Picasso — The Composable Kusama Parachain

5 min readJul 27, 2021

I’m excited to announce the latest focal point of Composable Labs: our Kusama parachain, Picasso.

As the community knows, Composable launched a vault strategy some weeks ago to raise funds for a Kusama parachain. Picasso is more than just another piece of our cross-chain interoperable infrastructure; it sets the stage for Composable to deliver a comprehensive decentralized finance ecosystem to Polkadot.

To that end, Picasso will be designed to be maximally useful for DeFi developers to build on. More specifically, it will be optimized for the innovation, construction, maintenance, symbiosis, and success of decentralized financial tools on Polkadot.

We are inviting individuals and teams to create pallets for Picasso. These pallets will serve as the building blocks on our parachain, with pallets to be developed for all DeFi primitives (oracles, vaults, etc.) as well as more advanced functionalities. Specifically, developers can propose pallets in the Primitives, Core, or Application tracks. DeFi primitives are essential components powering the industry, and include oracles, smart contracts, tokens, transaction execution, keepers, and governance. Core (secondary) components of DeFi build on primitives to create key value-generating processes, such as lending. Application (tertiary) functions are more advanced, and incorporate core and primitive components to generate sophisticated financial tools, like yield aggregators.

Combined, this full suite of pallets will give developers built-in, highly customizable tools to construct powerful, interoperable dApps. Further, the pallets we support developing can spin out into their own parachains, offering even more advanced functionality.

Internally, we have a few of these pallets under development, which we will be announcing shortly.

Overall, we aim to create a rich DeFi ecosystem through our Picasso parachain, which provides customizable pallets — meaning that the potential for DApps in our parachain ecosystem will be limited only by developers’ imaginations. The work is kicking off under the umbrella of Composable Labs while we align on a final deployment schedule for Picasso.

While cross-chain message passing continues to be finalized, we will support the creation of DeFi primitive palettes.

To meet this need, Picasso will kickstart a broad DeFi ecosystem on Polkadot by enabling dApps to be built on the parachain.

Through its parachain incubator model via Composable Labs, Composable will be able to provide a broadly accessible decentralized economy to developers, applications, and users. This solution will enable developers to build on a well-maintained parachain — with a governance mechanism for pallet addition.

Unlike many other projects seeking parachains, Composable’s Picasso is not an application-specific chain; rather, the idea is to truly create our own optimized and widely available DeFi ecosystem. Meaning, there will still be pallets for the primitives mentioned previously, that rely on our pallets on the chain. Eventually, when cross-chain message passing is live, these pallets can either be phased out, opting for communication with pallets on other parachains, spun out into parachains themselves, or altered in design

Thus, the idea is that, through Picasso, developers can have customizable access to a broadly reaching network of various applications and tools, all in one space, facilitating unlimited creativity and innovation.

To recap, Picasso will feature four core components to deliver an optimized DeFi ecosystem to Polkadot:

1. Pallets to power DeFi functionalities

The ultimate vision is for pallets to cover all major components of DeFi, including primitives, core/secondary functions, and application/tertiary infrastructures. Primitives are the essential elements underpinning all of DeFi, which are oracles, smart contracts, tokens, transaction execution, keepers, and governance. Core functions build on these primitives to deliver valuable functions like DeFi lending, and tertiary applications meld these core functions into even more complex and valuable opportunities such as yield aggregation. For example, Picasso has a smart contract unit that we’ve assembled, with the aim to enable developers from different ecosystems to deploy a variety of smart contracts and languages and have them talk to each other, on the same parachain, including those using EVM, Tezos, ink!, and Solana’s eBPF.

This full pallet suite will decrease the barriers to entry for parachain participation, in addition to providing built-in DeFi primitives for developers. Overall, this will make it easier than ever to build new and innovative solutions on the parachain, unleashing novel functionalities into the DeFi space.

2. An incubator program to foster new projects using our technology

Composable Labs is recruiting projects to build on Picasso. Individuals and teams can contribute to a cutting-edge ecosystem, with the potential to win grants and developmental/marketing assistance. We are presently inviting community members and developers to build these pallets on Picasso, with the most promising projects being incubated by Composable Labs. Thus, developers can work with all of the tools they need to build powerful applications, and receive the support to achieve success.

3. A governance functionality through LAYR

Picasso has a built-in mechanism for users to vote on which pallets they want to add to a run time. This will be accomplished through our native Composable (LAYR) tokens, which act to provide token holders with governance votes.

4. A strategy for parachain maintenance

We are already starting to think about a long-term strategy for maintaining the parachain. This includes considering pager duties, APIs, lease renewal, etc. This will ensure that our parachain ecosystem is able to continually flourish.

Our ultimate DeFi ecosystem vision:

Our overarching goal is for Picasso to include pallets for all DeFi primitives, as well as those for the secondary and tertiary functionalities that enable DeFi to be valuable to users. The end result is an entire ecosystem of DeFi on our parachain, streamlining and improving functionality when compared to the present DeFi landscape.

Through our model, developers will thus have access to a parachain, as well as the opportunity to leverage all of our pallets in custom manners for seamless dApp construction. This unleashes an unprecedented opportunity for an instantly accessible DeFi ecosystem with cutting-edge developer tools within the Polkadot network.

If you are a developer with a project you think fits our ecosystem and goals, and you would like to participate in our interactive testing landscape at Composable Labs, reach out to me on Telegram at @brainjar.




Composable Finance Founder & CEO. I write about R&D at Composable Finance. Physicist by training