Polkadot’s Kusama Network to Start Parachain Auctions Next Week

The start date was heralded by the upgrade to Kusama’s Statemine parachain, Polkadot founder Gavin Wood said Tuesday.

Jun 8, 2021 at 3:31 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:08 p.m. UTC

Bidding is about to begin among projects looking to secure a place within the Polkadot ecosystem, a scalable network of interconnected blockchains, known as “Parachains,” created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood.

In a blog post published Tuesday, Wood outlined a schedule and some recommendations for the rollout over the coming weeks of the Parachain Slot Auctions, the bidding process by which projects can secure a lease to build on Kusama. Kusama, Polkadot’s pre-production environment, is also known as a “canary network.” Parachain auctions on Polkadot are still TBD.

As Ethereum has become increasingly overloaded and expensive, thanks to the explosion of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), credible alternatives such as Polkadot, Cosmos, Solana, NEAR and others are starting to elbow their way into the base layer conversation.

Winning a parachain slot on Kusama or Polkadot once it’s fully deployed, is an expensive business. Each auction will last a week, and in the case of Polkadot, this is said to require a minimum of 1 million of the network’s native DOT tokens (approximately $20 million at today’s prices). 

Polkadot and Kusama share much of the same code and features but are independent, standalone networks, the latter allowing more in the way of experimentation and faster upgrades.

Projects can crowdfund the tokens required to win a slot using Kusama’s built-in “crowdloan” mechanism, which allows people to contribute by agreeing to lock up their own KSM, Kusama’s native token, until the end of a lease period, for which these contributors can earn rewards.

The start of the parachain auctions was heralded by last week’s upgrade of a "Shell" parachain, a kind of empty, featureless vessel, to Statemine, which can handle a mix of KSM, stablecoins and NFTs, Wood explained.

The first Kusama Parachain Slot schedule is slated to take place at 8 a.m. ET on June 15, according to Wood (and subject to final approval by the Kusama council). Winners will be determined on June 22 at 7 a.m. ET.

Correction (June 8, 18:05 UTC): The headline and portions of the text have been modified to clarify that Kusama parachain auctions commence next week, not Polkadot parachain auctions.

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