Kusama AMA by Jack Platts on 2020/02/14

Here is a summary of Kusama AMA by Jack Platts on the Telegram channel.

Q1: Can you introduce yourself to the community? What is your background and how did you join Kusama?

Jack Platts:
My name is Jack and I lead partnerships and technical integrations for the Web3 Foundation. During my day-to-day I work with teams to build applications, bridges, wallets, parachains, and validator and developer tooling around the Kusama and Polkadot protocols. I am based in Zug, Switzerland and spend time in San Francisco, CA expanding the Substrate developer community.
Web3 Foundation is the main entity behind both Kusama and Polkadot. I joined the Foundation 2 years ago.
We launched Kusama about 5 months ago and the network is running with 160 validators and a growing community of developers and enthusiasts.
Polkadot is close behind and will be launching in in the coming months.

Q2: Can you briefly describe what is Kusama in 3-5 sentences? What technology stands behind Kusama and why it’s better than the existing one?

Jack Platts:
Kusama is a next-generation sharded blockchain network. Kusama is funny because it was initially planned as a network focused on research and development, but since its launch Kusama has grown very quickly into as a standalone chain
Kusama is built with a similar codebase to Polkadot but with its own community of blockchain builders. While Polkadot will be completely focused on parachain security and reliability, Kusama has a focus on experimentation. Participants can play around with incentives and even use the network’s on-chain governance and treasury to foster community interest and involvement. Future features will even allow teams and developers to deploy a custom blockchain built with Substrate.
Kusama will be one of the first networks bridged to Polkadot as well, and eventually could be a para-relay chain on the Polkadot network.

Q3: What are the major milestones Kusama has achieved so far?

Jack Platts:
Kusama launched in a very similar way to Polkadot’s current launch. There was a claims process, followed by the launch of the chain as a Proof of Authority network where Web3 Foundation ran all the validator nodes.
Web3 Foundation then upgraded the chain (without a hard fork) to enabled decentralized governance and nominated proof-of-stake (NPoS).
The community of KSM holders has since voted on multiple upgrades to the network, including enabling ksm transfers and expanding the validator set.

Q4: Present Blockchain technology failed due to it neglect on five key features which are as follows : Scalability; Insolatability; Developerbility; Governance and lastly; Applicability. This issues lead to the introduction of Kusama’s Heterogeneous Multi-chain Framework. However, this Polkadot Framework only addresses Scalability and Insolatability without taking cognizance of the remaining three problems which are also key if we truly wants to solve the problem of the current blockchain.

Why did you choose to solve just Scalability and Insolatability issues?

Don’t you think neglecting the other 3 key issues which are Developerbility, Governance and Applicability could render your efforts wasteful?

Jack Platts:
Kusama addresses scalability through its sharding architecture (relay chain with up to 100 parachains). Para-chains allow Kusama to parallelize transactions across multiple blockchain shards to increase throughput.
Kusama also has a unique tricameral governance model where ksm holders are ultimately in charge of the chain’s upgrades and direction. There is currently 115,000 KSM in the on-chain treasury waiting for people to put forth funding proposals. It’s one of the better capitalized DAOs in the world :slight_smile:
More info on Kusama’s governance: polkadot.network/kusama-rollout-and-governance/

Q5: Hi Mr Jack!
I read that Kusama initially planned network focused on research and development, how have been the job done for that? do you think with those aspect it’s okay or maybe the team is thinking including another for enlarge the project?
Is Kusama a extension of Polkadot?
Why the name “Kusama”? Does it mean something special for you or every letter have a real meaning?

Jack Platts:
Kusama is a stand alone network that will be bridged to Polkadot. When Polkadot upgrades to Polkadot v2, where parachains can be relay chains (nested relay chains) Kusama could be one of the first para-relay chains.
In the mean time we expect to see a lot of use case experimentation on Kusama that is too risky or experimental for Polkadot.
KSM token, just like DOT token, has 4 primary use cases:

  • Staking (securing and operating the chain as validators and nominators if you don’t want to run a node you can easily stake through : polkadot.js.org/apps
  • Governance (KSM holders are in charge of upgrades to the chain and the on-chain treasury funding proposals)
  • Interoperability fees to send tx accross parachain shards
  • Bonding parachains to the Kusama relay chain
    The 4th use case is really important because builders of Substrate based chains can connect their chain to Kusama by bonding KSM. That feature is not yet enabled, we are waiting for the Cumulus toolkit first :slight_smile:
    That will make bonding parachains much easier,Expect that in the coming months.

Q6: How projects will get bonded to become a Parachains ?
Can Kusama implement its own bridge to Polkadot or does it need a layer2 solution?
Jack Platts:
Kusama will be one of the first chains with Ethereum and Bitcoin to bridge to Polkadot.

Q7: Where the profit comes from when KSM is all about rewarding, Nominators, Validators?
Who handles On-chain governance in KSM Mechanism? Mind showing some lights please.
Jack Platts:
KSM holders have control of governance, including what accounts are elected to the council and how the chain upgrades.

Q8: I want to ask what is your best achievement in 2019? and what are your big plans for 2020 ?
and what event did I launch for valentines day today?

