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Dot Pulse #24 — Kusama and Polkadot Become One & Bit.Country Deep Dive
Learn about the new XCM update, the Quartz parachain, parachain auctions on Polkadot and Kusama, plus governance watcher! 📣
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This week we continue our regular series of deep dives! The next in line is the Quartz parachain, the canary deployment of Unique. This one’s an NFT-centered blockchain that has a lot of interesting tech features that also border into DeFi territory, for example a pretty cool model of NFT fractionalization!
Quartz, the Parachain for NFTs
Quartz is a parachain designed to mint and use NFTs in its own dedicated environment. Unlike our previous entry Bit.Country, it’s not specifically designed for a game, though it does aim to support NFTs for Play-to-Earn games. Other than that, you should mostly expect the classic pfp and art NFTs to be here, and later on use cases for government registries and certificates!
What kind of benefits does Quartz bring? Well for one, it’s specialized on NFTs. That is a major benefit for the sanity and wallet of those who mint and trade NFTs, as the block space will be theirs only. Of course NFTs can definitely skyrocket gas fees during super popular mints and high trading activity, but they’re just never going to be on the same scale as DeFi and its arbitrageurs!
Since Quartz is a new platform, it also includes a lot of interesting UX optimizations for NFT users, which can be quite useful in the long run! Let’s run down a few of the key innovations.
Gasless transactions, natively fractionalized NFTs and more
The Unique team focuses strongly on crypto newbies, with whom NFTs are resonating much more than anything else in crypto right now! And newbies do have struggles with acquiring crypto, having to hold gas tokens, choosing the right fees etc.
For this reason, the Quartz blockchain features an interesting feature in Sponsored Transactions, which allows others to make transactions on a user’s behalf. It’s quite similar to the Ethereum concept of meta-transactions, which on Substrate is a native feature that doesn’t require the complex Gas Station Network. Everyone can probably agree that it’s a useful feature to have, especially for an upstart network whose gas token isn’t as ubiquitous as ETH!
The features don’t stop here! Fully leveraging the power of Substrate, Quartz enables things like subscription payments and scheduled transactions, which can give a lot of flexibility to Play-to-Earn developers. Of course the blockchain fully supports the EVM, though it is meant more for these smart contract games rather than financial applications.
Another innovation that can definitely have vast consequences is the concept of Re-Fungible Tokens (RFTs). As you may know, one unfortunate thing about NFTs is that they're, well, non fungible! This means that regular people often get completely priced out of any expensive collection like BAYC or CryptoPunks.
Of course there are a number of fractionalization projects, but on Quartz this is essentially a native feature of the protocol! Holders of an NFT can decide to split it and distribute shards to other people — so quite different from protocols that turn NFTs into full ERC-20s. This can be a very interesting choice as you’ll be able to trade these NFT shards on the same marketplace, bringing more visibility to them!
Speaking of marketplaces and galleries, those are all natively integrated as well, providing a one-stop ecosystem for all things NFT. The team is also developing solutions to create collections without a single line of code, greatly benefiting independent artists!
So far Unique launched a few “pixelated” collections, for example Substrapunks and Chelobricks.
Quartz vs. Unique & crowdloan stats
Quartz is mostly the same blockchain as Unique, but it’s deployed on Kusama and so it’s intended to be more experimental. One key difference here is that Unique already exists as an independent Substrate chain, while Quartz is so far the only one that’s connected to an ecosystem of parachains.
Quartz lays the seeds for a future inclusion of Unique as a parachain, which is of course a necessity for an application-specific chain! For an NFT parachain, specifically, you’ll definitely want to have DeFi support from other chains and the ability to supply liquidity from the wider Kusama and Polkadot ecosystems.
As for the Quartz crowdloan, the platform offered 8% of QTZ supply and ended up collecting 54k KSM, which made this slot surprisingly cheap! The token is just about to get listed on an exchange, so we’re just a tad too early to estimate returns for participants.
