of a proposal and give it a priority of implementation if necessary.
The Kusama Network is unique in several ways and so are the projects on its ecosystem with their unique use-cases. We have listed few projects that will help you explore the Kusama ecosystem.
Moonriver which will enable Ethereum compatibility on the network was first launched on Kusama and it will be deployed on Polkadot later this year as Moonbeam. When executing and interacting with smart contracts, the Moonbeam utility token “Glimmer” will be used as transaction fees.
It will be a developer-friendly platform for building cross-chain smart contracts and will bring increased speed and interoperability to decentralized finance.
The Moonbeam Foundation had initiated a crowdloan event to raise funds for the Moonriver Project. This was used to help the project secure a parachain slot to connect with Kusama.
Kusama’s plug-and-play security will be accessed by Kaura while enjoying high-capacity processing speeds, micro-gas fees, and interoperability between multiple networks, all bridged to Polkadot.
The platform offers financial applications for staking, borrowing, and trading in the crypto world. It also includes a set of trading instruments such as trustless staking derivative (liquid KSM) and a multi-collateralized stablecoin backed by cross-chain assets (kUSD).
Additionally, there is a trading functionality that is available on a specialized AMM DEX with micro gas fees that can be paid in any token. And hundreds of DeFi strategies are being enabled by developers within one platform so that users can access it all under one roof.
The name is derived from the fastest spinning star in the galaxy. Altair is a DeFi platform that allows its users to tokenize real world-assets and finance them on Kusama. It also bridges Centrifuge and Kusama which allows it to access the liquidity of decentralized finances.
It allows users to borrow funds from other protocols and thereby connecting these users to Kusama’s DeFi ecosystem. It allows users to originate individual non-fungible assets and use them as collateral for loans.
The ALT token has various utilities within the Altair platform, including transactions between moderators and franchise holders, app users, and content writers and developers.
The team is inspired by stories of early scientists working to harness technology to unleash a new kind of energy in the world and so the name Genshiro is derived from the Japanese word for a nuclear reactor.
It will battle test its technology by introducing a wide range of assets and lowering critical collateralization requirements to 100%. Genshiro will also launch its DEX, and a wide range of derivative assets based on traditional financial assets.
Genshiro aims to fully decentralize its Kusama-based network by allocating its utility tokens to the Kusama community. Therefore, participants will be able to stake KSM to parachain and earn rewards in native GENS tokens during the parachain lease period.
In the year 2019, Kusama was originally soft-launched beginning as a Proof of Authority (PoA) controlled by a small number of validator nodes run by the Web3 Foundation. It was founded by Gavin Wood, founder of Polkadot, co-founder, and former CTO of Ethereum. The centralized control over the project lasted long enough to get at least 50 to 100 validators bonded and ready to take over the network.
The team behind Kusama is the same team that created Polkadot which is none other than Parity Technologies. They are a large and renowned team that comprises well-known blockchain engineers, which lends credence to Kusama.
The company focused on details that incorporated on-chain authority discovery, revamp on the network governance system, and prefix storage mapping.
In order to prevent expected rising cases of cybersecurity issues, Kusama aims to improve its Blockchain system. It will do this by updating its framework occasionally, thereby reducing the chances of any security breaches that might put the reputation and usefulness of the crypto at stake.
Kusama blockchain runs on the proof-of-stake consensus, where the KSM token holders are incentivized to stake it for rewards. Currently, staking KSM yields an annualized return of approximately 14%. However, this can fluctuate based on various market factors.
Validators on the Kusama network receive 100% of the block rewards on the condition that 50% of all the KSM token in circulation is staked. If not a portion of the KSM inflation is deposited to the Kusama Treasury.
KSM token is also used for governing the Kusama ecosystem. KSM holders can participate in voting activities concerning the governance of the Kusama network. Your opinion will have more weightage if you hold a higher number of tokens. And by staking the KSM tokens holders secure the network, validate and add new blocks to the network. They are then rewarded with more tokens as an incentive.
The total supply of KSM currently stands at 9,651,217, however, the maximum supply is not fixed.
Over the years Kusama has proven to be a perfect testbed for Polkadot projects. It has improved the way on how projects think about the possibilities of blockchain technology. It has also increased the ability of developers to take risks and experiment on innovative designs until they find the perfect fit for their projects.
Now developers can launch applications that cater to their specific needs. And not forgetting the custom blockchains which are designed to be interoperable with one another, allowing for seamless cross-chain communication and transfer of value.
The platform allows quicker upgrades due to its advanced governing system, unlike the Polkadot network which demands a lengthier launch period. The team is well experienced and understands the needs of the market.
There are many projects which have successfully launched and have gained extensive growth over the years. This was possible because Kusama gave them a platform to test the product before sending them out into the market. Kusama is not only saving time and money but also encouraging new ideas in its ecosystem.
Like every other project, Kusama has its own set of cons to share like it faces fierce competition when it comes to finding its place in the among smart contract and Proof-of-Stake blockchain projects like Ethereum and Tezos.
Kusama brand has gained a lot of traction which has been maintained with its output to projects. In our opinion, Kusama is a trustworthy platform with tremendous potential because of the upcoming projects in its ecosystem. Moreover, Kusama has been upgrading ever since the launch and it has more room to grow in the ever-increasing blockchain market.
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