Official webpage https://polkadot.network/
Polkadot's (DOT) network was launched in May 2020, after being a token on the Ethereum network for a long time, where it was mostly for speculation.
The network is run by Web3 Foundation, which is a strong player in the crypto market. They protect the decentralized web and have managed to find a good level between decentralization, speed and transaction fees.
They use Nominated Proof of Stake as a consensus method, which is faster than Proof of Work. It is a similar method used by Ethereum 2.0. However, they differ in terms of scalability. Polkadot uses so-called Parachains and Parathreads, which is a way to run multiple executions in parallel on the network. Parachains are similar to Ethereum 2.0's shards, but differ in that parachains may have different rules and logic for transactions and smart contracts, creating new opportunities for players who choose Polkadot.
Parachains are not active at the time of writing, but will be auctioned off shortly. The price is thus unknown, but it can be assumed that it will not be cheap.
Polkadot does not try to compete with Ethereum, but works a lot with interoperability and collaborations between different networks. They build bridges between different decentralized blockchains instead of tooting their own horn and trying to destroy the other players (something that turned out to be a mistake that previous players often made).
You also have a test network called Kusama, which strangely enough is its own coin. It is not a test network in such a way that it needs to be buggy, but rather you want somewhere to test new technologies "live". Only when it has proven to work well for a long time can the same function come to Polkadot. Everything to make Polkadot as secure a network as possible. But of course it also means that the development of Polkadot is slower than that for Kusama. Kusama also has much cheaper Parachains and is suitable for smaller companies and startups.
- Fast network with low transaction fees.
- High level of scalability, especially when Parachains comes out live.
- Powered by Web3 Foundation.
- Good upgrade model that avoids forks / branches.
- High costs for getting your own chain. No Parachains yet.
- Even if they do not compete with Ethereum, Cardano and other networks for smart contracts, it will still be difficult to gain market share.
Both Polkadot and Kusama can be bought at Binance.