Cosmos (ATOM) Network arrived in the crypto scene just last year in 2019 and has seen tremendous traction. Currently the #21 coin by market cap at the time of this writing, Cosmos is a very interesting blockchain project that looks to solve a lot of the problems that plague most blockchains.
The native coin for Cosmos is called ATOM (not be confused with the dead project Atomic Coin (ATOM)), which was created by a team of developers and foundations.
The Interchain Foundation (ICF) that is based in Switzerland is working with the Tendermint Core team to build their variant of the Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) consensus layer for the Cosmos Network.
Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons
To understand the beginning of ATOM, we have to look at the main core problems that plagued the first generation of blockchain technology.
The Cosmos Network looked to solve these 2 main problems:
Scalability has always been a constant problem to blockchains and mainly the first original blockchain, Bitcoin, has temporarily solved the issue with the Lightning Network. Although that is just a "band-aid" to the scalability issue, many newer blockchains seem to have their own solutions and have been doing quite well with scaling.
With the way the first generation blockchains worked, there was no way to have interoperability between 2 different blockchains until recently from multiple other projects. Cosmos's approach is unique as its goal is to be the "internet of blockchains" and be a "Hub" to independent blockchains with its architecture.
With a modular architecture, zones are the independent blockchains on the Cosmos Network and hubs are blockchains that are specifically designed to connect zones together.
The first Hub launched was the Cosmos Hub and is a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain.
Cosmos uses the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol to connect blockchains together to allow the transfer of tokens between each other.
Continuously, chain B receives the headers of chain A, and vice versa. This allows each chain to track the validator set of the other. In essence, each chain runs a light-client of the other.
When the IBC transfer is initiated, the ATOM are locked up (boned) on chain A.
Then, a proof that the 10 ATOM are bonded is relayed from chain A to chain B.
The proof is verified on chain B against chain A’s header and, if it is valid, then 10 ATOM-vouchers are created on chain B.
Read the Whitepaper for full details.
Growth of the Cosmos
Since its inception, the Cosmos Network has seen some quick growth and adoption of its native coin ATOM. Not too long after Cosmos launched in March of 2019, Neptune Dash Technologies Corp. announced they launched a network validator for the Cosmos Network. Neptune Dash primarily builds and operates Masternodes for Dash and invests in other blockchain-related projects.
Kava Labs is the open payment system that operates as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) for crypto built on the Interledger Protocol (ILP) and has launched the mainnet for the first Decentralized Finance (DeFi) application on the Cosmos Network with their own native KAVA token.
Crypto startup Kadena has launched its public blockchain on the Cosmos Network using a hybrid blockchain including Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining and PoS. Their goals are to further aid in scalability and interoperability with the integration of their multi-blockchain wallet Chainweaver to the Cosmos Network and allow developers to write smart contracts for both Cosmos and Kadena from the same interface.
The Band Protocol has announced its testnet launch of Bandchain on the Cosmos Network. They will bring its Decentralized Data Delivery Network (D3N) along with a new oracle design to allow for more flexible data queries.
Institutional investors can now join ATOM staking as the institutional custodian Anchorage, announced their support for ATOM to their clients.
Many more blockchain projects have joined Cosmos since. You can find a long list at https://cosmos.network/ecosystem.
Like with anything that deals with growth, they deal with growing pains however, Cosmos has been dealing with some major disagreements within the project causing the Tendermint core team to implode. Things apparently got so bad, the lead developer and CEO of Cosmos Jae Kwon to step down to focus on working on another project. The drama seems to have leaked to social media.
Former Director at Tendermint Zaki Manian accuses Kwon of lying about his "refocus" on the Virgo project and is evading responsibilities to the Cosmos project.
Kwon's alt-account on Twitter was tweeting some questionable things. Though this all could be just one big troll.
Because we recognize the extraordinary talent of the protocol engineers and researchers at Tendermint Inc, autonomy and free agency will serve to empower them to continue to ship and improve the infrastructure that powers Cosmos. To this aim, Tendermint Inc will part ways with its IBC and Tendermint Core teams as they start a new, independent Berlin-based GmbH, with the support and sponsorship from the Interchain Foundation (ICF).
Is Cosmos about to split apart? Despite the parting ways of key members, the Cosmos Network continues with its growth and manages to hold its price in the market. Having a unique architecture and approach to solving blockchain issues, ATOM has surpassed the market cap of many crypto that has been around much longer before it like Zcash, Ontology, Doge, Decred, and the list continues. For now, we'll have to see how the fallout from the "restructuring" goes and what Kwon does with the Virgo project.