What Are Parachains and Parathreads?

Last Modified:
February 28, 2024

Parachains and parathreads are integral components within the Polkadot network, a multi-chain blockchain platform designed to enable interoperability and scalability among diverse blockchains. 


A parachain is a sovereign blockchain (Layer 1) that operates in parallel with other chains in the Polkadot ecosystem. It runs independently, managing its state and processing its transactions. However, parachains on Polkadot are not standalone entities; they derive security and consensus from the relay chain, which serves as the main chain (Layer 0) in the Polkadot network.

Each parachain can have its own consensus mechanism, governance structure, and token economy, allowing diversity and specialization within the Polkadot ecosystem.


Parathreads, on the other hand, offer a more flexible model compared to parachains. Parathreads allow developers to access the Polkadot network, along with its security, without committing to a full-time parachain slot. They pay transaction fees based on their usage, making them a more cost-effective option for projects with varying traffic or resource requirements.

Parachains and parathreads are both key components of the Polkadot network, providing scalability, flexibility, and interoperability.