Cosmos: The Internet Of Blockchains
Cosmos is a ‘blockchain of blockchains’ — a project that fundamentally believes that one size doesn’t fit all. After touching an all-time low in March 2020, the ATOM token appreciated by over 660% to its all-time high just five months later.
ATOM is the smallest part of what makes Cosmos great. Described as an ‘Internet of Blockchains,’ Cosmos enables disparate, decentralized networks to communicate with each other.
This opens up huge potential for developers and investors alike. With great trade comes great economies, and if blockchain is to be the future of money, interoperability is the first step.
Together, but separate.
Three years ago, Jae Kwon founded Tendermint, the company that developed Cosmos. The project received $17 million worth of funding through a token sale, which became worth around $100 million by 2019.
The aim was to create an interoperable blockchain platform with personalized governance models. This year, Kwon entered into a dispute with early contributor Zaki Manian, which has led to the disbandment of much of the founding team.
Manian and Kwon continue to contribute to the project separately, but the development process doesn’t seem to have suffered much for it. Just like Cosmos itself, the development can function despite different parts having different ideals.
With people dictating the platform’s direction through a decentralized governance system, it makes one wonder what it can’t adapt to.
In the three years since its launch, the Cosmos blockchain has certainly seen its ups and downs.
ATOM’s recent all-time low doesn’t seem to be cause for concern and was likely a reaction to Bitcoin’s 50% crash around the same time. As mentioned above, the token recovered considerably in the months that followed, appreciating by over 180% since its all-time low.
With the announcement of Cosmos Stargate earlier this year, the “largest Cosmos upgrade ever,” could generate even more interest in this project.
A Long-Awaited Solution
Unlike traditional blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, Cosmos does not use a proof-of-work consensus algorithm.
Instead of relying on incentivized miners competing to validate transactions, the Tendermint BFT algorithm uses a proof-of-stake model, allowing for near-instant transactions with lower fees.
The algorithm is also Byzantine fault-tolerant, which means that all the network’s nodes can achieve consensus without relying on a universal clock. Though that sounds simple, it’s a problem mathematicians and computer scientists have been trying to solve for decades.
Astronauts in (the Blockchain) Space
Tendermint founder Jae Kwon co-founded Cosmos with Ethan Buchman, CEO of Informal Systems, which handles distributed systems.
Soon after developing the Tendermint BFT consensus algorithm, the company created the Cosmos blockchain, which would utilize Tendermint BFT. While the founding members have primarily gone their own ways, they are still committed to contributing to the project.
Kwon continues to work at Tendermint, working on the software and helping Cosmos development efforts. Zaki Manian, an early and dedicated contributor to the project, now leads a startup called Iqlusion, which is also aiding in Cosmos’ maintenance and development.
A few other startups (Althea and Chainsafe) and a Berlin-based non-profit (Interchain GmbH) are also assisting developers on the blockchain.
Due to the nature of Cosmos’ governance system, any person can stake ATOM on the network to create proposals that can change the system’s parameters. This means people can vote to change the block gas limit, theft protocols, and other network policies.
Cosmos was built around letting users create interoperable personalized governance systems. The network runs on the ethos of adapting and compatibility. It’s truly a community where no one gets left behind.
ATOM Price Outlook
Though the ATOM token is used for more than payments, it can certainly help to understand where its value could be going. ATOM’s market capitalization peaked in August to $2 billion, which has shrunk to just over $1 billion as of November 2020.
Are There Others Out There?
Cosmos competes with other projects like Ethereum, Cardano, and Hyperledger. As an Internet of Blockchains, Cosmos ensures inter-blockchain operability through its Cosmos Hub, which can attach to and communicate with other blockchains.
Ethereum 2.0, the proposed upgrade to the Ethereum network, has proposed similar functionality to Cosmos through its sharded architecture and could be stiff competition for the project in the future.
However, as mentioned earlier, Cosmos announced the Stargate upgrade earlier this year. Touted as the network’s largest upgrade ever, Ethereum most certainly won’t have it easy.
Last year, co-founder of the Blockchain Research Institute, Alex Tapscott, said that Cosmos would be on his watch-list for 2020.
He also said that it was part of a movement that marked a milestone in the blockchain roadmap, where projects could achieve scale for various vital use-cases.
Light-Years to Go
The Cosmos development team has been working tirelessly to launch the Stargate upgrade by Q1 2021. In October 2020, Cosmos announced a three-month-long bug bounty to ensure there were no bugs at launch, offering a minimum of $5000 for critical issues, with no upper cap.
Though the testnet is purportedly launch-ready, the team is dedicated to ensuring no stone is left unturned. Though the project still has much to accomplish, as development efforts progress, the technology behind Cosmos is definitely a contender for the most advanced software the industry has to offer.