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Polkadot Update: Q1 2023

April 21, 2023 in Polkadot, Parachains
Avatarby Polkadot

Polkadot has enjoyed a spectacular start to 2023, with a range of eye-catching partnerships coming to fruition and development activity breaking all-time records. In March, 19,090 developer contributions were tracked on GitHub repositories, a record for a single month for any network.

Messari, a leading provider of crypto market intelligence, released its own Q1 State of Polkadot report, noting: “Polkadot's future looks promising, with a loaded roadmap featuring XCM V3, OpenGov, system parachains, asynchronous backing, and parathreads. Given its large and committed developer community, Polkadot is expected to deliver innovative products throughout 2023.”

One story that attracted considerable media attention involved Beatport - the global leader in electronic music for DJs, producers, and their fans - launching a digital collectible  marketplace on Polkadot parachain Aventus.

In addition to launching the new marketplace, Beatport will collaborate on 10 major Polkadot events over the next 18 months. Each event will celebrate the launch of a new NFT collection accessible via Polkadot-integrated wallets and will be scheduled alongside major music and Web3 events.

Aventus was not the only parachain getting involved in the burgeoning Web3 music space. KILT announced a collaboration with Public Pressure to issue identity credentials on NFT collections, helping artists add certificates of authenticity, and DJs to verify that individual songs are part of their playlist, building the identity of the assets.

KILT and Moonsama also joined forces to help launch the first NFT drop organized by Public Pressure and fashion giant Diesel, which sold out in just four hours.

Another big fashion story for the ecosystem came when Unique Network partnered with DUNDAS, a designer clothing brand known for pairing fashion with modern technology and dressing celebrities such as Beyonce, Reese Witherspoon, and Olivia Wilde.

DUNDAS provided Proof of Attendance tokens to 340 guests at Paris Fashion Week, minted on Unique Network's carbon-neutral advanced NFT infrastructure.

Astar Network announced in January it was entering into a long-term strategic collaboration with Toyota Motor Corporation, beginning with co-sponsorship of a hackathon. This was followed by their launch of a Web3 incubation program in conjunction with another mega brand, Sony Network Communications, which runs until mid-June. More recently, Astar announced a partnership with Shibuya - Tokyo’s “Silicon Valley” - to host Web3-focused events, including educational programs and hackathons.

By the end of Q1, a host of new parachains had won fresh auction slots, with a total of 42 having launched or won an auction on Polkadot. The new slot winners include two, Zeitgeist and Subsocial, who successfully migrated their projects from Kusama (Polkadot’s experimental “canary” network) to the Polkadot Relay Chain, following the path pioneered by KILT in October 2022.

New Revolut staking course, Academy to return

Revolut, the global financial platform with more than 27 million customers, launched a second Learn & Earn course with Polkadot, in which users are introduced to the mechanics of staking and the benefits of multichain interoperability. Revolut customers in Europe can collect DOT for completing the courses, and can then choose to stake those tokens directly in-app, getting the same rewards other staking participants receive for helping secure the Polkadot network.

The Polkadot booth at SXSW, Austin, March 2023. Photo courtesy Web3 Foundation.

The Polkadot Blockchain Academy completed its second wave in Buenos Aires and almost immediately announced a third edition coming up this summer in Berkeley, California. Applications flooded in, with many aspiring Web3 engineers aware that successful graduates are being snapped up for jobs, many of them within the Polkadot ecosystem itself.

Polkadot in numbers: developer stats on fire

According to Santiment, a leading data analyst in the space, Polkadot has, by a wide margin, the most active developer community in Web3. More than 15,000 individual contributions were recorded for both January and February 2023, but in March that figure hit a record 19,090, the highest monthly figure recorded for any network in Web3 history. Polkadot also remains the second leading ecosystem in full-time developer count, trailing only slightly behind Ethereum.

Enthusiasm for nomination pools remains

Nomination pools, an important initiative introduced last November to enable users with even small amounts of DOT to participate in staking, continued to prove popular with more than 2.96m DOT bonded through pools at the end of the quarter.

This was more than triple the amount of DOT bonded at the start of the year while the number of pool members actively bonding had more than doubled to 8,101.

XCM unlocking new cross-chain functionality

XCM, Polkadot’s standard for cross-chain and cross-consensus communication, began rolling out v3, unlocking bridges to external networks, NFT exchanges, improved programmability, and more. A total of 59,004 XCM messages were sent during the quarter.

Messari noted:  The adoption and use cases of XCM are expanding. In Q1, the usage of XCM expanded beyond transfers, and the number of XCM channels increased 60%. XCM v3, which provides advanced functionality, was merged into the Polkadot codebase and is presently undergoing the audit and approval process.”

On the developer front, Messari added: “Polkadot remains one of crypto’s largest developer ecosystems, and has seen its full-time developer count grow by over 16 times since 2018.”

The Web3 Foundation grants program, funding software development and research across decentralized software protocols including Polkadot, supported an additional 46 projects during Q1. That takes the total number of grant recipients to 522. Meanwhile, the Polkadot Treasury, which supports DOT holders with projects and activities that benefit the network, has taken its total spend to more than 5.2m DOT.

Polkadot underwent four additional forkless runtime upgrades during Q1 2023.

ink! heralds new wave of smart contracts for Polkadot

Developers working on ink! released an important upgrade in February, with an end-to-end testing framework that marked a new era for Polkadot’s native smart contract language. Data reported by Dotinsights revealed that by the end of the quarter there had been 2,577 WASM smart contracts deployed within the ecosystem, of which an overwhelming majority, some 2,551, were written in ink!.

For more information on ink!, check out or follow the project on Twitter.

Interested in developing for or building on Polkadot? Get in touch for hands-on support.

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