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Cosmos Ecosystem: An In-Depth Analysis of Upcoming Catalysts
Jake Kennis
Key Takeaways
28 min read
  • The introduction of Noble Chain is set to alleviate liquidity issues in the Cosmos ecosystem by issuing native USDC, mitigating bridge risks and fragmentation. Additionally, Axelar Network's General Message Passing (GMP) enhances cross-chain functionality, which can increase application growth and interoperability between the Cosmos ecosystem and beyond.

  • Stride Zone, a leading LSD provider with $272 million in 30-day IBC volumes and over $35 million in TVL, offers STRD stakers 10% of staking rewards, a figure expected to grow with platform expansion. Shared security with the Cosmos Hub in June 2023 and more DeFi integrations hint at further growth in Stride's annualized estimated fees of $7.8m, benefiting STRD and ATOM stakers.

  • Neutron Chain, the first consumer chain secured by Cosmos Hub, plans to airdrop 7% of NTRN to ATOM stakers and will share 25% of transaction fees and MEV revenue with stakers/validators. They are a general-purpose chain, backed by many strong teams such as the team behind Lido and have many apps on testnet.

  • Injective Protocol, a Cosmos app-chain focused on creating a scalable order book, has seen its INJ token grow following a $150m ecosystem fund in January. Despite daily volumes being lower compared to competitors, there are catalysts poised to increase activity such as their integrations with Elixir Finance, Astroport and the many other dApps launching there.
  • Sommelier is currently the 9th largest Cosmos chain by TVL [$17.4m]. Notably, it has released its ‘Real Yield USD’ and ‘Real Yield ETH’ strategies that are outperforming most other competitors at the time of writing (measured in base APR and no incentives).

The Cosmos ecosystem is filled with nearly 50 independent chains that are interconnected. Cosmos, or what can be called the ‘IBC Ecosystem’, is simply a set of open-source tools that has sparked a Cambrian explosion of creativity and experimentation in the form of sovereign Layer-1 chains. The Cosmos ecosystem has been around since 2014 and the vision is just starting to come together, with the end game being a world with millions of chains.

Up until today, this diverse set of developer talent and vision of the Cosmos ecosystem has brought us to some of the most notable technological and political experiments in crypto today:

  • The first secure implementation of a PoS chain
  • Inter Blockchain Communication (IBC)
  • Cosmos SDK
  • CometBFT/Tendermint
  • And much more!

We highlighted the above to show the immense contributions of the Cosmos ecosystem as it has laid the groundwork for the building blocks in most existing L1 chains, including BNB Chain, Polygon, and many more. For this report, we will focus on the upcoming catalysts and how to navigate the important apps and chains in the near term. For those who want to learn more about the entire Cosmos stack, you can check out our report here.

Tech Good but Where are the Users?

A common critique of the Cosmos ecosystem boils down to one thing, where are the users and what can I do that I can’t already do on an L2? These are valid concerns, given we can chat endlessly about how good the technology is, but what is there to be excited about as a user? Before diving into the key catalysts, we will lay out some of the current blockers that have hurt adoption so far and how they are being addressed. Then, we will cover some notable catalysts.

Lack of Liquidity and No Native Stablecoins

Although stablecoin activity rebounded quite healthily in the Ethereum ecosystem after the UST de-peg, the opposite was true for the Cosmos ecosystem. UST was the only native stablecoin in the Cosmos ecosystem. Having been one of the most prominent pairs in pools, both asset prices and TVL dropped significantly.  The only other stablecoins that were available were bridged from many unique bridges, which bakes in many things that are negative for the end user: bridge risks, fragmented liquidity and UX, high transaction fees to bridge from mainnet. This essentially based the majority of the ecosystem’s TVL on the security of a few bridges. That is not ideal, no matter how secure a given bridge may be, it is a single point of failure for an entire ecosystem. Enter Noble Chain.

Noble Chain is Circle’s Proof of Authority (PoA) chain that will issue native USDC for all of the Cosmos ecosystem. This will bring forward the first native stablecoin to Cosmos which is highly scalable. Although there will be censorship risks, the market clearly prefers USDC and other native, centralized stablecoins today such as USDT. Noble is built for generalized asset issuance, starting with USDC, meaning they can issue native assets that are interoperable with all Cosmos chains. We can expect this to be a major catalyst for TVL growth as stables are a major source of liquidity.

