The world of crypto continues to grow every day. This makes it difficult to understand some crypto projects. This is especially true when a project is large and complex, such as Kusama. Nevertheless, it is very interesting to learn more about Kusama, and in particular its technical functioning.
In this article, we will first briefly tell you what Kusama is, and then explain how Kusama works technically. We do that by going deep into this matter, while explaining it in a simple way. This makes it understandable for everyone.
- 1 What is Kusama (KSM)?
- 2 Who are the founders of the Kusama project?
- 3 What is the Polkadot network?
- 4 How does Kusama work?
- 5 How is Kusama governed?
- 6 What is the difference between Kusama and Polkadot?
- 7 What is Kusama used for?
- 8 How do I get KSM coins?
- 9 Buy KSM coins. Where do I do that?
- 10 The value of KSM
- 11 Conclusion
What is Kusama (KSM)?
Kusama was launched in 2019 and is a parallel network with Polkadot . It is therefore built with the same code base and structure as Polkadot. Still, it runs a lot faster than Polkadot, and is mainly used for experimentation. Because of this, some see Kusama as a test network.
Thus, while some consider it a test network, it is much more than that. It’s a development environment that can be used in the same way as Polkadot, but much faster, allowing teams to try out new technologies, innovate existing projects, and prepare for a full Polkadot rollout.
This is one of Kusama’s strengths. Many projects will certainly use Kusama as a test network for their development before moving to Polkadot. But not all of them advance to the next stage. Some will be happy with Kusama and stay here. In this way one can create a diverse and growing ecosystem for the Polkadot ancillary network.
While Kusama is built on the same code base as Polkadot, it is also an unverified version intended to be used as a development environment to test new features before launching on Polkadot.
This means that Kusama’s code may be broken or contain vulnerabilities. This gives developers a chance to play with the code and new features, and even break things to reveal problems. Once the code has been tested and optimized, it can be transferred to Polkadot.
It is important to emphasize that Kusama is a real blockchain network, not just a test network. It has its own board, which works like a DAO, and its own token. Teams that want to be fast with their development choose Kusama and can then switch to Polkadot when they have a more mature project. And for some teams, Kusama simply offers better terms for their project than Polkadot.
In short, Kusama is not a testnet. A testnet is a development environment, but they use worthless tokens. Kusama has the KSM, which has a certain value. Kusama is the development network where new Polkadot features are tested and refined, but it is also an environment for rapid development and innovation.
Who are the founders of the Kusama project?
So the project dates back to 2019, but it was mainly in 2020 that enthusiasts discovered it. As mentioned, it is built on the same code base as Polkadot. It also uses the same structure. The big difference, however, is the speed. This is the main form of the Kusama project. In fact, developers often use the Kusama crypto as the basis for the next step, which is Polkadot. The project offers a diverse ecosystem that is much more complete than other similar projects.
What is the Polkadot network?
To fully understand Kusama, it is essential to briefly explain Polkadot. It is one of the best known and most popular strike networks. After Ethereum , it is also one of the most important DeFi ecosystems. The project was founded by Gavin Wood (as a reminder, he is one of the co-founders of Ethereum).
The goal is to solve the problem of scalability and thus design an infinitely scalable environment. This simply means the ability to connect different blockchains together in an environment that is both transparent and secure.
How does Kusama work?
You have already read that various applications can be developed within the Kusama network. Kusama’s source code is the same as Polkadot’s, allowing developers to experiment between these two ecosystems.
The relay chain is, as it were, the main blockchain of the Kusama ecosystem. The network uses a variation of the Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm . The users of the network validate the transactions. This creates a high degree of consensus, which ensures that the network is very secure.
The variation on the PoS system is called Nominated Proof of Stake (NPoS). As the name suggests, the validators are selected. Then they will keep the network safe by staking KSM coins and validating transactions.
Users can participate in the Kusama network in various ways, as they do in the Polkadot network. You will gain a better understanding of why these two networks are so close to each other later in this article, as well as the difference between these two crypto projects.
