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Simply Explained: Kusama

July 26, 2022
July 26, 2022

Heard of Polkadot?

Polkadot is a network of interoperable blockchains (a bunch of blockchains that can work with one another). There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to blockchains. Applications built on single blockchains are built within the rules and constraints of that chain, and that’s a good thing! Specialisation is one of the key aspects of optimisation! So, one blockchain may be better geared toward gaming, and another to finance. However, it would still be ideal if they could interact with one another.

Polkadot aims to create ‘an internet of blockchains’ on which all the apps are compatible with all the different chains on the Polkadot network! Imagine a literal web connecting all the different specialised chains! These chains can then run in ‘parallel’ with one another.

For a deeper dive into Polkadot and ‘parallel chains,’ check out our GigaBrain series.

Well, now that you know what Polkadot is, we’re going to transfer focus to the topic of today’s piece, let’s meet Polkadot’s gung-ho misfit partner in crime, Kusama!

What is Kusama?

Kusama is a blockchain very similar to Polkadot. It acts kind of like a test-net that allows developers and projects to test apps, parachains and blockchains, before they deploy on Polkadot. 

Kusama’s environment emulates the functionality of the Polkadot blockchain, so by testing on Kusama, a developer will know what works on Polkadot. This is because Kusama is built on something called ‘Substrate’. A substrate is a blockchain-building kit developed by Parity Technologies. As it is built on this substrate, Kusama has almost the same codebase as Polkadot, which is why developers can confidently use it as a development training ground.

As a wise degenerate once said:

“You wouldn’t send a soldier out to fight without first making sure he knows how to aim/shoot/reload his weapon, and you wouldn’t launch a parachain without testing it on Kusama first.” – Giga Eugene.

What is the KSM token?

KSM is to Kusama what DOT is to Polkadot. Like DOT, KSM can be used for governance. Tokens holders use their KSM to vote on proposals that range from protocol changes and upgrades, to feature requests and more.

The Kusama network is built using a nominated proof-of-stake (NPoS) consensus mechanism. This is similar to regular proof of stake (PoS), but it can be viewed as a more democratic method. It also provides extra incentive for validators to act in the interests of the network.

Validators are voted in by people called ‘nominators’. These nominators can also kick validators out, so to stay in, they must ‘appease’ the nominators. Validators then share their rewards with nominators. This, in theory means the network is more decentralised and fairer than traditional proof of stake networks.

Another thing to keep in mind is that KSM is an inflationary token with a supply increase of around 10% a year. The distribution of this 10% is affected by how much of the KSM supply is staked at that time. We cover this in more detail in our premium report.


So how do we sum up Kusama? Despite its primary use case being a testing ground for developers, Kusama possesses pretty much all of Polkadot’s functionalities, plus some that Polkadot does not. For this reason, many developers have chosen to launch their projects on Kusama instead of Polkadot. That in itself speaks volumes about the project. To see what Cryptonary thinks about Kusama, I encourage you to check out our ratings guide that rates all projects on a five-star scale.


Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL OR INVESTMENT ADVICE. Only you are responsible for any capital-related decisions you make and only you are accountable for the results.

Adam Saddique

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