Polkadot’s JAM now set to unlock new horizon of opportunities

Gavin Wood introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine, or JAM


ddRender/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


At the Token2049 conference in Dubai, Gavin Wood, the visionary behind Polkadot, introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine (JAM). This ambitious upgrade aims to revolutionize the blockchain landscape by combining the best features of Ethereum and Polkadot into a single, powerful framework.

On May 28th, by near-unanimous decision, the upgrade was approved via vote with backing from over 31 million DOT tokens. 

Polkadot has also introduced the JAM Implementer’s Prize, a 10 million DOT reward pool aiming to encourage the creation of client implementations and enhance the network’s resilience.

JAM: The basics and why it’s needed

To understand the significance of JAM, it’s crucial to grasp the foundations laid by Ethereum and Polkadot.

Ethereum, akin to a bustling downtown area, enables various applications to run on its main blockchain but suffers from heavy traffic and high gas fees. Polkadot, on the other hand, is designed like a network of independent city districts (parachains) connected to a central hub (relay chain), allowing for greater scalability and specialized applications. However, Polkadot’s relay chain is constrained by its design to primarily support parachains, limiting the ability to run diverse services directly on the chain.

JAM steps in to address these limitations, offering increased flexibility and ease of deployment for developers. 

It combines Ethereum’s smart contract functionality with Polkadot’s parachain architecture, providing shared security and native scalability. JAM introduces a transactionless environment, where applications handle transactions independently and support multi-core computation, allowing for parallel processing of numerous chains and programs.

Loading Tweet..

Moreover, JAM integrates smart contracts and zero-knowledge rollups (ZK-rollups) natively—enhancing functionality and scalability—and supports the UTXO model, similar to Bitcoin’s accounting framework.

JAM also introduces the SAFROLE Algorithm, a simplified, SNARK-based block production algorithm that enhances anonymity and minimizes forks. Additionally, it supports XCMP for efficient cross-chain communication, which is critical for maintaining manageable Proof of Validity sizes. 

The protocol will support existing parachains, allowing developers to continue using Substrate for blockchain deployment, and will only interact with DOT; no new token will be issued.

JAM’s performance targets

JAM aims to support around 350 cores with a 6-second execution time and 5MB input each, totaling approximately 2.3 Gbps. This results in a 3x of the current parachain computation.

JAM will be built with an 850 mb/s throughput as the target. This positions it significantly ahead of many other blockchains, with Ethereum processing 1.3 mb/s and Solana at 125 mb/s (after the Solana Firedancer update, the blockchain will be at 1,250 mb/s).

Notably, JAM will be transactionless; all actions will be permissionless and initially undergo a Refine stage. During this stage, “the service pre-refines input data, transforming it into work reports consisting of work results. Subsequently, these work results are transferred onto the chain.”

Incentives for development

To foster innovation, the Web3 Foundation has announced a 10 million DOT prize pool to incentivize developers to implement JAM. This prize aims to catalyze diverse implementations, enhancing the overall functionality of the JAM network and boosting network security.

Additionally, the JAM Toaster, a robust testing environment, simulates a full-scale JAM network with over 1,000 nodes. It’s meant to conduct “large-scale trials and performance assessments of JAM,” which will address prior challenges that the Polkadot team faced when developing the Polkadot relay chain. This infrastructure allows developers to optimize their implementations and ensures a smooth-running final network.

Polkadot’s bright future

While still in its early stages, JAM holds the promise of transforming Polkadot into a powerful, scalable blockchain platform. By enabling multi-core processing, integrating smart contracts and ZK-rollups, and pioneering a transactionless environment, JAM paves the way for tremendous innovation for the Polkadot ecosystem.

As development progresses, JAM could lead the path to a new era of scalable and efficient blockchain technology, solidifying Polkadot’s position at the forefront of Web3 innovation.

You can learn more about JAM in the Gray Paper and the Polkadot Wiki.

This content is sponsored by Polkadot and does not serve as an endorsement by Blockworks. The veracity of this content has not been verified and should not serve as financial advice. We encourage readers to conduct their own research before making financial decisions.  

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


    Upcoming Events

    Salt Lake City, UT

    MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2023

    Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

    Salt Lake City, UT

    WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

    Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

    recent research

    Research Report Cover Vertex.jpg


    The proliferation of new perp DEXs has led to fragmented liquidity across various DEXs and chains. Vertex, known for its vertically-integrated DEX that includes spot, perpetual, and integrated money markets, is now tackling cross-chain liquidity fragmentation through horizontal integration with the launch of new Edge instances. Vertex's integrated offerings and cross-margined account structure amplify the benefits of new instances: native cross-chain spot trading, optimized cross-chain basis trading, consistent interest rates, reduced bridging friction, and more.


    Partnering with EtherFi and Angle, the fully on-chain perp DEX features bespoke collateral



    Gavin Wood introduced the next evolutionary step for the Polkadot network: the Join-Accumulate Machine, or JAM


    The side events were the places to be at Consensus 2024, according to attendees


    Also, who’s come out swinging in the spot ether ETF fee war — and who could undercut them


    I know it is not in their nature, but US regulators could learn a lot by researching the digital asset frameworks that overseas regulators have already gotten right


    Also, the ETF hype train can count out at least one member