Kusama (KSM) – All you need to know

What is Kusama?

Kusama is the little brother to Polkadot, and is a platform for developers to test applications before launching them on the main network. It’s a place for experimentation and the canary in the coal mine for any problems that might pop up on the Polkadot system. The KSM token fuels Kusama, where developers need it to build apps, and it can be held to earn rewards and vote on governance.

While Kusama has looser regulations and tends to offer developers more freedom than Polkadot, it’s important to remember the two are closely linked. Kusama is created by the same team – led by Dr. Gavin Wood, who also co-founded Ethereum – and the two work in a very similar way.

How does Kusama work?

Kusama works by creating a series of smaller blockchains that can process transactions simultaneously. This breaks down the work required and removes the bottleneck of only being able to process one at a time. 

The KSM token is used as an incentive for people to act as validators to confirm these transactions are correct, so they can be added to the main Kusama blockchain. Anyone who stakes their KSM coins to help do this is paid a reward.

The dynamic between Kusama and Polkadot is like that of Litecoin and Bitcoin. They operate in a very similar way but the differences tend to be Kusama taking away restrictions to allow for experimentation. On Kusama it takes less time for proposals to be voted through and you don’t need to stake as many KSM tokens to earn rewards.


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