- Polkadot has been one of the most talked-about blockchain projects of 2020, achieving a $3.5 billion valuation and convincing many of its viability as a genuine contender to Ethereum’s crown.
- With MANTRA DAO, Acala, Akropolis and Sora the Polkadot ecosystem already owns four promising projects.
Founded by Ethereum co-creator Gavin Wood, the Web3 Foundation’s protocol facilitates cross-blockchain transfers of any type of data or asset, enabling sidechains (a.k.a. parachains) to interact seamlessly with the main Polkadot chain.
With interoperability or lack thereof continually cited as an impediment to wider blockchain adoption, Polkadot’s unique ability to link disparate networks has provoked intense interest in the developer community and attracted an array of intriguing projects whose performance will shape the network’s fortunes. Let’s take a look at them in turn.
A community-governed defi platform focusing on staking, lending, and governance, MANTRA DAO is built on Rio Chain, a Substrate-based infrastructure that is interoperable with the Polkadot network. Powered by its own native OM token, which allows holders to participate in key decisions (via the KARMA protocol) and is distributed as a reward for contributions, MANTRA DAO will initially support non-custodial staking services starting with Polkadot ecosystem assets like KSM (Kusama) and DOT (Polkadot).
In short, MANTRA aims to be an integrated, community-governed ecosystem for web3, returning financial control into the hands of the people by letting them earn interest on their pooled digital assets.
Acala, a self-proclaimed “defi service center,” has the distinction of being the first Polkadot parachain, having launched on the latter’s Rococo testnet. A Substrate-based decentralized stablecoin platform that powers cross-chain open finance applications, Acala’s services comprise collateralized stablecoin issuance (aUSD), staking, DEX, and support for defi dApps.
Needless to say, the platform is governed by Acala Network Token (ACA) holders, and if its dream of facilitating low-cost value transfer across multiple blockchains is realized, it will redound to Polkadot’s credit.
Akropolis embodies how defi on Polkadot will look: user-friendly, scalable, and composable. Akropolis provides the tools for DAO creation, borrowing and lending, and defi-based saving. It’s currently in the process of integrating a fiat gateway, enabling users to enter the Akropolis ecosystem using a credit card to fund their wallet. A governance portal and smart contract insurance implemented via Nexus Mutual are also in its roadmap, along with support for stablecoins such as USDT, USDC, and TUSD.
Sora is intent on creating a decentralized autonomous economy: essentially an informal DAO built around the native XOR token. The Sora app enables users to send and receive crypto assets and to earn reputation points. They can also earn XOR by voting on projects that Sora curates. Sora is a bold economic experiment that has already generated significant interest in both its token and its vision. It’s the sort of project that’s ideally suited to being built on a scalable blockchain framework like Polkadot, where fees are guaranteed to be low, enabling micro transactions.
If Polkadot really wants to challenge Ethereum, the projects flying under its banner need to make a mark right out of the gate. Polkadot’s dream of bridging assets, enhancing voting systems, and enabling blockchains to converse with one another won’t be achieved overnight, but you’d be a fool to bet against them given the sort of innovation it’s already attracting.