Cosmos Network Now Has Nearly 100 Validators, 6-7 Second Block Times

After the recent launch of the Cosmos Hub, a highly anticipated proof-of-stake (PoS)-based network that primarily aims to facilitate blockchain interoperability, or communication between independent chains, the platform’s developers have released some important updates.

Although transfers involving ATOM, Cosmos’ native token, have not yet been enabled, more than 50% of the ATOMs in circulation “are now bonded to just under 100 validators.” This, according to a blog post published on April 5 by “Chjango Unchained,” a Medium account operated by the head of communications at Tendermint (an organization involved in the development of Cosmos).

Blocks Being Generated “Every 6 or 7 Seconds”

Chjango Unchained’s blog mentioned that the nearly 100 transaction validators on Cosmos are currently generating new blocks at the rate of “every 6 or 7 seconds.” This activity can be tracked through an informative website that contains links to important data and real-time updates related to the development of the nascent Cosmos ecosystem.

Those contributing to the growth and adoption of the Cosmos Hub, including Sunny Agarwal and Ethan Buchman, have been covering specific topics such as “the launch, staking, governance, [and] app development” on the platform. These discussions are being held and uploaded to EpiCenter.

Decentralized Governance On Cosmos

As noted in Chjango Unchained’s post, the “first governance transaction” on the Cosmos network “came a week after” the platform’s mainnet was launched. This was reportedly done “in the form of a proposal” which aims to “align the expected block time of 5 seconds” with “the observed one of at least 6.5 seconds.”

Currently, approximately “80% of the bonded stake has voted” (almost all for “Yes”) and the Cosmos network’s participants are more carefully examining “proposals for the activation of ATOM transfers.” So far, there have only been two ATOM transfers while “voter participation” on the network remains “relatively high,” Unchained’s post states.

Going on to cite important governance-related challenges that other decentralized networks have faced, the post notes: “Will Voter apathy be a concern for Cosmos? Only time will tell.”

Those looking to learn more about how the governance process on Cosmos works can read this detailed article about its “mechanics.” Moreover, as the Cosmos network continues to grow, its community members will be developing “social norms” around the platform’s “governance practices.”

Key Development Updates For Cosmos

Ledger support for Cosmos App release v1.1.1 has been updated and those using the Ledger line of hardware wallets have been requested to install the latest version of the Ledger firmware (v1.5.5). This latest version, which includes key upgrades to the Cosmos App, must be installed if users are planning on transferring ATOM tokens to their Ledger Nano S devices.

Notably, Cosmos’ validator app, known as the Ledger Validator App, allows transaction validators on the platform to “use their Ledgers as hardware security modules (HSMs).” The validators' apps will reportedly “remain in developer mode since this software is meant to be used specifically for devops engineers.”

Other notable updates include those made to Lunie, an “open beta” (previously known as Voyager) which “supports delegating, re-delegating, and voting via the Ledger Nano S.”

Ampleforth Seeks to Become the Perfect Digital Asset for Portfolio Managers

A new token is seeking to change up the existing paradigm in the cryptoasset market.

Billing itself as “smart commodity money” - a token that has the benefits of commodity-monies like gold and silver, but can respond efficiently to changes in demand - Ampleforth is keen to emphasize that its token represents a new kind of asset in the space.

The Evolution of Money 

Money has been reinvented many times over: for many centuries mankind did without it, instead simply assigning value to particular goods in exchange for other goods. Then gold and silver formed the basis of money, whether coins were made directly out of these precious materials or "stamped" as a standard into baser metals.

Indeed, gold as a standard for global money transfer lasted for many centuries: the official gold standard was dropped by Britain and the US in the early 1930s and by 1971 the system was abandoned completely to be replaced fully by what we now call the fiat money system where global currencies (to a large degree) freely float against each other on foreign exchange markets.

The Crypto-Evangelists

Niall Ferguson is an expert in this field and, as an Oxford and Harvard lecturer, has written and spoken about money and capital many times. He may be a little late to the crypto party but is none-the-less evangelical about it: in a Bank of England seminar last year he called cryptocurrencies "the financial system of the future".

Ferguson has now thrown his weight behind the Ampleforth Project, which - on June 13 - raised $4.9 million in 11 seconds in its initial exchange offering (IEO) of its "Ample" (AMPL) tokens.

The digital asset explains in its white paper that it’s a "synthetic commodity" that aims to become truly uncorrelated from both traditional assets, stocks and currencies as well as from Bitcoin, other cryptoassets and other synthetic commodities. The problem with existing synthetic commodities, the paper explains, is that they have so far failed to do both. 

Ampleforth Explained

While Ampleforth seeks the price target of $1 for the Ample, instead of pegging directly to the dollar - like Tether - or to a basket of fiat currencies - as Facebook's Libra intends - the Ample will allow the quantity of assets a user holds to fluctuate, in addition to price, as it seeks a price supply equilibrium.

The system's protocol will actively seek this equilibrium by either proportionally increasing the quantity of tokens every user holds when prices climb, or proportionally decreasing the quantity of tokens every user holds when prices fall.

This is called money supply and has been one of the tools used by central banks to control inflation for many years. But Ferguson's criticism of this - in his book The Ascent of Money - is that it reflects human sentiment too much:

Money amplifies our tendency to overreact, to swing from exuberance when things are going well to deep depression when they go wrong. Booms and busts are products, at root, of our emotional volatility.

Ampleforth seeks to overcome these problems algorithmically by applying countercyclical pressures that dampen volatility, encouraging markets to self-correct. Supply updates will be freely visible in the market ahead of any changes, allowing the market to anticipate these changes and respond accordingly.

Ferguson explains his enthusiasm for the project:

The ingenious thing about Amples is that this they are not stablecoins, pegged in some way to existing fiat money. They are a special kind of digital asset, the quantity of which varies in response to the behavior of investors and traders.

Crypto Rivals

Ampleforth is unlikely to challenge Bitcoin any time soon as the number one crypto investment, but offers a compelling three-stage plan for the use of Amples. 

In the near-term, the token’s lack of correlation to both traditional assets and Bitcoin, will make it a useful portfolio diversifier. 

In the more medium-term, Amples may be used as reserve collateral in decentralized banks, such as Maker DAO.

Ultimately, the long-term goal however, is that Amples will serve as an independent alternative to central bank money. The team describes it as a “macroeconomically friendly” Bitcoin that averts the deflationary problems associated with fixed supply commodities when used as reserve collateral by banks.

Ampleforth Moves Forward

Such was the success of its first token sale on Bitfinex, that Ampleforth is conducting a second round of funding on the same exchange on Thursday.

The company aims to raise close to $5 million in this IEO, with a maximum contribution per investor of $5,000 and a minimum of $28, with each Ample token worth $0.98.