protocols


Substrate ecosystem update 009


Our ninth edition of the most important developments in the Substrate Ecosystem curated by Elias Simos, Protocol Specialist at Bison Trails.

Substrate ecosystem update 009

By Elias Simos · Dec 3 2021

Welcome to the ninth edition of the Substrate Ecosystem Update, a compilation of ecosystem insights and expert analysis from Elias Simos and our Protocol Ops team.

In this edition Elias looks at the recent launches of parachain auctions on Polkadot — a historic moment for the protocol and its ecosystem — and the path that lies ahead.


Polkadot is crossing the chasm

One of the biggest moments in Polkadot’s history is fast approaching! On the 17th of December 2021, the five winners of the auctions taking place between November 11th and December 9th will be simultaneously onboarded onto the Polkadot Mainnet. At the time of writing, approximately 96.9 million DOT (~8.5% of total issuance) have been locked up for crowdloans or parachain slots, with over 300k unique accounts participating in the crowdloans.

Acala was the first ever project to win a parachain slot on Polkadot after a gripping head-to-head battle with Moonbeam. In fact, contributions to Moonbeam’s crowdloan exceeded those of Acala’s for a longer period of time, however, in the random block selected as the snapshot in the ending period of the candle auction, Acala edged ahead. Naturally, Moonbeam came out as the clear winner in the second ever auction, which concluded on November 25th.

Bison Trails plans to support both Acala and Moonbeam with collator infrastructure. If you are interested in operating a collator in either network, get in touch with us here.

Astar and Parallel are the runners up for the third and fourth slots, with the competition between the two looking like a repeat of the Acala and Moonbeam pair. At the moment the fifth slot will be contested between the Clover and Manta networks.



Hypersphere Ventures published some really great work on approximating valuations of parachain tokens via the estimated contributions to their crowdloans. According to their estimates, it is very likely that after the first five winners launch their tokens another $10B of value will come online in the Polkadot ecosystem. Note that TGEs for the first batch of winners will be sometime after the 17th of December, as projects make progress on their full rollout roadmaps.




A conservative approach to rollout on Polkadot

While parachain code and the broader network have been deemed ready for action, they are not yet mature. If the experience from Kusama earlier this year is anything to go by, it’s not at all unlikely that Polkadot will experience some instability as the new logic comes online. For that reason, the next cohort of six parachain auction winners will launch on March 11, 2022, and will be decided on auctions that start on December 23, 2021, to be held on a bi-weekly basis. This creates some interesting dynamics with respect to garnering enough community support in order to secure a slot in the first cohort.

For a refresher on parachains and parachain auctions, how Polkadot’s parachains and Ethereum’s optimistic rollups are not all that different, as well as what Acala is and why it matters for the Polkadot ecosystem, visit the linked Twitter threads from Elias.


Kusama parachains are thriving

A whopping 16 parachains are currently live on Kusama and the number is growing on a weekly basis. After a rocky start, Kusama has been mostly stable since at least October 2021, and is really finding its stride in launching parachains. Thus far close to 30% of all KSM has been committed to parachain auctions, and the sum of the fully diluted valuations of launched parachain tokens has surpassed that of KSM itself!

Moonriver has been the outstanding performer among the bunch, already hosting a collection of functional EVM DeFi Legos and an estimated $350M in total value locked (TVL), driven by over 180k unique accounts and over 5M total transactions. The traction that Moonriver is showing is a hallmark of the 2021 theme for EVM‐compatibility in environments outside of Ethereum. If this is anything to index on, then things should look very bright for Moonbeam as it launches its mainnet on Polkadot at the end of the year.


For an extensive list of the various projects building on Polkadot, you can refer here. Please do let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions on this update. We’d love to hear from you!

—Elias Simos, Protocol Specialist


About Bison Trails


Pioneering Blockchain Infrastructure®

Bison Trails is a blockchain infrastructure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) company based in New York City. We built a platform for anyone who wants to participate in 25 new chains effortlessly.

We also make it easy for anyone building Web 3.0 applications to connect to blockchain data from 43 protocols with Query & Transact (QT). Our goal is for the entire blockchain ecosystem to flourish by providing robust infrastructure for the pioneers of tomorrow.

In January, 2021, we announced Bison Trails joined Coinbase to accelerate our mission to provide easy-to-use blockchain infrastructure, now as a standalone product line. The Bison Trails platform will continue to support our customers. With Coinbase’s backing, we will enhance our infrastructure platform and make it even easier to participate in decentralized networks and build applications that connect to blockchain data.


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