The First KSM<>DOT Bridge

Composable Finance
Published in
5 min readSep 6, 2022

Composable’s vision has been to unify liquidity fragmentation across multiple ecosystems. Trustless bridging was previously limited to the ecosystem from which it originated from (i.e. IBC to Cosmos and XCM to Polkadot). After spending a year developing trustless bridging solutions for cross-ecosystem unification, we have now successfully brought IBC to the Polkadot ecosystem. With this recent milestone, we’ve now architected a solution for Picasso’s launch to readily attract external liquidity, that relies solely on trustless bridging.

Introducing the first bridge between KSM and DOT, powered by IBC.

The first bridge between KSM <> DOT: extending IBC beyond the Cosmos

I am pleased to finally publicly present what our team has been working on for so long in stealth — the first-ever bridge between KSM and DOT. This innovation holds significant implications for our goals as there currently does not exist a bridge between KSM and DOT, yet it is a necessary component for the success of our ecosystem.

  1. In this way, this will be our core trustless bridge to launch Picasso and utilize $DOT as the base asset to attract TVL to our ecosystem.
  2. With $DOT as the base asset to launch Pablo, we will have highly incentivized pools for providing liquidity.
  3. As a result, Pablo, our native cross-chain DEX on Kusama, will now have $DOT in the form of $ibcDOT, bridged from Polkadot.
  4. The implications for launch is now, instead of relying on a bridge for EVM liquidity, we will have a bridge between DOT and KSM, with DOT serving as the base asset for the kickoff of the PICA LBP — marking the beginning of the Picasso ecosystem.
  5. This is a significant milestone for innovation between Cosmos and DotSama as it is the first time the IBC is being utilized to bridge assets outside of the native Cosmos ecosystem.
  6. With this key accomplishment, we’ll be positioned to then establish a connection between IBC-enabled chains in the Cosmos and the Picasso parachain as well.

From a development cycle perspective, our focus will be auditing IBC-rs, pallet-ibc, and the GRANDPA light client to prepare for the launch of this bridge, which, in turn, will kickoff the overall launch of Picasso.

How this Works

From a technical perspective, how this works for a user is in the following manner:

1. A user connects their Polkadot wallet to our Picasso or Pablo dApp.
2. Signs a transaction to bridge DOT from the relay chain to the Composable parachain.
3. Another signature initiates the transfer from the Composable parachain, over IBC of $DOT to $ibcDOT on Picasso.
4. There, the user can now freely utilize $ibcDOT on Picasso on Pablo, and participate in the other infrastructure we’ll have ready for launch.

To ensure that the UX is as intuitive as possible, we have spent extra time and energy designing our user interface, thus for a user it will be as familiar as bridging KSM through XCM to Picasso.

Why is this important for our ecosystem, specifically the launch and success of Picasso?

In short, this is important for the following reasons:

1. For the first time, KSM and DOT are being bridged, unlocking the ability for the experimentation of Kusama to continue, with the TVL of Polkadot to support the ecosystem.

2. IBC introduced a trustless bridging primitive for communication outside of the Cosmos ecosystem, initiating the Cambrian explosion of trustless bridging as the foremost and ONLY solution for long-term cross-ecosystem communication.

Mosaic: Optimizing our bridging solutions for trustless DeFi

In order to serve users’ needs, we created Mosaic as a proof-of-concept for cross-chain innovation with the basic functionalities of asset transfers between different chains and layers. The initial iterations of the Mosaic bridge focused on aggregating liquidity and facilitating transfer availability for the ecosystem, but in order to align with our vision, our bridging solution needs to be optimized for security, efficiency, and user design. As we advance in our innovation, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that our solutions are not only user-friendly but possess the highest level of security and efficiency. While Mosaic showcased a pioneering design in UX, there were still elements of trusted components in its design. In order to achieve Composable’s trustless DeFi vision, these components needed to be addressed and optimized.

Thus, Mosaic will be the UX that underpins the trustless bridging infrastructure that we’ve built — to Polkadot, NEAR, Cosmos, and many other chains to come. A focus on ensuring users have the underlying gas token once they’ve transferred, cross-chain swaps, and other important UX components for transfers and bridging will encase the work we’ve done with trustless bridging, to ensure that trustless bridging still provides the necessary UX for users to experience seamlessness.

What will this look like over the next period of time?

With most of the development completed for our core initial pallets -Apollo, Cubic, Pablo, the LBP, and the PICA TGE, we will now wrap up the audits of these pieces, along with the on-chain components of the DOT<>KSM bridge. As we finish the updates to the GRANDPA light client, we are running the audits of the IBC pallet and ibc-rs in parallel. In the meantime, our parachain team continues to finalize the pre-prod environments to ensure final testing ahead of launch. Therefore, all of the Substrate and parachain development will be prepared and finished for when the IBC components finish audits. As it stands, this puts us on track to begin our launch sequence towards the end of October — this would include all core launch features, pallets, and of course the bridge.

Thereafter, Picasso will be ready to launch with DOT liquidity on Day 1, serving as the base pair for the LBP that initiates the launch of transferability for the PICA token.

The vision of Kusama has always been about experimentation, user acquisition, and a funnel into the future of DotSama. Leveraging IBC as the main source of DotSama’s access point to the broader crypto ecosystem does exactly this.

Expect Chaos. Expect Picasso.



Composable Finance

Composable Finance Founder & CEO. I write about R&D at Composable Finance. Physicist by training