Polkadot / Kusama Glossary

Learn essential concepts and keywords.


- Account: This is where you store your funds, and also what you use to contribute to crowdloans. It can be created from/imported to Talisman extension or Polkadot.js extension. It can hold addresses for different networks (Polkadot, Kusama, and their Parachains).

- Address: This is what you use to receive funds and send funds from. It can start with different letters or numbers depending on the networks that you are using (Polkadot = 1, Kusama = Capital letter, Acala = 2, etc). Talisman extension allows you to choose which address to send funds to from a single dropdown menu.

- Alpha (release): The unaudited version of the extension that was released with a restricted access. It was only available to Spirit Key holders.

- Assets: The valuable (digital) items owned by you and stored in your (crypto) accounts.

- Auction: The process similar to auction by the candle that allows Parachain candidates to bid against each other to win a Parachain slot. Auctions run in batch of 5 to allows all winners in the same batch to be onboarded to their Relay chain at the same time.

- Beta (release): The audited version of the Talisman extension that is released to the public. It is available to everyone on Chrome store.

- Contribution: The transfer to a Parachain crowdfunding pool that you make as part of a crowdloan.

- Crowdloan: The procedure similar to crowdfunding that allows Parachain candidate to pool funds from their communities and lock these funds to secure a Parachain slot. Crowdloans run for a limited time to allow non-winning Parachain candidates to refund their community contributors in between auction batches.

- Crypto: The short form of the word “cryptocurrencies” that is used to talk about digital currencies and blockchain technologies.

- Extension: The browser application that allows you to create and import cryptocurrency accounts and manage their web3 transactions.

- Multi-chain: The expression used to define dapps that are operating on 2 or more blockchains for their everyday operations (i.e Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polkadot). By contrast, cross-chain is an expression used to define operations that occurs between 2 blockchains (i.e Karura, Bifrost).

- NFTs: The Non-Fungible Tokens that are minted on blockchains and represent ownership of a piece of data. This data can be an image, a photo, a video/audio recording, a nested NFT, exclusive rights, etc.

- Parachain: The Layer-1 blockchain that relies on a Relay chain for security but offers a wide variety of services to users (i.e Staking, Identity, DeFi, NFT marketplaces, DAOs, Trusted Environments, Social spaces, etc). A Parachain candidate must win a slot auction to onboard their Relay chain for a defined lease period (48 weeks on Kusama and 96 weeks on Polkadot).

- Paraverse: The Talisman-made expression used to define the network of Parachains, Relay chains, their services, and their communities. For more information, see this article.

- Portfolio: The list of all coins, tokens, and NFTs that you hold across all the accounts that are connected to the Talisman web app. For example: you can hold the coin KSM, the derivative token vsKSM, and the NFT Kanaria.

- Relay chain: The Layer-0 blockchain that provides security to parachains and offers a limited number of services (Staking, Identity, Governance). There are two major Relay chains in the DotSama ecosystem: Polkadot and Kusama.

- Rewards: The Parachain tokens that you receive in exchange of your crowdloan contributions. They are distributed under a predefined vesting schedule.

- Spirit Key: The custom-made NFT that gives you to early private access to Talisman Alpha releases.

- Staking: The procedure that allows you to lock Relay chain or Parachain tokens to secure the networks and obtain daily payouts in return. There are minima that apply (0.01 KSM and 160 DOT).

- Wallet: An application that allows you to interact with dapps and complete operations on blockchain networks.

- Web app: The first release of the Talisman asset dashboard that supports both Talisman and Polkadot.js accounts. It allows you to buy DOT/KSM with fiat, contribute to crowdloans, and view your NFTs.


- Balance: The number of tokens that your account holds on a specific chain (i.e KSM on Kusama, DOT on Polkadot, etc.)

- Create: The procedure for making a new account with an associated secret phrase. In Talisman extension, the first account that you create is a root account that can’t be manually removed.

- Dapps: The applications that are used to interact with Relay chains and Parachains.

- Existential Deposit: This is the minimum number of tokens that you must leave on your account to keep it alive on-chain (i.e 0.00004 KSM on Kusama, 1 DOT on Polkadot, etc.) and avoid being reaped/removed.

- Export/Back up account: The procedure for accessing and saving your Private key as a secret phrase written on paper or a JSON file with password lock stored in a non-connected device.

- Funds: The sum of all your balances across all chains.

- Fees: The number of tokens that you pay to submit a transaction onto the blockchain. Transactions fees are always deducted, even if your transaction gets rejected.

- Import/add account: The procedure for integrating accounts that were created on an external extension (i.e Polkadot.js, Subwallet, etc.) or deriving new accounts from an existing root account.

- Private key: The cryptographic key associated with your account that is used to create and sign transactions onto the blockchain. Private keys can be stored as a secret phrase, a JSON file or in a cold storage (i.e Ledger device or Parity signer).

- Testnet: The playground for testing Relay chain and Parachain functionalities without real-value tokens. There are two major Testnets in the DotSama ecosystem: Westend (with WND tokens) and Rococo (with ROC tokens). However, most Parachains also run their own Testnets (i.e Mandala, Moonbase Alpha, Shibuya, Dolphin, etc.).

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