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Introduction to Polkadot

Developed by the Technical Education team at the Web3 Foundation, this course provides a comprehensive overview of Polkadot and blockchain research at the Web3 Foundation. The course starts with an introductory module exploring the question “What is Polkadot?”. We then move to interacting with the Polkadot network and key terminology to be aware of. Later, we dive deeper into the concepts of the shared security, interoperability, cryptography and networking aspects of Polkadot. We wrap up the course by taking a look at the development happening on the Polkadot ecosystem and how to get involved.

Module 1 - What is Polkadot?

Introduction to Polkadot from the founders, vision of Polkadot and an overview of Polkadot network architecture - relay chain, parachains and network protocol. Introduction to the concepts of scalability, interoperability and security. Introduction to Kusama. Testnets vs canary networks. Overview of on-chain governance. Applications and benefits of Polkadot. Composability of L1 blockchains.

Module 2 - Interacting with Polkadot

DOT as a network utility token. Creating and restoring accounts, existential deposit, balance transfers, wallets, staking and validating, participating in governance, setting on-chain identity, remarks, parachain auctions, crowdloans and avoiding scams. Block explorers. Proxies. API.

Module 3 - Consensus and Security

Hybrid Consensus: BABE and GRANDPA with an introduction to SASSAFRAS. Introduction to VRF. Securing the network using Nominated Proof of Staking. Validator roles explored in depth. Staking rewards and inflation models. Comparison with other networks. Explain the current limitations and planned improvements. PoA to NPoS process.

Module 4 - Cryptography and Networking

Account keys and session keys. Overview of networking - gossiping, distributed service, storage and availability, authentication, transport and discovery. Polkadot telemetry. Challenges and scope for improvements.

Module 5 - Interoperability and Scalability

Polkadot interoperability protocol in depth. Relay chain vs parachain. Auction process and parachain slots. Path of a parachain block. Validity and availability. Cross chain messaging (XCM). Introduction to parathreads and common good parachains. Statemint. Teleporting assets.

Module 6 - Polkadot for Developers

Introduction to Rust. Introduction to Substrate and FRAME. Polkadot-JS and APIs. SPREE. Wasm and Polkadot as a Wasm meta-protocol . Polkadot ecosystem and developers social channels. SmolDOT - blockchain light clients. Substrate recipes and Playground. Westend and Rococo. Canvas INK smart contracts. Future of development on Polkadot