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Past ICO Review: Polkadot, Wait, What Does it Do?

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 10:11
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Eric Eissler
A Blockchain that offers scalability and interconnectivity, but yet with no inherent purpose raised $345 in 2017 in an ongoing ICO.
Past ICO Review: Polkadot, Wait, What Does it Do?
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It’s a rather curious case about Polkadot. If you ask around, not many have heard of the coin, which has raised some $345 mln! The ICO started on October 14, 2017 and was finished in just three days, on October 27, 2017.  

This is a bit of a mysterious coin because its position is that it is a Blockchain designed to be just that: a generic Blockchain without any special purpose.

The following passage is an excerpt from the white paper:

Polkadot is a scalable heterogeneous multi-chain. This means that unlike previous Blockchain implementations which have focused on providing a single chain of varying degrees of generality over potential applications, Polkadot itself is designed to provide no inherent application functionality at all.

Rather, Polkadot provides the bedrock “relay-chain” upon which a large number of validatable, globally-coherent dynamic data-structures may be hosted side-by-side. We call these data-structures “parallelized” chains or parachains, though there is no specific need for them to be Blockchain in nature.

What Polkadot attempts to do is to take create the scalability and interconnectivity that is missing in the Blockchain sphere.

Three pillars of Polkadot


Polkadot holders have complete control over the protocol. All privileges, which on other platforms are exclusive to miners, will be given to the relay chain participants (DOT holders), including managing exceptional events such as protocol upgrades and fixes.


Game theory incentivizes token holders to behave in honest ways. This mechanism rewards good actors while bad actors will lose their stake in the network. This ensures the network stays secure. This ensures the network stays secure.


New parachains are added by bonding tokens. Outdated or non-useful parachains are removed by removing bonded tokens. This is a form of Proof of Stake.

The founder

Gavin Wood is the co-founder and former CTO of Ethereum. He is also the founder, CTO, and Chairman of Parity Technologies Ltd, which is supplying the development team behind Polkadot. He is also the founder and President of the Web3 Foundation, which aims to nurture technologies that can benefit the envisioned Web3 ecosystem of a truly decentralized Internet.


Year-long ICO continues

So what we have here, is essentially a generic Blockchain that has not even had a genesis yet. The genesis block is supposed to occur in Q3 2019. Strangely, the website states there is an inherent risk that it might not happen at all:

Due to the decentralized nature of Polkadot, there is no guarantee that the Polkadot genesis block (to the extent that it is developed) will be deployed as intended or at all. As DOTs are native tokens to Polkadot, they will not come into existence, whether as part of the Polkadot genesis block or otherwise, if there is no deployment of the Polkadot genesis block.

Frozen funds lead to stalled plans

We might not see that genesis block after all.  The company developing Polkadot, Parity Technologies, reported that there was a significant vulnerability in the Ethereum parity wallet library contract and some 68 percent of the ICO-raised funds in ETH are frozen.

At the end of the ICO, the final DOT price was 0.109 ETH meaning that a total of 485,331 ETH was raised from the sale of the five mln tokens. A very impressive figure from just an action as at the time of writing, the above ETH figure was worth some $345 mln.

Despite the frozen funds, the team at Parity Technologies insists that they will meet the Q3 2019 launch date on time. This coin still has potential, yet its practical use case still must be proved for a better understanding of what it is supposed to do.


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About the author

Eric Eissler is based in Chicago and works in higher-education administration and finance. He is a freelance writer covering blockchain technology, fintech, cryptocurrency, the oil and gas industry, and international politics.