Ehe Cosmos project (ATOM), is a project focused on providing an infrastructure capable of uniting several independent blockchains and making them interoperable with each other. The intention here is to allow said block chains, the value and the applications on them, can communicate with each other using a standard that guarantees these operations and that they can be carried out quickly.
The history of Cosmos began on June 26, 2016, when its creator Jae kwon, created the whitepaper for a project called Gnuclear. Gnuclear's idea was to create a fully decentralized interoperable blockchain system, using the Tendermint consensus protocol for such purposes. The initial idea evolved little by little with the help of the community, until August 5, 2016, the project was renamed to be called Cosmos.
From that moment, Kwon began to look for mechanisms that would serve to finance his idea. It was like this, as on January 1, 2017, it began to run a private token sale to find financing. In total, 12 million ATOM tokens were sold at a price of $ 0,025 per ATOM, for a total of $ 300.000 raised. In parallel, another private token sale was also held at a cost of $ 0,08 USD per ATOM, with a total of 160.293.050 tokens sold, and a total collection of $ 1.329.472 in total.
After this experience, on June 4, 2017, a ICO (Initial Coin Offering), to sell a total of 160.293.050 ATOM tokens, with a price of 0,1 USD per token, and with a total of 16.029.305 USD collected for said sale. At this point, the development of ATOM would begin to walk its way to become a reality.
The Cosmos Network - Cosmos Project
The genesis block and start-up of the network
The first test of ATOM's technology was conducted on September 5, 2017, at which time the network's Tendermint consensus system was tested. In this test, they discovered strong anomalies that led the team to thoroughly review the operation of the system, and took about a year of work to be completely solved.
It was not until April 22, 2019, when the Cosmos mainnet would finally be launched and the actual work of its network would begin mining the first block (genesis block) Of the same.
The launch was followed by the promised token distribution by the ICO and the private sale of cryptocurrencies. The contributors to the first private sale (for $ 300) received a total of 11.809.947,91 ATOM tokens, for their commitment and firm support to the project at such an early time. Contributors to the second private sale (for $ 1.329.472) received a total of 16.856.718,97 ATOM tokens. And finally, public contributors received a total of 23.619.895,81 ATOM tokens.
In addition to this, an R&D fund was created to support the Cosmos project and its developers with a total of 10% of the entire initial allocation of tokens from the genesis block of the network. That's a total of 23.619.895,81 ATOM tokens allocated for this purpose.
In addition, a total of 3.054.207,32 ATOMs assigned to 8 addresses were assigned, a total of 288.500 ATOMs assigned to 53 addresses and finally 20.277.188,49 ATOMs divided between two addresses of multiple different signatures. In total, 236.198.958,12 ATOM tokens were allocated in the genesis block to 984 different accounts. The complete record of the addresses and amounts is kept on the project's GitHub and you can see it in this link.
Cosmos architecture and operation
As we have already discussed, Cosmos is actually a decentralized network of independent parallel blockchains. A network, where each blockchain is powered by its own consensus algorithm and interconnected by the Cosmos network. This can be complex to see, but the reality is that there is a whole work structure that makes this possible, and among these actors we can mention:
The Hub Cosmos, the center of Cosmos
The operation of Cosmos relies on a structure that is known as Hub. The Hub of Cosmos, it is actually a ledger that maintains the main history of the entire Cosmos network. In simpler words, it is a blockchain that stores the information of everything that happens in Cosmos and the actions that are carried out between the different actors that are interconnected to its network.
For example, if two blockchains interconnected to Cosmos share certain events, these events will be recorded in the central Hub of Cosmos witnessing what happened. At the same time, the results of those actions will be recorded in the respective blockchain that they have interacted with. In this way, the evidence of the interaction is recorded in such a way that there is no way to deny it. This is very useful, since this type of structure makes it very easy to DApps (Decentralized Applications) of different blockchains could communicate with each other.
In any case, the Hub is a history of events between the participants of the Cosmos network. This history is possible thanks to the existence of the Cosmos blockchain communication protocol (IBC for Inter Blockchain Communication). The job of this protocol is to provide a standard connector that allows blockchains within Cosmos to send messages to each other and share information, keeping a complete record of such messages within the Hub.
In this way it is possible to enable exchanges in a completely decentralized way between all blockchains. The scope of this idea is so wide that Cosmos is known in the crypto world as “the Internet of the Blockchain"
The areas of the Cosmos network
A zone in the Cosmos network is an independent blockchain that exchanges IBC messages with the Hub. From the Hub's perspective, a zone is a multi-asset dynamic membership multi-signature account that can send and receive tokens using IBC packets. Like a cryptocurrency account, a zone cannot transfer more tokens than it has, but it can receive tokens from others who have them. A zone can be designated as a "source" of one or more types of tokens, giving it the power to inflate that supply of tokens.
To avoid double spending attacks in the zones, the consensus protocol of Cosmos, limits the possible actions within these zones and the Hub, especially if there are zones with a compromised consensus in some way.
Tendermint, a high speed algorithm
Of course, the breadth of what Cosmos can do requires a high-speed consensus algorithm capable of handling the flow of information between different blockchains. To achieve this, Cosmos makes use of an algorithm of Proof of Participation (PoS) thought about speed and high scalability, the Tendermint algorithm.
Tendermint, is an algorithm created by Jae Kwon himself in 2014, with the intention of presenting a high speed and security algorithm. In fact, said algorithm is designed to be a platform BFT SMR (State Machine Replication) high-performance that replicates services that can then be simulated as deterministic and non-random state machines. This basically means that Tendermint Core was built to copy specialized servers (or states). This is done through a special machine that copies servers and distributes them throughout the global Cosmos network. This process enables Tendermint Core software engineers to reproduce the blockchain on "state" machines around the world.
