Karura is the name of a Kusama parachain that is optimized for decentralized finance. The network was built to provide a multi-application DeFi ecosystem on the Kusama blockchain. Karura's native utility token is KAR, which serves various functions within the ecosystem, such as to incentivize nodes and for governance.
The EVM-compatible parachain offers a range of DeFi opportunities. For example, users can trade at the project's automated market maker-based decentralized exchange, which the Karura documentation claims offers "micro gas fees," payable in any supported asset. The ecosystem also has its own multi-collateralized stablecoin, kUSD, and a staking derivative called liquid KSM.
Built by the Acala team, Karura serves as a sort of live testnet for the Polkadot-based Acala project. In keeping with the distinct but complementary roles of Polkadot and Kusama, Karura has a less rigid governance structure, allowing for faster changes and greater innovative scope. However, since protocol adjustments occur more frequently, both Karura and Kusama naturally carry greater risk than Acala and Polkadot.
KAR has a total maximum supply of 100 million tokens, for which utility and usage in the platform's governance structure should create demand, putting upward pressure on the KAR price.
The token plays an important role in several of the platform's functions. KAR incentivizes nodes to relay messages to the Kusama blockchain and can be used to pay transaction fees. Development teams must also stake KAR to deploy decentralized applications on the platform.
Just over 38% of the supply was distributed between backers and the founding team. The remaining 60.87% are the community allocation, comprising rewards and ecosystem development funding. Those tokens awarded to the team and investors are subject to a vesting period of up to 18 months. The unlocking of these tokens will likely result in increased selling, temporarily putting downward pressure on KAR price.
Karura was created by the Acala Foundation in 2019. The project's documentation lists four co-founders. Bette Chen, Ruitao Su and Bryan Chen are also co-founders of the synthetic asset lending and trading platform Laminar. Joining them is Fuyao Jiang, the founder of leading Polkadot mobile wallet Polkawallet.
In addition to these co-founders, Acala has a diverse team with extensive blockchain experience. Members include contributors from Laminar, Polkawallet, Hypersphere and the Web3 Foundation.
Karura has benefited from considerable backing from major investors in the blockchain industry. They include CoinFund, Hashkey Capital, Pantera, Polychain Capital and ParaFi Capital.