In a recent Realvision interview, developer Gavin Wood explains how Polkadot is reshaping the innovation ecosystem from the ground up. Wood also discusses how the Polkadot protocol is both similar but also different from Ethereum, the second largest crypto asset based on market valuation.
Polkadot: A Bet Against Maximalism
Innovation is pioneering and realizing a creative new way of doing something. For famed blockchain programmer Gavin Wood, Polkadot is the platform that unlocks the potential of faster blockchain innovation.
By building a platform of platforms or 0-layer technology, Polkadot seeks to push the boundaries of efficiency with a more flexible and abstract environment.
Here are some highlights from the lengthy interview Wood gave to Real Vision’s Sebastian Moonjava (link to the full interview below).
For Wood, one of the main hurdles of the existing framework is the resource-intensive tasks involved in launching a new blockchain. In this context, he sees Polkadot as multiple forms of shortcuts:
What Polkadot does is you can get to work quickly with a lot of that work, it allows you to do a lot of things that you need to do to build your own blockchain. It also allows you to work quickly with things like building your own community, it allows you to work quickly with things like being able to use all the different bits that are happening in other blockchains. It does this by connecting, which allows it to connect to those other chains. It also very crucially allows you to avoid having to build your own base, your own security base.
Security is a recurring theme in blockchain as so much power, capital and resources are used to provide for this basic need. Polkadot works on the basis of his design to remove this obstacle in the development process of new layers and applications.
Bitcoin famously has the mining algorithm. I don’t know, it consumes the equivalent of, I don’t know, the energy of a small country just to keep itself safe. Of course the newer chains are usually not proof of work, they are usually proof of stake, so they don’t consume a lot of energy, but they use a lot of capital … that’s really one of the main problems Polkadot solves, it stands the same capital base to secure many different domain-specific blockchains.
More efficient securing of the ecosystem is just one of the many value-oriented measures that set this new model apart from the crowd. A thorny problem that some users have encountered during the recent rise in cryptocurrency prices is higher transaction fees. Ethereum recently hit $ 6 per transaction. From Wood’s point of view, the idea of gas is one of the inefficiencies Polkadot is trying to address.
In Polkadot we have no idea about gas, we have no idea about bills or account balances … The team behind the program uploads that program. They do it like a blockchain. The program is actually a very large program that contains all the different business logic for an application or possibly many different applications. They upload this to Polkadot, and then they pay for that blockchain, that parachain to be there by virtue of this leasing system deposit. Once it’s paid, it’s done. At that point, the users of this computer program don’t even need to know anything about Polkadot, they never need to know anything about the DOT token or anything related to it. All they care about is what the business logic of this chain is.
Another unique area in which this concept deviates from the mainstream is in the area of consensus. Unlike other methodologies that have occasionally resulted in hard forks, such as Ethereum Classic, Polkadot is designed to be forkless,
Divisions in a community, as we have seen in the past, are toxic. They ultimately lead to negativity on all sides, and that’s generally against the happy innovation we see in a functioning community. We can actually do the best things triggered by hard forks, i.e. policy or protocol experiments, but we can do them at the parachain level, and we can run them all in parallel, one in each parachain, and the ones that do the tend to work, we can elevate to Polkadot, the ones that don’t work that well, we can just leave these parachains or drop them altogether.
This sense of experimentation to identify the best option is present in much of the logic that underlies Polkadot, including something as necessary as the rule sets that govern the system.
There is certainly something we don’t know is best [ruleset] is. This idea that has been sold that there is one blockchain for every application has certainly been pushed by elements of the Ethereum community. I don’t think it exists. I think Ethereum is a great chain for prototyping blockchain experiments, but I’m sure – if I were doing supply chain infrastructure for example, why would I build it into smart contracts that need to be measured, that really inefficient have measurement system?
Unlike Ethereum in the example above, Polkadot does not have the same measured stiffness, making routine calculations and repetitive measures much more affordable. In addition to the greater flexibility, new tools will be launched within the ecosystem in 2021, giving makers and developers a new form of clay to shape future blockchain applications.
Our job here is to develop Polkadot and deliver parachains and make it as efficient and stable as possible. It may be that when that is done, we are going to play with developing a few parachains of our own, and maybe developing some of the core technology on parachains, but in fact our job is to provide Polkadot as an application platform.
Wood’s take on the ecosystem’s potential is thrilled, with his hopes of boldly repositioning the blockchain innovation landscape.
It’s a beautiful ecosystem of… about 340 projects and more developing the layers, these platforms. Polkadot is a platform or platform, or platforms themselves that provide the infrastructure for things like decentralized finance and supply chain and registry tracking, NFTs, and all that crazy unimaginable stuff.
You can watch the full interview here
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