Sometimes referred to as the ‘blockchain of blockchains’, Polkadot is an interoperable ecosystem built on Substrate. It allows cross-chain interoperability and communication beyond just token transactions. As an open-source project led by the Web3 Foundation, Polkadot’s mission is to achieve a completely decentralized web where users are in complete control and ownership of their data and identity. Composed of various components, including the Relay Chain, parachains, parathreads, and bridges, Polkadot enables developers to create interoperable DApps on top of parachains that support smart contracts.
The Relay Chain is at the core of the Polkadot protocol and is responsible for network interoperability and shared network security. Moreover, the Relay Chain secures the parachains and parathreads within Polkadot’s ecosystem, using the “hub-and-spoke” model. Parachains are independent blockchains that can mint their own tokens and are customizable to facilitate individual use cases. On the other hand, parathreads are smaller, ‘pay-as-you-go’ models of blockchains that don’t need continuous connectivity with the Polkadot network. Bridges allow both parachains and parathreads to connect to other blockchains such as Ethereum or Bitcoin.