Developers are the ones who build parachutes, bridges, parachains and other elements on the network. They are not only development teams, but in most cases also individual developers. There are a number of reasons why development teams should consider using Kusama for their development efforts:
- Because Kusama uses the Polkadot code base, developers will have almost the same experience as building Polkadot. Developers don’t have to learn a new programming language, which makes it much easier to start building on Kusama right away.
- The Kusama development is much faster than Polkadot development. This, of course, works in favor of the developers.
- Once an application is built, these Kusama projects can be easily moved to Polkadot if desired. This means you don’t have to develop a project twice within two different ecosystems.
- Waking up on Kusama will probably be much cheaper than staking on Polkadot. This is a positive benefit for both developers and users.
Kusama uses the same set of actors as Polkadot to maintain his network. These actors include lecturers, compilers, validators and administrators. It is a diverse group that works together to ensure the security, stability and evolution of the network.
The process begins with the nominators, whose job it is to select validators who will act correctly and maintain a good reputation. Nominators can be anyone and they vote for validators by delegating their tokens to the validators they choose. In return, they receive a portion of the block rewards earned by the validators they voted for.
The validators are responsible for creating blocks on the parachains that contain the most recent transactions. The validators then decide together which of these blocks is the most accurate representation of the state of the parachain and then add these blocks to the relay chain. Then they have to strike KSM to link the parachain to the relay chain.
Validators are also responsible for maintaining the network by adding new blocks and reaching consensus with other validators. They are rewarded for their efforts as part of the Proof of Stake (PoS) system, but they also risk being shut down if they are found to be acting maliciously and causing damage to the network. Validators are re-elected every 24 hours.
The third group of actors is the governance group. This group essentially sends Kusama into the future, determining how the platform will evolve by voting for or against protocol and code base changes.
Anyone with a minimum number of KSMs can submit change proposals. The highest proposal (determined by the number of KSMs associated with each proposal) is voted once every 8 days. The governance process on Kusama has three components:
- The Referendum Chamber : This is the sum of all MSC holders and is the group that submits amendments and votes on those proposals to see which ones go through. They also vote for board members and can apply to become board members themselves.
- The Council : The Council consists of 13 members who are elected to represent the members of Kusama who remain passive. Voting is held every 24 hours to determine the councillors. The council is responsible for the election of the technical committee, the veto referendum, and can also propose and expedite the referendum.
- Technical Committee : As mentioned above, the Technical Committee is elected by the Board of Directors. This group can consist of developers or development teams and is tasked with determining the importance of each proposal and, together with the board, deciding whether it should be dealt with promptly. This ensures that urgent proposals are voted on and implemented first, regardless of the amount of CSM involved in the proposal.
Parachains and Parathreads
From a technological point of view, there is little difference between a parachain and a parathread. In fact, the parachain can become a parathread and vice versa. The real difference between the two is economic.
Parallel chains, called parachains in Kusama, are a simplified blockchain that relies on the security provided by a relay chain rather than providing its own security. The validators of the relay chain ensure the validation of transactions and blocks after receiving the blocks created by the compilers.
Builders are responsible for maintaining all relay chain information and creating new blocks. Each parachain needs its own slot and it is expected that a relay chain can have between 50 and 200 parachains. Each parachain will be acquired through an auction.
How is Kusama governed?
We just briefly talked about the drivers. But how exactly does this work? The governance process can start with any of the three governance actors we just discussed. The referendum chamber can make a public proposal, or the council can make proposals itself, and the technical committee can make urgent proposals. These three actors could potentially lead to a change in the Kusama protocol.
The most important aspect of governance is the referendum, which contains the proposal and allows a vote on whether or not to make changes to the protocol. There are a number of changes that can be made by referendum, such as changing the parameters of the network, registering or deregistering a parachute, voting on whether or not to fund a project from the state treasury, and many others.