Below, we compare the price action from some of the top chains in the Cosmos ecosystem since the Terra collapse.

Source: Nansen Query

This picture is quite gloomy which looks at the price action of chains following the Terra collapse. Interestingly, only INJ and ATOM outperformed ETH during this window after the Terra collapse till May 2023. As for the rest, these assets are continually making new lows into 2023. However, this chart does not account for chains that emerged after the crisis and the upcoming catalysts discussed later.

Fragmentation and UX

Another major factor that has limited the adoption of Cosmos chains is the fragmentation of UX and security. Prior to Axelar and the Gravity Bridge chain, there were many instances of bridges that created their own wrapped tokens that were not fungible with other bridge’s wrapped tokens. This led to fragmented liquidity siloed across different layer-1s, making it hard for any DeFi app to thrive. Today, the market has favored two main bridges - Axelar Network and the Gravity Bridge. Because of this, liquidity is not nearly as fragmented, with Axelar-denominated assets gaining most of the market share with their integration into Osmosis. Again, this is still a single point of failure but things like Noble Chain and other native stablecoins will assist here. For instance, the transition from Cosmos’s dependence on axlUSDC to native USDC will be done swiftly through Osmosis’s transmuter contract.

Furthering the UX here, Axelar released a novel upgrade called General Message Passing (GMP). In simple terms, it allows for increased functionality of Cosmos chains with all other non-IBC chains. It does this by allowing EVM chains to send data to and from Cosmos chains. Similar to LayerZero or Wormhole, Axelar has built out a generalized messaging layer and it currently connects all of the IBC ecosystem to chains that IBC does not reach yet. There are many security differences between the cross-chain messaging protocols so please reference this report for more information. So what does this actually mean for the user or apps? Some potential new use cases:

  • Sommelier Chain can now implement its dynamic vault strategies across any chain Axelar supports, instead of having to manage a highly complicated bridge that increases in complexity for each new chain it supports.
  • Stride Zone can now export its current Cosmos-based LSDs to other ecosystems, which increases demand/utility. Additionally, Stride can now onboard new chains outside of the Cosmos such as NEAR, Avalanche, and Ethereum. This increases its addressable market from just Cosmos chains to all PoS chains, which should benefit STRD stakers with more revenues.
  • Osmosis can provide the key DEX tooling for cross-chain swaps via Axelar and have increased usage because EVM users can seamlessly swap for altcoins on Osmosis without manually bridging. An example of this is a Polygon user swapping their USDC for MARS token without ever having to bridge funds - Axelar and the IBC ecosystem abstract the complexity for them.

Again, Noble Chain will be the biggest factor in bringing native stablecoin liquidity to the Cosmos ecosystem. This is a positive sum relationship between Axelar and Noble Chain given many apps can enjoy native USDC while being powered by Axelar’s GMP.

As for security, developers can now choose many forms of shared security that were otherwise unavailable. Interchain security can be used through the Cosmos Hub or any chain that implements it. New chains can simply share revenues with the security provider chain and receive shared security in return. This enables more sustainable tokenomics for both chains and provides a more viable path to becoming a chain on Cosmos without having to bootstrap its own validator sets. Celestia and dYmension are also laying the foundation for rollups to be prominent in Cosmos. Simply put, Cosmos provides the groundwork for almost all scaling solutions known today.

Another pain point in the UX is having to download another wallet and create/maintain another private key. However, Metamask Snaps is working on providing native integration without having to download any Cosmos-native wallet(s). This would be as simple as adding a new network for users, further reducing the barrier to entry.

Lack of LSDs

Looking under the hood of Ethereum DeFi, what can you see?

The same is true for Cosmos chains, but even more so given the severe tradeoff of staking rewards directly competing with the growth of DeFi. To better understand this, imagine a scenario where you are forced to choose between lending funds for 5% when the native staking reward for the same asset is 20%. Cosmos chains particularly struggled with this dilemma as the main method of incentivizing security was through very high staking rewards. Enter LSDs.

