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What Are the Top 3 Things People Get Wrong About Cosmos?

For anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time in circles of blockchain enthusiasts, the words Cosmos, Cosmos Hub, and Tendermint are familiar words that are often thrown around in some context or the other.

As expected, it is easy for anyone to conflate the meaning of these three words, given they are all related to the Cosmos ecosystem. Like many blockchain projects, Cosmos’ purpose is to solve for interoperability and scalability.

Interoperability is one of the biggest challenges facing blockchains today. With increasing blockchain adoption, the lack of cross-chain compatibility becomes counterproductive to the overall goal of increasing blockchain adoption.

Cosmos is by far one of the biggest open-source platforms championing the interoperability of blockchains. At its core, Cosmos is a decentralized network of independent parallel blockchains, each powered by Tendermint. Thanks to Cosmos, a framework for interoperability can be established such that blockchain developers can build new blockchain-based applications that are not only compatible with each other but also capable of high-performance and high security.

In this article, we will tackle some of the top three common misconceptions most people have about Cosmos and give you a better understanding of what Cosmos is all about.


1) Cosmos Hub and Cosmos Are the Same Things

One of the most common misconceptions about the Cosmos ecosystem is that the Cosmos Hub and Cosmos ecosystem are the same things. However, this is not exactly true.

Granted, the Cosmos Hub is intertwined in the Cosmos ecosystem and is designed to connect multiple chains to achieve interoperability; however, the Cosmos Hub only makes up part of what is the Cosmos ecosystem.

According to the Cosmos whitepaper, the Cosmos Hub is the “first of thousands of interconnected blockchains” that will eventually make up the Cosmos network. Simply put, the Cosmos network is built to allow the formation of multiple “Hubs” each designed to serve a specific purpose. Hubs can communicate with other hubs, thus making up the ecosystem of Connected hubs.

On top of the hubs are zones which is Cosmos’s speak for “application-specific blockchains” that use the hubs the same way devices in a network use a router to connect to the internet. Using the Cosmos SDK which is a set of development tools that can be used by anyone to create scalable and interoperable blockchains speedily, multiple hubs can be built on top of the Cosmos ecosystem to support different types of interconnected decentralized applications (DAPPS).

2) How Cosmos Tendermint BFT works 

Another complex subject in regards to Cosmos that has many people confused is the inner working mechanism of Tendermint BFT. To begin with, Tendermint (which recently re-branded to the name “Ignite”) is a protocol for building blockchains that are Byzantine Fault Tolerant (BFT).

As an open-source protocol, Tendermint has been in development since 2014 and is used to build several other projects apart from Cosmos, such as Binance Coin, Terra, and OKB, to mention a few.

At its core, Tendermint is software for securing and consistently replicating an application on many machines. The software works even if one-third of the machines in the network fail to respond in arbitrary ways.

A Byzantine Fault Tolerant blockchain network is one with the ability to tolerate machine or node failure in arbitrary ways or when a section of those nodes becomes malicious.

To get a better understanding of Tendermint’s BFT protocol and how it works, think of a network of four computers communicating with each other to secure a distributed ledger. For the ledge to be updated with new input, all the computers in the network have to come to a consensus on the validity of the update.

Tendermint’s BFT principle is such that one of the computers in the network will take up the role of proposing the update which in this case is a new block of transactions set to be added to the distributed ledger or blockchain. Once all the other nodes agree to the validity of the proposed block, that block will be added to the blockchain in the same way miners in a proof of work blockchain add blocks to the blockchain.

In a Tendermint BFT blockchain, however, validators do not need to show proof of work and all that is needed is proof of authority from two-thirds of the network. Even if one of the nodes/ computers in the network fails to reply or becomes malicious, the network is still capable of running and publishing new blocks thanks to Tendermint’s BFT design. The fact that a blockchain network is provably Byzantine Fault Tolerant means it can tolerate up to one-third of failures of nodes on its network.

At the moment, Tendermint has evolved to become a general-purpose blockchain consensus engine that can be used to host arbitrary application states. Developers therefore can use it as a plug-and-play replacement for the consensus engines of their blockchain applications.

Therefore, unlike other blockchain consensus solutions that come prepackaged with built-in state machines and quirky scripting language requirements, Tendermint BFT can be used with any programming language and offers an easy-to-use, simple-to-understand, not to mention highly performant solution.

3) Cosmos Will Replace Ethereum

While it might look like it on the surface, Cosmos is not an Ethereum competitor.

The Cosmos ecosystem is designed to be a complementary blockchain development framework whose purpose is to enable developers to create and launch their blockchains. At the moment, Ethereum does not offer a similar infrastructure. However, it is worth noting that some of the blockchains set to launch on Cosmos can turn out to be competitors to the Ethereum blockchain. A good example is a blockchain such as Binance Smart Chain which is capable of deploying smart contracts and supporting dApp development at a faster and cheaper rate than Ethereum.

To solve Ethereum’s lack of scalability and interoperability, the network’s developers are currently at work on migrating the Ethereum network from a proof of work consensus protocol to a proof of stake with the release of ETH 2.0. The upgrade will make Ethereum’s transactions much cheaper and improve overall network speed.

Conclusion: Interoperability is King on Cosmos

So there you have it, folks. These are the top 3 things people get wrong about Cosmos.

As the Cosmos ecosystem continues to grow, its purpose as a framework for developing interoperable blockchains will increasingly become significant. So far, top blockchain networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum struggle with scalability and performance, especially when network traffic is highest.

Cosmos promises to build a foundation for the future of blockchains where each network is compatible with the other leading up to an internet of blockchains.

Learn more in our Cosmos Crypto Overview.

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Jinia Shawdagor

About the Author

Jinia Shawdagor

Jinia is a fintech writer based in Sweden focused on the cryptocurrency market and blockchain industry. With years of experience, she contributes to some of the most renowned crypto publications such as Cointelegraph, Invezz and others. She also has experience writing about the iGaming industry.

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