📍 Dot Pulse #26 — DotSama Donation Support & Moar Substrate Goodies
Learn about how Substrate opens new possibilities, how the community responded to the events in Ukraine, parachain auctions on Polkadot and Kusama, plus governance watcher! 📣
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Our last installment on infrastructure touched on some basics — stuff that you’d find in different forms on other blockchains too. Here, we go all in on the unique stuff that can only be done on Polkadot!
Keepers? No need!
There is one particular limitation of most smart contract blockchains that really makes it difficult to do one basic action: responding to events. Or more generally, automating things.
Every transaction on Ethereum must come from an “Externally Owned Account” (EOA) — basically, a user wallet. Smart contracts can’t call functions on their own, they always need to be “nudged” by someone. This becomes a problem for certain actions that should be performed periodically: think of a Yearn vault rebalancing, MakerDAO liquidations etc.
So far these functions have required dedicated keepers, or bots that automatically call some functions depending on a condition or just some time passing. If you’re a DeFi team, keepers are quite a pain point because they become an obvious point of centralization if done directly by the team. Many try to use decentralized services that automate the process, which is one of the reasons why MakerDAO keepers are available to anyone who has the technical knowledge to set them up.
OAK Network is creating an infrastructure that would completely negate the idea that all transactions must come from a wallet.
By tweaking Substrate just enough, the OAK team has created a smart contract blockchain with an event-driven execution model. As a user, you load up your event and its triggers into the chain, and the network collators will read from this stack and execute your functions whenever the conditions allow for it.
The system is so useful that it’s probably impossible to list all the things you can do with it! The team is focusing on scheduled payments and DEX limit/stop loss orders as initial use cases, but the possibilities are truly endless.
And thanks to the magic of XCM, the OAK network can service all the parachains and bring the scheduled transactions to them. Polkadot effectively won’t need keepers — it will all be automated by the chain.
Event-driven transactions can make smart contracts truly smart and automated, especially if they’re combined with another cool Substrate feature…
The Offchain Worker & external data
There’s another thing that blockchains can’t do: interact with the external world.
That’s of course the entire premise of The Oracle Problem: even if they were able to, how could they trust that source of data? This problem seems to be fundamentally unsolvable with 100% certainty. But just like the double-spend problem, we can create enough economic incentives to solve it in practice!
That’s basically what projects like Chainlink do by providing price feeds into the blockchain’s smart contracts. But of course, you’re limited by the price feeds that Chainlink provides, so it becomes hard to do for exotic assets! Or, alternatively, maybe you don’t care about prices at all?
Chainlink at its core is a collection of nodes that perform requests, watch each other and agree on what is the correct version of a particular data request. If someone misbehaves, their stake gets slashed. Sounds familiar? That’s essentially the same model of any Proof of Stake network, including Polkadot.
And that’s why Substrate features the Off-chain Worker: a way for the blockchain to interact with the external world through the nodes it’s running on.
The Off-chain Worker can perform many different tasks. Sending HTTP requests (that is, browsing the web) is one thing, but it’s also designed to process very resource-intensive tasks that don’t need blockchain verification for the entire process. An easy example is mining: the calculations to produce blocks are very intensive, but they can be verified easily once done.
As for how to trust the data, that task is up to the parachain developers. Some simple techniques can rely on just averaging the data from the nodes, essentially trusting them to provide the correct data. That should be enough for basic things, since Polkadot nodes are already quite committed to the network!
There is so far just one project that aims to leverage Off-chain workers for data: DIA. Its Polkadot deployment offers an easy to use worker implementation that can be used to access its price feeds for both crypto and traditional assets.
The Power of Substrate
The common topic in all these projects is simple: Substrate is cool. Want to hear more examples? How about building Solana on Polkadot! That’s basically what Gear Protocol is doing.
It’s building a unique Wasm-based parachain using Rust, with a very innovative feature: instead of transactions, it features messages. This is important because transactions on the EVM are sequential: you can’t execute transaction 2 before transaction 1, because maybe tx 1 wants to make some changes to the data used by tx 2.
With messages, the virtual machine can be a lot more flexible. Each message is addressed to one or several specific contracts, so the system knows in advance which parts of the memory could be changed by each message. All transactions that are unrelated can be parallelized and run on multiple cores, which makes them much, much faster.