Result? Using Tendermint in Cosmos is vital, because the interconnection of several blockchains in the same infrastructure takes scalability demands to a new level, and Tendermint's BFT SMR framework is perfect at this point. A good example of this is that the tests carried out on Tendermint allowed it to reach more than 10.000 transactions per second (10.000 TPS) and its scalability grows with the increase in the number of its nodes. Hence, projects such as Cosmos, Kava, Terra, BAND Protocol, Aragon, Hyperledger, Ethermint, Oasis Labs, IRISNet and even Facebook Pound(now known as Diem) among other projects use Tendermint to offer high performance in your network P2P.
ATOM, a token for the platform
On the other hand, Cosmos also has a cryptocurrency or native token named ATOM. Said token has the fundamental role of creating an economic ecosystem that encourages the work that sustains the entire network. First, The Cosmos network depends on the work of 100 validators, who are responsible for using the Tendermint protocol to carry out the process of generation and validation of blocks within the network. This limit is an initial limit that can be altered by the governance of the protocol at any time.
The work of the validators in any case must be rewarding, and as in most blockchains, that reward is given in native tokens, in this case, ATOM tokens. But this selection of validators respects the rules of any PoS consensus protocol, so to be elected you must have a significant staking to be able to participate. This means that validators must store and lock balances in ATOM to obtain such participation.
Along with this, the ATOM token serves as a mechanism to prevent misuse of the network, that is, to discourage spam, as well as to access network services and as a governance system within the network, since the holders of ATOM tokens can cast votes in proportion to their staking in ATOM.
On the other hand, the issuance of ATOM tokens is unlimited, and the generation of them by the validators is decided dynamically by the network according to the guidelines of the governance of the protocol. Currently, block rewards are calculated at 7-20% of the annual performance of the total ATOM supply. In addition, the transaction fees are added, which add up to the totality of the rewards for the validators. The generation of blocks in the network happens every 5-6 seconds, being one of the fastest blockchain networks in this ecosystem.
Fotons (Photons), a second token for the platform
Apart from ATOM tokens, there are also Photons (Photons) in Cosmos. These are a type of token with much more liquidity and speed than ATOM. This second token is used to carry out transactions between all the zones that are connected to the Hub.
ATOM tokens are designed to be linked in the Hub. This means that they are not ideal for paying fees or moving in other areas of the Cosmos ecosystem. This is the reason why photons (Photons) were created in order to overcome these limitations. The existence of the "photons" of Cosmos can be seen as a kind of Gas (like the one that exists in Ethereum, only that the photons are real tokens) that serves for the payment of commissions and other blockchain interoperability tasks within Cosmos.
Blockchain Communication Protocol (IBC)
The Cosmos IBC protocol was created to solve one of the most important challenges facing blockchain systems today: lack of communication and data exchange between networks.
Interoperability and the ability to communicate with internal and external blockchain protocols is critical to the widespread real-world application and technology adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Imagine a telephone network that could only communicate with participants in your immediate geographic area. It just won't work. Cosmos IBC, is a messaging protocol similar to TCP / IP built to share information and data, which finally allows the communication of several blockchains with each other.
In this way, Cosmos IBC, for example, can see that the interaction that a user A performs in Bitcoin, can have repercussions with a user B within Ethereum, and all this, because Cosmos can create a communication bridge that allows analyzing the information between both chains and make the DApps or applications that are performing the operations between both chains, react according to the operations in a completely integrated way.
Characteristics of the Cosmos Network
Among the main characteristics that we can identify in Cosmos Network, we can mention:
The entire network has been designed thinking about facilitating the interoperability of Cosmos with other blockchains, and of those blockchains as a whole. With Zones, Cosmos can create bridges that communicate a specific blockchain with the other set of zones connected to the network, and thus increase its interoperability stage.
Thus, for example, a Zone with a connection to the Ethereum network, could use Cosmos to connect to a Zone connected to the EOS network, to exchange tokens, operations and more using Cosmos with an interconnection bridge between them.
The use of Tendermint within Cosmos makes it very clear that this project can scale in ways that other projects cannot. In fact, the scalability of Tendermint is indefinite since the greater the number of Zones and validators within them, the greater the network's ability to scale.
Cosmos is built on the principles of cryptography, sound economics, consensus theory, transparency, and accountability to serve as a new foundation for our future financial systems.
You can use Cosmos as a test for a new cryptocurrency design, an upgrade to an existing cryptocurrency, as a medium for decentralized exchange, or as a platform for scalable smart contracts.
Cosmos is not just a distributed ledger, and the Cosmos Hub is not the center of your universe. Anyone can use this protocol to create their own Hub to compete with Cosmos in a free market for blockchains.
Another important tool in Cosmos is its SDK or development environment. This SDK is a build entirely based on free software and can be used to create infrastructure and platforms based on Cosmos Hub.
Thus the Cosmos SDK allows developers to use not only pre-built modules, but also their own custom modules, allowing them to test their minimum viable product before launching their own public mainnet (blockchain protocols that have completed testing and are ready for public use).
Additionally, the Cosmos SDK enables users to connect their own blockchain to the Cosmos network through IBC, increasing liquidity and user adoption. Example of uses of Cosmos SDK can be seen in networks like Kava, Terra, IRISNet and Agoric.
Cosmos is a great idea, a project that can enable a whole new series of applications within the blockchain ecosystem. The idea of opening information and communication highways between the different blockchain projects is something that has many developers in the crypto world working 100% today. Not in vain, projects like Polkadot o The graph They have focused on this type of functionality, with varying degrees of success.
At this point, it is clear that the other great step within blockchain technology will be interoperability, which, hand in hand with scalability, will be one of the fundamental pillars of the expansion and massification of this technology throughout the world.