cLabs Pirate Radio - Cross Chain League of Bridges Series

Interview with Anna Rose and Polkadot

In this tutorial, we will dive into a transcript of an interview from cLabs Pirate Radio with Anna Rose, co-host of the Zero Knowledge podcast, and two members from the Polkadot team, Peter from Parity and Alistair from Web3 Foundation. The interview provides insights into Polkadot, Kusama, and various technical aspects such as XCMP (Cross-Chain Message Passing) and bridge interoperability.


The interview begins with introductions of the participants, Anna Rose, Peter from Parity, and Alistair from Web3 Foundation. They discuss their intention to cover high-level concepts like Polkadot and Kusama, as well as delve into deeper technical aspects related to XCMP and bridge interoperability.

Understanding Polkadot

Polkadot is introduced as a “protocol of protocols” designed to address the scalability challenge faced by Ethereum. It provides the ability to interoperate and bridge seamlessly within the Polkadot ecosystem, as well as with other chains. Polkadot was initially presented as an interoperability protocol in 2017 but has since evolved to become a host for layer 1 protocols. The primary focus remains on connectivity and interoperability between different chains.

Shared Security and Para Chains

Shared security is a crucial aspect of Polkadot, ensuring the overall network’s security. The economic and technical security necessary for a secure production deployment is achieved through the commoditization of a scarce resource in the blockchain space, represented by the DOT tokens. The stake of DOT tokens provides a higher level of security compared to proof-of-work networks. Para chains within the Polkadot ecosystem can borrow this security to build their own blockchains, each focusing on different functionalities such as storage or stable coins.

Introduction to Kusama

Kusama is referred to as a canary network, which acts as a real value-bearing network for testing unaudited code and gaining real-life experience before deploying the same technologies on Polkadot. Kusama is known for its expected chaos, allowing the team to refine and improve the technology based on the challenges faced.

Timeline and Launch

The interview discusses the timeline of the project, mentioning that Kusama launched a year ahead of Polkadot. The relay chain, which forms the backbone of Kusama and Polkadot, provides the essential functionality for the network, including the execution of blockchain logic. The relay chain is a layer zero protocol that facilitates the interaction between para chains.

Cross-Chain Message Passing (XCMP) and SPREE

XCMP (Cross-Chain Message Passing) is introduced as a mechanism for passing messages between para chains and the relay chain. It involves the collection and verification of merkle proofs to ensure the correctness of the messages. SPREE is a module that enables the secure minting and passing of tokens between chains. It ensures that only specific chains can mint particular tokens, maintaining the security of the original chain.

Governance and Runtime Upgrades

The interview touches upon the topic of governance and how updates and changes are implemented into the blockchain. Polkadot allows runtime upgrades on-chain, which means the blockchain logic can be updated without requiring hard forks. The governance mechanism on each para chain allows them to have their own governance model, enabling flexibility and customization.

Trustless Bridges and Future Developments

The ideal situation for bridges in the Polkadot ecosystem is to have fully trustless bridges with other chains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The team is actively working on achieving this goal, with Kusama potentially being the first protocol to have fully trustless bridges. The interview concludes with discussions on scaling beyond 100 para chains and the future. developments in the Polkadot ecosystem. The team expresses excitement about the potential for Polkadot to support hundreds of para chains and the continued evolution of the network.

They also highlight the importance of community involvement and the role of developers in shaping the future of Polkadot and Kusama. The ecosystem encourages experimentation and collaboration, with developers building innovative applications and exploring new use cases.

Furthermore, the interview touches on the topic of interoperability with other blockchain networks. Polkadot aims to establish bridges with popular chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, enabling seamless transfer of assets and data between different blockchains. The team emphasizes the importance of trustless bridges to ensure security and decentralization in these cross-chain transactions.

In terms of future developments, the team mentions ongoing work on enhancing scalability and performance within the Polkadot ecosystem. They are actively researching techniques like sharding and parachain slot auctions to optimize the network’s capabilities and accommodate a growing number of para chains.

Lastly, the interview concludes by acknowledging the vibrant and active community surrounding Polkadot and Kusama. The team expresses gratitude for the support and enthusiasm from the community and encourages individuals to get involved, contribute, and explore the opportunities presented by the Polkadot ecosystem.