Polkadot is a decentralized, open-source blockchain platform designed to enable interoperability and scalability among different blockchains, it enables assets or data transfer between blockchains which also includes tokens.
Polkadot aims to facilitate seamless communication and data transfer between different blockchains known as parachains(in polkadot's ecosystem), unlike other blockchains, this allows them to interact and share data or information. It also offers a shared security model which is provided by its validators, this is also part of how it achieves decentralisation. Each blockchain manages its own consensus mechanism, (which is a set of rules) that enable parallel processing of transactions and improving overall network scalability.
On-chain governance in Polkadot is an important feature that sets it apart from other blockchain platforms. This gives the community a voice and encourages proactive community engagement.
Multi-Chain Framework: Polkadot is a heterogeneous multi-chain framework, which means it allows different blockchains to connect and communicate with each other. This interoperability is facilitated by the Polkadot Relay Chain.
Parachains: Parachains are independent blockchains that run in parallel to the Polkadot Relay Chain. They have their own governance, consensus mechanism, and other set of rules, while benefiting from the shared security and interoperability provided by the Relay Chain(which is polkadot in this case). They operate on a single core, parachains are connected in parallel, this is also where the word "parachains" came from because they are "parallel blockchains" executing transactions independently.
Relay Chain: The Relay Chain serves as the central hub, coordinating the network's consensus, governance, and cross-chain communication. It provides shared security to all connected parachains and ensures the overall security and integrity of the network.
Validators, Nominators and Consensus Mechanism: Polkadot utilizes a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. Validators are responsible for block production and maintaining the network's security, while nominators support validators by staking their tokens and participating in the nomination process. These Validators also follow a consensus mechanism implemented in the network that ensures block production is verifiable with proofs.
Governance: As this article mentions earlier, polkadot offers the community a voice, enabling token holders to participate in decision-making processes. On-chain governance mechanisms allow stakeholders to propose, vote and make decisions.
Substrate Framework: The Substrate framework is a development framework for building custom blockchains and decentralized applications (dApps) on top of Polkadot. Substrate provides a modular and flexible environment for developers to create their own blockchain projects. It is written in Rust.
Upgradability and Evolution: Polkadot is designed with upgradability and evolution in mind. It supports runtime upgrades without requiring a hard fork, enabling the network to adapt to technological advancements and address potential security vulnerabilities.
Before now, Polkadot was primarily built to connect with parachains and enable them communicate with each other. Imagine a spider web, this might not be pleasant if you don't like spiders lol. The web threads are the links for connecting different parachains and transporting assets and data between parachains throughout the network. Each parachain runs on a single core.
Polkadot currently has about 50 cores and each parachain runs on a core.
A core refers to a processing unit within a central processing unit (CPU). Modern CPUs often have multiple cores, each capable of executing instructions independently and in parallel. Multiple cores allow for increased performance and the ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
Polkadot's proposed change is to allow devs deploy blobs on these cores, since cores execute transactions or instructions independently. Developers can rent some core-time(a stipulated amount of time for executing different tasks) for executing their transactions within the blocks in the relay chain.
Blockchains run a huge database system fundamentally. Blobs, which mean "Binary Large Objects", is a data type used to store large amounts of binary data in computer systems which could be a database for example.
The purpose of the ongoing proposed change in polkadot is to lower the entry requirements for anyone who wants to build or prototype an idea and don't necessarily need to build a parachain. It aims to allow devs deploy blobs that could run on a core, processing transactions just similar to the way parachains execute transactions. These blobs can imagined that they sort of live in polkadot network.
This is a rough visualisation on the proposed change in polkadot.
Those small dots or circles could be blobs or parachains dwelling in the network operating on different cores.
Developers would be able to rent blockspace and core-time so that they could easily prototype their ideas and build applications even faster. Devs would also have access to the assets and information whenever they want to process cross-chain transactions.
This is because these cores are now also accessible to you, remember it was originally accessible to parachains. Note that all transactions in your blob deployed will still follow polkadot's consensus.
Devs will be able to ship faster, which will in turn allow startups prototype applications quickly and also allow small businesses integrate web3 into their businesses while using less time and resources. Devs don't need to worry about setting up nodes or writing consensus rules, all you need to worry about is prototyping, building and shipping. You could also be able to pause usage of core-time and come back to rent it at anytime.
If blobs could actually run on a core, there's a possibility of also accommodating smart contracts, however this will come with some overhead complexities.
Since Polkadot has cores which can process transactions, runtime state transitions, XCMPs and participate in block production. All these are tasks fundamentally. Which is similar to computer systems, these cores process tasks and can randomly finish any task it has in its pool. It is safe to say Polkadot is a decentralized super computer.