• What exactly is Kusama? Polkadot’s Canary Network is Described

  • This guide will teach you everything there is to know about Kusama – Polkadot’s Canary Network. What it is, what it is used for, KSM – its native token, and other information.

    Polkadot has undoubtedly become one of the more popular cryptocurrency projects. Kusama, Polkadot’s canary network, is one of the most innovative aspects of its ecosystem.

    While many new blockchain projects appear to be repetitive and derivative, Kusama stands out because it is genuinely useful.

    This guide aims to answer some of the following questions about Kusama: what it is, what it can do, and what risks a canary network entails.

    Kusama Overview

    Before we begin, two important concepts must be established: polkadot and a “canary network.” To summarize, Polkadot (DOT) is a blockchain network that does the following:

    Connects blockchains with one another. Allows users to easily create a blockchain using their Substrate framework. Hosts blockchains and is in charge of their security and transactions. Connects Polkadot blockchains to other networks such as Ethereum and Bitcoin.

    Then there’s the phrase “canary network.” The name is derived from the phrase “canary in a coal mine.” Canaries were once carried into mines by miners because the birds would sing in their cages and then stop singing if there was a dangerous gas leak and they died.

    They served as an early warning system for the miners, alerting them to danger. Kusama serves the same purpose as a virtual copy of Polkadot, providing the most realistic testing environment for blockchain projects possible. The good news is that Kusama serves as a “canary network” without harming any birds.

    Kusama’s Characteristics

    Kusama has several distinguishing characteristics, but it also serves as an ecosystem within the larger Polkadot ecosystem. The most obvious is its striking resemblance to Polkadot architecture and structure.

    It functions as a testnet, but the term does not adequately describe the level of testing that projects can perform before launching their parachains on Polkadot.

    Kusama is constantly putting not only the various projects on it to the test, but also the ecosystem as a whole. It is always one step ahead of Polkadot, testing new features that the latter would like to deploy once the kinks are worked out, giving the team a vehicle that allows them to be much more innovative and take big risks without jeopardizing the Polkadot ecosystem.

    Kusama also has the following features:

    Take part by purchasing KSM, Kusama’s native token. Polkadot’s wiki states that those who purchased Polkadot can claim a proportionate amount of KSM through the Kusama Claims process. Getting a parachain slot (necessary for testing on Kusama making this is a major feature). Chains can be voted in as “common good” parachains, won in a parachain auction, or configured as a “parathread,” which is essentially a pay-as-you-go access with an auction for each block.Configure as a validator. Because the minimum requirement for staking on Kusama is lower, this is an excellent way to walk through the process and understand expectations/requirements before moving to Polkadot. Users can also set themselves up as a nominator, which requires some staking but allows for a “set it and forget it” approach. Nominators appoint validators with their stake and either receive a portion of the reward percentage or are slashed if the validator they nominated performs poorly and is slashed. Users can also propose and vote on referendums, which will help the network evolve and improve over time.


    There is always a risk with any ambitious project. Its existence, according to Kusama, is primarily intended to mitigate the risk posed by Polkadot. To do so, it must adopt a higher-than-average risk-acceptance policy, and even if individual projects are risk-averse, they may be impacted by a major issue caused by another chain’s test, or even a Kusama test.

    Nothing in a hyper-innovative industry is guaranteed, and blockchain is no exception. Technical flaws, market fluctuations, and government regulation are all potential issues when running a parachain on Kusama. To be fair, these latter risks exist with any blockchain.


    Kusama is not without a sense of humour, and they have a good understanding of the platform’s role in the larger Polkadot ecosystem.

    Kusama’s tagline is “expect chaos,” which serves as a good reminder that this is, after all, a testnet. The fact that it is one of the most realistic testnets on the market, and almost a clone of Polkadot for that reason, increases the likelihood of chaos. However, it is all for a very good reason: to make the Polkadot Ecosystem and every parachain it hosts the most tested and long-lasting blockchain projects possible.

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