Kusama Parachain Auctions: Second Batch

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By Robert Habermeier, Polkadot founder

The first batch of 5 Parachain slot auctions on Kusama was successfully completed in June and July. Since then, these parachains have been running together with the Parachain Statemine for the common good on Kusama. Here are our recommendations for launching the next series of parachain auctions after interim monitoring of vibrancy and stability.

That summer, Kusama made history with a permitless launch of 5 independent parachains made possible by the technology developed for Polkadot. This was a turning point for the entire ecosystem, with a fair and secure auction mechanism that assigns parachain slots to the community’s favorite projects.

The 5 winning projects were in the correct order Karura, Moon river, Shiden, Khala, and Bifrost and each in turn works through their respective introductory phases. By gradually expanding their range of functions, the first parachains from Kusama already use the integrated and forkless upgradeability of substrates and have given the ecosystem more value.

In addition, the seeds of a multi-chain future planted long ago are now bearing fruit. While all five parachains are working on cross-chain collaborations, Shiden and Karura have already used the XCM protocol to make valuable cross-chain transfers, and Khala has built a public one-way bridge using substrate pallets.

The goal of Kusama is to be a chaotic testing ground for the technology that powers Polkadot. In the spirit of chaos, features usually land on Kusama before launching on Polkadot. After cleanroom testing, code and incentives must be satisfactorily tested in a real and valuable environment before they land on Polkadot.

While our recommendations for the Parachain launch on Kusama are cautious due to the uncertainty of the new environment, this experience paves the way for Polkadot to scale quickly and smoothly to the same sharding level as the technology has proven itself. The more Kusama is stress tested, the faster and easier it will be for a smooth Polkadot rollout.

The software for MVP parachains (Minimum Viable Product) is fully functional and includes protocols for the inclusion of parachain blocks, data availability and security. Two of the four protocols have been examined and the remaining two are continuing to be examined. Our recommendation is that the rollout of Parachains on Polkadot should begin by the time the audits are completed, any issues discovered have been resolved and there are no incidents related to the Parachain Consensus on Kusama.

We have monitored the performance and stability of the six parachains currently on Kusama with the report published here. Parachain block production, approvals, and finality are generally stable, with occasional incidents related to temporary deadlocks. These incidents are being investigated and we will propose a resolution to correct the cause after the next five auctions on Kusama and before auctions on Polkadot.

It is not the opinion of Parity Technologies’ core development team that the next five parachains on Kusama will significantly exacerbate this problem – Kusama is messy, and being exposed to more real world data means a smoother start on Polkadot in the future. Therefore, Parity recommends the Kusama Council that the next Parachain auctions start according to the following schedule:

  • The sixth Parachain slot auction starts on September 1st at 12pm GMTto give the members of the Kusama community enough time to approve KSM for their auction bids and to participate in crowdloans
  • Auctions begin sequentially with a two-day first bid period, followed by a five-day end period (as with the first five auctions).
  • Five auctions take place in five weeks with a pause for evaluation the overall network performance before a third batch of five auctions begins on a similar schedule

The following is the case assuming that no significant and unexpected problems with the relay chain logic are found (in such a case, all network governance options should be left on the table, including pausing or postponing planned or ongoing auctions.)

If these recommendations are followed, the schedule will be as follows:

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