Polkadot 2.0: The Next Evolution in Multi-Chain Technology?

Though the ambitious Polkadot (DOT) multi-chain network has seen great success thus far in its lifespan, it’s becoming clear that an upgrade will be needed soon to keep up with modern user expectations. 

That’s where Polkadot 2.0 comes in. It is a superior iteration of Polkadot 1.0 that aims to overhaul major areas of the ecosystem to create a bigger, faster, and more accessible platform for users to enjoy. 

Considering that Polkadot’s “next evolution” will have a big impact on how the platform operates and the rules it will follow, it’s certainly not a bad idea for any current or aspiring DOT holders to be aware of what changes are going to be ushered in. 

What Is Polkadot 2.0?

To understand Polkadot 2.0, let’s first take a step back and look at the Polkadot network itself. Polkadot is a multi-chain platform conjured up by Gavin Wood, the co-founder of Ethereum, along with several other key developers at Parity Technologies. 

Parity is an Ethereum-based development company, but ironically, it’s also where the idea of Polkadot first came about and where the most important developers of the project would meet one another to get the ball rolling. 

Polkadot as a concept was designed to allow for layer 1 blockchains, such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), to interact.

Polkadot collects all of these blockchains into a single network to work together as one, which in the world of crypto, is known as interoperability.

This level of ambition isn’t easy to pull off in execution though, and can come at the cost of speed and accessibility for the platform. At the end of the day, Polkadot is going to need to be a modernized platform for any users to truly recognise its benefits, and that will require a software makeover. 

The developers behind Polkadot did an excellent job creating an ecosystem that could support their ambitious visions, but Polkadot 2.0 aims to build upon what Polkadot 1.0 has already set out, not to change the network’s purpose but to simply create a superior version of what came before.  

Why Does Polkadot Need to Be Upgraded?

When Polkadot was first developed, much of the focus was on ensuring that the platform would provide blockchain interoperability. 

How it would actually get there wasn’t as much of a priority. As a result, many of the early features were seen more as ‘placeholders’ that weren’t designed to stand the test of time, and as a result, they’re now showing their age.

Here are some of the main issues plaguing Polkadot that come as a result of this:

  • Slot Auctions: This is where DOT holders can stake their tokens to rent out a parachain slot. Parachains are custom-made blockchains that developers can insert onto the network. The issue is that once someone wins an auction, they are given a freighter of blocks rather than what they need. Therefore, The auction system wastes resources and limits accessibility since auction stake prices are so high. 
  • Slow Blocktime: Blocktime refers to how long it takes for transactions to take place. Polkadot lags behind much of its competition, and as a result, purchasing parachains or handling any payments can feel sluggish and unresponsive. 
  • Project Limitations: Gavin Wood has made it clear that he wants Polkadot to become a Global Supercomputer where anyone can build any project they have in mind. Currently, projects are only restricted to parachains, which limits its evolution since there are many other non-blockchain-based developments, such as smart contracts, that people want to build on Polkadot. 

A quick disclaimer that a few blockchains have already embraced the “2.0” upgrade ethos before Polkadot did, including Ethereum, and even Polkadots very own canary network, Kusama. However, as we’ve just seen, Polkadot doesn’t seem to be following a trend, but instead, was always planned to continue evolving in order to improve the foundation it was originally built on. 

Key Upgrades of Polkadot 2.0

There have been a plethora of potential upgrades and enhancements mentioned by Gavin Wood and other developers since Polkadot 2.0 first cropped up on the roadmap, but the ones below have received the most attention and will have the biggest impact on the network.

Asynchronous Backing

The first upgrade in the Polkadot 2.0 rollout is asynchronous backing, an initiative designed to improve the speed, functionality, and accessibility of parachain blocks (parablocks). Parachains are technically their own blockchains; they are just rented out and customized by winners of the parachain auctions, which is why some may refer to them as parablocks in the Polkadot community. 

In the current network, each parablock must rely on the most recent block for what is known as its “backing”. This reliance limits their overall throughput, but asynchronous backing will break this chain so that parachains can work faster without having this reliance. 

The easiest way to understand this is by thinking about parablocks being placed on a conveyor belt. Currently, only one parablock can be placed on the belt while it is being created, and only when it reaches the end and is fully finished can the next one start being made. 

This is slow and takes too much time, but with asynchronous backing, multiple parablocks can sit on the conveyor belt at the same time, allowing them to be created at a much faster rate—12 to 6 seconds, to be exact. 

Alongside speeding up transaction times, asynchronous backing will also allow parablocks to store 4x more data, allowing developers to be more ambitious with their creations and chain use cases. 

All of this is obviously useful for developers, but it also benefits investors since there will be many more available blocks for them to spend their tokens, rather than waiting around for new ones to appear.

Agile Coretime

Agile Coretime is an attempt to completely overhaul the parachain auction model with a new system. As we have seen, this model has faced issues with wasting blockspace and having restrictive asking prices.

