Kusama

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Project overview

Launched in May 2019, Kusama serves as Polkadot’s “canary network,” offering a scalable, multi-chain framework with an emphasis on speed, lower governance barriers and shared security. This makes it ideal for testing new decentralised applications and blockchain solutions.

Initially launched as a testing environment for Polkadot, Kusama has evolved into a standalone project with its own native token, community and development team. Its ecosystem now features various sector-specific applications and blockchains built using the Substrate SDK.

Technology

Polkadot and Kusama share the same consensus mechanism (Nominated Proof-of-Stake), architecture (parachains connected to the relay chain) and governance model.

Parachains are specialised chains that run alongside Kusama’s main network, the relay chain. They play a key role in Kusama’s economy and are selected through parachain slot auctions that determine which one gets to connect to the relay chain. Winning a slot requires locking up Kusama (KSM) tokens for the lease durations, which can be up to two years. This mechanism ensures that only credible projects with substantial backing and confidence from the community get a slot.

Kusama’s BEEFY upgrade was launched to enhance its interoperability with Ethereum and other non-EVM compatible networks.

Token supply model

Kusama’s token supply model is designed to reward active network participation through staking and the funding of its on-chain treasury. It has an inflationary token model with a 10 percent fixed annual inflation rate and no capped supply.

The percentage of staked KSM tokens will alter how newly issued tokens get distributed. Kusama validators can get all 100 percent of the freshly issued token rewards, but only if 50 percent of all KSM tokens are staked. Any deviations from the 50 percent and a portion of the newly issued tokens will be sent to the treasury.

The Kusama treasury acts as the financial reserve, and funds are used on activities to generate value for the ecosystem. Like Polkadot’s treasury, if token funds are not spent after a 24-day spend period, 1 percent are burned.

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