The LSD boom is relatively nascent in Cosmos, with a few main players today:

  • Stride
  • Quicksilver
  • pStake
  • Lido via Neutron

These LSD providers play a key role in DeFi, given they remove the tradeoff between staking and using DeFi applications. We will get more into the catalysts for them later, and the potential cash flows for token holders.

Lack of money markets

In combination with LSDs, lending markets play a huge role in the DeFi building blocks. They allow users to take on leverage, use more effective risk management, and increase the utility of assets. Up until recently, there was rather nothing to do with Cosmos tokens. You would simply buy an altcoin off of Osmosis and either stake it or hold it idle and get diluted. Not great options for a user. Today, there are a few key lending protocols that have emerged:

  • Mars
  • Umee
  • Shade Protocol

These apps have seen explosive growth and are creating tighter integrations with the Cosmos stack to enable new features such as margin trading, leveraged yield farming, and much more.

Upcoming catalysts

We have laid out some of the key barriers to entry and potential near-term solutions, but where should you be looking to stay on top of the Cosmos narrative?

Chains and Apps

One way to stay on top of the next meta and assess the upcoming catalysts is to simply look at the new chains/apps that are launching and pay close attention to governance for new deployments/upgrades. To name a few of the most anticipated Cosmos chains this year:

  • Celestia
  • dYmension
  • dYdX
  • Sei Network
  • Namada and Anoma
  • Berachain
  • Monad
  • Penumbra
  • Babylon Network
  • And many more…

Although we won't cover most of them, we will focus on the 2023 outperformers and some of the catalysts set to take place over the next quarter. In short, the ecosystem still lacks a killer application that users love, but this will likely change with some of the upcoming catalysts.

Source: Nansen Query

To begin, we will start with the largest LSD provider, Stride Zone.

Stride Zone

LSDs have taken off and continue to grow across Ethereum. Similarly, Cosmos is seeing LSDs gain market share to free up more liquidity for DeFi activities. Stride Zone is the leader here, ranking 2nd in IBC volumes over the last 30 days with over $272m of volume. Stride allows users to deposit assets and it issues LSDs in return. Instead of spinning up its own validators for the newly delegated stake, it stakes the assets on behalf of depositors to allowlisted validators of the given chain. Stride is a Cosmos app-chain and it utilizes modules such as Interchain Accounts (ICA), which makes cross-chain interoperability much simpler while allowing for more sophisticated cross-chain strategies.

With over $35m in TVL, and a 400% lead over the 2nd largest competitor, Stride has a flywheel of integrations with key DEXs and money markets. But what about STRD stakers? Notably, STRD stakers benefit from the rewards generated from the TVL on the platform, accrued from a variety of LSD markets. These stakers receive 10% of the generated fees, distributed in a wide array of tokens across the Cosmos ecosystem, including but not limited to stATOM, stOSMO, stINJ, and others. The accrued staking rewards effectively turn STRD staking into an almost index-like investment, earning fees denominated in many of the top Cosmos chains.

The tokenomics imply the larger the TVL on Stride, the more fees Stride can bring in for its stakers. Currently, their annualized fees are bringing in over $7.8m. So where can they grow their TVL? Similar to Ethereum, DEXs and money markets provide a natural home to LSDs given users can create leverage to loop their LSDs to earn more yield or earn yield via LPing in AMMs or vaults. We will explore a few examples of Stride integrations.

To preface the untapped Cosmos market alone, ATOM only has 1% of its supply liquid staked. ATOM has a $3.1b market cap at the time of writing and will be enabling a native liquid staking module that will allow stakers to seamlessly liquid stake. With Stride transitioning to become a consumer chain that is fully secured by the Cosmos Hub, there are a lot of synergies here, both for security and fee generation. Stride made this proposal that will share 15% of its liquid staking rewards, STRD inflationary staking rewards, MEV revenue, and transaction fees with ATOM stakers. In exchange, Stride will have 450,000 ATOM provided to a stATOM/ATOM liquidity pool on Astroport’s Neutron deployment.

Catalysts: Look for new deployments, upgrades, or governance proposals that can increase the demand for LSDs. We will note a few below.

