‘Pent-Up Innovation’ Ready for Launch on Cosmos

Impending developments might “totally change” how Cosmos is experienced and perceived by the “broader crypto world”

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Furkan Cubuk/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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When it comes to the blockchain application solutions that rule the roost in today’s industry, three general models have risen to dominance. 

Ethereum, with its “layer-2” scaling solutions taking on specialized tasks, appears to be enjoying the most attention and adoption at the moment. Secondly, the higher throughput camp of protocols like Solana, Aptos, and Sui has emerged, handling everything within a monolithic design. The third group tends to fly under the radar, with the “internet of blockchains” Cosmos interchain ecosystem being the most prominent example.

Sommelier Protocol co-founder, Zaki Manian, who helped build Cosmos, warned in a recent tweet that time is of the essence for the Cosmos ecosystem. The app-chain hub solution needs to break out from the shadows of its blockchain rivals and make its own mark, before all of its unique offerings are swallowed up by competitors, he said.

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The two co-founders of the Cosmos liquid staking company, Stride, Aiden Salzmann and Riley Edmund, spoke to Blockworks on the 0xResearch podcast (Spotify / Apple) about the comments and the urgency for Cosmos to stand out from the crowd. 

“We debated this at length internally,” says Edmund. “Cosmos has a ton of new tech shipping over the next six months.”

Ethereum layer-2 solutions lack client-based interoperability and are not as trustless as Cosmos solutions, he says, “at least until something like ZK (Zero-Knowledge) L2s” is further developed. Cosmos provides both shared security and interoperability right now, he says.

Ethereum enjoys much broader distribution, Edmund concedes. “Cosmos doesn’t even have a Metamask yet.”

“ETH has so many more users,” Edmund says, adding that Ethereum has succeeded in achieving “institutional penetration” and already provides easy tools for custody. “Many teams choose to build roll-ups on Ethereum instead of app-chains for these reasons.”

“L2s have some of the most exciting partnerships in the entire digital asset space,” he says, pointing to Coinbase choosing to build the Base layer-two protocol with Optimism rollup technology on Ethereum as an example.

Yet, he cites “evidence of momentum” for Cosmos, as well.

Pent-up innovation

“On the Cosmos side, dYdX” — a decentralized exchange service that is moving over to Cosmos from Ethereum due to scaling limitations —  “is coming in,” he says. Noble recently added the capacity for Circle integrations of the USDC stablecoin in the Cosmos DeFi space, he adds.  

Edmund goes on to list a range of additional developments in the Cosmos ecosystem, including innovations from Celestia and Metamask. It’s “a bunch of pent-up innovation that has been done over the past few years, but hasn’t quite shipped yet,” he says, “and we might see the fruits of that labor in the next three to six months. 

Edmund says the impending developments might “totally change” how Cosmos is experienced and perceived by the “broader crypto world.”

Blockworks researcher Sam Martin agrees. “On the one hand,” he says, “you have all these awesome things occurring in Ethereum and its L2 ecosystem with partnerships like with Coinbase, Worldcoin, etcetera.”

On the other hand, Cosmos is finally adding “missing pieces” like native USDC, Martin says, along with liquid-staking support. “There’s just so many tailwinds for the Cosmos ecosystem.”

“It’s going to be the most interesting time there has ever been to pay attention to the Cosmos ecosystem.”

Blockworks researcher Dan Smith sees the sense of urgency to make an impact as an industry-wide sentiment. “It’s hard to pick one ecosystem right now for me and be like, all right, the time must be now, because it kind of feels like for all of the industry, that’s where we’re at.”

Stride co-founder Aiden Salzmann acknowledges that Cosmos has “struggled” with navigating in a united direction, due in part to its multi-chain structure. “When everyone has their own chain and everyone’s sovereign, sometimes people are rowing in different directions.”

With recent innovations such as the launch of interchain security and some changes to Cosmos Hub tokenomics, Salzmann says “people are feeling this sense of urgency and maybe rowing a little bit more in the same direction.”


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