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At the time of asking this question, the ED on Polkadot is 1 DOT and Kusama is 0.0000333333 KSM. Polkadot, and most Substrate-based chains, use an existential deposit (ED) to prevent dust accounts from bloating chain state.

https://wiki.polkadot.network/docs/build-protocol-info#existential-deposit

What are the metrics used by Substrate based blockchains when deciding on a specific value for the Existential Deposit? Would a situation arise when Polkadot or Kusama may have to change their ED values?

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On Polkadot/Kusama the ED has been reduced in the past via democracy. Basically this was driven by the increase in price, i.e. what made sense at chain launch didn't make sense anymore.

At the end of the day the ED is not there to "punish", but rather "protect". If a scenario arises where the DOT/USD price would be $1000, it wouldn't quite make sense to have 1 DOT as an ED since it would significantly hamper the growth of the platform, attracting new users.

In the same vein 0 ED doesn't "protect" at all, since it leaves the chain open to state bloat attacks. I believe setting ED is not a exact science, but rather an art, juggling the protection of the chain vs making it attractive for users.

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  • Personally I'd like to see ED as 0.9 dot rather than 1 dot so that people don't get tripped up by fees.
    – Squirrel
    Mar 25, 2022 at 10:42

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