To do this, it will move auctions into a more “market-oriented” direction, where someone can buy exactly what they need, when they need it, rather than staking their DOT over the long term for a bulk of resources all at once, much of which they probably won’t use anyway. 

So rather than committing to a parachain slot for two years, someone could purchase a single year, a month, or even an hour on demand, allowing for more adaptability to current needs. 

There are two key advantages to this new iteration. For one, it will incentivize DOT token holders who may not have been as interested in renting and building parachains to give it a shot and dig deeper into what the platform offers since the amount of DOT needed will be lower and more dynamic. 

On the other hand, because the DOT itself will now be used to buy parachains directly rather than being staked, it may raise the token’s liquidity, which can lead to long-term and continuous demand for DOT, which could see it grow in value.

Elastic Scaling

To put it simply, elastic scaling will allow the Polkadot network to distribute its power and resource allocation more fairly across its many chains. It’s especially useful for parachains that have a bigger workload and, therefore, require more assistance from Polkadot than they can currently receive.

With elastic scaling, more coretime can be added to the parachain whenever needed, so if it reaches a roadblock or has too much data to handle, there’s an available option to improve its overall scalability.

This upgrade is primarily centered on developers with ambitious projects and DeFi applications (dApps) in mind, and as a result, it’s all about presenting Polkadot as a platform where anyone can start building without any restrictions.

Hermit Relay

To understand how Hermit Relay will impact Polkadot, we must first acknowledge the existence of the relay chain—a central hub that keeps the whole network running behind the scenes.

The relay chain offers features such as security and governance to the entire network, but it also needs to verify each transaction and creation that occurs in real time, so needless to say, it has a lot to keep track of.

The Hermit Relay model would unload most of this “baggage” onto the parachains themselves, freeing up some space and resources for the relay chain so that it can focus entirely on verifying the network and speeding it up in the process. As with asynchronous backing and agile coretime, this makes building and purchasing parachain spaces a much quicker and more streamlined process.

JAM

The Joint Accumulate Machine (JAM) is designed to replace the relay chain and expand the possibilities of what people can create on Polkadot.

Currently, parachains are the only development option, and since they can only be acquired through auctions, their accessibility is limited due to their price and the hassle of renting out a slot.

JAM proposes to recalibrate the relay chain entirely so that developers have more freedom to build other services for specific needs. A big example of this is smart contracts, which, traditionally, aren’t natively supported by the relay chain but would be accessible once JAM makes its way onto the network.

Because JAM is dealing with the relay chain, which is, in essence, the beating heart of Polkadot, its turnover will need to happen all at once rather than in stages like the other upgrades. As a result, it’s most likely a few years off and is seen by many as the final step needed for completing the Polkadot 2.0 rollout.

Small but Important Upgrades to Know About

These may be the biggest changes arriving in Polkadot 2.0, but there are a few other smaller upgrades mentioned by Gavin Wood and the team that have gotten people talking, these being the most popular examples:

  • Internode Mixnet: Encrypted transmission messaging service that allows users to communicate on-chain and off-chain without any risk of leaking IP data and information.
  • Sassafras Consensus: A new consensus algorithm which would iron out some of the issues of the current algorithm: BABE. Primarily designed to tighten network security and provide high-performance routing.
  • Smoldot: A light client that allows those using the substrate-building tool to connect directly to the Polkadot network without the need for any third-party intervention. 

When Is Polkadot 2.0 Set to Roll Out?

The Polkadot 2.0 rollout has already begun, officially kicking off with the approved implementation of asynchronous backing in May 2024. As for the other upgrades, though there is no exact date on when they will arrive, the good news is that many of them, including agile coretime, have seen success on the Kusama canary network, which indicates that a release on the mainnet will occur sooner than later. 

On the Flipside

  • Polkadot’s ambitious vision for being a frontrunner in Web3 has made it beloved by many, and as a result, it’s unclear whether Polkadot 2.0 will be fully embraced by the current community.
  • Unlike a lot of other blockchains, Polkadot relies entirely on the acceptance of the wider community to grow and expand, so while these features can be tested and verified practicality, time will what people within the Polkadot ecosystem truly feel about them and whether they can stick around for the long run. 

Why This Matters

Polkadot is moving at a breakneck pace, and considering how popular it has become within cryptocurrency, you don’t want to be left out of the loop. 

With Polkadot 2.0, the network is moving ever closer to Web3 where crypto users can have full control and privacy over their data and assets, which is why it’s more than worth keeping an eye on, especially now that its hotly anticipated rollout cycle is finally underway. 

FAQs

Will Polkadot 2.0 Change the NPoS Model?

Unlike with the auction system, there has been no mention of overhauling Polkadot’s nominated proof-of-stake model, so DOT holders should still be able to nominate validators to verify the network when Polkadot 2.0 is completed. 

Who Founded Polkadot?

Polkadot was founded in 2016 by Gavin Wood and fellow Parity Technologies developers Robert Habermeier and Peter Czaban. It also received funding from the Web3 Foundation to help lift it off the ground. 

Sourced from dailycoin.com.

Written by on 2024-07-06 12:00:00.

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