As we explained in our previous article, despite all developments and innovations of the first and second generation of blockchains, they had some issues as well. Some of the most important current blockchain weaknesses are low transaction speed, unreasonable high transaction fees at certain times, consecutive hard forks, and the inability to exchange cryptocurrencies directly.
The Polkadot’s unique design has brought many advantages over the current blockchain networks. Some advantages that have set Polkadot apart from other blockchains are:
- Upgrading the network without the need for hard forks
- Transparent and decentralized management
- Interactivity and inter-chain connections
Do you remember the controversial discussion in 2017 over the Bitcoin network’s scalability that eventually resulted in Bitcoin Cash and Lightning Network? Both of them still have their critics. Do you remember that Ethereum transaction fees dramatically surged after users welcomed the DeFi market? All these problems are due to the scalability issue in the first and second generation of blockchains.
Scalability is the ability to enlarge and increase the system’s capacity as transactions increase. In other words, blockchains face limitations to process the enormous amount of transactions in the future of the decentralized world. The limited throughput and complex and time-consuming stacking mechanisms of current blockchains cause delays in transactions; therefore, the transaction fee significantly increases in times of network congestion.
Some of the scalability problems are due to the validation process of nodes. In most blockchain networks, validator nodes have to check and approve transactions one by one. This process causes a constant and high traffic jam in blockchain networks. So, Polkadot’s developers resolved this issue with a new approach.
The Polkadot network uses a model called Heterogeneous Sharding. In this method, several independent blockchains, called Parachain, are connected to each other through a single network, allowing them to process transactions in parallel and interact with one another in a secure environment.
Thanks to the Heterogeneous Sharding model, each chain on the network will be optimized for its own application. This model has more scalability compared to the “a protocol for all applications” model, a model that Ethereum and other smart contract platforms use. Additional and more specialized chains will result in more opportunities for innovations.
According to the last measurements done on the Polkadot network, its speed is 1,000 transactions per second (TPS) without using Parachains. When using the maximum Parachains’ throughput, the Polkadot network’s speed can reach 1,000,000 TPS.
Upgrading the network without the need for hard forks
We are all accustomed to using apps, games, and browsers that update automatically and regularly. Developers detect software bugs and fix them before they cause any problems. In addition, with the development of technology and discovering new solutions, new options and capabilities are added to apps in the form of updates.
Blockchains also need regular updates, just like all apps. However, upgrading blockchains is more challenging and complicated than that of apps, games, and browsers. Current blockchains need to split for an upgrade; this process is called forking. In the forking process, a new chain with new regulations is created, and developers of those alternate chains encourage users to use them. This process is complicated because it is time-consuming, and more importantly, consecutive forking will fragment the community of users and network developers.
The Polkadot network upgrading process is different and made it possible for blockchains to upgrade themselves without a need for forking. In this new process, upgrading is done on the blockchain through an in-chain and transparent governance of the Polkadot network. This new process will allow different projects to quickly adapt to technology innovations and changes and stay up-to-date. This process also eliminates the risk of controversial hard forms on the network, which is a serious obstacle for many organizations to enter this field.
Transparent and decentralized management
The current blockchains have no official governance system. Stakeholders and beneficiaries of these projects cannot propose or veto changes in protocol, except for those supported by projects’ investors. But the Polkadot’s structure is different. The owners of DOT, the network’s native cryptocurrency, can manage the network in a fair and transparent way.
All DOT owners can propose their suggestions for changing the protocol and vote for others’ suggestions. They can also participate in the election of members of the governing council who represent all network’s beneficiaries.
Interactivity and inter-chain connections
The current blockchains are like isolated cities that have built walls around themselves and have no interaction with one another. However, the need for interaction between blockchains increases when the number of blockchains with specific applications increases. The Polkadot’s network builds bridges between these isolated cities. Interactivity and inter-chain connections in Polkadot’s network allow blockchains to connect, exchange values, and share functions with each other, and it encourages innovations.
Thanks to blockchain bridges in Polkadot, Parachains can also interact with popular protocols and blockchains outside of the Polkadot like DeFi or digital assets on Ethereum and Bitcoin.