Polkadot is About to "Fundamentally Change," Said Web3 Foundation's New CEO

Polkadot is about to drop parachain's slot auctions for a new mechanism that allows application developers to rent block space as needed.

By: Camila Russo Loading...

Polkadot is About to "Fundamentally Change," Said Web3 Foundation's New CEO

Polkadot is about to undergo a major shift, Fabian Gompf, Web3 Foundation's new chief executive officer said in an interview.

Polkadot's parachain system, "will fundamentally change at the end of this year, beginning of next year," Gompf told The Defiant in the first interview he's done since becoming CEO.

The upgrade "allows to allocate block space, allocate the resources of parachains, to whatever you can code on top of them," he said.

The latest estimates provided on the Polkadot governance forum have the upgrade, called Agile Coretime, launching on the Rococo testnet by the end of the year, with deployment on Kusama by Q1 and finally a mainnet launch on Polkadot on Q2.

The change is part of Polkadot 2.0, a vision first laid out by the blockchain's founder Gavin Wood in June at Polkadot's Decoded conference.

Gompf was a member of the Web3 Foundation’s Supervisory Board and previous to that he was VP of Ecosystem Development at Parity Technologies.

Parity Technologies develops the Polkadot blockchain, while the Web3 Foundation oversees ecosystem growth via funding, advocacy and research.

Agile Coretime

Blockchain applications need access to blockspace to run code and store data. Currently, apps on Polkadot need to participate in auctions to control parachains and temporarily use block space.

With the agile coretime upgrade, builders will be able to reserve block space in bulk or access it instantly, depending on their needs.

"We depart from the classic lease auctions and propose an agile marketplace for coretime, where essentially coretime becomes a commodity that can be tokenized, sold and traded," according to Polkadot documentation.

Polkadot only has $136M in total value locked, compared with $24.6B on Ethereum, according to DeFiLlama. Its native token, DOT, is up by 3.6% in the past three months, versus ETH's 14% gain.

$45M Grants Program

Gompf is betting increased funding will boost activity.

The Decentralized Futures Program, which kicked off on Nov. 16, will provide funding of $20M and 5M DOT, or about $45M, for teams building on Polkadot.

The programs is aimed at moving away from the "centralized stewardship of the protocol," into a more decentralized structure, Gompf said.

"There is currently a situation where there are a lot of voices, a lot of people are very engaged and this program is about empowering them by giving them the tools, getting the funding, to actually take responsibility and build," Gompf told The Defiant.

The goal is to allocate all funds "aggressively" next year to teams of all sizes and disciplines, who can show the ability to reach scale and self-sufficiency, Gompf said.

Troubled Times

Gompf's appointment comes at a time of upheaval in the Polkadot ecosystem, with reports of large staff cuts, and claims of mismanagement.

One recent example is a post by Dakota Barnett, founder of Polkadot-based project InvArch, who accused Parity Technologies of "incompetence," while bemoaning that development and capital is leaving the ecosystem.

Gompf confirmed to The Defiant that 12 employees of the Foundation were recently laid off, with the total team standing at around 50 people.

Gompf is confident that the new funding program, coupled with the upcoming technical upgrades, will boost the Polkadot ecosystem.

"This funding program is there to increase on-chain activity, to get applications and developers onto onto the platform."

Barnett spoke with Gompf, who reached out after the InvArch founder posted his grievances.

"My concerns are sincere," Barnett wrote on X. "But so is my belief that things can turn around, & Fabian decisively stepping up strengths that hope."

[UPDATED 11/18 @ 8:30pm ET to add Barnett's comments and correct spelling of first name]