October 29, 2021

What is a Parachain? This is an explanation of the relationship with Kusama (KSM) & Polkadot (DOT)

 We have already peeled the background of Polkadot (DOT) and Kusama (KSM). Both of these articles emphasize the ‘parachain’ and perhaps the reader is less clear on what it has to do with these two crypto technologies.

What is a 'parachain'?

Roughly speaking, it is easy to describe a parachain as a blockchain but in a simpler form than a blockchain.

Parachains run simultaneously and in parallel throughout the Polkadot ecosystem, including the Polkadot and Kusama networks. Most importantly, it is protected and connected with the help of a Chain Relay.

It is said that the Polkadot design consists of over 100 parachains that are interconnected with each other. Because of that, parachains can communicate and exchange information and assets with each other within the system.

In fact, these parachains can also connect to external networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum using connectors (or known as ‘bridges’).

Parachains also contribute to the scalability and speed of the Polkadot network. If 100 parachains are fully operational, transactions can be processed up to 10,000 per second.

The use case of parachains can be detailed into several main aspects:

Decentralization Finance (DeFi)


Smart contract


Identity Verification

Oracles (Price feeds)

Internet of Things (IoT)

Parachain slot auction

Through contract rental or parachain slot lease, any interested project can operate in the Polkadot ecosystem as a parachain for a period of 2 years.

To get a parachain slot, the project has to wait for the auction to open along with a large number of DOT or KSM tokens to meet the stipulated period.

At the end of the period, the capital will be returned.

To get the next slot, the project has to bid again or operate as a parathread.

What is 'parathread'?

For the record, any project that fails to get a parachain slot or requires low connectivity, can function or operate as parathreads.

Projects are allowed to alternate from parathread to parachain or vice versa, depending on their needs and the availability of parachain slots.

In conclusion, parachains are a great use of blockchain software because of their co-existence of distinctive features.

Arguably parachains are in the early phases before mastering blockchain management. Either way, they can grow with demand or need.