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Cosmos seeks to build a “Internet of Blockchains,” in which any blockchain may interact, share data, and transact with any other.
At the moment, a blockchain acts as its own universe, with essentially no means to connect with the world outside of its network–at least without the assistance of a third party.
As a result, squabbling, tribalism, and maximalism among advocates of numerous blockchains have become the norm. But can there be a single blockchain that connects them all? Take a journey with us as we investigate Cosmos, the “Internet of blockchains”
Cosmos’ aim is simple: to enable any blockchain to communicate, share data, and transact with any other. By allowing many different blockchains to interoperate, there is less of a need for these networks to ruthlessly compete to be the one blockchain to rule them all. Instead, many different blockchains can coexist with their own specialized use cases and advantages.
Cosmos is a complete technology stack that goes beyond simply allowing different blockchains to connect and share data with each other. They have also created a streamlined development process that allows developers to create their own custom blockchain in months or even weeks, instead of years.
The capacity of new and existing blockchains to interoperate should more application-specific and less general-purpose blockchains be produced.
Did you know that?
To demonstrate the capabilities of the Cosmos platform, the team produced Ethermint, a replica of Ethereum atop Cosmos. This version of Ethereum functions identically to the original Ethereum and is even compatible with current smart contracts and Ethereum tools like MetaMask.
Who Invented Cosmos?
Cosmos is based on the consensus protocol, Tendermint, which was created by Jae Kwon in 2014. To develop the complete Cosmos interoperable ecosystem, Kwon was joined by Zarko Milosevic and Ethan Buchman; he subsequently stepped down from the project in 2020.
A brief history of Cosmos
- April 2017 – $17 million is raised in the first 29 minutes of the initial Cosmos token sale.
- December 2018 – Game of Stakes is launched, which widely tested the Cosmos network for the first time.
- March 2019 – the Cosmos official mainnet is launched.
- November 2019 – Kava labs becomes one of the first projects built using the Cosmos SDK to launch its mainnet.
- February 2020 – The Cosmos team splits and founder Jae Kwon steps down as CEO.
- September 2020 – Cosmos partners with Nym to bring anonymous credentials to the Cosmos ecosystem.
- February 2021 – Cosmos launches Stargate, which includes the first public release of the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol.
What’s so special about it?
Cosmos is most comparable to the Polkadot project, which likewise aims to build an ecosystem of interconnected blockchain networks. Unlike Polkadot, Cosmos stresses the sovereignty of independent blockchains, which means they must protect themselves, regulate themselves, and run their own validators.
The Cosmos technology is based on:
- Tendermint – A consensus protocol that allows developers to create a proof-of-stake blockchain that is fast, scalable, secure.
- The Cosmos SDK – Allows developers to build applications on top of Tendermint-based blockchains.
- The Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol (IBC) – A system that allows different blockchains to connect and communicate with each other.
Did you know that?
Binance established its own blockchain, Binance Chain, in March 2019, with Tendermint as its foundation. Binance Chain has been designed to be a quick, safe, and user-friendly decentralized cryptoasset exchange. The Binance Chain is an example of how Tendermint may be used to create specialized blockchains for a specific use case.
What is Tendermint?
Tendermint is a free and open-source program that may be used to provide Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) in decentralized networks such as Cosmos. In layman’s terms, BFT indicates that a decentralized network can continue to operate safely and reach consensus on its present state even if some of the individuals engaged in the process have failed or are hostile.
Cosmos is one of several systems based on the Tendermint consensus engine; others include:
- Ethermint – A scalable and interoperable hybrid blockchain built using the Cosmos SDK and Tendermint.
- Terra – A delegated-proof-of-stake (dPoS) platform designed for stablecoins as a payment solution on the blockchain.
- Regen Network – A decentralized marketplace for ecological assets, data, and climate agreements.
What else is different?
Blockchains in the Cosmos ecosystem connect with one another using a hub and zone approach. For instance, if you wanted to connect Ethereum and Bitcoin via Cosmos, each blockchain would need to connect to its own zone. The Ethereum zone and the Bitcoin zone would then link to a hub, and Ether and Bitcoin could be moved between them via this common hub.
What are ATOMs?
The Cosmos network’s native tokens are known as ATOMs. The capacity to stake and validate blocks, vote on governance issues, and pay transaction fees is provided by holding ATOMs.
When the Cosmos mainnet debuted, the first ATOM tokens were issued and handed to early contributors, token sale participants, the Cosmos Foundation, and core developers. As an incentive for network validators, new ATOMs are created.
How to buy ATOM
ATOMs are available for purchase on major exchanges including as Binance, Kraken, and Poloniex. You can also get ATOMs via staking, either directly as a validator or indirectly as a delegator.
However, if you want to buy ATOM outright, here’s how to do so on Binance.
Step 1: Create your Binance account and sign in.
Step 2: Navigate to your spot wallet and deposit the cryptocurrency you want to trade for ATOM. As of writing, Binance supports trades against Binance USD (BUSD), Tether (USDT), Binance Coin (BNB), Bitcoin (BTC), and USD Coin (USDC).
Once selected, load your account with this cryptocurrency and wait for it to confirm (it will show in your balance once confirmed). For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll show you how to trade USDT for ATOM, but the process is largely the same regardless of which asset you choose.
Step 3: Head over to the ATOM/USDT trading page. On the bottom, you’ll find the order panel.
Select the ‘Market’ option and enter the amount you wish to spend on ATOM. When you’re ready, click the ‘Buy ATOM’ button to execute your order at the best available price.
After that, your ATOM will be available in your Binance spot wallet.
What can you do with ATOMs?
Cosmos is based on a consensus process based on proof-of-stake. That is, ATOM holders can earn a portion of the network’s block rewards and transaction fees by staking, either by hosting their own validator node or by delegating their ATOM coins to a validator.
Validators stake or lock their ATOMs and use specialized software to keep the Cosmos network running by proposing new blocks and validating transactions.
Holders can also opt to delegate their ATOM coins to validators rather than using the validator software themselves, in which case they will still earn a percentage of the benefits for staking.
dApps built on Cosmos
As an interoperable, highly scalable blockchain network capable of hosting smart contracts, Cosmos has become popular among dApp developers that want to build efficient cross-chain decentralized applications (dApps).
Some of the most prominent dApps currently operating on Cosmos include:
- Anchor – a financial platform that offers low-volatility interest rates on stablecoin deposits.
- ? Flares – a payment network that supports multiple assets and payment systems including games and DeFi.
- ? Klever – a mobile app with integrated blockchain wallet, browser, and portfolio.
- ? Chainweaver – an interoperable multi-blockchain wallet and smart contract development environment.
Each change, upgrade, or feature activation in the Cosmos protocol depends on approval by ATOM holders. Because the Cosmos network launched relatively recently and is still somewhat in its developmental stage, it hasn’t yet fully realized the vision set out in its whitepaper.
However, with the release of the Stargate update, blockchains may now connect with one another using the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, with which developers may now create. Furthermore, the Stargate update includes automated updates, full-featured light clients, and 100x efficiency benefits, transforming Cosmos into a force to be reckoned with.
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