The incoming Cosmos Interchain Security (ICS) module will allow project teams to access an extensive pool of reputable validators to grant their fledgling blockchains rock-solid security and block production, as well as immediate access to hundreds of thousands of active users from day one. In doing this, ICS will provide one final piece in the Ecosystem’s mission to build the Internet of Blockchains.
Frameworks for Building Permissionless Decentralized Tools
Despite some recent debates within the ecosystem about how best to move forward into the future, the Interchain Foundation remains an organizational bedrock, supporting the Cosmos Hub and promoting the ecosystem in general. The ICF note their role as in building and stewarding Cosmos and, being made up of Network participants, are generally transparent and open to discussion and constructive feedback about how best to progress.
Technical development of different modules, however, is generally undertaken by more centralized teams, such as Informal Systems in the case of ICS. Informal Systems CEO is Eric Buchman, co-founder of Cosmos, and the organization takes a leading role in the development of decentralized tooling solutions. Given these layers, Cosmos benefits from a combination of centralized high-performance teams, community representative ‘stewards,’ and fully decentralized governance. The result is an efficient and near-incorruptible ecosystem whereby participants are incentivized to contribute in the best interests of all.
Given the native interoperability, in the eyes of the Cosmos Network as a whole, growth in terms of new projects and users is beneficial to all. For this reason, much of the technical development is aimed at creating tools that lower the barrier to entry for innovators and allow fully comprehensive bootstrapping without much more than an idea and a small hard-working co-founding team. This has allowed builders on Cosmos to flourish, with 264 apps and services now in operation on the Network across 46 IBC-enabled blockchains.
Project builders looking to launch their own blockchains often struggle to secure the network at the beginning given the lack of validators to process transactions and produce blocks. Blockchains must compete for validator support by offering emissions, but in the case of new chains, these emissions can be virtually worthless and suffer from high inflation, leading to a lack of attention and support from validators.
The IBC-compatible ICS module will resolve this issue by allowing the Cosmos Hub to lend its security and validators to secure new fledgling blockchains from day one. Chains will no longer have to coerce individual validators to secure their network or compete against other projects in a ‘race to the bottom’ for fees, but instead just pay fees in their native token to the Cosmos Hub, which would then airdrop the tokens to the various validators, earning them additional rewards from the various blockchains they help secure.
Aside from supporting new projects, this will also boost the value accrual and utility of $ATOM, providing further intrinsic value for the token and potentially leading to a price increase.
Rollout to Numbers
Currently, ICS is being trialed in an incentivized public testnet, with the official launch scheduled for January 2023. Given how much the barrier to entry for new blockchains should be lowered with ICS, the Cosmos Ecosystem is expected to enter a period of exponential growth, appealing to new builders and providing an even better deployment environment for existing blockchain-based applications on other chains.
Estimates of the exact numbers achievable are, of course, varied, with some even arguing a conservative estimate to be as many as 5,000 Cosmos blockchains by the year 2030.
Regardless of the number, it’s only going to be good news for the Cosmos Ecosystem, with growth benefiting the collective and positioning the Network to be an ideal candidate for new builders looking to make their mark on this growing industry.