The development team behind Polkadot is actively exploring opportunities to increase the current limit of 100 parachains within the ecosystem, with a long-term goal of accommodating up to 1,000 parachains through software updates.
One of the crucial updates under consideration is “asynchronous backing,” a modification to Polkadot’s parachain consensus protocol. This update is designed to reduce the parachain block time from 12 seconds to 6 seconds while significantly expanding the block space for each block, potentially by a factor of 5 to 10.
Sophia Gold, Parity Engineering Lead, expressed the significance of this development, stating, “Asynchronous backing enables flexible scheduling for our future scaling work through elastic scaling and instantaneous coretime. We have a credible roadmap to get Polkadot to support 1,000 parachains and 1m+ transactions per second. The design is there — we know how to scale Polkadot for the indefinite future.”
The release of asynchronous backing is scheduled for deployment on Polkadot’s Rococo testnet in approximately two weeks, according to Parity Technologies, a key contributor to Polkadot. However, the timeline for the mainnet release remains provisional.
Polkadot serves as an interoperability network, connecting various application-specific blockchains referred to as parachains, all secured by a central blockchain called the Relay Chain.
Gold also noted that asynchronous backing would enable Polkadot to expand its number of Polkadot validators by more than threefold by the end of 2024, potentially reaching around 1,000 validators. She described this as “the most significant evolution of parachain consensus since we launched parachains almost two years ago.”