Explaining Polkadot’s Biggest Ever Upgrade: What is JAM?

Polkadot is set for a major overhaul with the Join Accumulate Machine (JAM) upgrade, proposed by its founder Gavin Wood.

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  • Polkadot’s biggest upgrade ever, JAM, has been approved.
  • JAM has been designed to replace Polkadot’s central chain with a new system.
  • A complete switchover has been planned, but it will not disrupt current DOT holders or functionality.

Polkadot, a leading blockchain platform known for its multi-chain architecture, is on the cusp of its biggest upgrade ever. The Join Accumulate Machine (JAM) overhaul, proposed by Polkadot’s founder Gavin Wood, aims to revolutionize the network’s core functionalities and unlock new possibilities for developers and users alike.

What is JAM?

At the heart of JAM lies a fundamental shift in the design of Polkadot’s central chain, the Relay Chain. JAM proposes replacing the Relay Chain with a more streamlined and modular system, enabling developers to build various services directly on top of it. This departs from the current system where developers have to compete for parachain slots through auctions.

How does it Work?

JAM’s technical underpinnings involve a supercomputer called the Polkadot Virtual Machine (PVM) powered by RISC-V architecture. This switch from the current WebAssembly framework is expected to boost efficiency and performance. 


JAM services will seamlessly integrate with the rest of the Polkadot ecosystem, allowing for smooth communication and data exchange between different applications.

How will JAM Change Polkadot?

The JAM upgrade will significantly alter the Polkadot landscape. JAM removes the barrier to entry for developers by eliminating the need for expensive parachain auctions. Anyone can now build services and smart contracts on the network, fostering innovation and a wider range of applications. 

Unlike the current parachain-centric approach, JAM offers a more versatile environment. Developers can choose between building parachains or services based on their specific needs. 


Existing parachains will continue to function, but they will no longer be the sole development option. JAM opens doors for a wider range of services and applications to be built on the network.

When will JAM launch?

A production-ready JAM is likely years away. Unlike previous updates to Polkadot, JAM will not be introduced gradually. The migration will happen all at once. The actual switchover won’t affect those holding DOT tokens or looking to trade them. Unlike forks in other blockchains, no new coin will be created.

JAM is not a hard fork, meaning the functionality of existing parachains won’t be impacted. However, parachains will become just one of many products that can be run by the JAM chain. The Web3 Foundation assures users that parachains will remain important even after JAM.

On the Flipside

  • JAM’s intricate PVM system and services may introduce security vulnerabilities that are hard to detect and fix.
  • JAM eliminates parachain auction barriers but centralizes power among core JAM service providers, raising centralization concerns.
  • JAM’s extensive overhaul could face development delays and technical challenges, potentially delaying the launch.

Why This Matters

By removing the parachain auction barrier and enabling a wider variety of services, JAM has the potential to transform Polkadot into a more inclusive and dynamic blockchain ecosystem, fostering innovation and attracting a broader range of developers and users, which could significantly impact the future of blockchain technology itself.

If you’re interested in Polkadot’s expansion into Asia, you’ll want to read this article about PolkaPort East, a new initiative launched in Hong Kong:
Polkadot Set Sights on Asia with PolkaPort East in Hong Kong

This article discusses a new platform called Polimec, which facilitates fundraising in the Polkadot ecosystem with a focus on compliance:
Polkadot Secures Decentralized Fundraising with Compliance Focus

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Kyle Calvert

Kyle Calvert is a cryptocurrency news reporter for DailyCoin, specializing in Ripple, stablecoins, as well as price and market analysis news. Before his current role, Kyle worked as a student researcher in the cryptocurrency industry, gaining an understanding of how digital currencies work, their potential uses, and their impact on the economy and society. He completed his Masters and Honors degrees in Blockchain Technology within Esports and Business and Event management within Esports at Staffordshire University.