Gavin Wood: There may be more than 100 Polkadot parachains and a third relay chain may appear in the ecosystem

Recently, Polkadot founder Gavin Wood was a guest on The Defiant podcast and chatted with host Camila about some very interesting topics, including:

  • Both are shards, what is the difference between Polkadot and Ethereum 2.0?
  • How many parachains can Polkadot host at most? Where do the restrictions come from?
  • How does the value of DOT relate to the success of parachains?
  • Will there be other relay chains in the Polkadot ecosystem besides Polkadot and Kusama?
  • How does Polkadot give freedom to developers and users?
  • Is “Bridge” the Ultimate Solution to Connecting Blockchains?
  • What is Web3?

Here’s a partial summary of the podcast’s content from PolkaWorld:

Ethereum 2.0 VS Polkadot

Camila: Ethereum 2.0 is also doing sharding, so the difference between it and Polkadot is whether it uses WebAssembly, can you say that? Is WebAssmebly a direction you want to experiment with?

Gavin: WebAssembly is really one of the main differences, and there are others. For example, the way we shard, the way we reach consensus, etc., as well as the specific differences at the specific implementation level, we proposed sharding earlier.

A big difference is on what we call a sharded state machine. Our sharded state machine is primarily based on WebAssembly, which means you can write any computer program in any language you like, as long as it compiles to WebAssembly. You can write a chain directly, but this chain will be secured by Polkadot, and it will apply the same security model and Staking asset pool as Polkadot, which means that if someone colludes to attack your chain, it is equivalent to attacking Polkadot . Therefore, it is indeed a sharded structure. The security of each shard is as high as that of Polkadot, but each shard can do completely different things, and it runs independently in parallel, that is to say, different Work can happen simultaneously on each of the different shards.

So, I think the main difference between the two at the product level is that in Polkadot, you can rent the entire shard, while Ethereum (2.0) has been trying to stick to the Ethereum model, but just make this model become More scalable, scalability basically comes from having more workflows, having some smart contracts running on this shard and some smart contracts running on another shard. And Polkadot’s idea came from “What if these shards don’t have to be smart contracts? What if they could be any chain? If one of them is only focused on domain name registration, the other is only focused on DeFi, the other How about one that only focuses on NFTs?” Would there be any advantage to doing so?

For me, the answer is of course there are advantages, because there are many high-throughput applications, and sometimes you know that you definitely need to process a lot of transactions for this one application, such as DeFi, then specialization is necessary, because you are right The performance requirements are extremely high, but at the same time you have the opportunity to do experiments. You can try different ideas on different chains, and you will not stick to one smart contract model. You can even have a variety of different smart contracts. Way. In fact, there are also different chains promoting different smart contract models, some may be non-Turing complete, some have storage fees and some do not. I think experimentation is what makes blockchain great, and Polkadot can do 100 or so experiments at the same time, which is what excites me.

What does the upper limit of parachains depend on?

Camila: Shards in Polkadot are parachains, right? Is there a limit to the number of parachains?

Gavin: Sure, but we haven’t yet tried to figure out what the upper limit is. We will continue to add parachains until we hit the cap, and we will optimize or take some necessary actions.

Early on we guessed the limitation would come from message passing, as you add more parachains, then each parachain may want to communicate with more chains. For example, when you add a second parachain, there are only two chains in the network, A communicates with B, and B communicates with A; but if you add the 101st parachain, then each parachain can communicate with the other 100 Communication, which means that the total number of connections will be 10,000, is increased by a multiplier. This is called a network effect, and it’s why Facebook has a snowball effect, because with every new person added, the network is more useful than before. So message delivery becomes more expensive as the number of parachains increases, because the number of messages is the square of the number of chains, and the cost of delivering messages increases dramatically with each additional chain.

Now we have an algorithm that can help us avoid this problem, so in fact, we can confidently say that we can host more than 100 parachains than originally envisaged, maybe a few hundred. But in reality, there will definitely be an upper limit, and you can only try it out slowly.

Realistically speaking, it is also possible that the bottleneck will not come from message passing, but from the block finalization algorithm. Our finalization algorithm is called GRANDPA, which requires all validators to communicate with each other, although the content of communication is very simple, and the number of validators Must be 10 times the number of parachains. So if you have 1 million parachains, you have to have 10 million validators, and each has to communicate with other validators, then the traffic of each validator is very large, and it needs a large bandwidth, and this It will lead to centralization, because it requires validators to have very professional equipment and data centers, which we do not want to see, we do not want to sacrifice decentralization, so if we reach this level of decentralization, we will No more validators will be added.

