The man behind Cosmos's $ 1 billion valuation: Jae Kwon

Author: Adriana Hamacher

Source: Satoshi Shinmoto

Cosmos has performed well at the end of 2019, and has risen against the trend during the overall downturn. Just ask someone in the circle if he knows Cosmos. He will definitely answer what you know: the cross-chain star project is on par with Polkadot, and private equity investors earn nearly 40 times. But do you know who the founder of Cosmos is. I bet you don't know. This article takes everyone to understand the man behind Cosmos: Jae Kwon.

Jae Kwon, who claims to be a "problem child," grew up and became the co-founder of Tendermint, the company's development team for Cosmos, one of the world's hottest blockchain projects.

This is almost not the case now. Even though Jae Kwon likes technical challenges, he was prepared in 2013 to abandon his goal of establishing an alternative solution to the PoW consensus mechanism that Bitcoin consumes a lot of energy, and started working on cryptocurrency exchanges. But then an accidental discovery changed the situation for many people.

Kwon is now the CEO and co-founder of Tendermint, the first company to introduce Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) algorithms into the blockchain space. In a recent phone call in New York , he told Decrypt that he stumbled upon about 100 basically forgotten files hidden behind a toll wall, which changed everything.

These academic papers date back to 1988, involve research on classic BFTs, and describe all the components needed to build an alternative to PoW, the PoS system.

After five years of hard work, the system is now the core of Cosmos, one of the largest and most promising projects in the crypto space. Cosmos is a decentralized network composed of independent parallel blockchains.

Kwon described the company-created consensus algorithm and said, "You can think of Tendermint as an operating system similar to Windows or Apple OS X." By contrast, Cosmos is more like the Web, but is used to interconnect blockchains.

"Cosmos aims to create a network of distributed computers or blockchains and connect them to each other to communicate, laying the foundation for a scalable token economy."

The network launched in March and is very low-key. Some people downplayed it, but the head exchange Binance and DEX have been built on Cosmos. Other players in the ecosystem include Terra, which is building an e-commerce platform and stablecoin, and Lino, a decentralized version of YouTube.

Kwon says there will be more projects in the ecosystem soon.

Cosmos vision

Kwon says:

"Cosmos' vision is to enable people to create their own digital decentralized community based on their blockchain."

Strictly speaking, Cosmos is not a blockchain, but many parallel chains. A scalable foundation and a unified token protocol that applies to all chains.

The difference between Cosmos and Polkadot (the most commonly used cross-chain project for comparison) is that Cosm focuses on blockchains that retain their personal sovereignty, which the Tendermint team believes is more secure than a single sovereign security model like Polkadot.

"There are many sovereign blockchains that are inevitable. They all have their own rules, their own governance policies and their own visions. And they must be connected together." Kwon said.

Tendermint CEO Jae Kwon. SOURCE: Tendermint

To achieve this ambitious goal, Cornell University alumni (who studied computer science) collaborated with renowned BFT researchers Zarko Milosevic and Tendermint co-founder Ethan Buchman.

The three have been working together on Cosmos since 2014 and raised their funding target to $ 17 million in the first 29 minutes of the 2017 coin offering. Kwon recalled: It was a surprise. ”However, ICO is not their first choice, but the result of traditional venture capital rejection.

"It tells me that with a smoother financial and investment system, we can really accelerate innovation in solutions."

At the peak of the cryptocurrency gold rush last year, the maximum value of the project was about $ 1 billion. Cosmos is managed by the Swiss-based Interchain Foundation (ICF) (Kwon President in the Bay Area).

Game of Stakes

On March 13, the ICF announced the successful launch of the Cosmos network. It has conducted extensive tests, including the so-called "Game of Stakes", which verified that the block validator (the node that keeps the network secure) is in a situation where the test network is subjected to various forms of attacks to ensure that everything is normal.

However, until now, the only functional modules of the network were "governance" and "staking", using tokens as collateral to make the network more secure in exchange for token replacement rewards.

Over the next few months, Kwon and his team plan to gradually release the last stage of their project: the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, which will allow any blockchain using the Cosmos SDK to develop its own blockchain Application-Easily connect to Cosmos Hub. (Kwon points out that you can also build on other frameworks, such as Lotion.)

Kwon said that to date, the platform's maturity and ease of use have attracted partners such as Binance and Lino. However, the team is now actively seeking new partnerships and "developing specific vertical industries to leverage network effects-connecting many blockchains together and starting to bridge Ethereum."

Security and "vigor"

Some observers have stated that Cosmos is the biggest competitive threat facing Ethereum, which is the world's largest blockchain project, with thousands of DAPPs and millions of smart contracts.

But Kwon denied that the two projects were competing. He said that unlike Ethereum, Cosmos cannot enable people to upload their smart contracts to the Hub, and there are no virtual machines. "Instead, you can deploy your own blockchain, and then connect that blockchain to the Cosmos hub, and in your blockchain (which can be written in any language), you can deploy your own application logic or virtual machine. ""

Cosmos is the first project that is expected to really help us move towards a multi-chain connected world.

However, Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, questioned the effectiveness of the Cosmos hub as a so-called "basic trust layer". He believes that Cosmos has a strong team of technicians, but because they decide to support security or consistency, rather than availability and activity, if there is severe traffic congestion, the entire network will stop functioning, "frozen each System. "So he downgraded it to a so-called" second-tier solution "that could be linked to the underlying trust layer if necessary.

Kwon disagrees and points out that "We have fundamental differences in what should be a viable base layer." He insists that the BFT-based PoS approach "can definitely become a viable base layer for blockchain or cryptocurrency" and also for the team Explanation of security design decisions:

"For financial applications involving a large number of transactions, this is a fundamental and necessary part of building a new token economy."

He added that the team would prefer the network to stagnate until a solution is found, and there are many ways to ensure that the transaction can continue.

Despite Lubin's reservations about this, Cosmos and its features have excited the industry. According to Casey Kuhlman, co-founder and CEO of blockchain and smart contract software technology company Monax, this is "by far the most exciting project in the blockchain ecosystem … Cosmos is the first one that promises to really help us Projects moving towards a multi-chain connected world. "

Problem child

As an impetus for the spirit of this era, Kwon's role model is exemplary. He was interested in cryptocurrencies because he "liked complex emerging phenomena-especially distributed systems", and personally experienced the consequences of the sharp decline in the real estate market in 2008 (his family engaged in real estate business). It was Snowden's revelation that made him enter the field of cryptography for the first time.

Born in South Korea, his growth was mainly influenced by the emphasis on educational performance and the rigorous extracurricular activity plan called "hagwon".

He said that he now thanked his parents for the importance they attached to his education, but at the time, he was burdened with heavy vocational and academic pressures, which often led students to memorize the exams late at night: "I used to think I had Problem child. Later I put a lot down. And, when I came to the United States, I learned about freedom, individualism, and sovereignty. So all these things make me. "

After earning his degree, Mr. Kwon worked in Silicon Valley as a programmer and engineer, "was involved in various projects and spent some time trading stocks and options in financial markets."

For a while he joined the liberal movement, but now he says he does not support any ideology. In other words, he is still interested in exploring them and endorses the artificial religions Kopimism and voluntaryism (institutional ideas that let people choose) against intellectual monopoly.

"What excites me about the crypto and open source movement is that we can create better systems through creative disruption. So, in this sense, I think I'm almost a crypto punk or crypto anarchist."

Perhaps apart from competition, problem children will no longer be a problem.