what are parachains?

What are Parachains?


parachains explained

A Guide to Polkadot & Kusama Parachains

Parachains are custom, project-specific blockchains that are integrated within the Polkadot (DOT) and Kusama (KSM) networks.

Parachains can be customized for any number of use cases and feed into the main blockchain, called the Relay Chain, considered to be the heart of the Polkadot and Kusama networks.  

The Relay Chain is responsible for the network’s shared security, consensus and transaction settlements, and thus, by being integrated into the Relay Chain, all parachains benefit from the Relay Chain’s base features.

Parachain Image One
Parachain Image Two


平行链对具体案例功能进行了优化,并在很多情况下支持自己的代币。要成为 波卡Kusama上的平行链,项目必须参加平行拍卖

希望参与拍卖并获得平行链插槽的项目的例子包括Moonriver,一个与以太坊兼容的Kusama区块链环境,以及Karura (KAR),一个允许用户在他们的加密货币上获得收益,并为Kusama信贷提供基础设施服务的 去中心化金融(DeFi) 中心。

Parachain Graphic Image


Polkadot and Kusama are networks that allow both information and tokens to be transferred on them. Unlike Ethereum, where decentralized applications are created within the bounds set by its blockchain, Polkadot and Kusama allow developers to create their own independent blockchains.

This means that each parachain can have its own parameters such as block times, transaction fees, governance mechanism and mining rewards.

Parachains benefit from the Polkadot and Kusama network’s security, maintained by the Relay Chain, rather than having to rely on their own set of validator nodes. Instead, parachains are maintained by collator nodes that store a full history for each parachain and aggregate parachain transaction data into blocks to be added to the Relay Chain. 

Parachain Auctions

Polkadot and Kusama are expected to only support up to 100 parachains slots on their networks, a number that is flexible and subject to change. 

Each parachain has a dedicated parachain slot to attach to the Relay Chain, and, in order to gain access to one of the slots, Web3, the team behind Polkadot and Kusama, has created what they call Parachain Auctions as a method to distribute the available slots in an equitable manner.  

Parachain auction participants have a determined amount of time to place bids on the projects they wish to see get a parachain slot, and the project that garnered the most support at a randomly determined time during the bidding process will generally obtain the ability to use a parachain slot.

If you would like to know more about parachain slot auctions, head over to our Parachain Auction page.


parachains explained
See Infographic
what are parachains



Useful Polkadot and Kusama Parachain Resources

If you are interested in learning more about Polkadot and Kusama, please visit Kraken’s “What is Polkadot?” and “What is Kusama?” pages.

Ready to buy DOT or KSM? Check out our How to Buy Polkadot and How to Buy Kusama guides.

Also visit our Polkadot price chart and Kusama price chart.

Want more in depth information on specific cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects? If so, visit our Learn Center to further your education on this ever-growing space.

How to buy KSM and DOT on Kraken


  1. Sign up for a Kraken account

    Enter a valid email address, username and a strong password to protect your account.

  2. Verify your account

    After providing your name, date of birth, country of residence and phone number, you can buy KSM and DOT with other cryptocurrencies. In order to use cash (i.e. USD or EUR), you’ll need to provide our experts with additional supporting documents verifying your identity. Read about our verification processes here. 

  3. Deposit cash or cryptocurrency

    You can fund your account in a number of ways. How you do so will depend upon your location and preferences.

  4. Purchase DOT or KSM!

    Once your account is funded, you’re ready to purchase your first KSM and DOT. At this point, you’ll also have access to our advanced charting tools, 24-hour global client support and the ability to utilize margin trading.