On Kusama, the referendum is voted on every 8 days. The proposal supported by the largest number of interest groups is the most important and becomes a referendum. The main proposal is presented alternately by the public and the Council, so that neither takes precedence.
Once a proposal becomes a referendum, anyone with an interest in the CSM (weighted by importance) can vote for or against. If the referendum is passed, it will take effect after a waiting period of 8 days.
Kusama uses a new voice concept called ‘Adaptive Quorum Biasing’. This makes it easier or more difficult to pass a proposal, depending on which board group submitted the proposal and how many voters actually cast a vote.
In short, when turnout is low, a super-majority vote is needed to reject the proposal, meaning a lower yes vote threshold has to be met, but when turnout approaches 100%, it becomes a simple majority.
The Kusama Treasury consists of funds from transaction fees, lost deposits, ineffective stakes and penalty reductions. Any Kusama holder can make a spending proposal by depositing 5% of the amount they intend to spend with the Treasury.
A proposal can only be adopted if at least 60% of the members of the council vote in favour. If the proposal receives less than 50% of the votes of the council, the 5% advance is reduced. This process takes place every 6 days.
What is the difference between Kusama and Polkadot?
When you know how Polkadot works technically, you might ask yourself what the difference is with Kusama. Both projects have almost the same goal, and also work in almost the same way. Still, there are a few distinct differences between these two projects.
In general, Kusama is more often used for experimentation. This is because Kusama is less ‘static’. It is a more progressive project in which it is better possible to experiment with new developments.
Polkadot, on the other hand, is more static, which also provides better stability and reliability. Within this network, risks are avoided, which also means that there are fewer opportunities for developers to experiment. This of course has its pros and cons.
The following difference ensures a strengthening of both ecosystems. Many developers launch their application on the Kusama ecosystem first. Because it is easier for them to experiment here, they can more easily detect bugs and vulnerabilities before the application actually goes live. Once an application has been tested, it can be easily ported to the Polkadot ecosystem.
In this way, applications running on Polkadot become a lot more secure and stable, which benefits both developers and users. So you could say that, despite the fact that both projects seem to be ‘competitors’, they cannot do without each other.
What is Kusama used for?
Many people see Kusama as a test network for Polkadot. According to many others, that is incorrect. Kusama has many more functions than just serving as a testnet. Let’s take a look at what Kusama could be used for.
Running dApps on Kusama
First, it is possible to run applications on the Kusama network. Many people think that this network cannot be used publicly, but that is not true. Because there are few boundaries, developers like to use the Kusama network instead of a network like Polkadot.
Developing new features
Due to the many possibilities within Kusama’s network, it is perfect for developers to develop new functions. In other networks, where this space is not available, developers are limited in their creativity. That is not the case with Kusama, which is why many developers choose to use this network.
Finally, Kusama is of course also used as a test network for developers. It is easier for them to develop and test their application here, before running it live on the Polkadot ecosystem. In this way, the applications that run on Polkadot are a lot more stable and secure.
How do I get KSM coins?
There are several ways to get KSM coins. We are happy to discuss all the ways you can get KSM, because it is not always necessary to buy it from a crypto exchange.
Exchange DOT Tokens for KSM
Kusama has joined the Polkadot community by offering KSM Tokens to everyone who has already purchased DOTs during the ICO. Those who have a DOT indicator token can follow the instructions to claim an equal amount of KSM. There is no deadline for claiming KSM. You can find out exactly how to do this on the Kusama website.
If you have a project in mind that could increase the value of the network, you can submit a Treasury proposal. When this idea is adopted by the other participants, you can be rewarded with KSM tokens for it. Keep in mind that there is a lot of competition lurking, as Kusama is a well-known crypto project.
Bug bounty program
The bug bounty program rewards anyone who finds vulnerabilities in Kusama’s code. Many companies reward people who find errors and vulnerabilities in their code. In the case of Kusama, you will be rewarded with KSM tokens.
