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Polkadot (DOT) is a next-generation blockchain protocol designed to connect multiple specialized blockchains into a single network. Developed by the Web3 Foundation, Polkadot aims to solve the problem of blockchain fragmentation by enabling interoperability and communication between different blockchain networks.

The Polkadot network consists of a main relay chain that coordinates the activities of multiple parallel chains, called parachains. These parachains can be customized to meet specific needs, such as supporting smart contracts, decentralized finance (DeFi), or gaming applications.

Polkadot uses a unique consensus mechanism called nominated proof of stake (NPoS), which allows token holders to nominate validators to secure the network and earn rewards. Validators are selected based on the number of nominations they receive, rather than the amount of tokens they hold.

The DOT token is the native cryptocurrency of the Polkadot network and is used for governance, staking, and transaction fees. As of September 2021, Polkadot has a market capitalization of over $30 billion USD, making it one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap.