What is Polkadot Blockchain [Features and Architecture]

In this Blockchain tutorial, we are going to learn about Polkadot Blockchain. Here we will illustrate how this Polkadot Blockchain works. Moreover, we will cover the following topics.

  • What is Polkadot Blockchain
  • History of Polkadot Blockchain
  • Why Do We Need Polkadot Blockchain
  • What problems does Polkadot Blockchain solve?
  • Features of Polkadot Blockchain
  • Polkadot Blockchain Architecture
  • How does Polkadot Blockchain work?
  • DOT in Polkadot Blockchain

What is Polkadot Blockchain

One major issue related to Blockchain technology is its interoperability. Interoperability is the idea of many blockchains communicating with one another to ease information sharing.

Polkadot Blockchain Official Logo
Polkadot Blockchain Official Logo

Polkadot blockchain allows several blockchain ecosystems or networks to communicate with one another. It is a next-generation blockchain technology for integrating a network of specialized blockchains.

One key feature of Polkadot Blockchain is that it allows seamless functioning of blockchains while maintaining the appropriate scalability.

Moreover, it allows different kinds of blockchain to exchange any form of data across them. And this could open up the door to a variety of real-world applications.

Thus, this blockchain combines the great features of many specialized blockchains and also opens new opportunities.

History of Polkadot Blockchain

Before deep-diving into the Polkadot Blockchain, let’s undergo its history and understand its origin.

Under the control of Gavin Wood and Jutta Steiner, Parity Technologies created Polkadot Blockchain. Both Gavin Wood and Jutta Steiner were also part of the Ethereum project as Ethereum executives.

Moreover, the Web3 Foundation also backs this Polkadot project. And Web3 Foundation puts strong attention on collaborations, fundraising, advocacy, and research.

Parity technologies began in the year 2015. And initially, they started with the development of Parity Ethereum Client, a node software for Ethereum. However, after some time, Parity turned its attention toward other related projects like Polkadot and Substrate.

The Polkadot project began in November 2017, when developers released the first code on GitHub. But, Polkadot got officially released in an ‘initial’ stage in May 2020, and later, in August 2020, it enabled token transactions.

Why Do We Need Polkadot Blockchain

The internet in its initial days only supports basic, read-only, static web pages. Moreover, the online interlinked world was just getting started with virtual data, identities, and other things. Web 1.0 was the name given to the internet at that time.

Further, the internet got transformed into Web 2.0 with the introduction of social media and online platforms. Nowadays, we all use this updated internet that includes dynamic, interactive websites.

However, there are drawbacks to this form of the web, including data control, privacy concerns, and lack of confidence. And this is because of the centralized working of the internet. Web 3.0 enters the scene at this point.

Even though blockchain technology has the potential to decentralize the internet but, it lacks interoperability.

Now, Polkadot Blockchain is a next-generation Blockchain project that aims to create a fully decentralized web. And it acts as a cross-chain solution that enables Blockchain interoperability.

What problems does Polkadot Blockchain solve?

The initial Blockchain technology like Etehereum, Bitcoin lack scalability, and interoperability.

The Polkadot Blockchain is the next-generation blockchain technology that helps to resolve scalability and interoperability issues together.

The Polkadot Blockchain allows cross-blockchain trades of data or assets of any variety. Moreover, it integrates various distinct chains into a single sharded network and helps to process multiple transactions simultaneously.

Features of Polkadot Blockchain

The Polkadot Blockchain helps to bridge the different gaps that exist in the Blockchain industry. Typically, each blockchain operates its network with its own set of features and applications.

Polkadot helps multiple chains to work together as a single unit with a broad range of applications. Moreover, it also facilitates the following set of features.

Features of Polkadot Blockchain
Features of Polkadot Blockchain

1. Interoperability

Interoperability is always a concern in Blockchain technology. Still, several blockchain solutions allow exchanging tokens from one blockchain to another.

On the other hand, the Polkadot Blockchain is a step forward because it allows cross-blockchain trades of data or assets of any variety.

2. Scalability 

Using a single blockchain platform to handle the continuously rising number of decentralized applications would be difficult.

Moreover, scaling them is nearly impossible in several scenarios due to the limited throughput of early blockchains.

On the other hand, the ecosystem of Polkadot Blockchain integrates various distinct chains into a single sharded network.

And this is useful in reducing inefficiencies that existed on traditional networks and helps to process multiple transactions simultaneously.

3. Forkless Upgrades

To provide better solutions or features, different programs like apps, games receive upgrades regularly.

Similarly, Blockchain technology also requires upgrades to stay up to date. But, upgrading a blockchain is a challenging task.

Now, Polkadot help to improve the process of upgrading blockchain by proposing forkless updates. It has the potential to assist blockchains in updating without the requirement for forking.

Furthermore, it ensures that upgrading projects are more agile and projects can evolve by technological advancements.

4. Transparent Governance

In initial blockchain platforms, there were no explicit governance procedures. So, individual stakeholders do not have the authority to propose or disapprove protocol changes without proper contracts.

Polkadot Blockchain allows governance privileges to everyone who holds DOT, the native currency of the platform.

