Gavin Wood: Polkadot's 2019 Annual Review (full text)

Article Source: Password Geek

Editing / Jiang Peng

This article is GavinWood's annual review of Polkadot, current progress and plans for the next 12 months.


Since the end of last year, I have compiled some statistical data, and continued this trend to organize this year's report. Overall, the Polkadot ecosystem project including Substrate, Grandpa, Cumulus, and some dependency support code has over 300,000 lines of code! This is three times the amount completed last year (note that it contains neither the user interface nor the smart contract code base). A total of 121 people completed these lines of code, of which nearly half were from community contributors, except for Parity employees. The code adds nearly 3,000 personal donations, which is more than double that of last year. Now, nearly 1,000 people in the Substrate English chat room and the Substrate community have answered a lot of questions about Polkadot, Substrate, and Parachain development.

Team and community

Although the Polkadot ecosystem is born with an aura, it began with some accomplished teams and individuals, but this does not mean that the development of the team will stop there. Last year, there have been some very obvious transitions. Chronicled , a supply chain startup located outside of San Francisco, announced the upgrade of its Mediledger Network from Parity Ethereum to Substrate, and its ultimate goal is to use Polkadot to connect various supply chain networks to each other and achieve distributed, integrated supply chain data system.

About a month ago, Polymath ( a comprehensive blockchain-based securities platform) announced that they have been silently building a new platform, Polymesh, on Substrate for the past nine months. In the announcement, they analyzed many factors in detail, considered Substrate as the best solution, and studied various options. "The decision-making process involves many variables, including technology, roadmaps, product suitability, and community aspects." Finally, they chose Substrate because they found many factors that other frameworks couldn't deliver, including the modular framework used to construct ("Frame "). Business logic, branchless scalability, governance and the entire community. On behalf of the community, thank you for your support 😉

The Shift Project (a decentralized cloud hosting service based on IPFS sharding) recently announced that after several weeks of research on various existing modular cores, they have decided to move to a Substrate / Polkadot implementation. These three key factors include Substrate's hybrid consensus, cutting-edge equity systems, and off-chain work frameworks., a well-known Bitcoin (now mainstream currency) wallet / block browser, announced plans to establish Polkadot's token and governance support early this year. "More than 41 million wallets will not only be able to store, send, and receive DOT, but also advance governance of the network by voting on key issues such as network protocols and proposed amendments by board members." As Polkadot emphasizes solid governance Mechanism, so such integration is essential to ensure good full-node inclusiveness.

Held a number of online and offline seminars and other events around the world, the topics related to authentication mechanism, Polkadot basic knowledge, Kusama, node address, security, and Substrate, etc. In these activities, I have witnessed many helping professor Substrate's outstanding work; among them, I will make a special call to the Plasm team in Tokyo, which made me lucky to participate in the wonderful seminar held under the topic of Substrate. At the same time, they also announced the release of their testnet, which is also one of the most exciting projects in the Polkadot field. I am looking forward to experimenting when I have time.

Our global ambassador program has now attracted 111 people from 37 countries, and various Polkadot / Substrate gathering organizations have covered more than 3700 members. After visiting 20 cities around the world (including three trips to China), and hosting 15 events with developers, media, and KOL in San Francisco, Substrate has gained worldwide publicity in 2019. In many different cities, we have seen teams use Substrate and Polkadot to create next-generation products: from superb hardware wallets to de-fi products. There are a lot more (and my hoodie Goda :-), and I am always impressed with this entrepreneurial spirit. So we will continue to work hard to provide a platform with this breadth.

We've seen a lot of very interesting technologies, not just the Web3 Grant program. For the Polkadot (and Kusama) community, an impressive thing is the great energy and productivity shown by community contributors. Although there are too many projects to discuss all of them (such as Centrifuge, Laminar, Acala, KILT, Nodle, MXC, Celer, OAX, Katal, imToken), I will specifically mention Polkascan . The more visual effects this block browser has, Better the better-thanks to Emiel for paying so much attention to my exploration needs. Polkastats is a great resource for 'spinach' in Kusama, recently released version 2.0 of its website and it looks great. Chevdor is a long-term dot marker, and recently released srtool, a method for efficient and deterministic build of Polkadot Runtime, which is very helpful for verifying the runtime upgrade. Subsocial , a universal social networking tool based on Substrate and IPFS, looks great. There are some ideas available for Kusama (perhaps Polkadot) governance platforms. I think that's exactly what we want to see, with continued support for Polkadot and Kusama in 2020.

