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What are DOTs?

DOT is the native token of the Polkadot network in a similar way that BTC is the native token of Bitcoin or Ether is the native token of the Ethereum Blockchain.

Currently, DOTs have 15 decimal places, while the smallest unit is called the Femto-DOT. You can compare the Femto-DOT to Satoshis or Wei, while the DOT is like a bitcoin or an ether.

Unit Decimal Places
Femto 0
Pico 3
Nano 6
Micro 9
Milli 12
DOT 15

What are the uses of DOTs?

DOTs serve three key functions in Polkadot, (i) to be used for governance of the network, (ii) to be staked for operation of the network, and (iii) to be bonded to connect a chain to Polkadot as a parachain.

DOTs for governance

The first function of DOTs will be to entitle holders to control of the governance of the platform. Some functions which will be included under the governance mechanism include determining the fees of the network, the addition or removal of parachains, and exceptional events such as upgrades and fixes to the Polkadot platform.

The governance mechanism will not be formally granted to all holders of DOTs but rather the underlying code of Polkadot will enable a holder of DOTs to participate in governance.

DOTs for consensus

DOTs will be used to facilitate the consensus mechanism that underpins Polkadot. In order for the platform to function and allow for valid transactions to be carried out across parachains, Polkadot will rely on holders of DOTs to play active roles. Participants will put their DOTs at risk (via staking) to perform these functions. The staking of DOTs acts as a disincentive for malicious participants whom will be punished by the network by getting their DOTs slashed. The DOTs required to participate in the network will vary depending on the activity which is being performed, the duration the DOTs will be staked for, and the total number of DOTs staked.

DOTs for bonding

DOTs will have the ability to be bonded for a duration of time in order to add a new parachain to the network. The DOTs will be locked during their bonding period and will be released back to the account that bonded them after the duration of the bond has elapsed and the parachain is removed.

Testnet DOTs

DOTs are required to make transactions on the Polkadot network. Testnet DOTs do not have any value beside allowing you to experiment with the network.

Getting testnet DOTs

You can request DOTs from the faucet ask someone to send you DOTs on the Polkadot Watercooler.

You can make your own DOTs by becoming a validator.