Acala To Initiate Its Launch Process on Polkadot: Here’s Our Approach

Bette Chen
Published in
6 min readDec 14, 2021


After two+ years of building and innovating, Acala has officially won the first parachain slot auction on Polkadot, signalling that the team can begin to onboard its customized, layer-1 network to Polkadot’s Relay Chain on December 18, 2021.

This momentous achievement is a testament to the strength and passion of Acala’s growing community, which now includes 800,000 members across global channels and over 100 ambassadors, all of whom inspire and inform Acala’s mission to build and nurture a new, open financial system that brings more accessibility, opportunity, and prosperity to all.

In total, over 190,000 unique contributors locked 32.5 million DOT in support of the Acala Crowdloan with 24.1 million DOT contributed to the Liquid Crowdloan vault, ensuring that a substantial portion of crowdloan liquidity will be unlocked and accessible for various DeFi use cases on Acala. For more details visit our contribution stats summary.

With gratitude and appreciation at the forefront of our minds, our team is now preparing to initiate the launch process for Acala. Here’s what you can expect on the journey.

A Thoughtful Approach to Launching

Acala’s team includes some of the leading blockchain innovators, Substrate and Rust developers, full stack dApp developers, and economists. With the best talent in place, we’re approaching Acala’s launch with focus, flexibility, patience, and wisdom.

Acala’s Roadmap

Here we’ve outlined a living roadmap to guide our team. Items are organized within four phases along the pathway of progressive decentralization.

Flexible & Adaptable

You may notice that timelines are purposefully abstract to account for any dependencies on Polkadot, as well as external audits in process that may require additional updates for the benefit and security of the network. The team is agile and ready to adapt to any changes.

Prepared to Practice Patience

With this in mind, we expect this launch process to take time. Unlike Kusama, Polkadot has longer governance parameters, which requires any Polkadot-dependent launch items to participate in the on-chain process — a 28-day voting cycle (4x that of Kusama).

We can, however, anticipate timelines for the following items:

  • ACA tokens will be distributed within the first 4 weeks of genesis.
  • Liquid Crowdloan DOT (LCDOT) will be distributed within the first 4 weeks of genesis with the entire amount unlocked. And once token transfers and DeFi protocols like aUSD stablecoin and Acala Swap are enabled, LCDOT holders will be able to make use of its underlying DOT liquidity.
  • 2M+ DOT acquired from the Build Acala events will be transferred to the Acala Treasury within the first 4 weeks. This protocol DAO will enable self-sustainability and growth of the Acala network, all governed and managed by Acala network owners.
  • Token transfers on Acala will be enabled in Q1. This will allow users to transfer tokens like ACA and LCDOT between accounts.
  • NFT rewards will be distributed within Q1.

We kindly ask for the community’s patience as we work to enable each component of Acala’s new financial infrastructure.

Informed By The Wisdom of Karura

Though timelines are to be determined, the launch process includes great clarity informed by key learnings from Karura, Acala’s sister network on Kusama. With much of Karura’s launch process behind us, we’re now able to better understand which initiatives need to be prioritized or reconfigured for the benefit of Acala’s launch.

  • Acala has partnered with Gauntlet to help build financial risk parameters for the DeFi protocols soon launching on the parachain. Real-world data from Karura is allowing Gauntlet to have precision in their data analysis in the preparation of Acala’s launch, whereas with other protocols, Gauntlet was only able to model data based on assumptions. The Karura DeFi data will allow Acala’s financial parameters such as collateralization ratios and liquidations to be optimized very early in the parachain’s life.
  • Karura has also helped the team to better understand how to build a supportive and straightforward experience for users of the Karura Apps. We have built an exhaustive Apps Wiki for Karura, along with guides, videos, Discord support channels, and more. We plan on using everything we learned along with the way with Karura in order to provide the best possible experience for users utilizing our native protocols as well as all the DApps that will soon be launching on the Acala EVM+.
  • Acala will also be able to leverage a lot of the experience and learnings taken from the governance process on Karura. We have learned a lot from the Karura governance process in order to optimize things like proposals on the governance forum, hosting community calls to discuss new governance proposals and referenda, providing a channel for email alerts on new governance votes, and how to guide other teams along the process of making proposals on the forum for events like new token listings on the Karura DEX.

A Budding DeFi Ecosystem

With these insights, the Acala team is more motivated than ever to scale its new financial infrastructure — one that includes a broad coalition of innovative developers as well as enterprise integrations.

Bringing DeFi to Fintech

As we look into 2022 for the Acala ecosystem, Hybrid Finance (HyFi), will surely play a major role. Acala is building a DeFi backend that is already the integration partner of choice for major FinTech companies and neobanks such as Current will be integrating its fintech savings app with Acala to bring DeFi yield to its 3 million U.S. based customers. Acala will provide an API for Current, and will continue to roll out the product to other FinTech customers around the world. Read more about the partnership announced in May 2021.

The most advanced EVM in Web3

Substrate and Polkadot are categorically different from Ethereum in a way that will empower many new, chain-level innovations outside of the EVM sandbox. We are firm believers in the power of Substrate and built the Acala EVM+ to also optimize for Substrate’s full potential and longevity, rather than simply redeploying Ethereum on Polkadot and inheriting all the same problems Polkadot was built to solve.

The Acala and Karura developer ecosystem is anxiously awaiting the release of Acala’s EVM+. The testnet is live and being tested with teams building in the Acala and Karura ecosystem. EVM+ will then launch on Karura first once fully tested and ready. This will begin the launch of Karura’s DApp ecosystem built in the EVM+ environment. After some experience with the EVM+ on Karura, Acala will then also deploy the EVM+ environment. There are now over 15 teams ready to launch on the EVM+ and we look forward to supporting the success of all of these teams in early 2022.

A Commitment to Community

One thing is certain, our community comes first. In addition to Karura’s Community Calls, Acala’s Crowdcasts, Twitter Spaces, and team Q&As, we intend to continue scheduling events to further support accessibility and transparency between the team and Acala’s growing ecosystem. We’re committed to providing ongoing communications with frequent updates, starting with the pre-launch crowdcast event this week. Watch as Bette, Bryan, and Dan walked through the Acala launch roadmap on December 15, 2021:

About Acala

Acala is an Ethereum-compatible smart contract platform optimized for DeFi and scaling DApps to Polkadot. The blockchain has built-in DeFi protocols for application developers to leverage, including a decentralized stablecoin (Acala Dollar — aUSD), a trustless staking derivatives (liquid DOT — LDOT), and a decentralized exchange.

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Bette Chen
Editor for

COO & Co-Founder @Laminar & @AcalaNetwork. Full-stack Product Manager. Budling for a decentralized future.