Kusama was founded by Gavin Wood, founder of Polkadot and former co-founder of Ethereum. He created Kusama as an independent project, which also exists as a testnet for Polkadot.
Often called Polkadot's "canary network", Kusama has a fast-paced development environment. This allows more radical testing in real economic conditions than its more conservative cousin, Polkadot. As a result, all non-transaction-based governance processes are around four times faster on Kusama.
Like Polkadot, Kusama's blockchain is a relay chain that coordinates both communication and governance between its attached parachains. Kusama is also built using near-identical Substrate-based technology and the nPOS (Nominated Proof-of-Stake) consensus mechanism. Both cousin blockchains are multichains with on-chain governance, hot-swap runtimes for forkless upgrades and XCM messaging for interoperability.
Kusama has a strong use case for early-stage startup networks looking to build their custom blockchain thanks to lower entry barriers for parachain deployers. With low bond requirements and fast iterations, Kusama is an exciting protocol with innovation, disruption and cutting-edge technology at its forefront.
KSM is Kusama's native token, used for decentralized governance and network validation.