Parachains officially launch on Polkadot network

The long-in-the-making process of bringing multiple blockchains to the Polkadot network culminated this weekend with the official kick-off of five parachains.

The five parachains that went live this weekend -- Acala, Astar, Clover, Moonbeam, and Parallel Finance -- were chosen following successful parachain auctions. All told, nearly 99 million DOT, worth approximately $2.4 billion, was garnered by the five projects during the auction period. Winning projects effectively lease their parachain slots, which last for 96 weeks.

"The launch of parachains on Polkadot represents the culmination of the original vision outlined in the Polkadot Whitepaper (aka the Polkadot Paper) in 2016," the Polkadot team said in a statement. "The Polkadot Paper outlined Polkadot's core features and sketched out the network's sharded multichain design. Parachains are the final piece of core functionality, as outlined in the paper, to be fully launched. How Polkadot evolves from here is up to its community of DOT holders, who will approve any future upgrades via the network's on-chain governance system."

The winning projects are focused on a number of use cases, including decentralized finance and lending, among others. The idea of parachains is that each individual network can support different use profiles, all tethered to Polkadot's Relay Chain. 

As noted by The Block Research's John Dantoni in a recent ecosystem map, there are more than 200 projects focused on Polkadot across 19 verticals. 

A series of additional parachain auctions are currently live, according to a website that tracks auction performance.