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What is Kusama? How blockchain works

Jan 23, 2024
What is Kusama? How blockchain works

Kusama is a blockchain project that serves as a platform for experimenting with technologies intended for Polkadot. The main concept of Kusama is that thorough testing of new technologies is only possible in an environment where the coins used in the blockchain have real value. 


Kusama: A testing ground for innovation in the world of blockchain - news

Foundation and Development of Kusama

The Kusama network, founded in 2019 by Gavin Wood, has established itself as an attractive place for blockchain project development. Gavin Wood is known as the founder of Polkadot and Parity Technologies, as well as one of the creators of Ethereum and the Web3 Foundation. 

Date Event
July 16, 2019 Polkadot announced the Kusama network in an article for Medium
October 28, 2019, 18:43 (Zurich) Transition of the Kusama network from the Proof of Authority consensus algorithm to Proof of Stake
October 28, 2019, 22:45 Formation of the first set of Kusama validators
January 4, 2020 The first major error in the Kusama network during the upgrade to version 1034, rectification took 8 days
June 2021 Deployment of parachains in the Polkadot test network and plans to test them on Kusama during 2021
Date not specified Planning the first bridge between the main Polkadot network and the Kusama blockchain

One of the key features of Kusama is its ability to unite various blockchains created on its platform into a single network. This is achieved through sharding, which allows the network to process transactions instantly and with low fees. Kusama can also connect to other blockchains, including Polkadot, Bitcoin, and Ethereum, via cross-chain bridges.

Developers can use the Substrate framework to create their projects, allowing them to fully control and optimize their blockchain according to specific requirements. This sets Kusama apart from other platforms focused on application creation.

Kusama has low production costs, making it an ideal choice for startups with limited budgets who want to quickly and economically launch a high-quality product. Blockchain projects developed on Kusama can be transferred to Polkadot if necessary.

Financial Characteristics of the KSM Token

At the moment, there are approximately 8.9 million tokens in circulation, with their maximum quantity limited to 10 million units.

The distribution system of new KSM tokens is directly tied to the amount of coins frozen in staking. If half of all coins in circulation are locked, all newly minted tokens go to validators. If this threshold is significantly exceeded or not reached, a portion of the new tokens goes into the Kusama treasury.

The KSM token is used within the Kusama network for several key functions:

Usage Description
Staking KSM holders can participate in the validation process, confirming transactions and creating new blocks, for which they receive rewards.
Parachain Leasing To launch their own parachain in the Kusama network, a certain amount of KSM needs to be locked.
Voting KSM tokens enable participation in network governance votes and the promotion of candidates for validator roles.
Transaction Fees Similar to other blockchains, KSM is used to pay transaction fees within the Kusama network.
Investment Asset As a valuable asset, KSM tokens are available for purchase on various cryptocurrency exchanges. The creators of Polkadot do not take specific measures to promote KSM on exchanges.

Kusama Functionality

Kusama addresses a problem that cannot be overcome by regular test blockchain networks where coins have no real value. Such networks allow testing the basic blockchain functions without risk, but they are not suitable for testing interactions that require financial participation.

Polkadot launched based on Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. This means that user motivation will be based on financial incentives.

In test networks without real financial stakes, it is impossible to adequately test a PoS-based governance mechanism because participants do not bear real financial risks. Additionally, the lack of financial motivation leads to insufficient participation levels in voting for proper testing.

Therefore, to test Polkadot's mechanisms and technologies, it was essential to create a test network where participants would have financial motivation and the ability to interact with real assets.

Users who held DOT tokens at the time of the creation of the first Kusama block received an identical amount of KSM for free through an airdrop mechanism.

Kusama: A testing ground for innovation in the world of blockchain - news

How Kusama Works

Kusama, a network that does not have its own Whitepaper, is described in the Polkadot Lightpaper and structurally mirrors it. It is built upon three components:

  • Parachains: These are independent blockchains connected to Kusama. Developed by third-party teams, they are used to launch various applications.
  • Relay Chain: This component connects parachains, ensuring their synchronization and information exchange.
  • Bridges: These technologies connect parachains to other blockchains in the Kusama ecosystem

Kusama operates in the same way as Polkadot, with parachains synchronized through the relay chain and bridges for interaction with other blockchains. The main purpose of Kusama is technology testing, which allows the network to operate approximately four times faster than Polkadot:

  • The decision-making and unlocking time for KSM tokens is 7 days, while in Polkadot, this process with DOT tokens takes 28 days.
  • Parachain lease slots on Kusama are for 6 weeks, in Polkadot, it's 6 months.
  • The Kusama council updates weekly, while in Polkadot, it updates monthly.

To create blockchains on Kusama and Polkadot, the Substrate platform is used. This provides the project with greater flexibility and better adaptability to changes, enhancing its scalability. In Kusama, vulnerabilities and issues are approached more calmly because the platform itself is designed specifically to detect and address such problems.



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