So I was trying to dive into the polkadot paper by Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum and founder of Parity. But it seems to be too advanced for my current level of understanding. In layman's terms what exactly is polkadot?
Polkadot tries to answer this question: "How do we get blockchains to interact with each other?"
There are quite a number of people online who have tried to introduce PolkaDot in simple terms. Here are a few summaries I found helpful.
PolkaDot Brings Multiple Blockchains into One Network by Unlocking Scalability and Extensibility -- http://bitcoinprbuzz.com/polkadot-multiple-blockchains-one-network-unlocking-scalability-extensibility/
Polkadot is a multi-chain framework that supports interoperability between wildly different chains with different properties including encrypted proof-of-authority chains suitable for internal enterprise networks ( – as long as they confirm to certain specifications). For the very first time in blockchain history, the different blockchains will form one large inclusive interoperable multi-chain network with pooled security.
This below is from the Dummies' Guide to PolkaDot and Parachains by Paul Kohlhaas https://keepingstock.net/a-dummies-guide-to-polkadot-and-parachains-93708bd90775
Polkadot is a relay mechanism that facilitates authenticated transactions from one blockchain to another... Simply put, Polkadot provides pooled security that is equal to all members, regardless of the protocol they operate on. Second, it enables trust-free transactions between all its member chains. An inter-chain that acts as a pool of secured messaging between blockchains...Polkadot is embarking on a very important and worthwhile research journey into inter-chain operability.
Here is how it is summarized on Github: https://github.com/polkadot-io/polkadotpaper
Polkadot allows new designs of blockchains to communicate and pool their security while still allowing them to have entirely arbitrary state-transition functions. This opens to the door to an "internet" of blockchains, where private and consortium chains can be firewalled from open and public chains like Ethereum without losing the ability to communicate with them on their own terms, not unlike the intranet/internet synergy we see today.
There are also several Youtube videos explaining PolkaDot. I found this one really helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfRufqN8S9c&t
Polkadot is a network of blockchains that would allow for different blockchains (regardless of their size and functionality or the types of industries and people they catter to) to interact together and to be interoperable, allowing one blockchain to trigger events in another blockchain.
Here is a good article on the topic. It talks about Polkadot, Cosmos and the differences between them. Everything is broken down into simple concepts. https://perfectial.com/blog/internet-of-blockchains/