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Polkadot Launch Roadmap

The launch of Polkadot v1 began in May 2020 with the Relay Chain genesis block and finished in December 2021 with the launch of parachains. Several post-launch developments and optimizations are expected for the coming year and beyond.

Polkadot Behind the Code, Episode 1: The Idea, featuring Gavin Wood
Current Phase



Web3 Foundation launched Polkadot in Proof of Authority mode. During this time, most users were able to:

Claim tokens from their Ethereum contract,
Stake tokens and declare their intent to validate or nominate.

Validators were also be able to set their Session keys in preparation for Proof of Stake, and Web3 Foundation used the Sudo key to manage the chain and enable more features.

Advancing to the Next Phase

Once the network was running smoothly with sufficient number of well staked validators, Nominated Proof of Stake was enabled with a Sudo call to change eras, and therefore perform the first validator election.

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During Nominated Proof of Stake, the network ran with a decentralized set of validators. During this phase, Web3 Foundation used Sudo to increase the number of validators in the set.

Advancing to the Next Phase

Once Web3 Foundation was confident that the network was working well - no slashing due to client issues, functioning validator elections - the Sudo key issued a runtime upgrade to enable Polkadot’s governance system.

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Governance and Removing Sudo

With Polkadot’s governance system enabled, the first Council and Technical Committee were elected, and public proposals were enabled. Governance began taking over most of the chain’s decisions. With the removal of Sudo, root calls would only be dispatchable via governance.

Advancing to the Next Phase

With a Council and Technical Committee in place, Sudo was removed. Without Sudo, Polkadot is fully in the hands of the token holders. One of the first features enabled was token transfers with a runtime upgrade.

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Enable Balance Transfers

Polkadot governance enabled balance transfers.

Advancing to the Next Phase

To enable remaining functionality, Polkadot’s governance passed a series of runtime upgrades.

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Parachain Rollout

Before being enabled by Polkadot’s network governance, parachains were tested and optimized both on parachain testnets and on Kusama. Once the code had been fully tested, audited and benchmarked, and parachains were running smoothly on Kusama, Polkadot governance enabled parachains and began parachain slot lease auctions.

Advancing to the Next Phase

With parachains live on Polkadot, the network’s launch was officially complete. How the network evolves from its initial vision and design is now up to the network’s on-chain governance community.

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Current Phase: Post-launch Upgrades

Several post-launch upgrades to Polkadot have been under development, including the release of XCM, Polkadot’s cross-consensus communication standard, upgrades to XCMP (cross-chain message passing prototol), governance improvements, and the launch of parathreads.

These and any subsequent upgrades can be enabled by Polkadot’s on-chain governance community once development, testing, benchmarking, and auditing are complete.

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