On October 12th, we invited Chjango Unchained, Director of Community at Tendermint Inc, and T.K., for the Cosmos AMA.
She talked about the vision and values of Cosmos team, state of the Cosmos Network, her views about Polkadot, and etc.
The following content is that we asked Chjango some questions and her answers. Enjoy It!
Q1: This is your first time visiting our AMA, although our community members have a certain understanding of Cosmos, we would like you to make a simple project introduction of Cosmos. What is the vision of Cosmos? What are the problems to solve in blockchain?
Three years ago, Jae and Ethan set out on a mission to build the tools for enabling an interconnected network of blockchains. Jae realized quickly that the number of application specific blockchains would only grow over time, not centralize onto any single one.
As this vision of an Internet of Blockchains emerged, naturally, interoperability became the core thesis that Cosmos set out to prove. And the rest of the industry eventually came to realize that not only was the vision credible, but something that would generate a lot of value.
That’s why now, in 2019, there are so many projects interested in interop , where as in 2016, people looked at Jae like he was crazy and had an idea that would never work.
Q2: Can you give a brief introduction to your personal background? What attracts you to the crypto world and join the Cosmos team? You worked at NASA before, and whether this is related to joining the Cosmos team, as Cosmos means the universe…
Bitcoin was my gateway drug into the cryptosphere. Back then, there was only Bitcoin and a handful of other forks of Bitcoin out in the wild. Ethereum was the new, totally different thing when I started out, but I was mostly interested in Bitcoin.
I come from the US, at the epicenter that caused the global financial crisis in 2008 and I did a lot of research reverse engineering what had caused the crisis.
Out of that research, I discovered Bitcoin as the way out of such a fragile system that the majority of the world still runs on. Fast forward another 3 years of diving into the deepest rabbit hole I had ever gotten into, I found out about Cosmos in an Epicenter podcast episode.
At that time, I had been a cryptocurrency journalist and my research at the time was on EOS and PoS protocols. That was when I thought, “Proof of Stake?! That’ll never work.”
But then, as I did more research about Tendermint, my opinion slowly changed, and I joined Tendermint in 2017 as their first and only technical writer to communicate what the team and the protocol was doing to the rest of the world.
Yes, I worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) as an intern when I was in university and then as a full time employee after I graduated university. NASA has 10 facilities across the US and JPL is there laboratory that focuses on the Mars Rovers. It was purely happy coincidence that I started my early career in the aerospace industry and ended up at Cosmos in the blockchain industry.
Q3: Recently, Zilliqa’s CEO and CTO have announced their leaving for the project. The core members left in less than two years after the project’s birth, and we know Cosmos has been developing for about 4 years, what is the reason that the core members of the team are still having so much energy and belongness of Cosmos?
A project’s success ultimately boils down to its founders. If a founder enters the space with the intention of raising a lot of money but with no intention of delivering on its promises, then the resulting outcome will be similar to a Zilliqa scenario.
Ultimately, when evaluating which projects have long-standing potential against projects that will burn brightly then fizzle out quickly, you need to evaluate both the credibility of the people behind the projects and the robustness of the code and products they deliver.
The reason why Cosmos is such a strong project is because of the people.
Cosmos is sort of a high-density mass, like the sun, around which the most talented and creative people gravitate towards because of the people behind the project who embody the genuine passion to see through the dream of pushing cryptocurrency into mainstream relevancy.
Q4: For a founder of a project, do you think he needs to act as a politician? Publics’ impression of Jae Kwon is still too low-key, humble and focused on the developing. While, everyone seems to consider that the founder of a project act like politicians is more likely to succeed. Do you think Cosmos needs so?
Authenticity is a virtue I value above all, and if the way that Jae acts in public is congruent with what he is genuinely like, then I see no problem with his personality. Perhaps a lot of founders will play the political game, but that is not the focus at Cosmos.
Many projects will go to great lengths to pump their tokens, but those actions lead to short-term bumps in their market cap. The work that we do at Cosmos today, and every day, will be work that future generations can benefit from and build upon.
And optimizing for that kind of value always leads to long term, sustained fundamental value that cannot be faked or copied.
Q5: What is the progress of IBC development? What time is it expected to be completed and deployed to the main network?
The IBC spec and implementation is nearly finished. We’re in the release candidate phase, which means we’re in the final stretch.
You can play with the prototype and practice cross-chain transacting here:
Join the IBC working group here: t.me/ibcprotocol
Q6: There are some issues in the latest upgrade of the main network this month. Can we share us some more details about the issue?
The full details of the issue is disclosed in this retrospective:
Q7: What role does Tendermint BFT play in Cosmos? What competitive advantages do it has?
Currently, to be interoperable (ecosystem-compatible) within the Cosmos Network, your blockchain must run on Tendermint. But later, as the tooling matures and becomes more modular, you could swap out Tendermint for any consensus engine, as long as it has finality.
Tendermint BFT is competitive when you want blocks that finalize – that finalize quickly – and when you want to use a proven Proof of Stake solution.
Q8: What functional modules does Cosmos SDK cover in the application layer? What competitive advantages does ATOM still have if people do not use the Cosmos network and only use SDK?
