Polkadot (DOT) Mainnet Faces Parachain Halt After Runtime Upgrade Launch


  • The recent runtime upgrade of Polkadot’s mainnet triggered interest in the blockchain community. 
  • Polkadot’s runtime upgrade utilizes Wasm in Substrate, which is powering Polkadot and related chains, to allow runtime updates without hard forks. 

The recent runtime upgrade of Polkadot’s mainnet triggered interest in the blockchain community. Nevertheless, the improvement caused an unintended pause in block production across different parachains. Notably, Moonbeam Network, a prominent parachain, confirmed disruptions around 10:UTC on April 21st. Even though the purpose of this upgrade was to avoid hard forks and to implement smooth logic changes, this upgrade interrupted block production across competing parachains.

Adapting to Runtime Upgrades

Polkadot runtime upgrade achieves that through Wasm in Substrate, which is the powering tool for Polkadot itself and related chains, to support runtime updates without hardforks. On-chain Polkadot stores its network execution environment, which also lessens the necessity for offline node operator coordination for an upgrade. The on-chain governance allows participants to propose and vote their ballots, enhancing efficiency and reducing downtime.

The governance structure of Polkadot allows the stakeholders to come with enhancements on their own, thus without going through the rigorous process of node operators coordination. Polkadot ensures constant upgrades and minimizes the probability of network disruptions common to regular hard forks by storing its runtime on-chain.

The downtimes that the majority of the Polkadot parachains have to suffer during the runtime upgrade are a common thing in the blockchain world. Similar outages occur on other platforms when upgrading rollouts are done as well including Solana and Polygon at times. Nevertheless, apart from these interventions, upgrades are necessary to support network integrity and progress blockchain technology.

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Evolutionary Upgrades in JAM Protocol

A recent Polkadot runtime upgrade is a response to an announcement regarding the release of the JAM protocol, which is expected to replace the current Relay Chain interoperability protocol. This release is a major milestone in Polkadot’s architecture, reflecting a move towards a modular and simplified approach to improving overall performance and scalability.

The JAM Protocol is a breakthrough for blockchain architecture, offering a minimalistic, modular framework as an alternative to Polkadot’s Relay Chain as it is. The model integrates Ethereum’s smart contracts system and Polkadot’s scalable node network and provides a unified model for more efficiency and flexibility.

JAM also comes with the unique feature of seamless integration, especially for software developers who have a background in Substrate, which is the framework that powers Polkadot. The provided parachain services promote compatibility to help support the existing Substrate-based parachains, which eases the transition for the developers.

Besides, JAM is compatible only with DOT, the main token of Polkadot, so the protocol is more straightforward and can leverage the network of the larger Polkadot. However, despite the expected advantages of the runtime upgrade, Polkadot’s native coin, DOT, had some small price changes post-event. By press time, DOT was at $7.46, which denotes a 3.26% uptrend over the day.

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