Become a validator
Validators can claim rewards for running a validation node. The number of KSMs required to become a validator is dynamic and changes over time. It is best to keep an eye on Kusama’s website for current data.
Kusama nominators play a passive investor role by delegating their KSM to up to 16 validators. For this, they receive rewards that are dynamic and change over time. It is also best to check the Kusama website for current data on these rewards.
Buy KSM coins. Where do I do that?
The easiest way to get KSM is of course to buy them. There are several ways to get Kusama (KSM). It is best to buy KSM from a centralized crypto exchange, such as Binance , Coinbase , Coinmerce or Bitvavo .
You probably also know that there are many crypto exchanges. However, it is not wise to just choose an exchange. This is partly due to safety and the costs involved. Some exchanges are not safe enough, and others charge sky-high transaction costs.
We recommend that you buy Kusama (KSM) from Binance or Bitvavo, because you can buy this cryptocurrency here for the best price and security. These exchanges are among the largest, so they can always offer high liquidity. This ensures that you as a buyer and seller get the best price for your crypto coins.
It is of course also possible to buy KSM from a decentralized exchange (DEX) such as Uniswap or Sushiswap . However, that is not recommended if you are still a novice crypto trader. This is because you have to go through quite a few steps before you have actually purchased your coins. The chance that things will go wrong is therefore many times greater than with Binance or Bitvavo.
How can I save Kusama (KSM)?
If you want to store KSM in a wallet, make sure you choose a wallet that supports Kusama (KSM). Because Kusama is a fairly well-known crypto project, you can fortunately store this coin in almost any wallet. However, it is always wise to check in advance just to be sure.
You can store KSM in both a hot wallet and a hardware wallet . A hot wallet is often linked to the crypto exchange where you buy KSM, although this is not the most secure option. A hot wallet is always linked to the internet, which means that hackers could gain access to it at any time.
If you want to go for the most secure storage option, it is best to choose a hardware wallet. As the name suggests, this is a wallet in the form of a USB stick. You can therefore completely disconnect this wallet from the internet. The moment you have not linked the wallet to a computer, it is impossible for hackers to get into the wallet. Of course you still have to store the wallet in a safe way. The most popular hardware wallets are from Ledger and Trezor.
The value of KSM
At the time of writing, October 2021, 1 KSM coin is worth approximately USD 350. In the past, the value has been higher. Kusama’s All-Time-High (ATH) is over USD 590. There are currently 8,470,098.06 KSM coins in circulation. It is not yet entirely clear whether this number will increase in the future.
If not, that would only be more favorable for Kusama’s share price. After all, it is no surprise that prices rise when the demand for the coins increases, while there will be no more new supply. Therefore, it might be a wise choice to buy KSM coins today. However, always do your own research into a project before investing in it. This way you reduce the chance of running a loss (of course it does not guarantee a profit).
The Kusama project, which started in 2019, is often summarized as a test network of Polkadot. It is basically a parallel network with Polkadot. On this network, functions can be tested that will be implemented in Polkadot. Schematically, Kusama is one of the guarantees that the Polkadot protocol will work properly.
Built with the same code base as Polkadot, this project often allows developers to experiment before launching Polkadot. If this functionality is one of the hallmarks of the Kusama network, it would be simplistic to limit it to that.
Kusama is indeed easier to use than Polkadot, and is sometimes preferred by a whole group of developers. Moreover, Kusama also has its own environment. In particular, it has its own internal token: the KSM. In terms of protocol articulation, Kusama also works as Polkadot. There are several roles that make the project work:
- Builders : These are mainly developers who work on their projects on the Kusama platform.
- Nominators : it is they who choose the validators.
- Validators : they are the creators of the blocks on the parachain.
Currently, Kusama is the 51st most important crypto project according to Coinmarketcap data. With a market cap approaching $3 billion. This is high, but according to many crypto traders there is still room for an increase.
Thanh Lanh Tran(1989) is Chief Editor from BitcoinUSD.com