After completing Polkadot 1.0 in July and handing over the blockchain to its community, the platform's developers are now committed to making a protocol that can scale indefinitely to support the needs of all the industries coming to Web3.
Starting with an upgrade.
The protocol evolution was announced during the sub0 Europe developer conference held in Lisbon last week. Asynchronous backing, as the upgrade is called, will enhance Polkadot’s most crucial and singular value proposition - that of being a multichain protocol connecting and offering security to several other blockchains (parachains).
What is asynchronous backing?
Asynchronous backing manages block capacity in a new way to give parachains greater autonomy over their growth, increasing efficiency and opening the doors for more projects to be part of the ecosystem.
Synchronous backing is like blockchain tango; it takes two to dance with one of them leading. Parachains, despite their sovereignty, are constrained in their movements because they can only create new blocks in the most recent block of the Relay Chain, Polkadot’s mother chain.
Asynchronous backing, however, is more like a jazz dance - parachains are freed to explore their individuality and create blocks in their own time. This gives parachains more time to perform their operations, from 500ms to 2 seconds, allowing them to produce blocks twice as fast, from 12 to 6 seconds.
How does this evolution helps Polkadot scale?
As Sophia Gold, the Polkadot core developer who announced the upgrade during sub0 said, asynchronous backing is the starting point of a roadmap that will allow “for Polkadot to scale indefinitely to support the future of Web3”.
Forgoing synchrony paves the way for the further evolution of block production flexibility, elasticity, and core utilisation that will allow the parachains to grow at their own pace and Polkadot to accommodate projects with more specific purposes across varied industries.
Starting with asynchronous backing, the protocol will undergo a number of further updates that will allow it to host over 1,000 parachains in the future, from the current 45 on Polkadot and 41 on Kusama.
The “most significant evolution of parachain consensus” since parachains were launched nearly two years ago will be deployed on the Rococo testnet in the coming days, and by the end of the year, 200 more validators will become a part of the ecosystem to support ongoing scaling efforts.
When will the all-inclusive future be here?
Discussing the possible vision for the future of the protocol during sub0, Rob Habermeier, the co-founder of Polkadot, noted that scaling efforts involve “a lot of work being done behind the scenes to increase the efficiency of the network protocols, to increase the number of validators, and the number of cores.”
Evolving could become harder given that Polkadot now belongs to its community and they are the ones who set the pace of any development. But, contradicting common arguments over decentralized control, the builders and entrepreneurs of the ecosystem are actively taking it forward, allowing for Polkadot to continue to evolve at an impressive pace.