What Is Kusama (KSM) Protocol?

    21 Jun 2021

    Kusama, often called “Polkadot’s Canary network”, is designed to facilitate an audit system for Polkadot. Here’s a guide to deeply understand all that Kusama entails and its relevance in the industry.

    The blockchain industry continues to grow as new and better developments are storming the field. Asides from the need to build innovations that would upgrade the performance of the blockchain industry, there is also the need to constantly assess a majority of these innovations. This would lessen the potentials of weaknesses and certain vulnerabilities impacting most networks. To remediate a challenge as similar as such, Kusama (KSM) platform appeared.

    Popularly recognized as Polkadot’s (DOT) cousin, Kusama is a scalable and multichain network that accommodates and experiments with new features before they are being deployed on Polkadot. This network was built with substrates and similar codes as those of Polkadot.

    History of Kusama

    The inspiration behind the innovation of Kusama was triggered by the vision to build a decentralized and risk-taking platform that is deployable for the examination of possible loopholes in the process of setting new functionalities for Polkadot.

    Kusama is often described as the cousin of Polkadot as it is difficult to evict Polkadot from the story of Kusama, even since its origination. The platform was founded by the same team behind Polkadot. The former CTO of the Ethereum (ETH) network and founder of Polkadot, Dr. Gavin Wood founded Kusama in 2019.

    Deducing from rigorous research, Dr. Gavin Wood established the platform with the major objective of building a protocol that would enhance the performance of Polkadot and also integrate multiple blockchains into one network.

    In 2020, Kusama was able to start receiving huge blockchain projects, starting with Chainlink (LINK). Hence, the Kusama native token (KSM) began to explore the crypto market from the following year of its invention being 2020, where it started trading around $1.5.

    Kusama’s Tech Basis

    Kusama was built with a design to support the growing Web 3.0 ecosystem. In addition, it has features almost the same as that of Polkadot. It is interesting how independently the protocol operates from the Polkadot network but complements its growing system.

    The platform features a democratic system of operation that gives room for radical innovations. It also allows developers to initiate their specific blockchains from multiple sources and connect them with one main network.

    Besides, Kusama comprises the newest and efficient tech tools that are being introduced by the Web 3.0 foundation and Parity technologies. Therefore, it gives developers the opportunity to utilize the provided tech instruments to launch their own blockchain with a fast iteration and well-audited process before deploying them on Polkadot. Thereby, it offers the best of a Parachain and a Relay chain operation.

    The Relay Chain

    The major functionality of Kusama is the interoperable and scalable mechanism it distributes to multiple and diverse blockchains provided on the network. The Relay Chain is simply the most essential chain of Polkadot and Kusama. It allows for customization and interoperability where developers can build sub-blockchains using their logic.

    The Relay Chain uses Parity’s technological instruments and substrates to enhance its functionality. Its main focus is on providing full security, consensus, and cross-chain interoperability that is usable by parachains of the network.


    Kusama adopts a system of operation that arranges multiple blockchains specified for diverse purposes into a network of Parachains. As such, it auctions applications like Messaging, Oracles, Gaming and eSports, Music and lots more on the network.

    Parachains, on the other hand, are a form of simplified blockchains which utilize and share from the security provided by the Relay Chain. These parachains are owned by diverse users and also contain their individual designs. They operate within the ecosystem of Kusama and Polkadot and are usually maintained by collators.

    These collators are responsible for controlling a full node of parachains. They transfer the relevant information collected from the parachains to the relay chain validators through new blocks.

    This process will see the relay chain validators scrutinizing and verifying the new blocks before including them in the relay chain.

    User Roles on Kusama

    The Kusama (KSM) network is usable by everyone. Nonetheless, it has some major participants who perform certain roles in the whole of its operations. Some of these participants are the Builders and the network maintainers.

    Since the Kusama network functions similarly to Polkadot, it is operated and maintained by the same set of users.

    • Technical Builders and Developers

    The first category of user roles on Kusama is the Builders and Technical Developers employed on the network. This set of users are allowed to build and customize their applications on Kusama before going further to deploy them on Polkadot. Thus, they can initiate the same logic that has yielded the best and effective output from their experiences on Kusama on the Polkadot network.

    They are basically charged with the responsibility of building parachains and new blocks. Since Kusama is a canary network, it is best that the developers build the parachains on Kusama first, for a testing process before proceeding to deploy them on Polkadot.

    • Protocol Maintainers

    These are a set of users that are in charge of maintaining and controlling the operations of the platform. This category of users comprises collators who receive information from parachains and transfer them to validators via some new blocks for a verification process.

    These validators receive the new blocks and add them after they are being verified. They also engage in future activities like consensus with other validators. This set of users are considered as the maintainers of the network because they impact the activities that run on the network.

    Kusama’s Governance Process

    Kusama with its scalable functionality is vulnerable to certain changes, although with laid down conditions. As such, it is governed by the participants of the network, basically the holders of the native token, KSM.

    These governors propose certain changes to the protocol which becomes a referendum for token holders to vote after approval by the council. Meanwhile, the governance process is open to all participants. The proposals take up to 28 days from their issuing to become a referendum.

    Kusama vs. Polkadot

    As said earlier, the same team members are behind the innovation of Kusama and Polkadot. Besides, the objectives for both projects are in almost the same direction.

    Both platforms have the same base codes and designs, as well as underlying technologies like the parity system, the cross-chain mechanism, and others. They possess the same governance process as they are both open to all participants of the network, especially holders of their native token.

    However, there are some notable differences between both protocols which distinguish them from each other.

    Kusama offers an experimental process for new innovations to verify their efficiency and worthiness. Meanwhile, Polkadot offers direct deployment of financial applications and innovations that Kusama considers noteworthy.

    Moreso, Kusama offers a faster iteration process and less transaction rate for users. As such, it allows faster upgrades due to its modified governing system, unlike the Polkadot network which demands a lengthier launch period.

    Use of Kusama

    Kusama functions as a pre-production process as it often serves as a testnet process for innovations the Polkadot will deploy. It facilitates the efficiency of potential applications.

    More so, the project connects multiple blockchains with diverse functionality into one main network.

    Kusama (KSM) Token

    The Kusama (KSM) token is the native token of Kusama. It is much available for individuals who have received and are holding the DOT token to get. Participants of the Kusama network who can apply for grants from the Web 3.0 foundation have access to own the token, usually on a large scale.

    The token is used for the governance process of the network which allows users to vote for proposed adjustments.

    It is also used to nominate validators who verify the information from parachains before deployment.

    Advantages of Kusama

    The initiative behind Kusama comes with several benefits and advantages to the users of the network.

    Firstly, it offers a fast iteration process and allows developers to explore new technologies and ideas that could highly impact the market.

    Secondly, it allows developers who intend to deploy certain applications and parachains on the Polkadot network to be able to predict the performance of the intended innovations, deducing from their experiences on Kusama which allowed a testing period for them.


    Kusama (KSM) operates and threads a very similar path with Polkadot. Its functionalities are almost the same except for certain key differences like Kusama’s early start-up nature.

    Kusama has proven to be very easy to use, which has hastened its adoption over that of Polkadot. Its scalability, interoperability, and security functions have been testified as top-notch by users of the network.

    Source: https://www.coinspeaker.com/guides/what-is-kusama-ksm-protocol/

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