Lending Protocols


Mars is a lending protocol that uses a novel hub and outpost model. Its largest deployment is on Osmosis and it offers many markets, including stATOM and stOSMO. They have capped the market at $500k for stATOM vault but will likely increase it to $1.5m soon. Proposals like this are an example of how much LSDs can become entrenched in DeFi, particularly in the lending space.


Umee is an app-chain that has a comprehensive list of lending markets, which contain many Stride-staked assets. stATOM and stOSMO make up 2 of the top 5 markets, with over $3m supplied to them at the time of writing.

There are other lending protocols in Cosmos including Nolus Protocol which will tap into Osmosis’s liquidity to provide more efficient lending markets. In short, the lending landscape is growing dramatically in the Cosmos ecosystem and this can bolster the adoption of LSDs.

DEXs and Vaults


Osmosis has the most TVL for STRD and Stride-staked assets. With the stable swap curve recently implemented and concentrated liquidity set to launch in the next few months, there are more pool types that can be home to LSDs. For those looking to trade STRD, the most liquid markets are on Osmosis itself. Additionally, many apps plan to launch on chains such as Osmosis, like Membrane Finance or Levana that will likely use LSDs for their markets. Deep liquidity on these DEXs, particularly Osmosis, will be important for further integrations into the DeFi apps launching there in the near future.


Astroport is another DEX that is deployed on Injective, and will be launching on Neutron. They also offer many AMM curves and will be incentivizing pools with Neutron, which can create more attractive LPs for LSDs given the added yield and variety of pool types. They have a few compelling proposals already that include the 450,000 request for the stATOM/ATOM liquidity pool on its Neutron deployment.


The general DEX landscape continues to grow including Dexter Zone, Forge DEX, and others on different chains such as Evmos, Neutron and many more not covered here.

Axelar’s GMP

Axelar launched its GMP, opening up the doors beyond the Cosmos ecosystem. This means Stride’s addressable market goes from just Cosmos chains to all of the EVM chains Axelar supports such as Ethereum, Avalanche, Fantom, and many more. To recap, the addressable market for Stride is very large for Cosmos assets and even bigger for non-Cosmos chains.

Other Notable Cash Flows

Stride has many catalysts and there are other revenue streams that it has also started to pursue, such as increasing transaction fees to around $0.05 and working with Skip Protocol to internalize MEV such as what Osmosis is doing with its proto-rev module, which has accrued nearly $50k since it has been deployed.

Takeaway: Stride Zone has many catalysts ahead, with increased integrations with DeFi applications, new chains entering via IBC and Axelar, and largely untapped markets with its current chains such as the Cosmos Hub (ATOM). With shared security being provided by the Cosmos Hub sometime in June 2023, there are a lot of clear synergies with Stride and the greater IBC ecosystem to grow its $7.8m of annualized fees, even more, to create ‘real yield’ for STRD and ATOM stakers in the future.


Neutron is a permissionless Cosmos chain, fully secured by the Cosmos Hub. Given it is fully secured by ATOM’s $3.1b market cap, NTRN can be more sustainable in its issuance, whereas other bootstrapped chains usually create ‘down only’ tokenomics given the staking inflation needed to incentivize security.

The team behind Neutron is P2P, which is also the same team behind Lido. They have been long-time contributors in the Cosmos ecosystem and have experience bringing the most popular LSD to the Ethereum ecosystem - the team can ship. Outside of the team, Neutron is permissionless, meaning anyone can deploy contracts on Neutron and connect to the greater Cosmos via IBC, without having to get approved by governance. For those uninterested in creating entire chains, Neutron can become the home to many applications. Additionally, DeFi applications do not need to implicitly compete with unsustainable staking rewards for liquidity. An example of this was Evmos, whose DeFi protocols were attempting to compete with EVMOS staking, which was well over 100% APR at the time. Finally, there will likely be liquidity incentives from the Neutron DAO to specific apps. We are seeing this play out today, with Neutron now producing blocks, there are many teams planning to deploy there. To name a few:

  • Catalyst AMM
  • Astroport

Neutron supports CosmWasm and not the EVM, which means that any app that is deployed on other CosmWasm chains can now deploy on Neutron as well. We can expect many apps to launch there as this is the first consumer chain on the Cosmos Hub with lots of excitement and teams supporting it.