Jack Platts:
This year is about growing the Kusama developer community and seeing the first cross-parachain shard transactions on the network.
Before Kusama, it was not possible to do trusted, cross-chain transactions. But through Kusama’s sharded architecture it will be.
Most interoperability solutions are bridges, where you have to trust that the other chain won’t be reverted (because they have different miners/validators). In Kusama all chains are secured by the KSM token and relay chain.
This will enable a lot more use cases and a new design space where developers get to choose if they want to build:

  • a blockchain and attach it as as parachain shard to the Kusama relay chain
  • an application on a single parachain shard
  • an application that deploys logic on multiple shards at once. This is the most exciting one because it is the first time an application can deploy and leverage multiple blockchains at once. Of course this will be abstracted away from end users so that they don’t even know which blockchains their application is running on!

Q9: Which market is it next?
Jack Platts:
The next major milestone is Cumulus, which will enable parachains to deploy to Kusama much easier than they can today.
After that we will see cross-chain message passing. You can read more about XCMP here: wiki.polkadot.network/docs/en/learn-crosschain

Q10: What did Kusama decide to use Polkadot to run it network protocol instead of Casper or Cosmos?
Both Polkadot and Casper represent interesting new protocols. Can you please tell us some of the differences between the two and is it possible for the two to co-exist under a mutually beneficial relationship in the future?

Jack Platts:
Kusama and Polkadot are sharded systems that use a unique parachain architecture to enable 100-1000x throughput compared to traditional blockchains. Kusama is very similar to ETH 2.0 in its design
Except for one thing: Kusama’s shards can be different blockchains!
There will be file storage parachains (like FIL), zero-knowledge parachains (like ZEC), Oracles parachains (like LINK) and music chains and bank chains all connected together in a flurry of economic activity.

Q11: What can we do with #KSM network?
What the benefits if we hold KSM what’s make KSM different from othe project?

Jack Platts:
KSM token, just like DOT token, has 4 primary use cases:

  • Staking (securing and operating the chain as validators and nominators if you don’t want to run a node you can easily stake through:
    Governance (KSM holders are in charge of upgrades to the chain and the on-chain treasury funding proposals)
  • Interoperability fees to send tx accross parachain shards
  • Bonding parachains to the Kusama relay chain

Q12: Adoption by mainstream enterprises will unquestionably require users not only understand, but willingly support incorporation of a rather complex tokenization system.For online platforms that already have profitable, efficient revenue models, transitioning to a new system makes little sense. How KSM can solve that problem?
Jack Platts:
I’d consider Kusama the experimentation chain where Polkadot is the enterprise chain

Q13: Where does the name KUSAMA come from?
Jack Platts:
I believe it is inspired by the artist!Yayoi Kusama.She even had an exhibit called “Dots Obsession” !

Q14: As in Kusama guide, everyone can participate in Kusama but im not a developer, i dont have programming skill, code skills, how will i contribute to this experiment?
On Kusama, KSM can help people try out Polkadot’s governance, staking, nomination and validation functionality in a real environment. So, after Polkadot is live, how will KSM and Kusama network be?

Jack Platts:
Have you seen polkadot.js.org/apps/#/staking
The JS implementation of Kusama/Polkadot makes it really easy to stake and participate in Kusama’s governance.
Try it out!

Q15: What are the differences between Kusama and Polkadot?
Kusama is a research and development community network. So how does Kusama build a community? What are the benefits of joining the Kusama community?

Jack Platts:
Kusama is likely to implement new technologies before these are deployed to Polkadot, allowing teams and developers to experiment with new features t before they are deployed to Polkadot.
We also expect many applications and developers to only interact with Kusama.
Teams and developers of parachains, validator infrastructure and other applications will experiment with new features on Kusama first before deploying to Polkadot. Particularly high-value parachains on Polkadot will likely have mirrored versions on Kusama for this purpose.
Kusama will be a home for socially experimental applications that play around with themes like incentives and governance (e.g. DAOs, social key recovery, etc.). This will evolve in its own, strange ways.

Q16: what are the advantages of staking in $KSM than others?
please tell me what steps if I want to follow staking?
Jack Platts:
Please follow:wiki.polkadot.network/docs/en/learn-staking this to learn how to stake!

Q17: Can you explain NPoS mechanism? Will NPoS mechanism lead to fewer people willing to be validator?

Jack Platts:
We hope that NPoS will allow more people to participate in staking!
We are seeing many people spin up multiple staking nodes.NPoS disincentives too big of a stake
Read more about NPoS and how the staking rewards work here: wiki.polkadot.network/docs/en/learn-staking
I would suggest everyone take a look at staking KSM, joining the Kusama Society, and participating in governance.
I don’t think people realize there is 115,000 KSM in the on-chain treasury waiting for people to use it!
That is a lot of Kusamas to incentivize behaviors that grow the developer community
Many people are also on the Kusama Council:
What is the differnce between a para-relay-chain and a relay-chain?
What is the difference between Kusama and testnet Westend?Does kusama need a bridge to have any parachains.
How data transfer will work between Parachain and relay-chain?

a para-relay chain is a parachain that can have its own parachains
Kusama is a network with value
Westend is a testnet with 0 value
Kusama will have its own parachains, it will not need a bridge to communicate with polkadot to access Polkadots parachains.

Q19: If a team first test its project on Kusama there will be some cost, and then they think it is perfect and want to move it to Polkadot, there will be another cost,right? Or the team can just stay on Kusama and somehow can still have all the Polkadot functions?

Kusama has all of the same features as polkadot, and will quite likely have more (experimental/unstable features)
as Jack mentioned in the Q/A, there may very well be teams that only interact with one or the other
Polkadot is the network you should use for high value, long-term projects
because there will be more guarantee that it will change slowly and be much more stable and secure
(and to clarify, the cost is a bond, which means you can unbond and get most of your capital back)