Hey @Buddo thanks for saying hi, welcome to the forum
On-chain governance is one of the features that makes it unique, but there are a few others.
Polkadot allows specialized parachains to run in parallel to each other and offers a native connectivity language and protocols for them to talk to each other. Thus, each can add it’s optimized feature(s) to the whole without having to try to “do it all.”
Polkadot can also be seamlessly upgraded without hard forks unlike other blockchains.
It’s written in a code framework called Substrate, which is an open source repository with which anyone can create a custom blockchain without having to reinvent the wheel from the ground up, yet still allowing for low-level customization. The blockchain created can be plugged in as a parachain which allows it to immediately be secured by Polkadot’s validator pool rather than having to find and enlist the support of a community of validators as has been the requirement for starting a blockchain in the past. It can also run as a stand-alone blockchain, not having to plug into Polkadot as a parachain.
Sounds like you’d like to tinker? Here’s a great resource for learning how to build with substrate.
That’s correct! The way this adds security is that nominators who stake DOTs on certain validators do research to ensure the validators are trustworthy. If validators perform poorly or act maliciously against the network, they and their nominators can be slashed, which mean they can lose a portion or all of their funds. Validators who perform well get rewarded DOT tokens, and their nominators receive a portion of the reward based on their percentage of the overall stake.