Polkadot Network Explained for Non-Techies!

You just heard about Polkadot Network and being the curious person that you are, you then decided to head on to the website to read and understand what Polkadot means. Unfortunately, you leave more confused as the website is filled with “Techie Jargon!” Well, you are not alone! Many have expressed similar views and hence, this primer is here to give you overview that will serve as a foundation upon which you will build up your knowledge of what the Polkadot Network is.

It is recommended that you understand what is the blockchain and its use cases.

Well, I’m glad that you are here to understand what the Polkadot Network is.

Polkadot Network.

To aid your understanding and make the subject matter as comprehensible as possible, we will make use of a school analogy. I am your Tutor and you may call me: Emmanuel.

In this guide, I will present to you the parts of Polkadot one before the other and using our school classes analogy, break it up into bits that you will understand.

What is Polkadot? From their website, Polkadot is a heterogeneous multi-chain technology.

Think of school and then your grade and the various classes you have to take: music, chemistry, math, physical education and others. In each class you have to provide your record for attendance. There is a ledger in each class; When the teacher for a particular subject class calls out your name, you answer: “present” and all others in the class look at you as well as the teacher to ensure that it is you who answered and not anyone else. Your performances and activities in each class are held in a record for attendance and every day is marked: valid!

If you already know what is a blockchain, then you know what are ledgers. From the explanation above, your attendance record for the day was just entered into the ledger for the particular class that you were in!

There is an inherent problem herein though. Each class is its own blockchain platform! This means too many ledgers and no way for all of them to interact. How then do we solve this problem? Enter the Polkator theory of Interoperability.

The Principal has recently decided to introduce an infrastructure (Polkadot Network) where all of these ledgers can interact! This means, that if you are in physical education and your records was validated with your sports wear, we can interact with your records in the chemistry lab where you had on a lab coat and also in music class where you sat beside your crush as you wore your favorite Jacket. With this new infrastructure, the Principal hopes to solve the problems of:

1. Fixing classes timetable for you (Interoperability).

2. Ensuring that you progressively ease through your studies and learning tracks (Scalability).

3. That at every point your record is secure in each class Ledger (Shared Security).

This infrastructure, set up by the Principal, is a collection of the different classes with distinct differences as mentioned above. Information can be spread across the different classes so that your presence at where you should be can be validated at all times for trust! This ensures that each class ledger is secure and that information shared between them are done in trust and executed safely.

These are facets to this infrastructure set up by the Principal which is taken from the section on how it works on the Polkadot website:

1. “Relay Chains”: Coordinate consensus and transaction delivery between chains.

Given the school classes analogy, in the infrastructure set up by the Principal has nodes where a collection of school admins are positioned to ensure that the information sent between classes gets passed along and the validity required to achieve consensus on such records is attained.

2. “Parachains”: Constituent blockchains which gather and process transactions.

These are the separate classrooms which hold your records on their own Blockchains.

3. “Bridges”: Links to Blockchains with their own consensus such as Ethereum.

A Bridge is a special office, which can share your records and retrieve your records from other classes.

Below is a visual aid to the explanation.

Software Developer living in Lagos, Nigeria. Emmanuel works as a Dev Relations Engineer at Covalent. A Technical Writer proficient in JavaScript and Solidity.