The true story behind the departure of Cosmos CEO

Source: BlockBeats

Author: 0x66

The epidemic is fierce, and the turbulent disease dynamics obviously overwhelmed a blockbuster news that happened in the crypto industry in the past few days: before the cross-chain star Cosmos development company Tendermint ushered in the founder's "prosperity", .

According to the original plan, Jae Kwon originally only wanted to quietly complete the identity conversion before making it public, but did not expect that on January 29, the encrypted analysis account "dailydefi.eth" suddenly made a showdown to the parties in public and announced the news.

Dailydefi announces screenshots of Jae Kwon departure: Twitter

Jae Kwon had to come out and respond. Under his strong explanation, the resignation was only in progress and did not end, and Cosmos was on track. In short, the problem is small.

The news was soon covered by other hotspots, but unexpectedly, six days later, Jae Kwon's departure was reversed.

On February 4th, Zaki Manian, the director of Tendermint's laboratory, confessed on social media that Jae Kwon's previous public response was sounding on the surface, but he actually lied against him in order to avoid responsibility for Cosmos. Zaki's words were intense and the smoke was strong.

What happened to Cosmos? This project, which competes with Polkadot for the title of "King of Cross-Chain", is ahead of the mainnet launched in March last year. The total market value of the native token ATOM is now about 800 million US dollars, which is only one step away from the top 20 in the world.

But this seemingly steadily advancing project, at this time, came the news of "internal chaos". What kind of inside story is hidden behind this? BlockBeats is trying to revert. Jae Kwon's departure storm: when did Virgo start, which Cosmos / Tendermint colleagues did he take away, and what impact will it have on Cosmos.

Sudden news

If it were not for the public of "dailydefi.eth" and the testimony of netizens, perhaps everyone would not know that the star project is undergoing drastic changes.

Under this tweet and other channels, the main character of the incident, Jae Kwon, basically confirmed the news of his departure and revealed three pieces of information: First, according to him, Cosmos is reforming internally-removing the role of CEO to diversify. Tendermint's right, "Implement checks and balances internally", even if there is no CEO, the project can run independently; the second is that he will wait for the Cosmos network to stabilize and then leave completely, and will continue to serve as a member of the ICF board and participate in matters; the third is the future He will be responsible for a project called Virgo-this project also belongs to the Cosmos ecosystem.

Screenshots of Jae Kwon's keynote at CESC2017 Source: YouTube

What needs to be explained to readers who do not know about Cosmos is that the Interchain Foundation (ICF), as a non-profit foundation, is responsible for promoting and developing technologies and DApps focused on the Cosmos ecosystem, and Jae Kwon mentioned the new in his departure information The project "will be promoted with the support of AiB", which can prove that he did not leave Cosmos because AiB company (interconnected with Tendermint Inc) is a software company authorized by ICF to contract to develop Cosmos Hub. After he left, he focused on projects in the Cosmos ecosystem, and will continue to serve on the board of directors. Naturally, he is not "leave Cosmos", and his statement of stepping down is even more inaccurate.

Once the news was confirmed, it still attracted the attention of encryption enthusiasts. Judging from the comments, these attitudes were basically polarized.

People who are not optimistic say: (Jae Kwon's exit) "How much did you profit from this company?" Some people also defended it: "His job is not to take care of Cosmos, this network is independent … If Vitalik leaves, it will definitely hurt ETH, but in the long run, it will be beneficial. "

After Jae Kwon announced his departure, screenshots of the polarization on social media about the matter Source: Twitter

Subsequently, Tendermint officials also explained the high-level changes on Twitter, saying that Jae Kwon will also continue to be a member of the foundation. In another Twitter account "@jaesustein", Jae Kwon also gave a more accurate description of this "away", he clarified: "When you hear the rumor that I want to" leave Cosmos ", it is very It may come from those who are trying to manipulate the market or cheat you. "

On January 30th, Jae Kwon clarified the screenshot of this departure Source: Twitter

He emphasized that the reason he no longer held the position of CEO was to ensure that he focused on another project called Virgo, and he had indeed begun to shift his energy to this new project many months ago.

Jae Kwon running away with the team?

Jae Kwon's departure is a foregone conclusion, allowing him to resign from Tendermint's CEO position and be determined to devote himself to Virgo. What exactly is this project?

According to the official website, Virgo is an open association of individuals and organizations. It creates open tools for coordination of all sizes. It is a decentralized and transparent idea and brand responsible for human coordination. The DAO organization (UDV) for Virgo and DAO is responsible for management.

It looks like this is an ambitious DAO platform on the chain that may look a little unrealistic at present. Based on Cosmos and co-existing with each other, we will develop together. The vision may be something like Ethereum's MolochDAO, and the role may be something like Google's Google. X.

Currently, Jae Kwon is the leader of the project. In an article on GitHub last October, he strongly stated that Virgo is a completely transparent project that will bring together people with the same values ​​as Jae Kwon. Many ideas Not yet formed, "not yet written down", "please wait patiently."

Jae Kwon introduces Virgo project screenshots Source: GitHub

Zaki accused Jae Kwon of not focusing on Cosmos anymore, but instead turning to Virgo without showing signs.

As early as last September, Jae Kwon started contributing code for new projects as the first developers. From the perspective of GitHub, the project currently has a total of 9 code contributors, and the rankings from high to low are nylira, jaekwon, haymond, hschoenburg, lovincyrus, kphed, jdshutt, faddat, cryptnotiq. Among them, nylira contributed the most, especially after mid-November, and the code base contribution increased rapidly.

Virgo GitHub code contribution screenshot source: GitHub

Their actual identities correspond to Peng Zhong (Chief Design Officer of Tendermint), Jae Kwon (CEO of Tendermint), Peter Haymond (Head of Developer Relations of Tendermint), Hans Schoenburg (Chief Web Developer of Handshake / Cosmos Code Contributor) ), Cyrus Goh (Tendermint front-end engineer), Khoa Phan, John Shutt, Jacob Gadikian, and Anonymous E.

In other words, many of the contributors to the Virgo project code came from Tendermint.

In fact, as early as January 15th, "Peng Zhong", who was identified as the chief design officer of Cosmos / Tendermint, tweeted that he was committed to a new project-Virgo, and another 4 were talented from Cosmos / Tendermint. "Passionate partners" (including the code contributor haymond above), he hopes to get everyone's attention, "Let's change the world together."

Peng Zhong tweeted about the new project and there are four Cosmos / Tendermint colleagues screenshots Source: Twitter

Such a change is truly unexpected, because during the San Francisco Blockchain Week in October last year, as the founder of Cosmos, Jae Kwon was also invited as a live broadcast of the blockchain video application DLive, sharing the development progress of Cosmos and IBC Principle, until January this year, no similar rumors appeared.

However, during this blockchain week, Jae Kwon gave a keynote speech on "Virgo" at the scene, which also confirmed that he had started to focus on new projects at this time. If Jae Kwon had already taken care of it at this time, this paragraph The time from preparation to being announced to leave was more than three months.

In October 2019, Jae Kwon's speech at the San Francisco Blockchain Week was about “Virgo” screenshot Source: YouTube

What about Cosmos without Jae Kwon?

Prior to this departure, Jae Kwon was co-founder and CEO of Tendermint and also the head of the ICF. In any respect, he can be regarded as a core figure for Cosmos.

In 2008, the financial crisis swept the world, so Jae Kwon learned of Bitcoin, and was determined to enter the blockchain industry in 2013. In 2014, he studied how to apply the concept of Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) in the academic field to practical applications. On the public blockchain of proof-of-stake (PoS), then co-founded All in Bits (AiB), focusing on research and development.

As the earliest team to propose the concept of cross-chain, in 2016, Tendermint's CTO Ethan Buchman first described the Tendermint and other blockchain projects in a paper entitled "Tendermint: Byzantine Fault Tolerance in the Blockchain Era". relationship. In June, the Cosmos project launched to solve cross-chain issues the first white paper.

Cosmos founder Jae Kwon and developer Sunny Aggarwal Screenshot source: YouTube

Cosmos consists of two parts: Hub (hub) and zone (partition). The partition adopts Tendermint consensus, supports multiple blockchains, and the number of partitions can be expanded. The partitions follow the IBC (inter-blockchain communication protocol) through the hub. Agreement) to conduct transactions and define the contents of blockchain registration, data packet format, transaction type, and data packet delivery confirmation process.

