What is Kusama?

At its core, Kusama is a testnet for the Polkadot network protocol. It allows for the development of new blockchain or apps in a scalable environment built for speed and innovation.
Thanks to its near-identical feature to Polkadot, teams can develop new projects while knowing that their app will function as developed with no undiscovered vulnerabilities when launched on the network.

Plus, Kusama also offers a more flexible, experimental environment that allow teams to test new features in their ongoing projects, while also confirming accurate transactions in the Relay Chain which is an integral part of the ecosystem.
Its logo of a canary is a reference to the network being seen as a ‘canary network’, which is a nod to canaries being used in mines to warn miners of any impending dangers like gas leaks.

Who founded Kusama?

Kusama was founded by the creators of Polkadot, Gavin Wood, Peter Czaban and Robert Habermeier.

Gavin Wood is noted for being the co-founder of Ethereum, as well as being the founder of the Web3 Foundation which is a non-profit organisation focusing on decentralised internet infrastructure and technology.

While he was the Chief Technical Officer at Ethereum, he released the defining document for the Ethereum Virtual Machine which the blockchain depends on for its functionality, as well the Solidity programming language which is key in generating smart contracts.

He also developed the blockchain development framework called Substratec which is essential to building any project on the Polkadot & Kusama network.

How does Kusama operate?

Like the Polkadot network, the Kusama network depends on two main types of blockchains:

The Relay Chain

The Relay Chain is the central backbone of Kusama, and validators add their stake here to help finalise the accuracy of transactions in the network.

Validators add their stake of Kusama tokens to qualify for the role, and they are elected by a multi-winner method called the Phragmén’s algorithm. The tokens can be provided by Nominators in the network who stake their tokens under trusted validators via a nominated Proof-of-Stake (NPoS).


Parachains, or parallel chains, are connected to the Relay Chain, and utilise its resource to confirm accurate transactions.

Similar to the Relay Chain, the Parachain too can have its own set of validators called Collators. Their role is to maintain the integrity of the parallel chain, and submit transactions to the Relay Chain for validation.

With only 100 Parachain slots available, teams must bid for slots in an auction to get the rights to build on Kusama. Conversely, a ‘Common Good’ Parachain designation can also be obtained through on-chain governance.

Ultimately, Parachains have limitless applications and they can be used in various categories like Esports, Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), Music, Social Media, Internet of Things, Decentralised Exchanges, and Cloud Computing to name a few.

What is the benefit of using Kusama?

Kusama provides a flexible environment for innovation and allow projects to be shipped swiftly. The platform also allows new projects to build a community base and engage them even before launching on Polkadot.

The platform also has a faster governance system of 7 days, as compared to 1 month on Polkadot. This allow rules for instituting changes to be applied faster to the project. Plus, the lower staking requirement on Kusama reduces the barrier to being a validator, and is ideal for small teams to start projects without the need for large financial backing.

Lastly, the system runs on Substrate, which is the same framework that the Polkadot Network is built on.

Interested to find out more about Kusama? Find out more about them via their main site here.


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