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  • Writer's pictureIntra Blocks

Fundamentals of the Cosmos Ecosystem ($ATOM)

Updated: Jul 24, 2023


The Cosmos network is a decentralized network with the goal of bridging blockchains together. Although the Cosmos protocol was not designed to function as a blockchain itself, it does provide the infrastructure necessary for the creation of new blockchains. Their tools simplified the process of creating blockchains.


Most blockchains, including Ethereum, BSC, Solana, etc., fall under L1 (Layer 1) since they function independently. The lack of interoperability amongst blockchains is the primary challenge that Cosmos is seeking to solve. The problem lies with the fact that separate blockchain-based ecosystems cannot exchange assets with one another. Cosmos is not a blockchain in and of itself, hence the amount of security implemented by individual apps built on top of it must be decided by those applications. They recognize that each project is built with its own constraints and requirements. As different zones may use different runtimes, they are inherently incompatible and will need a universal messaging protocol to communicate with one another.

The IBC protocol, implemented in the Cosmos platform, is an attempt to solve this problem by providing a messaging system for blockchains, much like TCP/IP does for computer networks. Therefore, projects developed on Cosmos are compatible with one another since they all use the same building blocks.

Created by Developers for Developers

With Cosmos, developers can build interoperable blockchain networks that are both decentralized and purpose-built for certain use cases. They can enforce their own rules and scale for wider adoption, rather than being limited to the capabilities of a single blockchain.

This has the potential to greatly enhance the long-term health of DeFi, NFTs, DAOS, and other distributed systems. To facilitate the development of user-specific software, Cosmos has always sought to establish an environment conducive to such endeavors.

Cosmos makes this possible through the use of its 3 core features:

  • Tendermint Core

  • Cosmos SDK

  • Inter-Blockchain Communications (IBC)

Tendermint Core - The blockchain engine

Tendermint is an open-source blockchain launcher that supports a wide variety of programming languages. The uniqueness of this protocol lies in its goals of fulfilling Cosmos Network's colossal aspirations.

  • Proposing a secure network that offers high scalability

  • Create an environment to allow the deployment of sovereign applications directly on the Tendermint protocol

Tenderment makes it possible to achieve the interoperability objective necessary for the deployment of blockchains in a proof of stake environment.

Key Features:

Byzantine-Fault Tolerant - Up to one-third of machines can fail unexpectedly without affecting Tendermint Core.

Language Agnostic - Tendermint Core supports state machines written in any programming language

State Machine Replication - Tendermint allows for the replication of deterministic state machines onto computers globally

Fast Finality - Immediate finalization of transactions once included in a bock. No waiting for confirmations.

Cosmos SDK - A tool to create your own blockchain

The Cosmos Network offers to use its SDK to create application blockchains using the Tendermint protocol. Thus, the development of application blockchains in proof of stake but also in Proof of Authority is possible thanks to the kit made available. This possibility allows a strong modularity in the development of applications.

To avoid the limitations that come with building a blockchain for an existing application, the Cosmos SDK intends to provide developers full creative control. Since the consensus layer is decoupled from the application layer, developers are free to choose any language they like when creating their blockchain.

Key Features:

Modular - Build and combine customizable SDK modules for your blockchain

Staking & Slashing - Use of Staking and Slashing modules to support POF systems

Interoperability - Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) of tokens and assets

Auth & Bank - Use of Auth and Bank modules to create and authenticate new address and enable token transfers between them

Governance - Use of Governance to enable proposals and vote on blockchain upgrades

Security - Implementation of object-capabilities to sandbox each module

Inter-Blockchain Communications (IBC)

The Cosmos IBC protocol was developed as a solution to the problem of information silos and incompatibility across different blockchain systems. The Cosmos IBC has made it possible for many blockchains to exchange data with one another via a TCP/IP-style messaging protocol.

The IBC is agnostic. As a result, developers who want to take advantage of the Cosmos Network ecosystem's interoperability may rest easy knowing that transferring data or tokens from one zone to another will not affect the integrity of predefined rules. Further, the integrity of the shared data will not be compromised due to the lack of a common validator.

Key Features:

Versatile - Can be implemented by any consensus protocol that supports verifiable finality

Composable - IBC specifies application-level standards for asset and data semantics in addition to a set of low-level primitives for authentication, transport, and ordering

Layered - The components that make up IBC have distinct interfaces and are secured in a number of different ways. A component's layer-specific implementation is open to variation so long as it satisfies the necessary requirements.

Topologically Agnostic - In order to function, IBC does not assume or rely on any specific properties of the topological structure of the blockchain network in which it is embedded.

Cosmos Hubs & Zones

The Cosmos Hub

The heart of the Cosmos Ecosystem is the Cosmos Hub. It's vital for facilitating a plethora of functionalities crucial to the network's operation, such as staking, voting, interchain accounts, and so on. The Cosmos Hub is the place through which each blockchain must pass to communicate with another.

Cosmos Zones

The zones represent all the blockchains created in the Cosmos Network ecosystem with the technical characteristics allowing them to communicate with each other. Because each Cosmos Zone is highly customizable, developers can create blockchains that are completely unique from those of their peers.

Simply put, the hub is like the terminal, and the zones represent the several routes that originate from there. The hub's primary function is to establish links between the various zones.

Final Thoughts

If developers want to avoid the high costs of using a network like Ethereum, they may build their own blockchain on Cosmos and instantly connect it into a dynamic and rapidly expanding ecosystem. The main goal of this project is not to construct another blockchain network, but rather to serve as a basis for the development of other blockchains by providing a framework and the necessary set of tools.


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