HydraDX is in the leading position for the next slot auction, which started on February 3, with a good cushion of 2 million DOT collected so far! As before, it’s followed by Interlay and Equilibrium, which would still make it as it stands.
On Kusama, Litmus has won the current auction with over 10,000 KSM raised. SORA is now the most likely winner for the next slot, followed by KICO and Pichiu
Active Crowdloans (Polkadot)
TL;DR: The platform offers 10% of supply to bring trustless Bitcoin to Polkadot. Plenty of referral bonuses, double dips and early bird encouragement.
TL;DR: The DeFi protocol offers 10% of its supply in the crowdloan, but it works on a first-come first-serve basis! The team doesn’t want to pay too much for the slot, stopping rewards once squarely in the lead.
TL;DR: This DeFi-focused parachain offers 20% of the supply in a variety of base and early bird and referral bonuses. Plus, it gives you an xDOT derivative to make use of your assets!
Karura changed up its farms, removing BNC and KAR/kUSD pools.
Earn KAR by staking on Karura DEX
Yields are around 23% APR for KAR/KSM.
KSM/LKSM farm has 37% APR
A couple of new farms popped up:
KAR/LKSM with 95% APR
kUSD/LKSM with 150% APR
kUSD/RMRK with 114% APR
Sushi farms on Moonriver have lower APRs this week, ranging from 8% to 35%.
Solarbeam provides up to 200% APR on Pool 2s, but Pool 1 APR is much lower.
RomeDAO is giving a 10% return every 5 days for OHM-style staking.
Solarflare, the Moonbeam deployment of Solarbeam, has higher rates across the board with up to 574% APRs on Pool 2s, a good choice of Pool1s with up to 100% APR. For stablers, yield increased a bit to an acceptable 19% APR.
A huge tech upgrade is about to land on DotSama that will connect Kusama and Polkadot!
This upgrade to XCM creates the notion of a Universal Ancestor, which is kind of like the root address of the blockchain world! As you may recall from our edition on XCM, the format specifies a URL scheme that creates an “address” for each blockchain, for example putting all Polkadot parachains as children of the Polkadot directory.
Previously, the top level address for the Polkadot chains was the Relay Chain, which meant that the format would only work between parachains of the same network. With the Universal Ancestor, a kind of virtual parent is introduced to each top level blockchain, which means that XCM messages can now be passed to a whole different ecosystem altogether!
That means Kusama, at first, because it’s the only blockchain that implements XCM other than Polkadot. The system is modular and it can be used by other chains, but of course making new universal standards is never easy…
But for the DotSama ecosystem this will be a great addition! Connecting Kusama with Polkadot blurs the lines even more between the two networks, allowing for example DOT holders to take part in Kusama cₕₐₒₛ.
There are no definite timelines for release, as the feature still needs to make its way to the Rococo testnet. But stay tuned!
Bifrost’s team presents the report and update on the building of the network, including the Bifrost dApp, Bifrost Runtime, Service and more.
Astar is announcing a strategic fundraise with participation from Polychain, various DeFi projects, investment funds, angel investors, including Gavin Wood, Richard Ma, Keisuke Honda, and some executives from Web3 Foundation and Parity Technologies.
In the second part of the Omnipool R&D series, HydraDX’s team addresses the confusion created by the migration to a two-token design and introduction of Liquid HDX, and explains how using the protocol token HDX for liquidity would endanger the governance and assets in the system.
Polkadot has reportedly become a sponsor of FC Barcelona, so the Polkadot logo will be on the players’ sleeves for 5 years.
Karura Network will bring KBTC from Kintsugi, which will allow BTC to be used for trading and liquidity.
Gavin Wood reports that XCM bridge infrastructure is almost complete and, once operational, will allow parachains on Polkadot to send XCM among them and later to parachains on Kusama as well.
ProtoFire has brought a fork of Gnosis Safe on Moonbeam, which will enable multisigs, advanced transactions, gasless voting and more.
(Kusama) Referendum 172, to open HRMP channel between Basilisk & Statemine.
(Kusama) Referendum 171, to remark the text “1KV rules! Will for president :)”.
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!