Getting Started

No matter your level of familiarity with blockchain development, we are here to get you started and ready for the hackathon!

A structured learning pathway with consolidated resources is made available for you to go through at your own pace. Read and watch all that has been provided to help you gain a better understanding of what awaits you in the Dotsama ecosystem!

What is Polkadot?

Polkadot is a layer-0 protocol and multichain network founded by Dr. Gavin Wood, co-founder and former CTO of Ethereum. Polkadot provides security, scalability, and interoperability to a diverse network of layer-1 blockchains called parachains. Polkadot offers several advancements over legacy blockchain networks, from governance to customization, upgradeability, energy efficiency, and more.

What is Kusama?

Built on nearly the same codebase as Polkadot, Kusama is a layer-0 protocol and multichain network. Kusama provides security, scalability, and interoperability to a diverse network of layer-1 blockchains called parachains, and serves as Polkadot’s ‘canary net’. Designed for radical innovation and experimentation, Kusama is used both as a live, value-bearing proving ground for Polkadot technology and as a deployment environment for early-stage startups and experimental blockchain use cases.

What is Substrate?

Substrate is a blockchain development framework for building and customizing parachains in the Polkadot ecosystem, as well as standalone or ‘solo’ chains. It features a completely generic state transition function and modular building blocks for common blockchain components like consensus, networking, and asset creation. By building with Substrate, development teams can significantly speed up production, reduce the cost of building a blockchain, and get much more power and flexibility than building on a smart contract platform.

Join our community

Learning Materials for Hackathon Participants

Get started with Polkadot Pathways

To simplify your onboarding experience we designed an amazing learning and building journey in Polkadot Pathways. Spicing things up, you can gather points for each completed challenge and compete for some awesome Polkadot swag!

The challenges are mostly based on the Polkadot Wiki and the Substrate Knowledge Map for Hackathon Participants. Please reach out to our team members if you don't see the Learn, Build and Polkadot Hackathon: North America channels after joining.

Technical Support
  • Official Devhub Documentation - The entry point for learning about Substrate, including conceptual and reference material.
  • Tutorials - Hands-on tutorials to learn everything needed to start building your own Substrate blockchain.
  • How-to Guides - Step-by-step implementation guides of common patterns when developing with Substrate.
  • Rustdocs - API reference documentation.
  • Polkadot Wiki - Polkadot’s official documentation portal, covering everything you need to know about building and interacting with Polkadot.
  • Kusama Guide - Everything you need to know about building and interacting with the Kusama Network.
Primary GitHub Repositories

Important and useful tooling can be found in the Substrate Documentation, located under Explore Tools.  

  • Archive - Index a chain's block history into a database
  • Sidecar - REST service to interact with Substrate nodes.
  • Polkadot-launch - CLI tool to launch a Polkadot test network
  • Tx-wrapper-core - Create chain specific offline transaction generation libraries. 
  • Cargo-contract - Setup and deployment tool for developing smart contracts with ink!
  • Polkadot-js-api - Interact with Substrate nodes in Javascript.
  • Subxt - Submit extrinsics to a node via RPC in Rust.
  • Substrate-connect - A JS library and browser extension to run an in-browser light client for your application.
  • Frontier - An Ethereum compatibility layer for Substrate chains.
  • Cumulus - A set of tools for writing parachains.
Useful Projects
Learn from Watching
Network Information
Technical Papers

Ecosystem Challenge resources

FYI. All of our ecosystem teams have a channel open for support on our Discord. 


Take a look at the Acala bounties and check the resources below!


Astar Network

Here is the list of the bounties by Astar Network. Let's build together!

Crust Network
ICE Network

Please be creative and have a good time building on the ICE Network.


Check out the Interlay bounties!

KILT Protocol
Phala Network

Welcome to join #dev and #hackathon channels on our Discord server if you have any questions.

Robonomics Network

You can still use SubQuery extensively in your other projects. 


 It you need reliable access to data from any substrate chain fast, SubQuery can help. Reach out and we can give you a demo.


Let us know and contact us if you end up using Subsquid for any other hackathon bounty, we are curious to know more!