If you are new to the Cosmos ecosystem or just learned about it, sometimes the technical language and concepts used throughout the ecosystem can be daunting for the newly on-boarded Cosmonauts.
In this post, I’ll try to briefly explain the main concepts with my own words so you, an aspiring Cosmonaut, can start your journey into the Cosmos as smoothly as possible. Most of the entries have links related to the concept described, so you can explore further the ones that interest you the most.
Many concepts and topics of the Cosmos Ecosystem were left out of this list to keep it concise and straightforward to understand.
The concepts fall into these categories for better understanding: Fundamentals, Interoperability, and Tokenomics.
BFT: It stands for Byzantine Fault Tolerance. It is a property of a distributed system to tolerate failure or continue operating despite node failures or the presence of malicious nodes.
Tendermint: It’s the software foundation for the Cosmos blockchains. It provides the consensus (BFT based) and an application interface (ABCI) so that it possible to replicate an application (replicated state machine) on many distributed nodes (via P2P) securely.
ABCI: The Application Blockchain Interface (ABCI) is an interface between Tendermint and your application. The idea of providing this interface layer is to decouple the consensus process from the application process so you can build your application-specific blockchain.
Cosmos SDK: The Cosmos SDK is a framework that allows you to build an application-specific blockchain. It is a modular system, so you can create your blockchain application in a composable way.
Cosmos Hub: The Cosmos Hub is the leading blockchain in the Cosmos Ecosystem built using the Cosmos SDK.
Gaia: Gaia is the name of the Cosmos SDK application that allows you to interact with the Cosmos Hub.
Stargate: Stargate was the name of the set of upgrades for the Cosmos Hub. The most important feature added to the blockchain was the support for IBC.
IBC: It’s the Inter-blockchain communication protocol. It’s like TCP/IP for blockchains to communicate and transfer value (e.g., token transfers). Cosmos SDK based blockchains that support IBC can be connected to each other.
Relayer: A relayer is an off-chain process that allows two IBC enabled blockchains to “communicate” by exchanging messages and packets. Blockchains don’t communicate directly, so they need to have a relayer acting as the “messenger” between them. Some implemented IBC relayers are Hermes , Typescript relayer , and the Golang relayer .
Light client: A light client is a process that can verify the blockchain without downloading entire blocks. For example, a relayer uses light clients to confirm the application state in each blockchain. One example of a Tendermint light client is the tendermint-rs light client .
ATOM: It is the primary token for the Cosmos Hub. It can be used for staking and governance (create and vote on proposals) on the Cosmos Hub.
Staking: Token holders can participate in the staking process as delegators. They can delegate their tokens to validators in the network and earn rewards in the process.
Validator: Validators participate in the consensus protocol of a Cosmos network. The validators with the most tokens (their own or delegated tokens) can commit blocks and earn rewards.
Wallets: A wallet allows you to store and transfer your Cosmos based blockchain tokens. Some also allows staking and vote on governance proposals.
Gravity DEX: Launching soon, it will be the first Interchain DEX (Decentralized Exchange) that leverages the IBC protocol to allow swaps and liquidity pools for assets of Cosmos Ecosystem blockchains.
After reading this post, I hope you have a much better understanding of the technical jargon. It will be much easier to understand articles, documentation or start developing your solutions on top of the Cosmos ecosystem .
Welcome on board fellow Cosmonaut!