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"We are about to see the true capabilities of cross-chain interactions"| Polkadot September AMA

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Bill Laboon, head of education and grants at the Web3 Foundation, holds an AMA on Reddit every month to answer questions from netizens about Polkadot/Kusama. This article summarizes the September AMA, which also marks the first anniversary of this AMA column.

Q: How will the Polkadot ecosystem and its parachains maintain their integrity as a decentralized and secure system, effectively bypassing and avoiding excessive censorship?

A:The Polkadot network and the DOT tokens that secure it are fully decentralized. The Web3 Foundation took the harder path and worked with regulators during its launch process to ensure it (and we believe it still is) is compliant with regulatory requirements in all jurisdictions.

Parachains themselves are responsible for their own compliance, including communication and disclosure, as they are not controlled by Polkadot, but if there is a problem or need, the Web3 Foundation is sure to help with education.

Q:Is it possible for regulators and nation-states to enforce Layer 0, Layer 1, and Layer 2 censorship in the Polkadot ecosystem and force developers (under threat of imprisonment) to comply with their arbitrary oversight?

A:It's always possible for something like this to happen, as we've seen in various ways recently.

Q:Can Polkadot and its parachains be truly decoupled from the fiat system and preserve the 5 pillars of crypto freedom (open, public, borderless, neutral and censorship resistant)?

A:This is of course the goal of our Web3 Foundation! We have a sign at our headquarters that says our goals:

“We are building trustless open source infrastructure — a fully decentralized network that enables users to resist arbitrary authority and take back control of their own sovereignty.”

This is of course my thoughts and hopes, and we and the rest of the ecosystem are working hard to build.

Q:Have you and W3F set goals for education/adoption?

A:Yes, the technical education team has specific strategic guidelines for focused content (eg, geographic region/language, topic, etc.). We track these metrics, but don't have specific numbers to meet (eg, "Need 500 people to attend this workshop or you'll get fired!"). I think everyone on the technical education team is focused on producing the best, most impactful educational material content possible. We're a small team, four people actually, and I think there are a lot of benefits to having fewer people.

Q:What's the next business milestone you're trying to achieve (marketing, PR, partnerships with businesses)?

A:We have different teams working on these different milestones. Personally, I'm not really involved in any marketing side of the business (my business experience prior to this role was software developer, tech lead, computer science teacher... so I'm not the right person to answer marketing strategy - luckily is that we have other colleagues working on it). Personally, I am very much looking forward to the Sub0/Polkadot developer conference this November. I hope to see you (and anyone else reading this!) in Lisbon this November!

Q:What do you suggest we think about the upcoming ETH merger?

A:I'm not sure what you mean by "how to look". I am a big fan of PoS and proud that Polkadot has been using it since it went live in May 2020. I don't know much about the progress of Ethereum other than a very general understanding.

Q:12-month AMA, what question do you wish someone asked you but didn't ask?

A:good question! Actually, my 3 1/2 years at the Web3 Foundation have a lot of stories, so I'm surprised no one has asked me about my personal experience in the ecosystem. One of the craziest things is that someone who wanted to vote for me on the council accidentally transferred me KSM worth about $27,000. Of course, when they contacted me, I immediately returned it! If you don't believe me, it's all recorded on the blockchain -

https://kusama.subscan.io/extrinsic/9091490-2

https://kusama.subscan.io/extrinsic/9092697-2

Q:From your point of view, what are the most interesting developments in the parachain space so far?

A:Honestly, what excites me the most is not any particular parachain, but the ability to interact cross-chain with XCM/XCMP. The increase of HRMP channels and the work done by teams such as Purestake (Moonbeam) are not only asset transfers, but also cross-chain contract calls.

Q:Do you think parachains on Kusama are underutilized and need to pay more attention to KSM before jumping/rushing to build on Polkadot?

A:This is actually hard to tell. Kusama provides an excellent place for this mess to happen, but there are potential reasons why some teams don't want to use it and instead rely solely on testnets for testing.

Q:What parachains or pallets do you think dotsama should have but don't have yet?

A:The W3F Grant team actually has a complete list of directions we are interested in and want to see in the ecosystem: https://github.com/w3f/Grants-Program/tree/master/rfps

Q:What do you see as the future of parachains? What innovations are we looking at right now? What has the dotsama parachain achieved in the last year?

A:I think we are about to see the real capabilities of cross-chain interactions. So far, cross-chain interactions have been powerful, but relatively simple — moving both homogenized and non-fungible assets from one chain to another. It's cool and powerful! But quite simply, these seem to me to be just proof-of-concepts for more innovations to come.

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