Organization and sales

The Parity team now has more than 100 strong partners, and the Web3 Foundation team has expanded to 50 people. This year, these teams have attracted many excellent employees, such as Ximin (went from Dfinity to W3F as our senior network researcher), Yao Qi (from Ziliqa's CTO to Parity) and Christine (from ConsenSys's CMO to Parity and W3F). Our goal is not to grow purely, but to open the door for talented people inside and outside the ecosystem.

Earlier this year, we completed some private placements and sold slightly more than 5% of the DOT. There are many global contributors, including companies like Innogy (he also stated in his statement the willingness to run validators on the mainnet), as well as venture capital firm Placeholder Capital and several community teams who see governance as the number one priority. The last batch of DOT that the Web3 Foundation will deploy has been designated for public offerings, Kusama Staking rewards and long-term ecosystem incentives, including future core developers and community builders who have not yet been paid.

During development

62 projects have received grants from the Web3 Foundation, and these projects come from 54 teams in 20 countries. Grants of approximately $ 4.4 million have now been awarded (expected to be fully implemented soon). This includes funding for other language implementations of the Polkadot Runtime (PRE), as well as funding for a full C ++ implementation.

The Polkadot Ecosystem Fund was established together with Polychain Capital, and we are glad to see it gain a foothold in the support of other large funds in the ecosystem. Polkadot Incubator was launched by Longhash in Singapore. Several teams have joined the project, and more teams will follow up. Moreover, the Web3 Foundation has joined the Proof-of-Stake Alliance (POS Alliance) on behalf of the Polkadot Protocol.

Global events

Throughout the year 19, many meetups were held around the world. A total of 22 teams participated in the Polkaworld hackathon in Hangzhou, China; Sub0 and Sub0.1 were held in Berlin, and more than 300 developers from around the world gathered to participate in the Substrate seminar, related topics, and online learning And workshops. We tracked the Web3 Foundation ETHCC in Paris and reported the Web3 Foundation ecosystem at the Consensus conference in New York.

The second Web3 Summit was also held in Berlin, with more than 1,200 participants gathered to discuss all issues related to the decentralized network. Thanks to Edward Snowden for taking the time out of his busy schedule to convey his thoughts on identification in a video conference. He said that ubiquitous identification is dangerous because it will force many of our social activities to be linked to personal identities, not "with money" but "with status"

Polkadot Kusama network released

The Kusama network, which we can also call the "Canary" network, is positioned in the early days of Polkadot and is an unaudited (and possibly incomplete) version of Polkadot, which has been successfully released as planned. This release truly demonstrates the advantages of an amorphous network. It started with a Closed Proof-of-Authorization (POA) network with a validator run by the Web3 Foundation, and then gradually opened Staking and decentralized governance, and became early in December. Decentralized blockchain project. So far, the network has undergone more than 20 upgrades, of which KayWhySee has been added in the last two or three, our scalable distributed identity federation system, and new multi-signature, pseudonym, and transaction batching capabilities. More upgrades are coming soon 🙂

At the time of writing, it is maintained by 130 pledged verifier nodes from around the world, including about fifty professional verifiers. Future on-chain development will be considered by the elected parliament in a public chat room and passed transparently. The stakeholder referendum is approved. This is open-chain governance and is currently being promoted.

Substrate2.0 launch

Substrate version 2.0 is coming soon, this version includes a variety of great upgrades, including

  • Numerous plug-and-play modules for chain governance;
  • Run-Ahead , Runtime Complier compiler, they can run near full speed even if your Substrate node is an older version;
  • Fast-Forward , a hybrid consensus algorithm. Under network operating conditions, other traditional algorithms (such as PBFT / Tendermint) will stagnate, but we can still enable us to complete thousands of blocks immediately;
  • KayWhySee , scalable identity alliance system;
  • Hand-Off , an emerging technology, can easily pair on-chain and off-chain logic, allowing the chain to distribute arbitrary, uncertain work on the network, and even update workloads when the chain is updated.

Compatibility and bridging

We have released a four-point plan to ensure long-term compatibility with Ethereum, and the feedback has been very positive. One of the key points is to cash in on schedule in a few weeks: Substrate is now compatible with Ethereum EVM, which means you can now run Ethereum contracts directly in the Substrate chain! The second point of development, namely the Parity-PoA Ethereum Bridge based on Substrate, is currently under development, and we hope to achieve this in the new year.

