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Cosmos Network

Cosmos Network

A blockchain network architecture consisting of various independent blockchains called zones which are connected to each other by the Cosmos Hub.

Cosmos Network is a blockchain network architecture run by the Interchain Foundation. The company is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland and was founded in 2016 by Ethan Buchman and Jae Kwon. Cosmos consists of various independent blockchains called zones. Zones are connected to each other by Cosmos Network Hubs; the digital ledgers responsible for token swapping between zones. Cosmos Network Hubs connect directly with zones, instead of zones directly connecting with each other; reducing the risk of double spending and unfreezing of tokens.

Diagram of a Cosmos Network Hub.

Notable projects in development by Cosmos Network include the Cosmos SDK, Cosmos Hub (launched on March 13, 2019), Tendermint Core, and several Interchain Standards.

Initial coin offering (ICO)

On April 6, 2017 Cosmos held their initial coin offering selling approximately $17 million worth of the platforms ATOM cryptocurrency. The ICO raised $16.8 million in funding within the first 30 minutes of raising money making it one of the most successful ICO's in blockchain history.

Cosmos is a network of sovereign blockchains that communicate via IBC, an interoperability protocol modeled after TCP/IP, for secure data and value transfer. The Cosmos Hub, also known as "Gaia," is a proof of stake chain with a native token, ATOM, that acts as the primary hub for IBC packet routing among blockchains within the Cosmos network. The Cosmos Hub, like the majority of blockchains in the Cosmos network, is secured by the Byzantine Fault-Tolerant (BFT) Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm, Tendermint.


Cosmos aims to combine the utility of open-source software, decentralized networks, and time-stamped blockchain data storage to accelerate the scaling, adoption, and use-case experimentation of blockchains. To bypass the hindrances such as limited performance and ad hoc governance that inherently exist in PoW chains, Cosmos was envisioned as a decentralized network of independent, scalable, and interoperable PoS blockchains. The ideal solution, according to Cosmos, was a tool for interacting with multiple parallel blockchains such that the unique value proposed by a chain can be expanded to any other chain.

The idea of a Proof-of-Stake blockchain with Byzantine Fault-Tolerant (BFT) consensus mechanism originates from the year 2014 when the future Tendermint Inc. co-founder Jae Kwon explored the possibilities in his research. With the participation of Ethan Buchman, the other Tendermint Inc. co-founder, this idea was further developed in 2015, and Cosmos was introduced to the public in 2016. Tendermint Inc. and Interchain Foundation (ICF) have been responsible for the development and adoption of the technologies underlying the Cosmos network, Tendermint Core —a BFT consensus mechanism, and Cosmos SDK —a developer-friendly modular framework for building blockchains.

ICF ran a successful initial coin offering for ATOM in 2017 and used the collected funds to boost the development of Cosmos SDK, IBC, and Peggy. The first blockchain of the network, Cosmos Hub, launched on mainnet in 2019, and since then, many well-known projects have sprouted in the network such as Terra, THORChain, and


ATOM is the native token of Cosmos Hub, the PoS blockchain that constitutes one of many hubs on the Cosmos network. Since the PoS consensus mechanism requires validators to own ATOM to participate in the validation process, the main purpose of ATOM is the security and sustainability of the Cosmos Hub network. ATOM owners can stake their tokens to ensure network security, and in return, get a portion of the network transaction fees and block rewards distributed for validation. The token is also necessary for taking part in Cosmos Hub governance. ATOM owners can delegate their tokens or actively take part in governance by holding ATOM in their wallets.

Launch & Initial Token Distribution

The Interchain Foundation ran multiple private investment rounds, and a public fundraiser event ended on April 6, 2017. The foundation categorized recipients of these minted ATOMs into four different blocks: Private Contributors, Public Contributors, All in Bits Inc (AiB), and the Interchain Foundation (ICF).

The strategic and early adopters received 7.1% of the initial supply equivalent to 16,856,718.97 ATOMs, in exchange for their contribution of $1,329,472.3.

The seed contributors received 5% of the initial supply, equivalent to 11,809,947.91 ATOMs in exchange for $300,000.

The public contributors received 67.9% of the initial supply, equivalent to160,293,050 ATOMs, in exchange for $16,029,305.06 collected in BTC or ETH.

