How the Interchain Sustainability Mission Plans to Change the World with IBC

The future of humanity is being decided by the actions we are taking today and our impact on the ecological state of the planet.


Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel


key takeaways

  • HackAtom VI is the largest hackathon in Cosmos history, offering developers around the world the chance to compete for their share of prizes equaling $1,285,000 USD paid in ATOMs
  • Cosmos’ Inter-blockchain Communication (IBC) has already surpassed 1.5 million transactions

The Interchain Foundation (ICF), steward of the Cosmos network, believes that open-source, cryptographic, consensus-driven economic networks hold the key to an anti-fragile global economic system and to creating equal opportunities for all. The Cosmos ecosystem is arguably the best-positioned blockchain ecosystem to build the trusted technologies, sovereign networks and financial innovations which are needed to create a prosperous and sustainable future for humanity. The ICF funds, stewards, and advances the Cosmos Ecosystem and are embarking on a bold mission for Cosmos to become the leading blockchain ecosystem for sustainable and regenerative digital finance.

HackAtom VI is the largest hackathon in Cosmos history, offering developers around the world the chance to compete for their share of prizes equaling $1,285,000 USD paid in ATOMs. One of the categories is the EarthPrize:A challenge for developers to develop responses to the Earth Crisis using anti-fragile digital technologies and data about the state of the world that is verifiable and increases our intelligence. 

Earlier this year, Cosmos’ Inter-blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol went live. So far, it has already surpassed 1.5 million transactions. Launched last March as part of Cosmos’ Stargate upgrade, IBC has had a transformative impact on the blockchain space. In just seven months, over 22 projects, including Terra, and, Secret Network have activated IBC with a pipeline of other notable projects, such as THORchain and Kava lined up to attach to the protocol. 

The potential of enabling many different chains to communicate with each other, sometimes known as the “Internet of blockchains,” has only just begun to be explored.

We spoke with Dr. Shaun Conway, founder of IXO, the internet of impact, spoke to Blockworks about the goals of the foundation and how they intend to harness the power of the internet of blockchains.

With regard to the exponential growth curve that adoption of IBC appears to be on, Conway noted, “It’s a similar kind of dynamic that we saw in the early days of the internet…first it was ARPAnet, connecting universities, and then it just became more and more exponentially connected.”

IBC allows different blockchains to work together. “For instance, if you’re trading a carbon credit token on the Cosmos chain, you should be able to use that same token on the Ethereum chain,” said Conway.

What are the use cases for this new breakthrough, and how could it change the world?

The Interchain Foundation and Cosmos community have big plans for IBC.

Interchain Sustainability Mission

The Interchain Sustainability mission is part of a plan to help make a positive impact toward climate change. The Interchain Foundation believes that the internet of blockchains can be utilized toward a positive end for the planet and everyone on it.

“The ISM has been branded as the Earth program,” said Conway. “The Interchain Foundation is coming out with its new strategy and its updated brand where on the one hand is the builder’s program, which is building capacity for software protocols, etc, and the other hand is then enabling the use cases and marketplaces and applications that get built using this technology and also to connect to other tech networks or systems.”

What kind of use cases, you may ask? There are some ways in which the IXO is working on using IBC to create verifiable digital identities and community currencies. People could then become incentivized to take actions “in relation to biodiversity or sustainability, [and then] they start to produce changes in the state of the world that can be captured as non-fungible tokens,” said Conway.

This kind of organic idea could be a huge boost to global ecosystems and promises to leverage the power of blockchain in a way many have long hoped for. For a specific example, devise a system of incentives for people to come up with ways to clean up the environment.

As Conway explained, “The one we are most familiar with is carbon tokens. There are projects that result in carbon emission reductions or carbon capture that can generate these carbon tokens. And carbon tokens are based on a new interchain standard that we wrote for NFTs and the related, verifiable data that you can get with one of those tokens.”

The idea is that carbon tokens could become a major incentive for organizations to actively take steps to reduce their carbon footprint or develop new technologies to remove existing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“The program supports a mission. That mission is about creating sustainable prosperity as it relates to social and economic goals as articulated in sustainable development goals and regenerating the planet around climate and biodiversity and related topics,” added Conway.

Dr. Conway hosted an Earth Prize for the hackathon at the Cosmos developer event in Lisbon last month. Learn more about the event here:

Tendermint CEO’s Thoughts on IBC

Peng Zhong, CEO of Tendermint, spoke to Blockworks about the IBC rollout:

“We’re thrilled to see more and more chains in the Cosmos ecosystem enabling IBC. Since its launch in April, we have now hit 21 chains with IBC enabled, racking up more than 1.5 million transactions in 30 days. This number is growing all the time.”

He added that the possibilities have only just begun to be explored, echoing Conway’s sentiment:

“We’re still in very early days but already the possibilities of this pioneering cross-chain technology are evident and we expect the use cases to be far-reaching from DeFi to gaming, NFTs to identity management, supply chain, decentralized autonomous organizations, and more.”

Zhong also spoke to how the current problems plaguing chains like Ethereum can be solved in a sustainable way through IBC: 

“Take Ethereum as an example, you can see how thousands of decentralized applications (dApps) on a single base layer have to compete for throughput, pay sky-high fees, and subject themselves to the governance rules of the chain they’re built on. That’s why we’re seeing more and more dApps migrate away to Ethereum alternatives but that leaves blockchain ecosystems fragmented.

IBC is all about growing the blockchain space sustainably. Through IBC, blockchains can communicate with each other. Projects can exist as application-specific blockchains rather than dApps on someone else’s chain. They can self-govern, push upgrades at their own pace, enjoy low fees, high throughput, and environmentally-friendly, Proof-of-Stake (PoS) technology.”


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