Here is the full list of modules in the SDK: https://github.com/cosmos/cosmos-sdk/tree/master/x
That list will keep growing as developers start upstreaming their modules.
The advantage of the SDK is that it makes it really easy to plug in IBC.
So once IBC adoption hits critical mass, the network will be heavily utilized, necessitating greater security and utilization of the network, which will result in a value accrual story.
Q9: Does Cosmos have future plans for Inter-Blockchain smart contracts and data privacy?
Yes, those will be on the roadmap.
Q10: Currently, one third of the tokens in Cosmos network are controlled by five validators. Some people criticize Cosmos as being too centralized. Cosmos Hub did not take many actions to accelerate decentralization of voting weight, does it believe too much in the morality of the validators? In other words, without a clear incentive mechanism of decentralization, the whole network will become more and more centralized.
As Cosmos Hub governance relies solely on ATOM holders, the community must propose decentralization policies and vote on which proposals would facilitate the most optimal outcome.
Q11: The number of nodes and addresses is also viewed an index to judge whether a project can obtain a large amount of network effects. Bitcoin and Ethereum have thousands of nodes. In 2-3 years, the number of Cosmos nodes will reach 300. Do you think that as a project with a grand vision of becoming an Internet of blockchain, Cosmos has fewer than 300 nodes and less than 10,000 total addresses, is that enough?
Proof of Work networks and Proof of Stake are fundamentally incomparable without weighing their tradeoffs.
There is a lot of research being done in the Proof of Stake space that attempts to have both PoS and millions of validating nodes. That is still an area of research and we don’t know if it is safe to implement yet in production.
But we do know that BFT PoS does work in production. And while Tendermint can support up to 300 validating nodes in the future, it doesn’t mean there can’t be much more full nodes that don’t produce blocks but do store the blockchain.
Q12: The problem of how tokens capture values, many people criticize Atom tokens for their weak value-capturing capability, which can only to stake for maintains the Internet security, earning the inflation interest, voting and mortgage. What do you think of it? Will Atom’s value capturing power be stronger when IBC launched?
When the network has more utility, it will capture value.
When hundreds of apps are running on a later above the IBC layer, then naturally, value will flow through the ATOM as transactions are made across connected blockchains.
Q13: In the Chinese community, everyone likes to compare Cosmos with Polkadot. can you share your point of view about competition and cooperation with Polkadot?
I like Ethereum.
Q14: Gavin Wood recently interviewed:「Tendermint is not a new technology. It appeared a few years ago. Each chain must be based on trust in Cosmos hub to achieve interconnection, which is not an ecosystem to be trusted.」“How do you view his points?
I’m surprised that he is able to turn the number of years that Tendermint has been around into a negative thing.
New technology does not equate to true innovation.
The fact that Tendermint has been around for so long and has finally launched a public blockchain in production that projects like Binance and Libra want to fork it and build off of it is a sign that Tendermint is on the right track.
And yes – it does take that long for code to be good enough to run in production. This is why ETH 2.0 is estimated to be ready well beyond 2020. It may even take Polkadot that long to deliver on all of its promised features.
Polkadot’s design is more a competitor to ETH 2.0 because the Polkadot’s relay chain/parachain design and Ethereum’s beacon chain/sharded contracts designs are very similar. That is more of an apples to apples comparison.
Polkadot and the ETH 2.0 model are still the “one giant chain to rule all dApps” paradigm whereas Cosmos is about chain sovereignty.
The key thing for Cosmos though, is for all these chains to speak IBC when they want to talk to other chains.
In the landscape of all “interop” projects though, there is only Cosmos building a real communications protocol across blockchains that’s not just a bridge between one blockchain and their blockchain.
Q15: What is the focus of Cosmos’s promotion and cooperation in the global community? How to balance the developer community and investor community? What is the magic secrets of your community building to share with the builder in China?
Cosmos, like the known universe, is expanding. It will expand to every part of the globe eventually. And later, beyond the moon.
The secret to building a community the way we did it in Cosmos is to put your branding first. The only marketing we’ve ever done was through word of mouth marketing. We created trust with community members and provided educational value first as a way to establish authority. A lot of the core members in Cosmos have been around in cryptocurrency for a long time, support other teams doing cool things in cryptocurrency – not just on Cosmos – and establish an emaculate reputation that has gotten us far, all without having to do excessive PR.
Once you build your developer community, the rest will come. Once people realize there’s value in the thing that you’re building, everyone will want a piece of the pie. That’s why he focus has always centered around developer usability. Because they are the pics who build the products that get the users.
Q16: When IBC complete, iris hub, as the first project which will have connection with cosmos hub, will there be a possibility that two teams emerging into one team? Because cosmos focus on token communication, iris focus on information transition, these two functions are powerful . If two teams emerge, we can face powerful competition from polkadot.
There is no possibility for the two teams to become one. That would be like saying that all projects that launch chains and open IBC connections will join Tendermint team. That’s not the goal.
Q17: IRISnet development team has a large number of fans and is very active in China. IRSnet’s work is very important for cosmos ecology. As I know, will Cosmos help IrisNet to build more global marketing communication in other countries?
We have very aligned incentives and when there are opportunities to collaborate on work together, we take them.