Polkadot completes new update, promotes parachain interoperability

That Polka dot (DOT) network today reached another major milestone on its long-term plan, as its founder Dr. Gavin Wood announced on Twitter that his “open cross-consensus” messaging standard, XCM version 3, has now been merged.

XCM protocol

This is big news for the Polkadot community, because the merger means that XCM protocol is now ready, enabling cross-chain bridges, asset locking, token exchange, NFT conditions, context tracking, and more between the Polkadot Relay chain, its parachains, and also the Kusama Canary network.

XCM is important to Polkadot because it is intended as a language used by multiple interoperable systems, not just one blockchainscan be used to make yourself understood.

XCM is constantly evolving towards its goal of serving as a language compatible with multiple blockchains and platforms. Parity Technologies has actually added support for two message passing protocols known as Upward Message Passing and Downwards Message Passing with XCM version 3. These are compatible with all Polka dot parachains, as well as its sister network Kusama’s chains and even other Substratum-based networks. XCM is designed to ensure that each chain receives all messages sent by another chain, and this ability is key to its ability to support so many different networks. It can also be used to send messages between smart contracts on other networks and even between shards within one network.

As PolkaVerse user Goku explains in this blog post, the best way to think of XCM is to think of it as a sort of telephone that connects the Polkadot and Kusama networks. Goku states that XMC version 3 is “a living standard for Polkadot messaging,” focusing on programmability, functional multichain decomposition, and bridging, among other things. It finally allows parachains to talk to each other without the need for insecure “bridges”.

In terms of programmability, version 3 of the standard finally allows XCM messages to express and execute more advanced concepts, including expectations and consequences, introspection, secure transmissions, and more. More generally, it will be the messaging protocol through which assets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can be exchanged between the relay chain, parachains, Kusama and other substrate-based chains.

Polka dot parachains

It will also make it possible to build mechanisms where logic can be spread across multichains, an essential aspect of Polkadot’s long-term vision for a functionally minimal relay chain.

Another big new feature is the XCM’s remote lock function. For example, a parachain can now use an item that exists on another parachain by requesting the other chain to lock an item. The new bridging capabilities allow XCM messages to work transparently over bridges and other multi-hop routes.

The grand vision of XCM version 3 has yet to materialize, but the hope is that it will become the means by which chains can use facilities and features on other networks. It will help to finally connect Polkadot with Kusama and allow oracles to pass time integrity and security information between chains. This in turn will enable developers to build much richer applications that span shards, parachains and entire ecosystems. XCM version 3 comes with an almost unlimited number of new features and it will be very interesting to see how developers take advantage of them.

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