Kusama (KSM), the token of the "canary network" for parent project Polkadot, has become one of the hottest projects this year. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that it’s setting a new standard for what’s supposed to be a sandbox network. From a new token listing on LocalCoinSwap to a successful hackathon to a record token price in August, this canary is flying high.
Kusama is developed by Parity Technologies and the Web3 Foundation - the same organizations behind Polkadot. The concept of the platform is that it’s a kind of test network for Polkadot. However, unlike a traditional testnet that runs on "play" tokens, Kusama runs on the KSM token, and it is actually a live production environment.
The Potential of Kusama as a "Canary network" was already recognized by the community and generated a lot of excitement at the beginning of the summer, as portrayed by The Crypto Zombie, for example:
While Polkadot is aimed at high-value applications for finance and other enterprises, Kusama enables fast experimentation and early-stage deployment. You could consider it such that you’d use Kusama to deploy a game or a social app. In contrast, you’d use Polkadot for powering a decentralized exchange or DeFi protocol once you’d tested it out on Kusama.
LocalCoinSwap Lists KSM
Now, Kusama’s KSM token has just received an extra boost with a listing on peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange, LocalCoinSwap. The exchange has developed its own KSM reference implementation based on the Polkadot MultiSig wallet, meaning that all users trading KSM on the platform can do so while keeping control of their private keys and funds.
Therefore, trading KSM doesn’t come with any of the hacking risks associated with using centralized exchanges, as even if LocalCoinSwap gets taken down tomorrow, users can still access their funds provided they’ve backed up their seed key.
While many P2P exchanges are somewhat limited in the number of tokens you can trade or ways you can pay, LocalCoinSwap offers over 250 payment methods and dozens of cryptocurrencies. Users connect directly on the platform to generate an offer or a demand, and once they agree to a sale, they transact directly.
Live KSM trading commences on September 28. However, users interested in trading KSM can already generate offers, meaning markets should be highly liquid from the point that trading opens.
Hackusama - Hackers Flock to Innovate on Polkadot’s "Wild Cousin"
Polkadot's launch hasn’t dampened any enthusiasm on the part of the Web3 Foundation to encourage development on Kusama. Recently, the "Hackusama" hackathon brought in 485 participants to compete in teams for the chance of winning part of a prize fund worth $30,000. Perhaps even more valuable, winners were also offered opportunities such as consultation with Web3 and Parity developers, and a fast-track to funding discussions with the Web3 Grants Team.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the teams went all-out in their attempts to develop the best projects on Kusama over the 7-week event. Participants could hack in two categories - either by building a parachain that operates on Kusama’s multi-chain architecture, or by building developer tools to help others create Kusama applications.
The judges' picks included some innovative applications that truly showcase the power of decentralization.
For example, SubDEX, which won second place in the "Build a Blockchain" category, is a Uniswap-inspired decentralized exchange built using the platforms Substrate development framework.
Kusama Bounty Chain was another winner, a project that supports posting and crowdfunding bounties for developing projects on Kusama. In a similar vein, but within the "Open Hack" developer tools category, "Plasm - Plus Ultra" also took a prize. The project is a decentralized and community-governed reward and grant mechanism for parachain contributors.
While Kusama may be considered a canary network for Polkadot, the current level of interest in the project demonstrates that it can hold its own as a standalone platform. Polkadot may be the platform of choice for high-security, high-stakes parachains and applications. However, the blockchain community evidently still values the opportunity for fast innovation and hassle-free deployment.