Polkadot, the sleeping giant of the cryptosphere, has just completed its most productive quarter to date. While industry eyes were focused on the carnage dominating its lending and venture capital sector, Polkadot developers quietly shipped hundreds of forkless upgrades across its Substrate-based chains, while the Web3 Foundation doled out dozens of grants.
The multi-chain network is now in rude health as Q3 gets underway, with new parachains regularly joining its main relay chain and sister network Kusama. If the blockchain of blockchains founded by Dr Gavin Wood can maintain this momentum, Polkadot will be a force to be reckoned with when the markets rally and the “up only” era returns.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
To mangle an aphorism, only when the tide goes out can you tell who’s been actively building. The recent market downturn has left many crypto projects high and dry, with no runway with which to survive what lies ahead, and no milestones of merit to tick off. While Polkadot and the Web3 Foundation (W3F) are fortunate to have large treasuries that are well managed, money alone does not a thriving blockchain make. There needs to be a tangible activity that presages signs of life. On that front, judging by its Q2 report, Polkadot can’t be accused of slacking.
A string of impressive achievements reeled off by Polkadot in its Q2 report include:
400 grants now approved by the Web3 Foundation to help tech startups build new blockchains
1,400 monthly active developers, representing a 75% increase year-on-year
Over 500 core contributors across Polkadot and Substrate code repositories
621 forkless upgrades across all Substrate-based blockchains, including Polkadot and Kusama parachains
An average of 293 million DOT transfers per month, up from 288 million in Q1
Combined, these statistics augur well for where Polkadot is headed next. Perhaps one of the most bullish indicators for Polkadot, however, is the number of new parachains joining its network.
Parachains.info provides a fascinating snapshot of how the Polkadot ecosystem is evolving. A total of 175 projects are listed, 120 of which are building on Polkadot, with the remainder on Kusama. A neatly designed dashboard allows for filtering these projects to determine which ones have received W3F grants, are on mainnet, have a token, and a parachain granted. 11% of the total supply of DOT is now locked in parachains and crowdloans, as is a whopping 22% of KSM. The Polkadot Treasury has now funded proposals worth more than 1.4 million DOT.
Polkadot’s progress hasn’t been lost on those tasked with collating blockchain data. Messari’s Q2 report into Polkadot notes: “Despite a brutal macro-environment, Polkadot’s on-chain activity was a consistent quarter over quarter. During Q2 2022, Polkadot had roughly 435,000 users.”
Impressive as these numbers are, the real test of whether Polkadot can make good on its brimming potential will come in the months ahead. Major improvements and innovations are in the works, including changes to Polkadot’s governance process and deeper integration of its XCM (cross-chain messaging) protocol. Coupled with the launch of a Substrate marketplace that makes it easier to deploy Polkadot and Kusama blockchains, and there’s a lot to look forward to. Polkadot has already made great strides in getting developers and projects onboard. Now it’s time for the users to follow suit.