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Polkadot Launch Announcement: COVID-19 Considerations

April 10, 2020 in Polkadot, Polkadot Launch
Avatarby Gavin Wood

Polkadot development continues to progress rapidly, and we're pleased with the proven track record the technology has developed with the launch of Kusama last summer. The Polkadot codebase has undergone a series of audits since late 2019, and we expect to release the results of these security assessments as we progress through Polkadot's launch.

Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring the progress of COVID-19 through our communities. In light of the pandemic, we'll be re-evaluating the timing of any sale, which in turn might affect the timing of DOT token transferability, which is triggered by a governance referendum and vote. That said, we see no reason why we cannot push ahead with the Proof of Authority launch of Polkadot mainnet chain candidate(s) (that is, the potential chain specification(s) for genesis), so we will launch and make the initial move to Nominated Proof of Stake as soon as the technology and audits are complete.

Since Web3 Foundation's charter was set forth, it has always been made clear that the Foundation would not hold more than thirty percent of DOTs at launch. Though a full majority of tokens would be required to cause any significant problems such as halting block production, censoring transactions, or passing problematic ordinances through governance, any party controlling over thirty-three percent could technically halt finality on the network. To ensure this is not possible, Web3 Foundation has already distributed more than seventy percent of genesis DOTs in the form of previous public and private sales of non-transferable DOT allocations, as well as robust grant and RFP programs focused on developing the Polkadot network and the distributed teams and projects supporting it.

Thus far, the W3F's Grants Program has distributed grants worth nearly five million U.S. dollars to one hundred open-source projects contributing to the Polkadot ecosystem. The program includes two additional Polkadot Host implementations, dozens of components like wallets and block explorers, bridges, and other critical infrastructure and tooling. These teams are spread across the globe, and we are proud to have them alongside us for Polkadot's mainnet genesis.

The Alpha release of Polkadot's technology took place with the launch of Kusama network last summer, which has been invaluable to ensure Polkadot's production environment is secure and stable. Polkadot's mainnet chain candidate(s) launch will follow much the same launch process used for Kusama, with a few subtle differences. Rather than releasing the "Sudo module" earlier in the process to hand off control to DOT holders, we will potentially wait to conduct a DOT allocation sale to further decentralize the network, before relinquishing the "Sudo module," in compliance with applicable rules and regulation in the locations that we operate. Subsequently, the network will be fully decentralized, and tokens will be released once a network-wide governance vote approves it.

While the next weeks and months are difficult to predict, we will continue to push forward with the immediate task of launching the decentralized Polkadot network. We thank our community for supporting our long-term vision of building a fairer internet for all. The health and safety of our friends, families and community remain paramount. We wish you all the best in these trying times.

Stay safe and be well.

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