What is The Difference Between Polkadot and Kusama?


Polkadot and Kusama are independent, freestanding networks with different priorities but sharing much of their code.

Polkadot is more conservative, placing a premium on consistency and durability.
Kusama is fast and wild, making it ideal for early-stage deployment and daring experimentation. If you are wondering how to buy Kusama (KSM), follow the provided link.

What do the Two Networks Have in Common?

Polkadot and Kusama have the same underlying architecture: a multichain, heterogeneously sharded design based on Nominated Proof of Stake (NPoS). Both networks provide on-chain governance, hot-swappable runtimes for forkless, on-chain updates, and Cross-Consensus Message Passing (XCM) for interoperability.

Polkadot and Kusama governance are decentralized and permissionless, allowing anybody who owns a native token to say how the network is run (DOT for Polkadot, KSM for Kusama). As a result, the networks will evolve independently over time and converge depending on their respective communities’ decisions.


The first significant technological difference between Polkadot and Kusama is that Kusama’s governance parameters have been updated to allow for speedier upgrades. Kusama is up to four times faster than Polkadot, with token holders voting on referendums for seven days, followed by an eight-day implementation phase. The referendum is adopted on the chain.

If stakeholders wish to keep up with all of the proposals, referenda, and updates, they must stay active and watchful, and Kusama validators must frequently update on short notice.

On Polkadot, voting lasts 28 days, followed by a 28-day enactment process. This does not imply that the Kusama blockchain is faster in terms of block times or transaction throughput (both networks have these), but rather that the period between governance events like presenting new referenda, voting, and adopting approved improvements is shorter. Kusama can adapt and evolve faster than Polkadot as a result of this.
Lean Setups​

Kusama will offer a reduced barrier to entry for development teams looking to deploy as a parachain, as the network’s bonding requirements are likely to be lower than Polkadot’s. Kusama will also aid validators by allowing them to fine-tune their validation infrastructure.

Kusama validators can also take advantage of the 1000 Validators Program, which provides them with nominations from the Web3 Foundation and Parity Technologies to assist them in getting their Kusama nodes up and running. The exact configuration and infrastructure can be used to validate both Kusama and Polkadot for those who desire to do so.

Use Cases​

Polkadot will continue to be the principal network for enterprise-level apps and those involving high-value transactions that require bank-level security and reliability.

Kusama’s original use case is a “canary network,” or a pre-production environment. According to the average developer, what is the difference between this and a testnet? What exactly does the term “canary” imply?

The canaries are a type of bird used by coal miners to monitor the number of poisonous gases present in the mines back in the day. On the other hand, canary testing is a method of validating software by distributing it to a small number of users, or possibly in an isolated setting, without harming any birds.

Canary Releases are releases that are made onto Kusama. The majority of these releases are staged. The network will be utilized as a proof of concept for Polkadot’s sharded model in Kusama’s early days, not simply for parachain candidates to experiment and test modifications.
Kusama would sit between a “testnet” and a “mainnet” in a conventional blockchain development process.

As you might expect, creating on Kusama first allows teams to test things out in a real-world, completely decentralized, and community-controlled network with lesser stakes in the event of difficulties or bugs than on Polkadot.

Many projects will keep parachains on both networks, using Kusama to experiment with and test new technologies and features before deploying them to Polkadot. Some teams will choose to stay at Kusama, which is likely to be a site where we will see some fascinating new technology experiments in the future.

This use case is ideal for projects that demand high throughput but don’t require bank-level security, such as some gaming, social networking, and content delivery systems.

Kusama could also provide the ideal setting for bold experiments with new ideas and breakthroughs in governance, incentives, monetary policy, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) (decentralized autonomous organizations). Before the Polkadot mainnet, future improvements to the Polkadot runtime will most likely be pushed to Kusama.

Not only will we be able to examine how these new technologies and features operate in real-world scenarios before bringing them to Polkadot, but teams who have deployed to both networks will also get a head start on how their technology will perform under those updates.


Kusama and Polkadot will eventually exist as separate, freestanding networks with their communities, governance, and complementing use cases, yet they will continue to operate closely together, with many teams likely deploying applications to both networks.

Kusama is anticipated to be linked to Polkadot in the future for cross-network compatibility. The Web3 Foundation will continue to support and guide both networks in the future, providing critical support and guidance to teams developing the ecosystem.

Author: Jofor Humani

Jofor is a crypto journalist with passion for investigative reviews.

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