They will airdrop 7% of NTRN tokens to ATOM stakers and then share the following income sources with stakers/validators indefinitely:

  • 25% of transaction fees
  • 25% of MEV revenue
  • 7% of the NTRN supply as an initial airdrop

Takeaway: Neutron has the potential to be a dominant Cosmos chain given the strong backing from many teams, its credible neutrality, the shared security from the Cosmos Hub, and the apps that plan to deploy there.

Injective Protocol

Injective is an orderbook-specific appchain on Cosmos that has built out a native orderbook for apps to build on. The Injective team has built the key DEX infrastructure since 2018 so it is easy for apps to take advantage of the orderbook, ranging from CosmWasm apps to even Solana-based rollups.

Similar to Osmosis, Injective is building towards becoming a DeFi hub, but its approach differs greatly given its design choice to go with orderbooks over concentrated liquidity. Apps can compose on top of the orderbook liquidity and be natively aware of pricing due to the tight integration of the orderbook into the layer-1. This differs greatly from an orderbook implementation on Solana or other general purpose chains, the apps built on top of Injective are highly integrated with the underlying DEX, giving traders a better UX.

Catalysts and Tokenomics

Injective has onboarded many apps to their ecosystem. Since their $150m ecosystem fund raised in January 2023, the volume and price action of INJ has gone up significantly, as well as their ecosystem partners. With CosmWasm enabled, they have since welcomed Helix, Astroport, Frontrunner, Apollo DAO and others to their dApps suite which are live today. They have many more apps looking to deploy there or in testnet already. Over the month of April, there has been a hackathon which you can see the top projects building on Injective.

Volumes are very small compared to competitors such as dYdX whose daily volumes exceeded $529m vs Injective’s ~$3m. Despite this, there are a few catalysts that can increase their activity in the near future, benefiting INJ stakeholders.


Injective is working with Elixir Finance to offer algorithmic market making strategies that all users can participate in. This is a similar idea as vaults on top of Uni v3, except for a native orderbook. This will open up the doors for retail to participate in market making activities and further bootstrap liquidity. With Elixir, traditional market makers like Jump will be working alongside retail to provide deep liquidity on Injective. Elixir is participating in the hackathon and is planning to deploy soon.


Astroport has many deployments on different platforms, but their Injective integration is quickly gaining traction. Home to many AMM curves, Astroport is facilitating stableswap pairs and spot trading on Injective.


INJ operates on a deflationary model with a cap of 100 million tokens, where the supply is progressively reduced. Every week, 60% of all fees gathered from the network's exchange dApps are "burned". This burn mechanism effectively decreases the total supply of INJ, and increases with activity on the network. More activity means more fees = more INJ burned. The remaining 40% of collected fees are directed towards funding developers to build on Injective. Staking APR is 15.57% at the time of writing.

In short, Injective is very well funded and has many new apps launching on the chain. Paying close attention to new deployments and some of the hackathon winners can allow you to find early opportunities in this ecosystem. With a native orderbook design, there is potential for INJ to capture a lot of value if activity continues to increase.

Sommelier Chain

Sommelier is an app-chain that focuses on creating sophisticated DeFi strategies. Their ‘cellars’ are dynamic vaults that are able to use off-chain inputs and backtesting strategies. We wrote about its architecture more here but Sommelier has had a few very successful cellars since, bringing it to be the 9th largest Cosmos chain by TVL [$17.4m]. Notably, it has released its ‘Real Yield USD’ and ‘Real Yield ETH’ strategies that are outperforming all other competitors at the time of writing (measured in base APR and no incentives).

Axelar’s GMP Integration

Prior to Axelar, Sommelier was using its own implementation of the Gravity Bridge which was limited to the chains it supported. Sommelier just announced their integration with Axelar, which will allow it to use Axelar’s GMP to bring its vaults to all of the chains Axelar supports. This vision is already playing out with them bringing their vaults to Arbitrum and making it much easier to bridge SOMM over Axelar.


SOMM stakers are rewarded based on the utility of the cellars. The more TVL it sustains via useful DeFi strategies, the more sustainable yield it will drive to SOMM stakers. More adoption = better tokenomics for SOMM stakers. SOMM is a very low market cap token with little liquidity at the time of writing, so please take note of slippage. Again, SOMM’s tokenomics are highly reflexive with TVL on the platform, if the TVL goes down so does the attractiveness of the staking opportunity, and vice versa.

