Polkadot Team Announces Kusama “Canary Network” for Experiments

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The much-hyped Polkadot Network is coming, but not before a spinoff launches. Call it Polkadot’s cousin, a side protocol, a “canary in the coal mine,” or its official name the Kusama Network — but it’s no mere testnet.


That’s per the non-profit Web3 Foundation, who, in unveiling the Kusama Network’s arrival later this summer in a July 16th announcement, characterized the premature Polkadot offshoot as “not so much a test-net, but a canary-net […] an early, highly experimental version of Polkadot presenting real economic conditions.”

Indeed, while the new network may appear at first glance to be little more than a glorified testnet, its backers noted on Tuesday how Kusama has been envisioned as something structurally different:

“It is not economically centralised like a typical ‘test net’ and there will be no central kill switch. Kusama will exist as long as its community maintains it and we envision it will cater to new, early, high-risk functionality and projects preparing to develop and deploy on Polkadot.”

No specific release date has been set for the side network, though the Web3 Foundation has confirmed its launch is planned for sometime between now and the end of summer.

Making It Worth the While of Kusama Stakeholders

Notably, the Kusama Network will have its own native token, the KSM, which will mirror how DOT tokens are used in Polkadot, e.g. for validating or for governance votes.

KSMs will be claimable by DOT holders as of July 17th on a 1:1 basis. When Polkadot itself is finally launched, one percent of the DOT supply will be earmarked for “eventual incentivisation to Kusama’s stakeholders and community.”

As Dr. Gavin Wood, founder of Polkadot and the Web3 Foundation, explained on the news:

“Polkadot introduces so much cutting-edge technology that we decided to dispense using fake networks with pre-designed incentivizations and simply offer a blanket reward for the token holders and let the mechanics take care of themselves. Let’s take our first step into this unknown and see what chaos awaits.”

One DOT $75 a Pop? CoinFLEX Has an Offer

On July 15th, cryptocurrency exchange CoinFLEX announced it was opening up pre-registrations to its inaugural “initial futures offering,” or IFO, which will be for discounted DOT contracts since Polkadot’s native tokens haven’t been activated yet.

The registration period required CoinFLEX users to lock up 1,000 of the exchange’s FLEX tokens in order to fight for a chance to be slotted among a winning lot of 300 traders, who could then buy approximately $500 USD worth of DOT contracts which will be priced at $75 each.

“This is the first time we’ve made a futures market for a coin that doesn’t actually exist yet,” the exchange’s chief executive officer Mark Lamb noted to CoinDesk. He later added that the contracts will expire shortly after Polkadot goes live.

Since actual DOTs haven’t been released yet, Lamb said the contracts in question are being supplied by Asian investors who had participated in Polkadot’s private token sales.

Web3 Foundation Recently Closed Private DOT Sale

Last month, the Web3 Foundation reported the completion of a private sale of 500,000 DOTs — 1/20th of the token’s total supply — thus achieving a valuation of $1.2 billion for the coming Polkadot blockchain interoperability protocol.

If maintained, such a valuation suggests each DOT will eventually be worth in the ballpark of $100. Like the Kusama Network, Polkadot doesn’t have a specific release date yet, though its launch is being targeted to unfurl sometime before year’s end.

“With this success, I look forward to seeing the W3F team put these resources to good use, supporting both Polkadot and the broader Web 3.0 ecosystem,” Dr. Wood said upon the private sale’s completion.


William M. Peaster is a professional writer and editor who specializes in the Ethereum, Dai, and Bitcoin beats in the cryptoeconomy. He's appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, and more. He enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. He's learning Solidity, too! Contact him on Telegram at @wmpeaster

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