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Polkadot Fundamentals and Substrate Development


Hi, welcome to the substrate development course, this course will teach you how to build your own custom blockchains with the help of the substrate framework.

In the first few chapters, we will first learn a bit about substrate and get ourselves accustomed to some of the important concepts. and in the later chapters, we will build multiple different projects. So let’s get started.

The very first chapter, deals with the basic introduction to Substrate and why we should use it, and, we will also compare it with CosmWasm.

So, What is Substrate?

The Substrate framework is an open-source blockchain development platform created by Parity Technologies, that allows developers to build custom blockchain systems with ease. It provides a set of modular building blocks and a modular architecture, allowing developers to assemble a custom blockchain that meets their specific needs.

Substrate provides a rich set of features out-of-the-box, including consensus algorithms, transaction processing, storage, and networking. The framework also includes features like runtimes, which are the building blocks for blockchain logic, and smart contract support, which makes it possible to build complex decentralized applications. Additionally, Substrate provides a user-friendly interface for managing and deploying blockchains, making it accessible to developers with a wide range of experience levels.

Substrate also supports Polkadot, a heterogeneous multi-chain network that enables interoperability between different blockchains built on Substrate. This allows developers to easily create and connect multiple blockchains to create a larger, more interconnected network.

Overall, the Substrate framework provides a flexible and scalable platform for building blockchain systems, making it a popular choice for developers looking to create custom blockchain solutions.

Why to use Substrate?

Substrate takes the hard work out of blockchain development without imposing limits often found in other frameworks. From its inception, it was designed to be a flexible and modular framework that is highly customizable. It allows development teams to quickly build blockchains based on academically-researched and field-tested code that have proven their worth on many live networks worth billions of dollars.

With Substrate, developers don’t need to start from zero. They gain a tremendous head start by being able to leverage open source software built by Substrate's large ecosystem of top blockchain development projects around the world—for free. Just as consumer applications don't need to be built from scratch today, neither do blockchains anymore—thanks to Substrate.

Substrate is - 

  • Open - All of the Substrate architecture and tooling is available under open-source licensing. Core components of the Substrate framework use open protocols such as libp2p and jsonRPC while empowering you to decide how much you want to customize your blockchain architecture.
  • Flexible - Most blockchain platforms have very tightly coupled, opinionated, sub-systems that are quite hard to decouple. There is risk as well in a chain based on a fork of another blockchain that those non-obvious couplings can fundamentally undermine the blockchain system itself. Substrate is a fully modular blockchain framework that lets you compose a chain with explicitly decoupled components, by selecting the network stack, consensus model, or governance method that suits your project or by creating your own components.With Substrate, you can deploy a blockchain that's designed and built for your specifications, but that can also evolve with your changing needs.
  • Interoperable - Most blockchain platforms provided limited ability to interact with other blockchain networks. All Substrate-based blockchains can interoperate with the other blockchains through Cross-Consensus Messaging (XCM). Substrate can be used to create chains as independent networks (solo chains), or tightly coupled to a relay chain to share its security as a parachain.

Comparison of Substrate with CosmWasm 

A lot of new developers confuse between Substrate and CosmWasm (cosmos), so let’s try and understand the differences between them.

Substrate and CosmWasm are both blockchain development platforms, but they have some key differences.

Substrate is a full-featured framework for building custom blockchain systems, while CosmWasm is a platform specifically designed for developing decentralized applications (dapps) on the Cosmos network. 

Substrate provides a comprehensive set of tools and features for building custom blockchains, including consensus algorithms, storage, networking, and smart contract support. 

On the other hand, CosmWasm focuses solely on dapp development, providing a way for developers to build and deploy smart contracts on the Cosmos network.

Substrate also supports Polkadot, a heterogeneous multi-chain network that enables interoperability between different blockchains built on Substrate, while CosmWasm is designed to work specifically with the Cosmos network.

In terms of programming languages, Substrate supports Rust, a systems programming language, while CosmWasm supports WebAssembly, a binary instruction format that can be executed in a web browser or in a standalone environment.

In summary, if you're looking to build a custom blockchain system with a wide range of features and capabilities, Substrate may be the better option, while if you're looking to build a decentralized application on the Cosmos network, CosmWasm may be the more suitable choice.

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