We covered some of the top performers, now we will briefly cover ecosystem-wide catalysts.

Cosmos Wide Features

Given the decentralized nature of the Cosmos developer ecosystem, there are hundreds of teams contributing to open-source software. This translates to all chains on Cosmos benefiting from upgrades pushed by other teams. In other words, the more teams building in Cosmos means the more tooling and resources available to new teams, a flywheel effect that is strong for builders. For instance, Osmosis built a token-factory module that allows all tokens to be treated as native tokens in the Cosmos bank module - this makes it a lot easier for developers and for analytics platforms given there are many benefits here vs the ETH and ERC-20 dynamic. Most chains including Neutron are adopting these standards, creating a win-win situation for chains everywhere. We will talk about the specific features that enhance real yield and the attractiveness of Cosmos tokens.

Real Yield

There has been a large narrative around ‘real yield’ and valuing tokens based on value accrual. Some examples include GMX and layer-1 chains such as Ethereum. However, many of these apps leak value to the underlying L1 or other stakeholders that do not directly benefit the community. With app-chains, the value capture of protocols, specifically layer-1 chains themselves, increases dramatically.


Arguably the largest source of revenue for app-chains is being able to internalize MEV capture - through fully on-chain and open-sourced ways such as the Proto-Rev module. Skip Protocol is pioneering MEV in the Cosmos ecosystem and is a key team to watch, their integrations span many chains. MEV often has a bad reputation associated with it but it can be broken down into two categories:

  • “Good” MEV - ex: liquidations and arbitrage
  • “Bad” MEV - ex: front running or sandwich attacks

The  ‘good’ can be captured in protocol and distributed to the community of stakeholders such as stakers, LPs, traders and more. As for the ‘bad’ MEV, Cosmos chains are able to combat it via threshold encryption and batch actions, as well as other methods that will be made available through new technology upgrades. Although these mechanisms can help prevent a lot of ‘bad’ MEV, they can't prevent all of it. Similar to Ethereum, Cosmos chains can run block space auctions to capture the long tail of MEV, while continuing to capture MEV revenue for stakeholders given it is done in-protocol. MEV capture = more yield for stakers, which benefits staking tokenomics.

An example of MEV capture that is live today is Osmosis. Osmosis is pioneering MEV capture through its partnership with Skip Protocol’s proto-rev module which has accrued nearly $50k using in-protocol arbitrage. The implementation is quite limited today given it only performs cyclic arbitrage on a single AMM curve. It goes to show how large of an untapped market this is. In fact, Skip Protocol released a model that shows the proto-rev module can capture up to $100m of yearly revenue if it rivals Uniswap in volume. Although this is quite a large assumption for volumes, it shows the potential value accrual for layer-1 tokens given sufficient activity.

MEV capture is not unique to Cosmos, many layer-2s and layer-1s are also working on solutions. The key difference between Cosmos’s approach and Ethereum's is Cosmos takes a much more opinionated approach given they can enforce MEV through on-chain mechanisms, whereas Ethereum has relied on off-chain systems or layer-2s  up until this point.

Transaction Fee Capture

Another source of revenue is transaction fees users pay to use the network. Cosmos chains allow users to pay for gas in any token, significantly improving the UX of onboarding to a new chain. This means users can pay gas in stables or any other token with sufficient liquidity on Osmosis. Osmosis is launching a transaction fee abstraction service that allows other chains to execute swaps of all tokens used for gas into their own native token. These funds can then be used however the community votes, but some ideas can be increasing staking rewards, a buy and burn model, and many compelling ideas that allow the token holders to win alongside activity on the network.

Shared Security

Although shared security is a great way of onboarding new chains and apps, it can also be an incredible value capture for stakers. There are many forms of shared security as discussed earlier but we will cover replicated security and mesh security.

