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What Is Cosmos? A Quick Look at the Internet of Blockchains

In the world of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has been and may always be the king. But thanks to its many uses, Ethereum transactions are already more common than Bitcoin transactions. Some competing cryptos might be technically superior to these frontrunners. But given the dominance of BTC and ETH, it seems unlikely that another coin will overtake them these any time soon.

However, Cosmos could secure a new crown for itself by helping the twin kings of crypto expand their domain. To understand how and why, let’s take a moment to review the unique purpose of each of these three kings.

Bitcoin is like cash. Its value is its function.

Ethereum is like a computer. It lets you create new things (like applications, NFTs, even new cryptocurrencies) and use, hold, or trade them. But anything created on the Ethereum “computer” (blockchain) must always remain there.

Cosmos is like the internet. It allows you to do anything a computer can do and it lets computers communicate with one another. By opening the lines of communication, it can lighten the load of other computers and allow them to run more efficiently. As a result, it can dramatically reduce the energy usage, transaction fees, and transaction times of any computer, plus so much more.

Starting at the Beginning: The Basics of Blockchains


Blockchains are simply a new kind of computer database, which is just a way to store information. Typical databases store information in tables with multiple columns and rows, like a spreadsheet. Blockchains, on the other hand, compile groups of data into ‘blocks.’ The blocks have a limited capacity, and once full, they get tacked on to the chain of previous blocks, the blockchain.

You can think of blockchains as records and standard databases as MP3 players. Records, like blockchains, have a specific starting point, always store music in the same linear way, and can’t be edited. MP3 players, like standard databases, have no beginning or end, let you add data in any order, and even let you move and edit data.

Most cryptocurrencies live on decentralized blockchains. If a blockchain is decentralized, it’s not controlled by any single person/computer/group. Instead, anyone who wants to host the blockchain on their computer can. And any new blocks of data get added to every host computer (known as a node) simultaneously.

Because decentralized blockchains are hosted on multiple computers, it’s virtually impossible to change any data on the chain. This makes them perfect for cryptocurrencies since making changes would be like changing the balance of someone’s bank account.

The Progression of Blockchains


Bitcoin introduced blockchain technology to the world upon its release in 2008. Like any new technology, the Bitcoin blockchain is rudimentary in comparison to those that came after it. It can only store information about Bitcoin transactions. And the coding language used to create it (C++) is not very user-friendly.

The Ethereum blockchain, released in 2014, was an innovative leap. Rather than simply keeping records of ETH transactions, it can store any kind of information. It allows developers can create and deploy decentralized applications (dApps), NFTs, and anything else they can code. But the Ethereum blockchain still has a number of limitations:

  • Scalability
    The Ethereum blockchain can only process about 15 transactions per second. Confirming these transactions also requires an excessive amount of energy. Plus, there are over 3,000 dApps on Ethereum and only one blockchain. So they all must compete for its limited resources.
  • Usability
    Ethereum is compatible with a handful of popular coding languages, including Java, Python, and Go. But there are numerous languages that Ethereum cannot understand, making it harder to use for some developers.And since the Ethereum blockchain is home to thousands of applications, it’s optimized to satisfy the most common needs. Thus, it can limit innovative dApps that have unique needs.
  • Sovereignty
    Because Ethereum dApps can only live on the Ethereum blockchain, they aren’t fully independent. Patching bugs or making updates requires approval from the governance of the Ethereum platform.

 

Cosmos: Blockchain 3.0 or the Internet of Blockchains


Cosmos addresses all of Ethereum’s limitations and more. Rather than competing as an alternative to Bitcoin or Ethereum, it can improve the functionality of existing blockchains. Most of the improvements Cosmos brings to the world of blockchain are possible because of three open-source tools: Tendermint, the Cosmos SDK, and Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC).

Tendermint and the Cosmos SDK are both incredible tools that solve Ethereum’s usability problems. As a quick summary, developers can use these tools as building blocks for new applications or even new blockchains. These building blocks can slash development time from years to weeks. Plus, they’re compatible with all programming languages.

As incredible as these tools are, Inter-Blockchain Communication is the game-changer. The Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains were designed as closed systems. Anything that takes place on either of those blockchains is irrelevant on the other. Cosmos can change that by allowing any blockchain to communicate with any other blockchain.

Allowing blockchains to communicate might not seem like a huge innovation. But if you take a second to think about it you’ll realize that the internet is nothing more than a way for computers to communicate. Thus, it makes sense to think of Cosmos as the Internet of Blockchains.

The Scale of the Cosmos


Scalability is one of the biggest challenges facing both Bitcoin and Ethereum. As Proof of Work (PoW) systems, they both rely on powerful computers to confirm every transaction. This process, known as mining, requires an immense amount of time and energy. The energy needs have led transaction fees to climb and raise concerns about environmental impact.

Confirming transactions on the Cosmos network, a Proof of Stake (PoS) system, reduces energy usage by more than 99%. And because it allows blockchains to communicate, you’ll be able to send or receive any cryptocurrency using the Cosmos network. Let’s repeat that. You’ll be able to send or receive any cryptocurrency using the Cosmos network.

Bitcoin sent over the Cosmos network would arrive almost instantly instead of taking 10+ minutes as it does now. Plus, the transaction would consume virtually no energy. So transaction fees and environmental impact would be negligible.

But sending cryptocurrencies efficiently only scratches the surface of Cosmos’ capabilities. Applications built on the Cosmos network can each have their own blockchain, providing developers with the necessary sovereignty to make changes as they see fit.

Cosmos could also be used to run identical blockchains in parallel. Doing so would theoretically allow an infinite number of transactions to be processed simultaneously.

It could give gamers a say in regards to the updates to their favorite games. It could bring together all of your social media accounts into a single profile. It could even help different hospitals share medical records stored on otherwise incompatible systems. And the Tendermint and Cosmos SDK building blocks make all of this possible at a fraction of standard development costs.

New dApps and blockchains are added to the Cosmos ecosystem constantly. Some are games, others are marketplaces. Multiple social networks and financial services apps already exist within the ecosystem and more are soon to come. The possibilities of Cosmos are literally endless.

The Gravity Bridge is one of the most exciting releases on the horizon. It promises to connect the Ethereum and Cosmos networks and has already been tested successfully. Once it goes live, a large portion of the millions of daily Ethereum transaction might take place on Cosmos. With lower fees and quicker confirmations, it would only make sense.

For the time being, the true scale of Cosmos remains unseen. But as more developers learn of its capabilities and more people see its value, we’ll all see what Cosmos can do.

How to Buy Cosmos (ATOM)


The native token of the Cosmos network is called ATOM. Although you can’t buy ATOM at RockItCoin ATMs, you can buy ATOM online right here on our site! All you need is a credit or debit card and a wallet to store your coins.

If you need an ATOM wallet, you can use the RockItCoinX mobile app. Available for both Android and iOS devices, it allows you to buy, sell, transfer, or trade dozens of cryptocurrencies whenever and wherever you want. So if you prefer to pay cash for your crypto, you could buy Bitcoin from one of our ATMs and convert it into ATOM via the RockItCoinX.