Polkadot Defies Market Downturn to Hit New Milestones

We’re only six months into a market downturn that could have years to run if the worst-case predictions prove true, but some interesting trends are already emerging. The projects that could only survive when the going was good (3,3; borderline ponzis; algo stables; vaporware tokens) have already fallen by the wayside. And of those that remain, it’s clear which projects are going the distance and which are merely going through the motions.

Of the big hitters whose best years are still ahead of them – Ethereum competitors, new L1s; zk-rollups – Polkadot is the project that’s arguably shown the greatest appetite for soldiering on. The rate of project developments, events, integrations, and partnerships has continued at a fast pace since the turn of the year, with the macro environment doing nothing to slow its stride.

Bear Market, What Bear Market?

It might be minus 78 outside – that’s the average rate by which crypto assets have dropped since their November peak – but at Polkadot HQ it’s business as usual. On June 30, co-founder Dr Gavin Wood addressed a packed conference at Polkadot Decoded in Buenos Aires, where the talk was about parachains, not prices. The number of new parachains connecting to the main relay chain continues to proliferate; 21 at the last count, plus another 36 on canary chain Kusama.

However, perhaps the most bullish indicator for Polkadot’s prospects can be found in the number of grants approved by the Web3 Foundation. More than 400 have now been green-lighted, which augurs well for the future of grassroots development on the blockchain of blockchains. At the Buenos Aires conference, Polkadot also reeled off a list of impressive achievements including 1,400 active monthly developers. At 75% year-on-year growth, this puts every other network bar Ethereum in the shade.

Two Chains That Work as One

One of the most interesting trends to observe has been the evolution of Polkadot and Kusama as a harmonious pair. Although officially still dubbed Polkadot’s canary network, Kusama proved during the latest bull market that it’s more than capable of holding its own without big sister to support it. Their relationship remains symbiotic, however, as seen by the Polkadot Treasury funding proposals of more than 1.4 million DOT and 130K KSM.

A recent report by Messari sheds further light on the current health of Polkadot’s sprawling ecosystem, noting: “During the second quarter of 2022, strong developer activity has been Polkadot’s plus point. As observed in available data, developer activity scored an average of 11,000 developer activity events per month. Evidently, Polkadot’s developer activity remains among the strongest in the crypto market.”

It adds: “Despite a brutal macro-environment, Polkadot’s on-chain activity was consistent quarter over quarter. During Q2 2022, Polkadot had roughly 435,000 users.”

Where Next?

There are many reasons for the Polkadot community to feel bullish about where the multi-chain network is headed and the innovations in the works. These include its cross-consensus messaging solution, XCM, as well as mooted updates to Polkadot’s governance process. There is a sense that Polkadot missed out on the last bull market due to the complexity and steady, rather than speedy, rate of its rollout. While that might have cost it fans while digital assets were riding high, it’s conversely meant that there’s been less downside in lean times.

Without moonboys and shillers to placate, Polkadot has been able to focus on building first and foremost. By the time market conditions improve, it should be primely positioned to ride the next wave, wherever it may lead.