Replicated Security

Sometimes called Interchain Security, it allows any Cosmos chain to provide security to other chains called ‘consumer chains’ (chains borrowing security). The Cosmos Hub (ATOM) was the first one to implement it with Neutron and Stride Zone becoming consumer chains. Given the large market cap of ATOM, it makes it a natural home for providing security to other chains. In return, ATOM stakers will be getting perpetual cash flows from Neutron and Stride. In the form of airdrops, transaction fees, MEV, and inflationary staking rewards, stakers can now earn more rewards for securing the Cosmos Hub network. Any chain can implement replicated security, so we can expect it to become a viable way for Cosmos chains to create network effects that flow downstream to stakers.

Mesh Security

The other form of shared security being worked on is ‘Mesh Security’. This takes replicated security one step further and allows for chains to secure one another, bi-directionally. This targets existing layer-1 chains that are highly integrated with one another to secure one another, such as Axelar and Osmosis. In the example of Osmosis and Axelar partaking in mesh security, If 100% of the OSMO stake opted to secure Axelar and 100% of the AXL stake opted to secure Osmosis, then they would both get the security of the joint market caps of the 2 chains, while remaining sovereign chains.

Stakers can opt to cross-stake the economic value of their stake to secure other chains and receive more rewards in return. This results in more security for the participating chains and more yield for stakers who are providing shared security for any N number of Cosmos chains they decide to opt into. The design of mesh security is a bottom-up approach to shared security that will provide more emergent coordination between sovereign chains, rather than centralized coordination as seen with replicated security. Validators for mesh security will not be required to run additional nodes, nor does it require cross-chain linking of validators across each new chain. In other words, stakers can cross-stake with different validators, which doesn't centralize the stake to just a few validators.


Both the replicated and mesh security designs require governance and target separate markets, so the relationship between them is complementary rather than competitive. In fact, chains can bootstrap themselves with replicated security and then transition to mesh security if they decide to launch their own validator set. Mesh security has also been funded by Osmosis, Axelar, Akash, and others to see it deployed as a public good in 2023.

Why should a token holder care about mesh security? High market cap chains become viable sources of security, whereby power laws for large market cap chains will surely take effect. For instance, any CosmWasm-enabled chain can join the mesh, meaning dYdx’s v4 can eventually secure other chains; hence, DYDX stakers can also earn more yield for its shared security. Mesh security is similar to EigenLayer’s re-stake mechanism, you are re-hypothecating your stake to secure other chains with slashing conditions at the validator level. Shared security in Cosmos can benefit the tokenomics of most chains, not just the Cosmos Hub. This is a large narrative to keep an eye on in the Cosmos ecosystem and beyond with EigenLayer.


We have laid out all of the above catalysts for the most exciting assets in 2023. Even though there is a lot to look forward to, the ecosystem needs to build useful apps that users love. Otherwise, the growth and development of Ethereum, layer-2s, EigenLayer and other variants will likely fill the gap given the incredible pace and lindy the ecosystem has already. DeFi in the Cosmos ecosystem is still in its early innings in comparison to Ethereum, and much is still left to be built, leaving lots of new opportunities to be had.

There are many exciting catalysts happening at the individual layer-1 chains and the greater ecosystem as a whole such as upgrades like ABCI++, privacy chains, layer-2 scaling solutions, native orderbook app-chains, Bitcoin shared security and much more. With all of the above, the Cosmos ecosystem continues to evolve and is positioned to do well in the future.

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Research Weekly April 22, 2024
Disclosure: The authors of this content and members of Nansen may be participating or invested in some of the protocols or tokens mentioned herein. The foregoing statement acts as a disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and is not a recommendation to purchase or invest in any token or participate in any protocol. Nansen does not recommend any particular course of action in relation to any token or protocol. The content herein is meant purely for educational and informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as financial, investment, legal, tax or any other professional or other advice. None of the content and information herein is presented to induce or to attempt to induce any reader or other person to buy, sell or hold any token or participate in any protocol or enter into, or offer to enter into, any agreement for or with a view to buying or selling any token or participating in any protocol. Statements made herein (including statements of opinion, if any) are wholly generic and not tailored to take into account the personal needs and unique circumstances of any reader or any other person. Readers are strongly urged to exercise caution and have regard to their own personal needs and circumstances before making any decision to buy or sell any token or participate in any protocol. Observations and views expressed herein may be changed by Nansen at any time without notice. Nansen accepts no liability whatsoever for any losses or liabilities arising from the use of or reliance on any of this content.