Polkadot Network
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Polkadot Network

Polkadot Launch: Phases 3 & 4

Polkadot just moved into Phase 3; Phase 4 will be coming later today. Here’s what’s happening…

Unlike any other blockchain to date, Polkadot’s launch process is a multi-stage affair, phased over several weeks, where pieces of new functionality are added, piecemeal, until the initial “production version” is hit. I use quotes here because Polkadot is not designed to be a single blockchain, neither in space nor time. Polkadot is an amorphous multi-chain capable of fussless assimilation of new technologies and features over time, much like a website which evolves and iterates as you visit it day after day.

In case you missed the last episode…

Polkadot began life as a heavily controlled “PoA” (Proof of Authority, namely the authority of the Web3 Foundation) permissioned (with many key operations requiring the permission of said foundation) network, not unlike an enterprise blockchain. Over time, we relaxed the “PoA” and allowed community validators to maintain the nodes which run the network. As of now (which is Phase 2 in our launch process), 197 validators from the Polkadot community — backed by well over half of the DOT in circulation — run the Polkadot network.

We placed, and retained, the “Chain Candidate 1” suffix onto this initial Polkadot chain’s name since, as long as it is a permissioned network, we could restart the chain as a last resort in the case of any unsolvable faults. The combination of being permissioned and retaining the ability to halt the first chain and start afresh were two powerful sets of training wheels.

And now…

The time is finally here to remove those training wheels. With a full council now elected, this afternoon (Zug time) Polkadot Chain Candidate 1 was upgraded to include full governance features, and with that to move into Phase 3 of its launch process.

As we already said, we neither want nor expect Phase 3. Indeed, we expect Phase 4 to be upon us in the next 24 hours, perhaps as soon as this very evening. Unlike all previous upgrades on this chain, the Sudo (permissioning) module will not be used in order to make the upgrade but rather a special exception will be made to make a first use of the full governance mechanisms.

This is for two main reasons; firstly we wish to make an end-to-end test of the governance mechanisms (for our sanity) to ensure that they definitely can be used as expected. Secondly, it’s nicely poetic that the stakeholder governance features should be used to remove the dictatorial Sudo permissioning module.

All three elements of governance will take part in the upgrade and we hope to have proceedings completed by tomorrow noon at the latest. If the upgrade goes smoothly, Polkadot will no longer be a permissioned network at all and will begin its new life as a permissionless network governed by its assembled stakeholders.

If you are a DOT holder and wish to take part in this somewhat historic event, you can expect a governance motion, initiated by the Polkadot Council in the next 24 hours. Keep your eyes peeled on the usual social channels (Twitter, Riot, Polkassembly) for news on it starting!

Head over to Riot or Polkassembly to chat about voting, the council and its elections. Head to Polkadot JS Apps, for claiming and voting. More information on Polkadot can be found on its website. The latest v0.8 client release may be found on the GitHub releases page.

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