The Polkadot network has a phased roll-out plan, with important milestones toward decentralization marking each phase. Keep up-to-date with the Polkadot's phased roll-out plan at by viewing the roadmap
Current Phase: Post-launch Upgrades
For the most update-to-date information on DOT claims (if you bought your DOTs before Polkadot went live), check out the following claiming resources and tutorials:
The PoA Launch
The Genesis block of the Polkadot network was launched on May 26, 2020, as a Proof of Authority (PoA) network. Governance was restricted to the single Sudo (super-user) key, which was held by Web3 Foundation to issue the commands and upgrades necessary to complete the launch process. During this time, validators started joining the network and signaling their intention to participate in consensus.
Nominated Proof of Stake
Once Web3 Foundation was confident in the stability of the network and there was a sufficient number of validator intentions, Web3 Foundation used Sudo — a superuser account with access to governance functions — to initiate the first validator election. Following this election, the network transitioned from PoA into its second phase, Nominated Proof of Stake (NPoS), on June 18, 2020.
After the chain had been running well with the validator set, the Sudo key issued a runtime upgrade that enabled the suite of governance modules in Polkadot; namely, the modules to enable a Council, a Technical Committee, and public referenda.
Removal of Sudo
The Sudo module was removed by a runtime upgrade on July 20, 2020, transitioning the governance of the chain into the hands of the token (DOT) holders.
From this point, the network has been entirely in the hands of the token holders and is no longer under control of any centralized authority.
To enable balance transfers, the community made a public proposal for a runtime upgrade that lifted the restriction on balance transfers. Transfer functionality was subsequently enabled on Polkadot at block number 1_205_128 on August 18, 2020, at 16:39 UTC.
After five years of research and development and a multi-stage launch that began in May 2020, Polkadot launch was completed on December 18, 2021, with all auction-winning parachains producing blocks on the network.
Check out these resources for further information: