Top Kusama dapps overview

What is Kusama

Polkadot's canary network, Kusama is an architectural replica of Polkadot, which saw the light of day a year before Polkadot and has since served as a place to test parachains, government, and other technologies before they are implemented on Polkadot. Sounds like a testnet? Not at all. The Web3 Foundation and Parity team went further and created a real blockchain backed by real bonds with economic value to test products and let only those protocols that have already proven to be secure and viable onto the Polkadot network.

Created for 'radical innovation,' Kusama invites everyone to 'join the chaos' and deploy whatever ideas they have, refining their mechanics with Polkadot's wild cousin. Created in 2019 by Gavin Wood, Kusama is fully decentralized and managed by KSM token holders.

The name 'canary network' refers to the canaries used at coal mining sites to detect toxic gases like carbon monoxide in advance and alert the miners. It also makes sense to compare Polkadot and Kusama to Bitcoin and Litecoin - being independent blockchains, Litecoin is a slower copy of Bitcoin, designed to be experimented on.

How does Kusama work

Built as Polkadot’s experimental platform, Kusama has the same code and structure as the early unaudited version of Polkadot. It consists of the Relay Chain and parachains and was built by the same Parity team as Polkadot, using the Substrate development framework. It is only logical that it was released earlier than Polkadot, again, to test out the working mechanics fully before running the Polkadot mainnet. 

Kusama consists of Relay Chain and its connecting parachains. It is a Nominated Proof-of-Stake (NPos) network, where the Relay Chain is layer zero and provides the work of the network government and validators, who, in turn, are responsible for validating blocks of parachains (layer one).

Just like its cousin, Kusama supports cross-consensus message passing (XCM) and forkless upgrade technologies and can update its code without the need to create duplicates. You can learn more about the structure of Polkadot, as well as the roles of nominators, validators, fishermen, and collators, who handle parachain transactions, in a detailed Polkadot overview or video walkthrough of this network.

But how is Kusama different from its stricter cousin? The canary network runs faster than Polkadot, which is due to the faster process of managing the network. On Kusama, token holders are given only seven days to vote, followed by a period of eight days to enact changes, whereas on Polkadot these periods are 28 days each. It is worth noting that when we talk about speed in this sense, we are not referring to transaction and data transfer speed, it is about the same as on Polkadot.

In addition to the modified board system, Kusama is cheaper than its cousin. For example, the total cost of KSM tokens that parachains must lock in to bid for the right to be joined to Kusama's Relay Chain is significantly lower than that on Polkadot. The penalty for validators is also lower. 

New technologies that are planned for Polkadot are brought to Kusama first. Ultimately, the path that parachain takes before it gets to Polkadot is as follows: testnet - Kusama - Polkadot. However, this does not mean that the protocols disappear from the Kusama network after the final deployment to Polkadot. On the contrary, many of them might decide to keep a ‘twin’-project on Kusasma or even stay solely on the canary network, as at the end of the day, Kusama is a standalone blockchain with its own ecosystem and development path.

How to use the Kusama Network

As with Polkadot, to join the Kusama network as a user, you can try one of the activated parachains. The 16 parachains currently connected (out of 25 planned) to Kusama are Statemine (Polkadot's Statemint twin), a common-good chain that allows you to create, hold, and transfer KSM tokens, as well as other assets - fungible and non-fungible. Like its Polkadot variation, Statemine was developed by Parity Technologies and did not participate in the auction. 

Bit.Country Pioneer is intended to be the hub of gamification and metaverse on Kusama. Karura (Polkadot’s Acala's twin) is an EVM-compatible DeFi hub with all the protocols, stablecoins, and the possibility of staking, loan processing, AMM DEX, and so forth. 

Parachain Genshiro (with the Equilibrium analog on Polkadot) will serve a similar purpose, it offers all kinds of financial services - from Curve AMM and DEX with derivative contracts on ETFs to stocks, gold, and commodities. 

The Shiden Network (Astar on Polkadot) enables EVM-compatible smart contracts and layer-2 solutions, while Moonriver (Moonbeam on Polkadot) will enable dApps that can work with users and assets from other networks, and parachain Picasso (Composable on Polkadot) will combine applications written in different programming languages into one network and let them work together.

Other DeFi-purpose parachains are Basilisk (HydraDX on Polkadot), Heiko Finance (Parallel Finance on Polkadot), and Calamari Network. Except the latter has a bias towards privacy and private transactions. Everything related to NFT is handled by a parachain called Quartz (its twin for Polkadot, Unique Network, is still being tested).

To start using the services offered by parachains on Kusama, you need to connect a wallet. Many of the parachains support familiar browser extension wallets, including Metamask, most require a Polkadot{.js} wallet.

The KSM token

KSM is a government token in the Kusama network. It is used for governance, used by validators for staking, by nominators to support one or another validator, and it is also the KSM token that must be bonded for a parachain to be connected to the Kusama network (or just to be able to auction that right), as well as for parathread to have their blocks validated by Relay Chain. 

The KSM token has no maximum supply, its total supply is now limited to 10 million, and increases at a 10% inflation rate per year. New KSMs go to validators and to the Kusama treasury, which is managed by the government.

Initially, the KSM token was distributed to those who bought Polkadot DOT tokens on sale. Thus, a user who once bought a DOT could claim their KSM at a ratio of 1 to 1.

In Kusama staking one can be either a validator or nominator. Network validators are selected by the Phragmén method, and there is no minimum number of KSM tokens to become a network validator, this number is dynamic and constantly changing. Information about the minimum number of KSM tokens to become a validator is available here.

How to buy Kusama KSM token

This token can be purchased on centralized exchanges like Kraken, Coinbase, Binance, or Crypto.com.

Disclaimer

To understand if Kusama is a good investment and try to make a KSM price prediction, you need to do your own research on the project.

All the data for research is available on the project page on our website: check out the technical features of the project in this review, try to use the app, see if the information about the team is available and the team is open for communication, and using the project dashboard and the KSM price chart, assess the project usage rates as well as the token price movement and the number of its holders.

Kusama fees

Kusama fees follow the same pattern as Polkadot. Like gas fees, they are paid for transactions, but not always using the native coin of the KSM network. So, on different parachains, different coins can be used for this purpose. On the Karura parachain, for example, transaction fees in addition to KSM can be paid in the KAR token native to the parachain, or even in the kUSD stablecoin.

Polkadot and Kusama's transaction fees are called inclusion fees and are calculated as a sum of various fees called a base fee, weight fee (fee proportional to the weight of the transaction), length fee (fee proportional to the encoded length of the transaction), and optional tips, which can affect the priority of the transaction and increase its chances to be included in the queue.

Is Kusama safe

Kusama was built by the same team that built Polkadot, with Gavin Wood as a mastermind behind the project.

There’s no way of determining whether it is completely safe to use Kusama, as it was created as the place to experiment and test-out technologies and dApps. ‘Chaos’ is the word that is frequently encountered while using the network. In the early days of Kusama, there was a hackathon held by the platform, however, no audit reports were published.

What's next

There is no official roadmap for 2022 and forward published for Kusama, however, one can come to a conclusion using a roadmap posted on Polkadot dedicated resources. Currently, the network is busy onboarding parachains through handling parachain auctions.  

Links

https://guide.kusama.network

https://parachains.info

http://parity.io/

 

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