What Is Cosmos?

Although many different blockchains exist to serve different purposes, interoperability between these networks will remain a problematic venture for some time to come. Whether or not Cosmos will be able to make a major impact in this regard remains to be seen. The project is designed to build an internet of blockchains, although that challenge may be far steeper than originally assumed.

Cosmos Wants to Connect Blockchains

It is commendable that new projects launch with a strong focus on blockchain interoperability. Although there are other ventures active in this regard as well, Cosmos is certainly worth taking notice of. Its main purpose is to create a network of many distributed ledgers which will solve major problems in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain. With so many projects out there, it is evident that communication between different chains has become the next hurdle to overcome.

Under the hood, Cosmos consists of independent and parallel blockchains, known as zones. Every one of these zones operates using a Byzantine fault-tolerant consensus protocol. Moreover, some zones will perform the role of hubs as a means of connecting with other zones. It is somewhat similar to the concept of sidechains, although there is a strong focus on proof-of-stake rather than proof-of-work.

As one has come to expect, Cosmos will also have its very own blockchain acting as a hub. This particular hub uses the inter-blockchain communication protocol to connect to other zones. Moreover, the Cosmos chain keeps track of the total number of tokens in every zone connected to it. It is certainly possible to transfer tokens between different blockchains, although they will first have to pass through the Cosmos hub.

As a result, any blockchain looking to become part of this network will need to embed the inter-blockchain communication protocol. So far, the number of chains supporting this feature is rather limited, and it remains to be seen whether that will change moving forward. At the same time, Cosmos will be capable of supporting currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, while also supporting scripting languages associated with individual blockchains. It is an interesting concept, albeit one that is partially centralized due to the existence of the Cosmos hub in the center of it all.

One could argue that Cosmos provides some competition for atomic swaps in this regard. It remains to be seen if that will be the case, mind you, as it heavily depends on how many blockchains are willing to integrate with Cosmos.  Very few people are even aware this solution exists right now, which makes future growth a bit of a struggle. Then again, these are still the early days of blockchain interoperability, and a lot of positive progress is possible in the future.

Some things Cosmos may have going for it include scalability and upgradability. These are two concepts that a lot of the existing blockchain solutions have struggled with in their current form. Cosmos claims it can solve these issues in the future, although it remains a rather bold statement for the time being. Interoperability is the only path forward, though it remains to be seen how it will be achieved in the coming years.