What Is Crypto Kusama (KSM)?

Kusama (KSM) is an unrefined, experimental, proof-of-stake network that is based on Polkadot’s codebase and acts as a testnet for the Polkadot (DOT) ecosystem. Kusama keeps Polkadot safe by serving as a warning system about any issues or updates that may threaten the stability of the network. The Kusama network is intended to exist as long as the community maintains it, making it one of the best spaces for new projects and high-risk investments.

Interested in Kusama (KSM), but not sure what it’s all about or where to even begin? No worries. This guide is designed to teach you everything you need to know about the project and get you ready to jump into the most user-friendly trading experience available on the market.

How Does Kusama Work?

Kusama is built with substrates and codes similar to those of Polkadot. Often referred to as “the canary network of Polkadot,” Kusama is an evolutionary and multi-channel network designed to facilitate an audit system for Polkadot. How does the audit system work? Well, Kusama welcomes new features and experiments with them before said features are rolled out to Polkadot.

Most blockchain ecosystems only use a test network to develop their decentralized applications (DApps) and projects. Kusama, however, provides a functional market and test network conditions that other chains don’t provide. Kusama also benefits from modified governance parameters that allow it to operate up to four times faster than the Polkadot ecosystem.

Kusama uses two types of blockchains to process transactions and manage network activity. The main network, on which the validators are located, is called the relay chain. The relay chain has minimal functionality and is responsible for coordinating the system as a whole. Parachains, on the other hand, are unique and allow users to run separate Layer 1 blockchains with the Kusama network. Being able to run these single layers linked to the relay chain ensures the security of the parachains and significantly increases the scalability and interoperability of the Kusama network. There are also user-generated networks called parachains that may each have different architectures, features and use cases, depending on the project using each one. We’ll explain these in detail later on in this guide.

What Is Kusama (KSM) Token?

The KSM token is the native cryptocurrency of the Kusama network (just as DOT is the native token of the Polkadot network). The initial distribution of this token respects the same DOT token distribution. Essentially, this means that if you’ve participated in the DOT ICO, you’ll have access to the same number of KSM tokens that you purchased in the DOT ICO. This serves to encourage token holders to use the Kusama network and help the team in its development. However, perhaps the biggest change in Kusama is related to the generation of tokens via network rewards.

The KSM coin is a governance token to manage protocol updates and patches and pay fees through parachains. Validators stake their KSM to ensure network security and earn inflation rewards, while nominators can use their KSM to show support to certain validators and receive a share of the rewards. In addition, the KSM cryptocurrency can be used for linking to support new parachains.

How Can I Get a Kusama Coin?

You can buy KSM tokens on various leading crypto exchanges. However, this isn’t the only way to get KSM coins. Kusama has aligned itself with the Polkadot community by offering KSM tokens to anyone who’s purchased DOT during its ICO. Those who own a DOT indicator token can follow these instructions to claim an equal amount of KSM. There’s no deadline by which to claim the KSM tokens.

Treasury Proposals: If you have a project that will increase the value of the network, you can submit a cash flow proposal.

Bug Bounty Program: The bug bounty program rewards anyone who discovers vulnerabilities in Kusama’s code.

Validators: Validators can claim rewards for running the validation node. The number of KSM needed to become a validation node is dynamic, changing over time.

Nominators: Kusama nominators play a passive investor role by delegating their KSM to a maximum of 16 validators. For this, they receive rewards which are dynamic and evolve.

How To Choose a Kusama (KSM) Wallet

The type of Kusama (KSM) wallet you choose will likely depend on what you want to use it for and how much you need to store.

Hardware wallets or cold wallets provide the most secure option with offline storage and backup. Both Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets offer storage solutions for KSM. Hardware wallets can involve a bit more of a learning curve and are a more expensive option, however. As such, they may be better suited to storing larger amounts of KSM for more experienced users.

Software wallets provide another option and are free and easy to use. They are available to download as smartphone or desktop apps and can be custodial or non-custodial. With custodial wallets, the private keys are managed and backed up on your behalf by the service provider. Non-custodial wallets make use of secure elements on your device to store the private keys. While convenient, they are seen as less secure than hardware wallets and may be better suited to smaller amounts of Kusama (KSM) or more novice users.

Online wallets or web wallets are also free and easy to use and accessible from multiple devices using a web browser. They are considered hot wallets and can be less secure than hardware or software alternatives, however. As you are likely trusting the platform to manage your KSM, you should select a reputable service with a track record in security and custody. As such, they are most suited for holding smaller amounts or for more experienced frequent traders.

Kriptomat offers a secure storage solution, allowing you to both store and trade your Kusama (KSM) tokens without hassle. Storing your KSM with Kriptomat provides you with enterprise-grade security and user-friendly functionality.

Buying and selling KSM, or exchanging them for any other cryptocurrency, is done in mere moments when you choose our secure platform as your storage solution.

Kusama vs. Polkadot: The Differences

Kusama and Polkadot are blockchains that operate independently and have different functions. Kusama is more flexible, faster in its governance and more economical to deploy code than its counterpart, Polkadot. On the other hand, Polkadot is more stable, secure and conservative than Kusama. Eventually, the two blockchains will be connected through a bridge, enabling interoperability.

Many parts of the two networks’ codes are identical. – They share the same architecture, nominated Proof-of-Stake (NPoS). Polkadot and Kusama are independent and autonomous networks with different strategies. Kusama is the ideal network for bold experimentation and deployment at an early usage stage, while Polkadot is more conservative, prioritizing stability, security and reliability.

Governance on Polkadot and Kusama is designed to be fully decentralized and without permission, giving a say in how the network is managed to anyone with the native token (DOT for Polkadot, KSM for Kusama). Thus, over time, the networks will evolve independently, converging or diverging according to their respective communities’ decisions.

The key technical difference between Polkadot and Kusama is that Kusama has changed the governance settings, which allows for very fast upgrades. The Kusama network can be adjusted on short notice should the community decide to implement any changes. Additionally, Kusama is up to four times faster than Polkadot, with a seven-day voting period for KSM holders, followed by seven days to enact the blockchain referendum. On Polkadot, this period is four times longer: the voting period lasts 28 days, followed by a period of promulgation of 28 days. Note, however, that Polkadot will always be the main network for the deployment of applications.


Kusama (KSM) holds a unique place in the market as the most productive testnet around today. The high speed and often chaotic nature of Kusama’s chain leads to innovative and lucrative opportunities for investors and users alike. Plus, not only was it created by a founder of Ethereum, Gavin Wood, it also shares the same development team behind Polkadot, as well as the innovative and reliable Polkadot codebase. With its forward-thinking design KSM is positioned to be a market leader for dApp production and blockchain development, likely remaining one of the most active and useful testnets for many years to come.

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