Informal Systems, a development company based on Cosmos, released the first preview of the new shared security model to be added to the Cosmos ecosystem. In addition to providing security to the Cosmos blockchains, this model will also make the process of launching a blockchain much easier and more accessible.

We delve into the model Informal Systems called “Cross-Chain Security” and the impact it will have on the Cosmos ecosystem.

Sharing security in Cosmos, one blockchain at a time

The introduction of Proof-of-Stake (PoS) networks has revolutionized the blockchain space, making it possible for users to secure the network with their token stake, rather than hash rate. The larger the network and the more valuable its token, the more secure it becomes; As more value is staked, it becomes more difficult for bad guys to carry out attacks.

However, small and emerging PoS blockchains struggle with low market capitalization and low amount of resources. A low number of participants and a small amount of staked value make the network more vulnerable to attackers, which affects its position in the market.

The Cosmos ecosystem was built to be the “internet of blockchains” and facilitate a network of interconnected and interoperable networks built on the same infrastructure. Cosmos Hub then shares the security with other blockchains, lending its capital to be used for block validation on smaller chains.

Several blockchain networks have adopted various types of shared security, including optimistic digests, zk digests, and sharding. Interchain Security is Cosmos’ specific shared security category, built using the Inter-Blockchain Communication Protocol (IBC).

In a nutshell, Interchain Security allows Cosmos Hub to take care of producing blocks for a chain of consumers. This is done by allowing your validators to run two nodes: one for the Cosmos Hub and one for the consumer chain. To participate in the consumption chains, validators must stake ATOM tokens.

Any evidence of downtime or misconduct in the consumer chain is immediately sent to the supplier chain, where staked ATOM tokens can be destroyed through a mechanism called “snipping”.

The consumer chain uses the Inter Blockchain Communication Protocol (IBC) to communicate with Cosmos Hub and keep track of validators participating in the Interchain Security system and report any downtime.

Informal Systems, the development company behind Interchain Security, announced today that it has nearly completed the first version of its Cosmos-specific shared security. Interchain Security v1 is expected to be fully completed by the end of this quarter and will officially launch on Cosmos in Q2 2022.

V1 will allow anyone to launch a blockchain using the same set of validators as Cosmos Hub when making a governance proposal. If the Cosmos community accepts the proposal, the consumer chain is launched and immediately inherits the full security of the Cosmos Hub.

What makes Interchain Security so important?

While the Cosmos ecosystem has been around for quite some time, reaching dozens of milestones along the way, the release of Interchain Security could be its biggest update yet.

The value that Interchain Security brings to Cosmos goes much deeper than simply increasing network security. It manages to bring together different groups of users and reduce the conflict of interest between them.

First of all, Interchain Security will enable Practical Hub Minimalism, a strategic philosophy spearheaded by Cosmos Hub, without sacrificing platform efficiency. Practical hub minimalism, as the name implies, is the belief that the Cosmos Hub should have as few features as possible. This, its proponents claim, removes security vulnerabilities and reduces the chance of a conflict of interest between user groups that could lead to a hard fork.

Since the current Cosmos Hub is constantly adding new features, many of its users are concerned that network security will be compromised. Interchain Security will be able to satisfy these “hub minimalists” by allowing each of these features to become a separate chain.

These separate chains could then be programmed to have their own tokens and governance fees, incentivizing validators to participate.

And as more chains join the Cosmos ecosystem, the more expensive it becomes for bad actors to manipulate the network. Since the security of a network is often measured by how expensive it is to attack, the more value invested in Cosmos, the more secure it becomes. Interchain Security will also allow Cosmos Hub to connect the value of the ATOM token to its consumer chains. This means that any potential malefactor would also have to take ATOM’s market capitalization into account when attacking a chain of consumers.

“Interchain Security allows Cosmos to stay true to its philosophy of sovereignty and open source and allows blockchains to integrate economically but not politically,” the Cosmos developers explained in a blog post last year.

Posted in: Cosmos, Technology

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This post What is Interchain Security and why is it so important to the Cosmos (ATOM) ecosystem?

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