DOT serves three key functions within the Polkadot ecosystem. The first function is as a way to govern the network. DOT holders are able to vote on things such as determining fees for the Polkadot network, auction dynamics, exceptional events such as upgrades, etc. The second function is that DOT helps operate and secure the network. Participants wishing to validate transactions on Polkadot must put their DOT at risk (referred to as “staking”). The third function is for creating parachains by bonding DOT. DOT is the only accepted contribution token for projects to secure a parachain lease on Polkadot.