Polkadot Parachain auctions


  1. Parachains
  2. Parachain types
  3. Leasing period
  4. Candle auction
  5. Projects
  6. Exchange support
  7. More than one Relay Chain?


First of all, let’s briefly remind ourselves what the parachains are. As most of the cryptocurrency users know, blockchains can be really slow and painful to use (looking at you Ethereum 😛). Therefore multiple proposals for better scaling have been made up and one of these proposals is sharding.

Polkadot vs. Kusama

Polkadot actually has its wild cousin network — Kusama. Kusama is a canary network, meant for experiments and testing new features before they are introduced to the Polkadot.

Parachain types

Polkadot recognizes multiple parachain types and each of them is having a different purpose

  • System level parachains
  • Auction granted parachains
  • Parathreads

System level parachains

These will be mainly bridges to the Bitcoin and Ethereum network which are necessary for Polkadot/Kusama basic functionality. Therefore Web3 Foundation is funding these projects and will guarantee them a parachain slot for the greater good of the ecosystem. Projects receiving these “free” slots will be chosen by the Polkadot/Kusama council which once again shows how decentralized the Polkadot ecosystem is from the very beginning.


Parathreads are very similar to the parachains in their functionality but they differ in the economical model. Parathreads don’t have the guarantee of having their transactions included in the block, users need to pay higher transaction fees in order to get them included. For a better explanation, see our introductory article to the Polkadot.

Auction granted parachains

These represent our favorite projects and these will be the heart of the Polkadot ecosystem. As we said earlier, there will be only a limited amount of slots for these chains (although there are ways around it, see the More than one Relay Chain section of our article) and now we will finally have a look at the inner workings of the parachain slot auctions.

Leasing period

Parachain slots are actually being leased for a certain period of time. Each slot has a 6-months duration and the parachain project can ask for 4 of these slots at maximum. After the lease passes by, parachain will have to compete again in the auction for new slots.

Candle auction

Candle auction is a modification of an open (English) auction where bidders can bid on their favorite projects. The origin of the candle auction lies in the 16th century where there was a burning candle during each auction — when the flame gets extinguished and the candle went out, the auction would terminate and the last bid won.


Both parachain projects and individuals can become bidders during the auction. Every bidder can choose for how many slots he will be bidding (as we said earlier, there will 4 slots with 6-month duration). This is difficult choice since for more slots you vote, the more weight your vote has. On the other hand, your tokens get locked by voting in the auction so if you vote for all 4 slots, you have to be prepared for locking up your KSM/DOT tokens for 2 years.

Crowdfunding & PLO

There’s a built-in module in the Substrate that offers project a crowdloaning functionality (in other words, Parachain Loan Offering). It’s meant specifically for the purpose of the auctions and its goal is to help project to raise necessary funds for bidding while keeping KSM/DOT tokens from users as secure as possible. The funds will locked & hold directly on the Relay Chain which means even the project that used crowdloan feature cannot touch these funds.


As you might know, generating randomness is very difficult on the open and transparent network that blockchain inherently is. Polkadot is using a so-called Verifiable Random Function (VRF) in order to obtain necessary randomness. For security reasons, projects will be able to bid until the auction officially ends and the winner will be determined from a random number which will be generated only after the auction itself concludes in the pre-defined time.

rococo testnet


Rococo is a Kusama testnet for connecting parachains and testing their functionality. Testnet has been around for some time and we can easily judge how well the projects are prepared for running their mainnet when the auction starts by looking at whose actually connected to the Rococo.

Rococo V1

This is the last testing phase of projects that are willing to participate in the first round of auctions. Therefore we can assume that projects connected to the Rococo V1 are the ones with skilled technical teams and will to secure the their first slot. Just be aware that connecting to the Rococo is not a mandatory prerequisite in order to participate in the parachain auctions. So this is not a final list and we will maybe see some surprises during the auctions :-)


And finally, let’s look at the projects which are registered as a parachain and thus will probably join the upcoming auction for the first batch of slots.

List of registered projects


  • Moonbeam
  • Interlay/PolkaBTC
  • ChainX
  • Plasm Network
  • Darwinia
  • HydraDX
  • Acala
  • Bifrost
  • Equillibrium
  • Zenlink
  • Sora
  • Clover
  • Encointer (basic income economy)
  • Phala Network
  • Kilt
  • Ares Protocol (oracles and IoT as well)
  • Starks Network (zkSnarks)
  • Litentry
  • Robonomics (smart cities, IoT)
  • Data Highway (IoT)
  • Crust (decentralized storage)

Exchange support

Multiple exchanges have actually announced their direct support for the auctions — we will update the list as soon as we know more

  • gate.io
  • Kucoin
  • Binance — they will also provide a liquidity solution for the PLO which means you will receive some synthetic tokens for your locked KSM/DOT that you will be able to trade.

More than one Relay Chain?

As we said earlier, there are two ways to get around parachain auctions with limited number of slots.


So that was for our introduction to the parachain auctions. We believe that this will be one of the main events in the cryptospace this year and we can promise you that we will be watching it very closely to bring you all the updates.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Polkadotters | Kusama & Polkadot validators

Polkadotters | Kusama & Polkadot validators


Czech bloggers & community builders. We are validators of Polkadot, Kusama, Darwinia, Crab, Bifrost, HydraDX, StaFi, Centrifuge under the name: POLKADOTTERS