Polkadot is a next-generation Blockchain protocol that unites a network of purpose-built Blockchains. Polkadot allows these Blockchains to operate seamlessly together, exchanging data as well as value.


On January 11th 2016, Gavin Wood left the Ethereum community and turned his attention towards a new venture. According to Wood, he came up with the idea for Polkadot in the Summer of 2016. At this time, Ethereum 2.0 sharding specs had not yet solidified, so implementation could not occur.

Prompted by developer Marek Kotewicz, Wood began attempts to design a simple sharded version of Ethereum. By October 2016, Wood had written the first draft of the Polkadot whitepaper.

Wood and Parity’s Peter Czaban co-founded the non-profit Web3 Foundation in the Summer of 2017. One of Web3 Foundation’s functions included managing the funds raised in the Polkadot token sale held in October of 2017.

Polkadot launched its testnet in January 2019, and the initial version of Polkadot officially launched in May 2020.

Polkadot aims to be a true multi-chain application environment where functions like cross-chain registries and computation are possible.

Polkadot can transfer this data across public, open, permissionless Blockchains as well as private, permissioned Blockchains.

This makes it possible to build applications that receive permissioned data from a private Blockchain and employs it on a public Blockchain.


You can find out more about the founders on their about page.


Polkadot held two token sales and raised approximately $200 million in the process. The Web3 Foundation oversaw the token sale. The Web3 Foundation is a Swiss non-profit Foundation that seeks to facilitate a fully functional and user-friendly decentralized web. The Web3 Foundation received 30% of the funds from the token offerings in order to fund the development of the project.


Polkadot operates two types of Blockchains, namely the main network known as the relay chain and user-created networks known as parachains. They feed into the relay chain, which is the main Polkadot Blockchain. This means that parachain transactions benefit from the security of the main chain.

The Relay Chain

The Relay Chain network handles the finalization of transactions and deliberately possesses minimal functionality. Smart contracts receive no support on the Relay Chain. Its main responsibility is to coordinate the system as a whole, including parachains.


Parachains are custom Blockchains that use the Relay Chain’s computing resources to confirm the accuracy of transactions. Polkadot places no constraints over what parachains are able to achieve. However, they must be able to generate a proof that validators assigned to the parachain can actually validate. Sovereign Blockchains may have their own native cryptoassets and optimize their functionality for specific use-cases.


Bridges allow the Polkadot Network to interact with other Blockchains (for example, the Bitcoin and Ethereum Networks).

Consensus Roles

The Polkadot Relay Chain uses a variation of Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus called Nominated-Proof-of-Stake (NPoS). This allows anyone who holds DOT to carry out one or more of the consensus roles. DOT is the native token of Polkadot.

  • Validators. They secure the Relay Chain by staking DOTs, validating proofs from collators and participating in consensus with other Validators
  • Nominators. They secure the Relay Chain by selecting trustworthy Validators and staking DOT
  • Collators. They maintain shards by collecting shard transactions from users and produce proofs for Validators
  • Fishermen. They monitor the Polkadot Network and report bad behavior to Validators. Collators (and any parachain full node) can perform the role of fishermen.


The DOT cryptoasset has three distinct purposes. This includes governance over the network, staking and bonding:

  • Governance. Anyone who purchases DOT coins can use their DOTs to propose changes to the network and approve or reject major changes proposed by others.
  • Staking. Game theory incentivizes token holders to behave honestly. Good actors receive rewards whilst bad actors will lose their stake in the network. This ensures the network remains secure at all times.
  • Bonding. The addition of new parachains takes place by bonding tokens. Conversely, the removal of outdated or obsolete parachains occurs by withdrawing bonded tokens.


According to the Polkadot website, the Polkadot runtime environment’s coding is in Rust, C++, and Go with the hope that it will make Polkadot accessible to a wider range of developers. The types of projects using Polkadot include a cloud platform, a browser extension wallet and different types of block explorers.