About a year later, in April 2017, in the context of the hustle and bustle of financing, Cosmos quickly gathered a large number of fans. Even if the project party issued a large number of documents, "warned participants that they cannot guarantee the receipt of tokens as expected," but swarmed up. The investor allowed the project party to successfully raise more than 16 million US dollars in only half an hour. Within two weeks, the project party established a Chinese community.

Since then, ICF has started to fund a series of cross-chain development projects, such as Agoric Systems Operating Company (investing it in the form of traditional equity) and Tendermint, etc., in this way, I hope the rapid development of IBC. After the continuous efforts of the developers, in March 2019, the Cosmos mainnet was successfully launched, and the token ATOM was launched on the trading platform one after another.

As the founder of Cosmos, Jae Kwon, as the spokesperson of the project, continuously communicates Cosmos' vision and technology to the outside world. Under his preaching and influence, many excellent teams based on Cosmos development have begun to emerge.

For a long time, Jae Kwon never seemed to show his interest in public. Until the end of October last year, he was still invited to broadcast as the founder of Cosmos. And neither Cosmos investor nor related person seems to be prepared for his sudden departure.

After the news broke on January 29, because there was no official advance notice, everyone was basically in a state of persecution. After the rumors of the project "delivered to the community" spread, Tendermint began official announcements to stabilize the situation. But behind the seemingly peaceful transition, there still seems to be an undercurrent. On February 4, Zaki Manian's public remarks pushed Jae Kwon directly to the cusp.

Zaki Manian publicly blames Jae Kwon Screenshot source: Twitter

Zaki lied directly to the latter, leaving to evade responsibility for the disadvantage of Tendermint's leadership. He mentioned that Jae Kwon has completely ignored the focus on IBC development in the past 6 months, has continued to point fingers, hurt developers, and is also conducting serious religious discrimination, loyalty testing, and abusive practices within the company.

However, Jae Kwon has not responded to these allegations, but just left a message "for reference only, I don't have any verification nodes … more than 98% of my net assets or positions from ATOM, or in the form of AIB stock … said Staking, I am the biggest supporter of ATOM. "

Screenshot from Jae Kwon's response: Twitter

After the incident was publicized on January 29, Block Beats tried to interview relevant insiders, but was unsuccessful; after the discord between Cosmos's high-level opinions and disclosure on February 4, ATOM prices fell about 5% in 24 hours, and the secondary market fell. .

Regarding this incident, Harriet, Cosmos's China head and IRISnet founder, wrote in a circle of friends that growth will experience "pain", and this "storm" will pass, suspected to refer to the incident.

IRISnet founder Harriet Screenshot source: WeChat circle of friends

What deserves our close attention is whether Cosmos can safely and smoothly ride through this "storm".

In addition to accusing Jae Kwon, Zaki especially emphasized that although "Jae left Cosmos", many outstanding engineers are still working for Cosmos iterations, and the enthusiasm of the core team has never weakened. In addition, on social media, most people are The comments support Zaki's pragmatic style.

In addition, Harriet also stated that Cosmos's cross-chain success does not depend on one or two individuals. Many excellent engineers and teams around the world have long been co-developing IBC and Cosmos SDK. Cosmos's vision of blockchain Internet will work hard. The Cosmos ecosystem seems far more "stronger" than expected.

Blockchain projects should not go on a centralized path. It is “difficult to generalize”. Multicoin Capital Investment Executive Director Mable Jiang believes that it depends on whether there are large-scale public / private funds or only paid contribution collaboration; As for the CEO leaving or leaving office, the industry incentives are not clearly defined at this stage, and dissatisfaction may occur due to the mismatch of benefits and contributions. "If it is a project with private equity participation, the team's internal conflict is certainly not a good thing." But this is not unique to the blockchain industry. If the direction is correct and subsequent successors can have better new leaders, it will not be devastating. Blow.

She believes that from another perspective, for ATOM, "If the team is really chaotic and under such circumstances, considerable progress has been made in the past year, then if everyone's interests return to the same front, this project Doesn't it have great potential? "

In fact, the achievements of this star project in the PoS field in terms of technology implementation and ecological construction, including the performance of the secondary market, far exceed other blockchain projects initiated during the same period. If even Cosmos cannot overcome such twists and turns, more What about other projects?