The multichain blockchain ecosystem Polkadot has once again shown why it’s one of the most exciting projects in the crypto space, racking up a string of impressive achievements over the final few months of 2022.
In its fourth quarter ecosystem report, Polkadot lists a number of significant milestones it has achieved, including the launch of so-called “nomination pools” that all but eliminate the barrier to entry for native staking.
Polkadot is an extremely novel blockchain project created by the Web3 Foundation that’s aiming to solve the problem of network interoperability. To do this, it has designed a protocol that enables unrelated blockchains – known as “parachains” – to talk to each other in a secure way. Data can flow between the main Polkadot relay chain or any individual parachain without using intermediaries. What’s more, the use of parachains also makes transaction processing much faster, as each project on Polkadot has its own, separate chain that relieves the strain on the main network.
Polkadot took a key step in boosting the security and decentralization of its network with the launch of nomination pools that make it possible to stake DOT, the platform’s native token, with as little as 1 DOT. Previously, users were required to use a minimum of 200 DOT to stake natively, or else go through a third party. Nomination pools provide a way for DOT holders to pool their stakes together on-chain to nominate validators, without having to share the staking rewards they receive. They’ve gone down well with the community too. Polkadot said in its Q4 update that there were 3,475 nomination pool members staking a combined 854,495 DOT at the end of the year.
There were other developments on the DOT front too, with Polkadot’s native token finally morphing from a “security” into a “non-security” in the eyes of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Web3 Foundation said the announcement followed more than three years of engagement with SEC authorities, stressing the prolonged efforts that went into ensuring the vision of token morphing was fully addressed. It involved the Web3 Foundation setting up business processes and communications guidelines akin to a public company, while taking steps to ensure DOT is both compliant and offers token holders greater security.
While working with the SEC, Polkadot was simultaneously engaged with its grassroots community. In the fourth quarter, the Web3 Foundation grants program provided funding to an additional 37 projects, reaching 476 total grants since its inception. Those funds come from the Polkadot Treasury, which took its total spending thus far to more than 4 million DOT, up from around just 200,000 DOT at the end of 2021.
Perhaps the most impressive sign of Polkadot’s growth is its sustained momentum in terms of development. By the end of the year, Polkadot had emerged as the crypto industry’s single largest ecosystem of “use-case specific” layer-1 blockchains and apps, with 74 parachains up and running following an auction on either Polkadot, or Kusama, its canary test network. Those parachains host more than 300 decentralized applications between them, and it’s expected that more will be up and running soon, as Polkadot says there are around 550 projects in total building on its parachains.
Development activity is on the up too, with Polkadot’s ecosystem numbering 1,128 weekly active developers producing a combined total of 13,934 weekly commits, according to Electric Capital data. That puts Polkadot in pole position, ahead of all other blockchains in terms of development activity, Web3 Foundation said.
Two Polkadot parachains also ranked high on Electric Capital’s list, with the privacy protocol Manta Network and Kusama landing in third and fifth place overall.
Manta Network also hit the headlines during the quarter when it set a new record for establishing what was the largest Trusted Setup in zero-knowledge technology ever seen. It involved more than 13,000 participants from 177 countries in total, and is a key demonstration of what Manta says will become a vital technology to ensure the privacy and security of user’s data in Web3.
Another parachain making good progress is Astar Network, a scalable smart contract platform that aims to fill the void created by the Polkadot relay chain’s lack of support for smart contracts. During the quarter, it announced a key collaboration with Japan’s leading mobile network carrier NTT Docomo that will see the two companies collaborate on Web3 adoption. As part of the collaboration, NTT Docomo will invest as much as $4 billion on decentralized technologies, while working with Astar to accelerate the growth of Web3 through education, implementation and the nurturing of developer talent.
Finally, there was news from KILT Protocol, the decentralized self-sovereign identity protocol that enables users to create and share verifiable credentials without revealing information about themselves. KILT notably became the very first project to complete a full migration from Kusama to the more stable Polkadot network. According to KILT’s development team, the migration was necessary because enterprises have implemented a number of business use cases on KILT that require higher levels of security and stability than what Kusama can offer. The migration was pulled off without a hitch, with no downtime or application glitches reported.
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