Cosmos fondly heralds itself as the “internet of blockchains,” with the Inter Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol enabling communication among myriad interoperable blockchains.
Interoperability is said to be the Achilles’ heel of both Bitcoin and Ethereum as these kings of crypto were supposedly built in silos and not prioritizing communications within blockchain networks which has gravely impacted the wide adoption of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi).
This is exactly the pain point that Cosmos aims to resolve.
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What is Cosmos?
The Cosmos blockchain is designed primarily with the user in mind as it enables and streamlines communication, transactions, and sharing of files between blockchains without any interference from any third party or centralized server.
Further, the platforms also want to pan out and solve the lingering problems of blockchains in terms of usability, scalability, security, technology, and governance.
Every blockchain is regarded as a zone in the ecosystem and is fueled by a proof-of-stake algorithm created by Tendermint Core, described to be byzantine-fault tolerant. With this consensus algorithm in place, even if some nodes malfunction, the rest of the network can still perform optimally without the risk of breakdowns.
Interoperability has been a nuisance since time immemorial for blockchains. Single blockchains are created outright, but it’s still mission-critical for the blockchains to communicate or else, it would restrict technology adoption.
Cosmos is regarded to be the first free platform with interoperability functions interacting among varied networks such as the likes of Terra and Binance Chain.
The Cosmos network is a composite of an ecosystem of interconnected services and apps. Other platforms communicate using smart contracts. With this process, the tokens will be tossed and locked in one platform, while the other asset undergoes minting on the other platform.
With this process, instead of sending BTC to other platforms like Ethereum, BTC will rather be locked on a specific blockchain that can provide the services.
And the corresponding amount like the wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) will be issued on the pegged tokens minted on a separate blockchain.
On the other hand, Cosmos provides open-source tools allowing developers to build zones or decentralized applications instead of completely depending on one blockchain.
More so, the Cosmos team has also designed the software development kit (SDK) enabling developers to quickly build zones while keeping the costs at bay.
With the integration of GO, a software development program, staking, tokens, and governance functionality become a breeze for many blockchain networks. With this setup, developers can maximize both the flexibility and freedom necessary in adding more features and plugins.
There are other hubs apart from the Cosmos Hub but it’s important to note that any hub or zone does not have to work with others. However, each new zone created will be connected to the Cosmos Hub. Every zone can function independently from the creation and distribution of new tokens, authentication of accounts, and enabling changes in blockchains.
Tendermint Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT)
Tendermint Byzantine fault tolerance (BFT) is used by Cosmos SDK which is a consensus protocol that provides network security. One of the main selling points of using Tendermint BFT is that it allows the creation of blockchains without the need to code.
With the Tendermint BFT algorithm, transactions are speedily validated and blocks are executed to the blockchain with the use of the application blockchain interface that helps link several applications.
The protocol works using a (PoS) mechanism that supports the integration of several computers’ networks that run through the Cosmos Hub. Network participants are eligible to stake ATOM and generate rewards. Additionally, the top 100 stakers can also function as validator nodes that can be used for voting and to power up the blockchain. Accordingly, voting power will be based on the amount of ATOM staked on the platform.
Users may also entrust their tokens to the validators to facilitate interchange. With this setup, validators are incentivized for honest transactions.
Problems that Cosmos Solve
It’s the PoS consensus algorithm that ensures network security. Also, PoS help in decreasing carbon footprint by as much as 99% in contrast to when using the PoW consensus algorithm.
With the Cosmos free SDK, developers have the freedom to build sovereign blockchain apps while eliminating the jitters of high costs. More so, blockchains can quickly link to each other without depending on smart contracts on a separate blockchain, preventing network congestion and also ridiculously high transaction fees.
More so, this will also improve the functionalities of gaming, NFTs, DeFi, social marketplaces, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
It’s the PoS consensus algorithm that ensures network security. Also, PoS helps in decreasing carbon footprint by as much as 99% in contrast to when using the PoW consensus algorithm.
Cosmos interoperability is the hallmark of a completely functional and scalable system. By adopting the Cosmos interoperability model in lieu of shared communications, any sovereign blockchain can communicate effectively with one another while also enabling radical evolution of the protocol design.
Scalability can be done swiftly by duplicating blockchains to ease off congestion or splitting the apps into several blockchains.
The environmental impact also plaque NFTs in the same way as cryptocurrencies. While using proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains ensure network security, this can be a problem in terms of energy consumption and environmental impact as energy consumption also leads to increased devastating impacts on the environment.
While NFTs have become increasingly popular in the past few years, it has their downsides too as mining on the network results in an increase in gas emissions.
With more NFT projects rolled out on a daily basis, the number of transactions also increases and the mining activity consumes more energy than it’s supposed to. Using more mining rigs would also translate to an increase in pollution or carbon emissions.
Older blockchains with the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum exhibit sluggish and low transaction throughput. Currently, Ethereum is able to process 15 transactions per second while Bitcoin can process seven transactions per second.
One of the limits to the adoption of NFTs has to be the ridiculously high gas fees that result in low throughput. When the network gets extremely congested, gas costs also increase plus the transactions take quite longer to complete. This becomes an impediment to many retail collectors because this gives away the wrong impression that only the elite can afford NFTs.
ATOM, rolled out in 2019, is the native cryptocurrency of Cosmos that power up blockchain ecosystems, wired specifically to interoperate and scale.
Staking ATOM is a requirement that will help support the governance and economic security of the Cosmos blockchain. It would only require one or several Cosmos validators to start earning crypto rewards. Moreover, this also gives users the right to vote on certain proposals and recent upgrades that will ultimately predict the future of Cosmos.
As of press time, the annual percentage yield is roughly 9.7% of f ATOM when staked on a yearly basis. So, for instance, if the users have 1000 ATOM then they will get a reward of 89.18 ATOM plus a 10.28% commission which may differ from one validator to another.
Staking rewards are pooled from the transaction of gas fees from the Cosmos Hub which are then, in turn, distributed to the holders. It is important to stake using a variety of validators to avoid any impediments in case one of the validators malfunction or experiences downtimes. Consequently, the given ATOM is burned in that very instance.
There is no particular Cosmos wallet. In order to successfully claim rewards after every end of the staking, you must generate transactions that have very little value or cost with a wallet. Several Web wallets would comprise Citadel One, Math Wallet, and Exodus, to name some. On the other hand, Trust wallet, Shapeshift, and Ledger Live are also useful when you need to send, receive, and store ATOM.