Bitnob Changing Lives in Africa

Africa is adopting crypto at a crazy rate, and so far, Nigeria and Kenya top the charts. In fact, a recent report by reveals they are two of the top 10 countries globally for crypto adoption (Kenya is 5th while Nigeria is 6th). Let’s take a look at a project that is helping to drive this trend, Bitnob.

Based in Nigeria, Bitnob is a platform that makes it easy for individuals and businesses to buy and save Bitcoin. Users access Bitnob through a mobile app that’s available for both Android and iOS. With staggering rates of inflation, Nigerians are always on the lookout for ways to save money, so it’s no surprise that platforms like Bitnob are really taking off.

Cool Features

Not only does Bitnob help people buy and hold Bitcoin, they also release free weekly educational webinars. These webinars teach people how to use Bitnob and everything they need to know about Bitcoin and investing. These webinars play a major part in Bitnob’s mission to help people achieve financial freedom.

Bitnob has some really nifty features including a referral program based on the concept of Ubuntu, a Zulu word that means ‘community.’ According to co-founder Adeolu Akinyemi

 ‘In Africa, we depend on each other, rely on each other and really need each other. It’s a concept called Ubuntu: when we are good, then I am good’

The program is designed to celebrate and reward Bitnob users and encourages them to spread the word about its efforts to lower the barrier to entry to Bitcoin.

With the referral program, users can earn cash rewards when they encourage their family and friends to sign up for Bitnob. To add a further fun twist to the program, there is also a leaderboard where people can earn points for the number of successful referrals they achieve. People on the leaderboard are known as Bitnob Ambassadors, and there are several levels they can attain including Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Ruby, and MVP.

Another interesting feature of Bitnob is that it provides an easy way for users to Dollar-cost average (or DCA) Bitcoin. Dollar-cost averaging is an investment strategy used to reduce the impact of volatility when purchasing high-risk financial assets like stocks and cryptocurrencies. With DCA, you schedule regular purchases at a set amount. Using Bitnob, people can regularly buy as little as $1 worth of Bitcoin. There is also a handy Dollar-cost averaging calculator. This makes it easy for people to work out their earnings based on the current market value.

At present, it’s not possible to buy Bitcoin in Nigeria using a bank account. In February 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered banks to close the accounts of crypto traders.

However, Bitnob figured out a clever workaround to counter this problem using Ovvar vouchers, which are sort of like mobile phone top-ups. First someone must buy an Ovvar voucher from a vendor, which are apparently common in Nigeria. Once a voucher has been purchased, a code is sent directly to the purchaser’s mobile phone. They then input this code into their Bitnob account, and the money is transferred. Simple right?

Bitnob also offers NobCredit, which allows users to make use of instant crypto-backed loans. With NobCredit, users can take out flexible loans with zero hidden fees or penalties and use their Bitcoin balance as collateral. In this way, Nobcredit allows users to meet urgent financial obligations while continuing to HODL their Bitcoin.

 Lightning News

As if all these cool features weren’t enough Bitnob, recently announced that they had successfully integrated the Lightning Network into their platform. On August 19th 2021, Jack Mallers Tweeted a video of himself sending money from his US bank account to Nigeria using Bitnob and the Lightning Network. The transactions took seconds!

So what does the Lightning Network mean for Bitnob? So through the integration of this revolutionary technology, Bitnob becomes a node within the network. This means it can connect to other Lightning Nodes for processing transactions. As a result, Bitnob users can easily send Bitcoin to other platforms and Bitcoin wallets that have Lightning Network functionality.

The Lightning Network means faster transactions, so Bitnob users can confirm deposits and withdrawals within a few seconds instead of several minutes.

In addition, the Lightning Network allows users to send smaller amounts of money that would not have been possible with the on-chain network due to high fees. This opens Bitnob users up to a new world of possibilities including paying for utilities, buying data, and performing mobile airtime top-ups.

Bitnob is just another example of one of the ingenious crypto projects operating out of Africa. With a large and educated population of young people and rampant financial instability, it’s no wonder why Bitcoin adoption is gaining pace in Africa.