All in Bits Inc (Tendermint Inc.) received 10% of the initial supply equivalent to 23,619,895.81 ATOMs for developing the open-source IP that is used in Cosmos Network.

ICF received 10% of the initial supply equivalent to 23,619,895.81 to pursue their R&D activities for Web 3.0.

In total, 236,198,958.12 ATOMs were allocated at genesis to 984 accounts.

Consensus Mechanism

Cosmos is designed to operate as a network of zones and hubs. Zones are application-specific blockchains with sovereign security and governance models while hubs are intermediary blockchains that observe the state of connected zones and facilitate asset transfer between them. Cosmos is not a blockchain but a toolbox to design new blockchains. However, Cosmos Hub is the first PoS blockchain that works as a hub between zones and contains a multi-asset ledger, and lets other subsequent zones interact with each other through the inter-blockchain communication protocol, IBC. Their interaction is powered by Tendermint Core, a secure consensus protocol that provides fast finality and is easily adaptable with Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain. Interacting with the IBC protocol requires chains to have a consensus mechanism that offers fast finality, meaning that Cosmos cannot use IBC for asset transfers between proof-of-work blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin. In order to bypass this shortcoming, Cosmos introduces account-based blockchains called peg zones (Peggy) and offers fast finality through implementing finality thresholds to blockchains with probabilistic finality.

What Problems Does Cosmos (ATOM) Solve?

The main goal of Cosmos is to tackle the lack of interoperability in the market. Together, the blockchain sector encompasses a huge variety of services and functionalities. However, every blockchain operates as an island currently. This weakens the overall ability of the market to accomplish important tasks such as lobbying for more pro-crypto legislation, or other vital improvements to the industry.

Through Cosmos, different blockchains can coexist with their own specialized use cases. This allows developers to focus efforts on improvements rather than spending efforts on marketing and other competition-related activities. Cosmos even allows different blockchains to leverage the capabilities of other platforms to improve their usability.


July 2021
Delta Upgrade

Introducing Gravity DEX to enable enhanced liquidity for Cosmos Hub tokens.

March 2021
IBC Transfers

Cosmos Proposal 41 enabled the transfer of assets using the Interchain Standard 20 (ICS20) on the Cosmos Hub. IBC asset transfers allow IBC assets available in the Bank module of the Cosmos Hub and ATOM to be available on Zones connected to IBC (Inter-Blockchain Communication).

February 2021

Stargate introduced an extensive set of upgrades to the Cosmos Hub, including new interoperability abilities and various performance improvements. It involved the transition of the third version of the Cosmos Hub (Cosmos Hub 3) to a fourth iteration (Cosmos Hub 4). Stargate's primary new feature was the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, the interoperability standard that enables the exchange of cryptoassets and data across other Tendermint-based chains. Stargate also included several user-experience and performance upgrades, such as:

Protobuf Migration to increase transaction throughput and lower gas costs by increasing block capacity. It also introduces a composability standard

State Sync to shorten the time it takes to sync a Cosmos node

Full-featured light clients to help accelerate full node sync times

Chain upgrade module to increase the efficiency of network upgrades

April 2019
Atom Transfers Enabled

The Cosmos Hub's on-chain governance system unlocked token transfers roughly one month after its launch.

March 2019
Launch of the Cosmos Hub

The Cosmos Hub and its Tendermint Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network launched in March 2019.





Ethan Buchman


Ethan Buchman


Jae Kwon


Further reading


Cosmos 2021 -- A Look Back on an Interstellar Year - Cosmos Blog

Christina Cosmos


December 14, 2021

Cosmos Network - Internet of Blockchains


Cosmos Whitepaper: A Network of Distributed Ledgers

Jae Kwon, Ethan Buchman


Cosmos: Discovering interoperability of blockchains

Crypto Judgement


Cross-Platform Blockchain Project Cosmos Launches First Hub After $17 Million ICO

Ana Berman


March 14, 2019

Documentaries, videos and podcasts


Cosmos (ATOM) - Computing, IBC Protocol, Bitcoin & more! - Interview with Jack Zampolin

April 14, 2021

Hashed Interview: Jae Kwon, Founder of Cosmos, "Creating an Internet of Blockchains"

January 24, 2019

The Cosmos Network

September 20, 2017




Omar Faridi
April 29, 2021
Crowdfund Insider
Brent Xu, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Tendermint, is leaving project to start cross-chain DeFi initiative


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