If I had to give a number, I think our goal is for Polkadot to be able to host about 100-250 parachains.

Polkadot ecology: scale and specialization

Gavin: Scale is important, and we achieve scale through parachains (sharding).

This includes two aspects, one is that we can split the workload. In the past, maybe one person did all the work. Now we can assign the work to 100 people and take it home to do it, and then hand over the completed work to the original one. that person. This is a very simple concept – parallelization.

On the other hand, each shard can do a specialized field and handle a specialized type of work. Just like you wouldn’t let a doctor do accounting work, Polkadot’s philosophy is that one shard is good at accounting, one is good at doing NFT, for example, and the other is good at governance. This specialization allows the chain to process its work faster, so we gain performance benefits from non-generalization. For example, Ethereum is a very general smart contract platform, which makes it do everything, but nothing. And Polkadot means that we can have some chains of essential oils, but also some chains that are very professional in certain aspects.

So scaling is an important point, but another very important point is that when you do a new technology, you won’t know what its lasting impact will be until it’s built and used. One thing I realized after doing Polkadot is that smart contract platforms are great for doing smart contracts, but a lot of what happens on these platforms isn’t actually the job of smart contracts at all. There are two main categories of users of Ethereum, those who want to deploy decentralized applications with smart contracts on the platform, and those who want to use decentralized applications. The problem is that these users don’t want to use Ethereum, they just want to use the above applications, they don’t care what ETH is, if the decentralized application is built on a platform that doesn’t require them to care about the underlying platform token better for users. Similarly, these application developers don’t really want to build their applications on smart contracts, and sometimes they don’t want to use smart contracts to build their applications. Many times it is the smart contract platform that imposes design decisions on you that go against the way you normally architect your software.

At Polkadot, we want to give back the freedom of design to DApp developers. Going a step further, we don’t want Polkadot to intervene between DApps and their users, because it’s silly to do this, and it’s just reducing the impact of these applications. User utility. If users also need to access the DOT of the underlying platform, this is a distraction for them. Further, if you limit the users of the dapp to the users of the underlying platform to a large extent, specifically, if you don’t already own some ether, then it is very difficult for you to use any smart contract on ethereum , you not only have to understand the smart contract, you have to understand the ether, you have to go to the exchange, register, get some ether, transfer them to an account, and then you can do something related to the decentralized application thing. These steps are cumbersome for someone who doesn’t know Ethereum at all. Realistically, your target users are limited to those who already hold Ethereum, have MetaMask, and understand the concept of Ethereum and its account. people. This is a big problem if we want to go mainstream. Polkadot wants to ensure that it can deliver a decentralized application platform to developers where their applications can interact directly with users without involving any intermediaries.

The success of parachains and the value of DOT

Camila: So for example, users of Acala on Polkadot do not need to hold DOT to pay transaction fees, they can directly hold ACA to use Acala. So where does the value of DOT come from? What is its token economics like?

Gavin: We don’t want to separate the success of DOT and parachains economically, so what we do is make parachains that can be deployed on Polkadot, or it’s a parachain that has public interest, that is, it can provide some Features useful to DOT holders, either through Auction. We put out 100 or 200 parachain slots through Auction, the slots are kind of like some plots in Polkadot, and teams can bid for these slots, and if successful, they can deploy their dapps to on Polkadot. Teams can use their preferred method to attract users without worrying about users having to learn about DOT tokens. The bidding method of these auctions is to lock DOT, not pay DOT. DOTs are locked while the parachain team leases the slot, currently the lease period for Polkadot is two years. Suppose a parachain team locks 1 million DOT to lease a slot, then after the two-year lease ends, the 1 million DOT will be unlocked. This process is guaranteed by the Polkadot protocol, and they will be able to unlock these tokens at that time.

So here comes the fun part, how will the team find 1 million DOTs to bid on the slot? Maybe the team itself has a lot of DOT, or it can find financing or borrowing such as VC, or it can use Crowdloan. This concept is a bit like Crowdfund, except that everyone just lends their own DOTs instead of giving it to others. Again, this process is guaranteed by the Polkadot protocol. So the team can get the support of many people in this way, and the team may say, as long as you lend us DOT, we will give you some rewards, and the reward form also depends on the team, for example, you can give 5% of the token, In other words, NFT rewards can be given. As long as you hold this NFT, you can be a Collator node to earn rewards, etc., or give you discounts on some services.

