On Wednesday (March 13th) at 23:00 UTC, Cosmos Hub, the first blockchain in the Cosmos Network, got launched.
Cosmos is “a decentralized network of independent parallel blockchains, each powered by BFT consensus algorithms like Tendermint consensus.” The designers of Cosmos consider it 3rd generation blockchain technology; they call Bitcoin “Blockchain 1.0”, Ethereum “Blockchain 2.0”, and Cosmos “Blockchain 3.0”.
Here is how they describe the vision for Cosmos:
“The vision of Cosmos is to make it easy for developers to build blockchains and break the barriers between blockchains by allowing them to transact with each other. The end goal is to create an Internet of Blockchains, a network of blockchains able to communicate with each other in a decentralized way. With Cosmos, blockchains can maintain sovereignty, process transactions quickly and communicate with other blockchains in the ecosystem, making it optimal for a variety of use cases.”
Cosmos is an open source community project that was “initially built by the Tendermint team.” Tendermint was founded in 2014 by Jae Kwon (CEO) and Ethan Buchman. The purpose of starting this company was “to explore the commercialization of the Tendermint consensus algorithm,” which was developed by Kwon in 2014. Since 2017, the Tendermint team has been working for the Interchain Foundation (ICF), a Swiss non-profit foundation, in order to “deliver the initial version of the Cosmos Network” for “the launch of the Cosmos Hub.” All the code they have written for the ICF is “open source and permissively licensed.”
In a post published on Wednesday on the official Cosmos blog, the ICF team said that its mission was “to promote and advance research and development in open and decentralized networks, with a particular focus on the Cosmos Network,” which it said comprised “a global interoperating web of sovereign Byzantine Fault Tolerant Replicated State Machines.”
They also explained that the ICF has tried to achieve this goal by “focusing on allocating capital to develop diverse and general purpose technologies that are easy to use, build on, fork, and experiment with,” such as Tendermint Core, Cosmos SDK, LotionJS, and IBC. The Cosmos Software Development Kit (SDK), which was launched on 28 February 2018, is used by several crypto projects, such as Binance DEX.
This general-purpose technology has been used to build the Cosmos Hub, the first blockchain in the Cosmos network. The launch is set to happen in three phases (as described in a Cosmos blog post published on February 26th):
- “Phase I: Network Gains Stability”
- “Phase II: Transfers Enabled”
- “Phase III: IBC Enabled”
Currently, we are in phase one.
The purpose of the Cosmos Hub is “to help coordinate the budding ecosystem of Cosmos blockchains by providing a highly available, high-security validator set to enforce the rules of blockchain interoperability” (even it should be noted that this “initial release has no support for interoperability; its native token, the ATOM, will not even be transferable!”). You can also think of the Cosmos Hub as “the most advanced implementation of a BFT Proof-of-Stake state machine known to-date, with complex protocols designed for use in public economic settings.”
The ICF team also warns that “no amount of testing can ever approach the reality of a mainnet launch,” and so “the software remains highly experimental, and any interaction with it remains highly risky.”
Here is how Jack Zampolin, Product Manager at Tendermint, described the launch:
And #cosmoslaunch is live. Network came online quickly with just a small hiccup at block 17 while some more voting power came online. Congrats to all the validators and the rest of the @cosmos community for a successful launch!!
— Jack Zampolin (@Jack_Zampolin) March 14, 2019
And below are a couple of the reactions from the wider crypto community:
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) March 13, 2019
Congrats @cosmos! I honestly believe launching a public blockchain successfully is among the hardest undertakings a team can take on in terms of engineering, legal, and social complexity — but today you and your community did just that! Excited to see what’s next. 🚀
— Jill Carlson (@_jillruth) March 14, 2019
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