Various DOT holders could offer protocol changes requests or vote on current proposals. Additionally, DOT holders can assist in the selection of council members of this governance model.

5. Heterogeneity

As chains become more specialized, their requirement for inter-chain transactions will increase.

Polkadot Blockchain is a sharded blockchain that connects several chains in a network. Moreover, it enables different chains to perform transactions with each other simultaneously.

Polkadot can accomplish this goal by utilizing the relay chain and parachain concepts. The relay chain serves as a hub that connects the various chains, while the connected networks are parachains

6. Security

Polkadot Blockchain employs a nominated-proof-of-stake algorithm. In this, any member can select validators to validate transactions on their behalf in exchange for rewards.

Moreover, Polkadot Blockchain allows chains to communicate with one another while keeping their governance distinct. However, their security gets integrated, and this increases the overall security.

How does Polkadot Blockchain work?

Till now, we got a clear idea about the Polkadot Blockchain and what it offers. Now, it is the perfect time to understand how this Polkadot Blockchain works. But, for that, first, we need to undergo its architecture and understand its different components.

Polkadot Blockchain Architecture

The Polkadot network includes a multi-chain heterogeneous Blockchain that integrates other Blockchains.

It consists of the primary Blockchain, known as Relay chains, and subordinate Blockchains, known as Parachains. Moreover, it utilizes bridges to connect to external networks.

Polkadot Blockchain Architecture
Polkadot Blockchain Architecture

Relay chain

The Relay chain is the core element of the Polkadot Blockchain network. It is a primary Blockchain that enables other blockchains to connect in the network. Moreover, it facilitates consensus, security, and coss-chain interoperability.

Relay Chain in Polkadot Blockchain Architecture
Relay Chain in Polkadot Blockchain Architecture

As Polkadot is a multi-chain Proof of Stake network, it utilizes a native token called DOT. And this DOT provides governance as well as some reward for token holders.

There are just a few transaction types on the Relay Chain, including means to interact with the governance process, parachain auctions, and NPoS participation.


Parachains, also known as parallelizable chains, are basic versions of Blockchains linked with the Relay chain. And it helps to process several transactions without collusion.

Parachains in Polkadot Blockchain Architecture
Parachains in Polkadot Blockchain Architecture

Moreover, Parachains are independent blockchains with their native tokens and functionality designed for a particular application. And to have continuous connectivity, Parachains can pay to the Relay Chain.


As its name specifies, it acts as a bridge between Polkadot Blockchain and the outside world.

Bridges in Polkadot Blockchain Architecture
Bridges in Polkadot Blockchain Architecture

Bridges are unique blockchains that help the Polkadot network to connect and communicate with outside or external networks.

Different participants in Polkadot Blockchain

Now, to fully understand the working of Polkadot Blockchain, let’s discuss the role of different participants in the network.

Now, the Polkadot Blockchain utilizes the Proof of Stake consensus algorithm. Moreover, block verification and non-block verification jobs are among the network’s participants. However, the following is some background information about the roles:


Validators play a crucial role in the Polkadot Blockchain. Now, these validators are responsible for staking DOTs to secure the Relay chain. Moreover, validators help in the validation of blocks and participating in consensus.

Validators in Polkadot Blockchain Architecture


Nominators are network participants who hold some stake in the network. But, their main task is to choose trustworthy Validators to secure the Relay Chain.


Collators are the participants that operate on a parachain level. These participants have a stake in securing the network by gathering parachain transactions from users. And then, they are also responsible for providing proofs to the validators.

Collators in Polkadot Blockchain Architecture


Fishermen participants are responsible for tracking the network. They usually inform validators about some malicious behavior in the network. Moreover, the collators and any full node in the parachain can serve this duty of Fishermen.

DOT in Polkadot Blockchain

DOT is the native token of the Polkadot Blockchain, the same as Ether is for the Ethereum blockchain. Additionally, this token also plays an essential part in the Polkadot network.

The DOT token has three different functions: network governance, staking, and bonding. Let’s understand them in detail.

  • Governance: The Polkadot protocol is effectively under the control of token holders in the network. Moreover, most of the privileges will be granted to Relay Chain participants (DOT holders). These privileges include the ability to manage extraordinary occurrences like protocol upgrades and corrections.
  • Staking: Token holders are strongly encouraged to behave honestly through game theory. This method rewards good actors while punishing bad actors by removing their investment in the network.
  • Bonding: Bonding tokens help to create new parachains in the network. By eliminating bound tokens, unusable parachains get eliminated.

Related Blockchain tutorials:

So, in this tutorial, we have learned about Polkadot Blockchain. Here we have illustrated how this Polkadot Blockchain works. Moreover, we have also covered the following topics.

  • What is Polkadot Blockchain
  • History of Polkadot Blockchain
  • Why Do We Need Polkadot Blockchain
  • What problems does Polkadot Blockchain solve?
  • Features of Polkadot Blockchain
  • Polkadot Blockchain Architecture
  • How does Polkadot Blockchain work?
  • DOT in Polkadot Blockchain