Camila: How many parachains have been rented out through Auction so far?

Gavin: Polkadot has 6 parachains already live.

Will there be other relay chains besides Dotsama?

Camila: In the Polkadot ecosystem, do you think there will be more relay chains besides Canary Kusama and mainnet Polkadot?

Gavin: I guess there may be another one or two. One of the trends I see is alliance-type chains, which are chains specially built for industries, enterprises, and organizations. They may want to unite and communicate with each other, but they don’t want to be part of one public chain, and may not feel the need to join another chain’s economic system. Polkadot is more appropriate for these chains because Polkadot will not be involved in all transactions. So in theory, we may see some relay chains connected to the Polkadot relay chain through bridges, which can also be seen as the Polkadot ecosystem in a broad sense.

I think at least from my personal point of view, if a relay chain cannot provide value other than Polkadot and Kusama and is purely a copycat, then we may not welcome such a chain.

The future shape of the blockchain industry

Camila: In the current blockchain industry environment we are in, there are multiple Layer 1 chains competing with each other. Do you think Polkadot will become one of the main ecosystems and attract most developers and users? Or are various chains connected to each other through bridges and other means? What do you think?

Gavin: Vitalik published an article a few weeks ago saying “Bridges are in decline, stop doing bridges or anything”. In general, I agree with this view, I think bridges may play a relatively unimportant role, they suffer from “anti-network effects”, that is they are safe enough for small financial value flows, but if a certain A bridge becomes very important, and the traffic increases, the bridge will become more and more insecure, because the security of the bridge is fixed, but the traffic passing through it may increase greatly, then at a certain point, the value of the traffic exceeds Without the security of the bridge, it is only a matter of time before it is attacked.

As long as the value flow of the bridge is controlled within a reasonable range, that is, the bridge is not used too much, then the bridge solution is feasible. But if you build an ecology on the basis of bridges, you will be asking for trouble, so I don’t think this will be the future trend.

I hope we can maintain two or three main chains, each with a different architecture, we always say that Polkadot is Layer 0, it does nothing by itself except to ensure the security of parachains, and parachains are for The user provides the chain of the application. So I don’t think it’s far-fetched to imagine such a world: only one or two Layer 1s are responsible for their own security, and more Layer 0s are responsible for their ecological security.

My main driving force is to make sure we provide the best platform for developers because I think the most important thing right now is not acquiring users, but acquiring developers so that we have the most engaging apps, the most attractive Attractive platform for deploying applications. In my opinion, it is critical for mainstream adoption that DApp providers can effectively market their services to users without forcing users to pay for the platform on which they deploy their applications. So I have to make sure that this is possible in Polkadot, because it is not implemented in other chains, and also to make the API and framework easy to use. And we may make a few demo applications by ourselves, one is because it is fun, and the other is to try out what we have made internally to make sure it works well.

The future of Web 3

Camila: You’ve been talking about Web3 since a long time ago, long before many people first heard the term. You’ve been writing about Web3 since 2014. Can you talk about what Web3 is to you? And recently, many people are questioning and opposing NFTs, Web3, etc., thinking that tokenized governance is just turning de-networking applications into plutocratic rule, thinking that these are just meaningless investment of a lot of money and greed into the Internet. What do you think of these voices?

Gavin: To me, Web3 is not a cryptocurrency, nor is it a blockchain or token economics. For me, Web3 means decentralization, openness and transparency, and technically it can absolutely guarantee that your expectations can be fulfilled as promised.

I shouldn’t have to trust Facebook to message my friends, and I shouldn’t have to trust the bank to send money to my dad, it shouldn’t be. We didn’t need to do this in the past. In the past, my dad might be right next to me, and I could just give him the money. I didn’t need to trust any bank during the transfer process, or I could just turn my head and talk to my friends. No need to trust Zuckerberg. This approach of putting trust in everything is kind of lazy, simply because as a developer and service provider, it’s easier to architect if you give yourself the power of God, and harder if you don’t. But that’s what we should be doing in this day and age, when we have a lot of very capable people trying to get rid of the concept of a “free society”. We have no choice but to embed privacy safeguards and fundamental rights into the software and technology we use so that these rights are not bypassed and that no individual can break these rules. These things are necessary for the existence of the free world.

What I see as Web3 is a technology stack that allows us to use it to create web applications that most people use that are less vulnerable than applications that don’t use the technology stack.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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