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Kusama - Polkadot's wild relative

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Kusama is a public blockchain network built on the same code as Polkadot. It is intended to serve as a canary build for the Polkadot network, serving as a testing and development environment for new features that will eventually be published to Polkadot.

Due to Kusama's experimental character, its development is faster, and it has gained tremendous interest since its inception in 2019.

Notable projects interested in deploying on the Polkadot network also view Kusama as an experimental sister chain. For example, instead of rolling out the Acala DeFi network on Polkadot, the Karura network will be deployed first on Kusama.

Kusama takes advantage of a low barrier to entry for deploying parachains, low bond requirements for validators and is most typically utilized by early-stage startups and experimentation.

What so special about Kusama?

Kusama is unique among blockchain platforms in that it is primarily targeted at developers looking to establish big, ambitious projects with a fast-paced development cycle.

It is based on a multichain, heterogeneously sharded architecture and employs a nominated proof-of-stake (NPoS) consensus method – an alternative to the energy-intensive proof-of-work (POW) consensus mechanism used by numerous other blockchains.

This technology enables it to execute rapid on-chain upgrades without requiring a fork and to provide cross-chain message passing (XCMP) for communication with other Kusama parachains.

Kusama, like Polkadot, supports on-chain governance. This on-chain governance is decentralized and permissionless, allowing anybody holding Kusama (KSM) or para chain tokens to vote on their governance proposals, which may include putative protocol upgrades, feature requests, and protocol tweaks. This on-chain governance mechanism is almost four times faster than Polkadot's, with a combined voting and enactment duration of only 15 days – resulting in a rapid rate of development for Kusama-based projects.

The project aids projects that wish to get started quickly by enabling them to deploy updates and enhancements without a fork's need to ensure optimum community cohesion.

Current Circulation of Kusama (KSM) Coins

Kusama has a current circulating supply of 8.47 million tokens and a total supply of ten million tokens as of November 2020. Unlike some other blockchains, this one does not have a predetermined maximum supply. Rather than that, it increases at a ten percent annual rate of inflation.

The percentage of KSM staked affects how freshly created KSM tokens (due to inflation) are distributed. If the half of all KSM are staked, Kusama validators receive 100% of newly issued tokens; if it is greater than or equal to 50%, a portion of the inflation incentives will be distributed to the Kusama Treasury.

Kusama has initially distributed through airdrop to participants in the Polkadot (DOT) token sale. These were supplied 1:1, but individuals without DOT may receive KSM through the use of a frictional faucet, which has since been discontinued. In contrast to Polkadot, Kusama has not been reissued to enhance its circulating supply.

How is the Kusama Network Sustainably Secured?

Kusama is based on a consensus process known as nominated proof-of-stake (NPoS).

This is accomplished by using a network of nominators (KSM stakeholders) who elect nodes to participate in the transaction validation process. These proposers receive a portion of the inflation reward if their nominee is chosen in the subsequent rotation. Validators who commit fraud or fail to meet performance requirements risk having their stake reduced.

Additionally, Kusama resolves cross-chain transactions via a simple queuing system based on Merkle trees. The relay chain validators are responsible for transferring transactions from one parachain's output queue to the target parachain's input queue – this is a secure, trustless operation that utilizes the same validators on each chain.

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