Kusama is an early, unaudited and unrefined release of Polkadot. Kusama will serve as a proving ground, allowing teams and developers to build and deploy a parachain or try out Polkadot’s governance, staking, nomination and validation functionality in a real environment.
Kusama is meant to be Polkadot’s canary network, warning us of issues to keep things safe for the developers downchain. Without a network like Kusama, there is no reasonable way to fully understand the potential dangers that lie ahead. We are building bleeding-edge, experimental technology, which means there are no promises about what Kusama will do or how it will work – expect a lot of chaos (and a little fun).
Kusama is an early, highly experimental version of Polkadot presenting real economic conditions. The community will own the network – there will be no central kill switch. Kusama will exist as long as its community maintains it and we envision it will cater to new, early functionality and projects preparing to develop and deploy on Polkadot.
One percent of DOT tokens at Polkadot genesis have been reserved as an eventual incentivisation grant to Kusama’s stakeholders and community. The precise mechanics of this have not yet been finalised.
There is also a standard bounty program for critical issues. You can find out more here.
With KSM, you can validate, nominate validators, bond parachains, pay for interop message passing, and vote on governance referenda. Check out more in the KSM user guide.
The genesis distribution of KSM will be exactly as for DOT: if you purchased DOTs in the sale then you own an equal share of the Kusama network. The Web3 Foundation will use some of its holdings to fund a frictional faucet for those that do not currently hold DOTs. Here’s how to claim KSM.
Alternatively, a public faucet and a KSM grants process will also be made available upon genesis.
No, Kusama is a completely different network than Polkadot, but has many of the same features of Polkadot (like parachains) and uses an early version of the code that will be used for Polkadot.
Long-term, we envision the Kusama network evolving into an experimental testbed for projects and progressive concepts. There’s no central kill switch for Kusama. Kusama will likely continue on as a community project that will operate alongside and complement the Polkadot mainnet.
KSM are utilitarian. We do not condone trading or selling of KSM, only using them to experiment on the canary network.