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Definition: Polkadot


A cross-blockchain protocol from the Web3 Foundation that allows Polkadot-compatible blockchains to interoperate. Launched in 2020 and created by Ethereum developer Gavin Wood, the Polkadot protocol allows multiple chains of different designs to interoperate.

Polkadot uses the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus method, and each chain can be optimized for a specific purpose. DOT is Polkadot's native token, which is used for staking and governance. See proof-of-stake algorithm.

An Internet of Blockchains
Whereas blockchains have been mostly independent networks, Polkadot's cross-chain architecture enables the creation of an "Internet of blockchains." Also called a "blockchain of blockchains," touted features are scalability, ease of upgrading and transparent governance.

Layer 0 Relay Chains/Layer 1 Parachains
Polkadot-compatible blockchains are known as "parachains," and like Bitcoin and Ethereum, parachains are Layer 1 networks. Polkadot is called a "Layer 0" protocol and "relay chain," because it provides the foundation and format that ties together the Layer 1 parachains. See blockchain and crypto glossary.