Intro to Polkadot Parachains

This article was first published on Loom Network - Medium

This is the first part of our series about the Polkadot. First, let’s try to define in a few words what Polkadot is — Polkadot is a blockchain of blockchains and, at the heart of it, sit the concepts of the relay chain and parachains.

If this sounds like mumbo jumbo at the moment, don’t worry. This blog post will explain what the relay chain and parachains are, and how Polkadot aims to solve the interoperability and scalability problems that other blockchains still have to cope with.

The Relay Chain

The relay chain is a blockchain that sits at the center, and all other blockchains connect to it. Now comes the interesting part — the relay chain is only responsible for the network’s security, consensus, and cross-chain interoperability. Let that sink in for a minute before we move on.

In practice, this means that there will be a limited small number of transaction types on the relay chain (governance, auctions, consensus) and smart contracts won’t even be supported. Essentially, as the Polkadot Wiki states, “other specific work is delegated to the parachains, which have different implementations and features.”

And now comes the cool part. Polkadot can also interact with blockchains that use their own finalization process such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, or Tezos through something called bridge parachains. Bridge parachains use a queuing mechanism based on a Merkle tree and validators make sure that transactions are moved from the output queue of the source parachain to the input queue of the destination parachain.

If you’re following along, you may now be wondering who collects parachain transactions. Well, this is what collators do. They run full-nodes for both their parachain and the relay chain in order to aggregate transactions performed on a parachain and produce proofs for each state transition. The proofs are then validated by validators on ...

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Loom Network - Medium

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