This is the same strength of Solana, which uses parallel processing of transactions to speed them up. But since Gear aims to be a parachain, this speed will only be used by Polkadot developers who really need it.
The customizability of parachains is an incredibly powerful feature that hasn’t even reached its full potential yet! Even these unique projects are still just the very beginning. The possibilities are basically endless.
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Interlay won the fifth Polkadot parachain slot with 2.7 million DOT raised, with Equilibrium and Nodle now in a close battle for the sixth and final slot of this batch.
On Kusama, Mangata X won the first auction of the new batch, filling its cap of 14,000 KSM. Pichiu is next in line.
Active Crowdloans (Polkadot)
TL;DR: This DeFi-focused parachain offers 20% of the supply in a variety of base and early bird and referral bonuses.
TL;DR: This decentralized IoT network offers 23% of its total treasury reserves or 10% of the circulating supply on the Nodle Mainnet. This includes various incentives to early and/or highest contributors!
Earn KAR by staking on Karura DEX
Yields are around 21% APR for KAR/KSM.
KSM/LKSM seems to have been removed
KAR/LKSM with 107% APR
kUSD/LKSM with 70% APR
kUSD/KSM with 42%.
Sushi farms on Moonriver have APRs ranging from 7% to 44% this week; the MIM / WMOVR pool offers 81% APR on even smaller liquidity, compared to last week.
Solarbeam offers a few very solid Pool 1 choices with over 100% APR. veSOLAR offers up to 400%, but at the cost of locking your assets for some time.
RomeDAO is giving a 10% return every 5 days for OHM-style staking.
Moonwell offers a good selection of farms with up to 40% APY for Compound-style supply and borrow farming.
Solarflare offers up to 400% APRs on Pool 2s, with Pool1s you can earn up to 54% APR. For stablers, yield is still about 20% APR.
StellaSwap offerings are lower but decent. Yields on Pool2s are around 300% APR and a few blue chip Pool 1s APRs are around 170%.
This last week the whole world looked in shock as the Russian government began a new war in the heart of Europe.
The crypto community came in support of Ukraine in its plight, donating tens of millions to various organizations who set up crypto wallets.
The DotSama community of course pitched in as well, with Gavin Wood pledging to donate $5M if they set up a DOT address. The Ukrainian government quickly obliged.
A similar thing was done by the Subsocial team, which is largely Ukrainian-based. A special page was set up to accept donations with DOT. One important aspect here is that people can choose if they want to donate for military or humanitarian causes, which should be a very useful distinction for people who abhor war in any shape or form, but still want to help its victims.
The ratios are so far 25:1 in favor of humanitarian causes, while the official DOT address collected at least $1.5 million from over 3000 donors.
Let us all take a moment of silence for the hundreds of people who died in Ukraine in just a few days, as well as the hundreds of thousands trapped in besieged cities often lacking food, water, electricity and safety.
IndexZoo, a multi-chain ecosystem of index and leveraged tokens, will launch on Acala EVM+.The project will be bringing a Composite Index Token, a Polkadot ecosystem index that captures the top tokens by market capitalization, and a Leverage Token, long and short tokens for DOT and ACA, with up to 3x leverage.
Manta Network has secured an investment from Binance Labs, the venture capital and innovation incubator of Binance, aimed to support the efforts of Manta Network to build innovative products, services, and technologies that enable decentralized on-chain privacy.
Shortly after the launch of aUSD on Acala, the team is discussing the possibility of merging the two stablecoins as XCM makes it possible to connect Kusama to Polkadot.
Yet another XC-20 asset from another parachain lands on Moonriver’s EVM. xcKINT can now be used in DeFi on Moonriver’s DEXs and lending protocols!
(Polkadot) Referendum 52, updating Polkadot’s minimum nomination limit to 160 DOTs.
(Kusama) Referendum 175, to reduce validation upgrade countdown from 14400 blocks (1 day) to 3600 blocks (6 hours).
(Kusama) Referendum 174, to upgrade Statemine runtime to v700.
(Kusama) Proposal 56, to unlock SherpaX team deregistration and exit from Kusama slot auction.
All info in this newsletter is purely educational and should only be used to inform your own research. We're not offering investment advice, endorsement of any project or approach, or promise of any outcome. This is prepared using public information and couldn't possibly account for anyone's specific goals or financial situation. Be careful and keep up the honest work!