In addition to compatibility with EVM, the smart contract language (codenamed Fleetwood) we tried to develop last year has also evolved into ink! Language, now version 2.0, which looks very concise and easy to master. Based on Rust, your smart contract will benefit from its extensive compilation correctness guarantee and its world-class package management, documentation system and testing framework. As a core product of Parity and an important part of Polkadot's future, our smart contract toolset will be doubled next year, with additional documentation, optimization (such as a streaming AOT compiler for local speed smart contracts) and interoperability foundation Architecture, especially interoperability with Substrate Runtime and the wider Polkadot ecosystem.


Significant progress has been made in key projects and important components of the entire ecosystem. Parity Signer is software that allows you to turn unused smartphones into cold wallet devices with free space, and is now compatible with Polkadot and Kusama. It supports scalable HD key generation, making it very easy to manage all accounts. It also works perfectly with Polkadot web applications and Polkadot Chrome and Firefox plugins.

Other hardware wallets are also optional. Ledger support for Polkadot is now provided, which will connect directly to the Polkadot web application. Coin Pie and Wookong are also developing hardware wallets that support Polkadot encryption.

With that said, the speed at which Polkadot web applications are evolving is heartening. It provides exquisite, artisan-style wallets with excellent key management and key organization functions, and fully supports Polkadot's complex fee and locking mechanisms. It will provide excellent feedback for all on-chain activities and notify you when important events such as chain upgrades or democratic referendums occur. Full support for Polkadot's collateral function, and support for various other modules of Polkadot (such as governance and identity) is also increasing.

Polkadot Telemetry has been moved to a high-performance Rust backend, enabling it to support hundreds of nodes in the entire network, all of which provide real-time updates.

Substrate smart contracts have become more and more mature, with many features implemented and code improved over the past 12 months.

Our Fast-Forward hybrid consensus system is complete. It is a combination of Grandpa's final algorithm and Babe block generation algorithm. The former is able to complete millions of blocks instantly on thousands of validators. This combination allows us to continuously adapt to the network conditions while providing a high level of security for each of our Parachain shards. Real-world tests on Alexander test net work and on the Kusama network Real-time usage has been proven to perform well even with a large number of validators.

In the middle of the year, during the trip to Shanghai, the idea of "parathreads" was born. Parathread is the technical name for Polkadot's shards. These shards are not planned for each block (ie, transactions have been executed). They allow projects to effectively enter the Polkadot ecosystem and are fixed and cheap. Each chain can then schedule its own time on a pay-as-you-go basis, processing blocks more often when needed, and pausing activities when there is less work. This provides the project team with a more flexible economic model for the project team to conduct heavy task slot auctions.

Review and launch Key parts of Polkadot were completed during the year. The initial implementation of the sharding device has been completed to support continuous and sporadic scheduling of shards (referred to as parallel chains and parallel threads in the code, respectively). In addition, the " Slot Auctions " module and " Crowdfunding " module have also been completed. These allow the team to obtain a portion of Polkadot without permission with the help of trustless time deposits provided by public DOT holders. They will all be launched into Kusama in 2020.

We have completed two reviews of the code base and design, and the results have been optimistic. Now we have started the final round of external review. The reviewers come from three independent and respected teams who will check different locations of the code separately; another team will do penetration testing of our code and try to find bugs in our agreement. The results of the final review are expected to be reached in 2020.

The last part of the Polkadot protocol is already in development. We are currently prioritizing the underlying network, as this is critical to the success of sharding. We successfully demonstrated Cumulus at the Second Substrate Developer Conference Sub0.1 in Berlin, which will allow the Substrate chain to bridge to Polkadot as a "Parachain". We expect to release the first official version of the project in early 2020.

After we released Parathreads in November, XCMP, a cross-chain messaging system, has also been developed. Please wait for the news.

All in all, if Polkadot is likened to a house, 2018 is the year of foundation construction, 2019 is the year of hard decoration, and 2020 is the year of soft decoration. And the work in 2020 will soon be completed. This means that Polkadot's debut will be accompanied by a series of mature functions, including governance, parachain, slot auctions, parathreads, XCMP and Spree.

We will always focus on optimization, and it is expected that the TPS of each Substrate-based shard will reach the level of Parity Ethereum by the end of the year. In addition to the CPU and I / O, we will also work to optimize the network layer, from the lowest-level 'chaotic' system to more complex systems, which will require more parachains and the parathreads we want to see have been deployed in the main Online.

In terms of research, I hope that the main feature of Polkadot 2.0 is the parachain composability with exponential scalability. Polkadot 2.0 is designed to provide support for up to three layers of parachains, theoretically limited to one million parachains, each of which runs in a completely parallel manner. Needless to say, this will enable an incredible number of verification-free, interoperable trading capabilities

That's all I want to say, I wish you all a Happy New Year and a happy holiday.