Presenting Stargate, the biggest Cosmos upgrade yet. Stargate will empower higher transaction throughput, cross-chain transactions, accelerate UI development, and so much more.


In case you’re running a block explorer, wallet, exchange, validator, or any other service (eg. custody provider) that depends upon the Cosmos Hub or Cosmos biological system, you’ll want to pay attention because this upgrade will involve substantial changes.

Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC)– cross-chain transactions

Protobuf Migration — blockchain performance & dev acceleration

State Sync — minutes to sync new nodes

Full-Featured Light Clients

Chain Upgrade Module — upgrade automation


Cosmos Hub to Lead the Stargate Upgrade

In December 2019, the Cosmos Hub’s only significant upgrade delivered new capacity to ATOM stakers by way of governance: parameter changes and community spending. Before the Cosmos Hub 3 upgrade, the chain had to be halted to change economic parameters, which can now be changed via governance proposal. Importantly, funds from the community pool can be spent via governance proposal, an incredible tool to quicken Cosmos Hub advancement. 

Currently, we have a steady network with a solid arrangement of Cosmos Hub validators. We have a working governance system with strong participation, and we have used our community pool to fund two projects. However, the Hub is still independent of the rest of the Cosmos ecosystem, and the Hub was designed to connect the Cosmos ecosystem.

The next step is the Stargate upgrade, coming later this year. Stargate will improve the Cosmos ecosystem in a few significant ways. Perhaps one of the most notable benefits being delivered in Stargate is the capacity to associate Cosmos-based chains together using Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC), and the Cosmos Hub will be leading the way for the Stargate upgrade.

If you’ve been following the Cosmos ecosystem lately, you have likely seen an explosion of ecosystem activity in preparation for the launch of the much-anticipated IBC protocol. Stargate will introduce something other than IBC.

Stargate Overview

The Cosmos ecosystem will look to Cosmos Hub governance to decide on the features of the biggest Cosmos upgrade yet. Here are the primary features:

Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC)

The capacity to exchange transactions of value and information across compatible chains

Protobuf Migration

Quickens front-end development and 10x to 100x better blockchain performance

A new node can synchronize 200x faster, participating in consensus in minutes instead of days

Chain Upgrade Module

Empowers validators to upgrade the chain software asynchronously in minutes rather than an hour or more

In essence, this launch will complete the roadmap laid out in the Cosmos whitepaper, as discussed by Zaki Manian ( Iqlusion). Here’s a recent Q&A:

Cross-Chain Connections through IBC

Cosmos’ flagship, the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, is set to await with the Stargate update. IBC will mark the emergence of a much-anticipated interoperable Cosmos network: the capacity to securely and trustlessly exchange information and token value across sovereign chains that support IBC. That implies that 1) tokens and 2) data will be exchanged across different blockchains, and we foresee that the Cosmos Hub will be the first to secure those cross-chain exchanges.

New to IBC? Here’s a simple explainer. Want to dive deeper? IBC is being addressed in several spots, and here are a few places to start:

IBC is what will take siloed, Cosmos-based blockchains and unite them together to make an ecosystem called the Cosmos Network.

If you plan to support tokens beyond the Cosmos Hub’s ATOM with your wallet, exchange, block explorer, or other application/service, check out the IBC security model (demonstrated extensively during Phase 3 of Game of Zones) to effectively balance novelty and safety for your clients.

The Cosmos Hub will strive to be the most secure and reliable hub that links them all together, with its battle-tested validator set and with the economic power of the ATOM. A truly decentralized Interchain should have no single point of failure, and hubs like the IRIS Network will also course interchain transactions.

Quickening Performance & User Interface Development via Protobuf

It could be that IBC has stolen all of the attention, or perhaps the name “Protobuf Migration” is not nearly exciting enough, but the Protobuf Migration will do various key things for Cosmos blockchains. Starting with the Cosmos Hub, we’ll see noteworthy improvements to execution, compatibility, interoperability, operability, and developer ease-of-use. What does that mean?

A superior Cosmos future with Protobuf

Applications will be way quicker, gas costs will be much lower, and there will be more transactions included in each block. Applications will be more reliable and simpler to create, supporting a lengthy list of programming languages. Protobuf is expected to clear the biggest bottleneck in Cosmos-one that touches every layer. Clearing this bottleneck will empower the teams working on Cosmos to perceive what else can be improved going forward.

A presentation increase of one or two orders of magnitude

We expect transaction throughput of the Cosmos Hub (and others that upgrade) to increment by 10x to 100x. This will be very important for the Cosmos Hub to deal with an ever-expanding volume of cross-chain transactions. It also makes it simpler on the nodes that run the network. Around 50% of CPU time when running `gaiad` is currently spent in the encoding and decoding logic, and that’s about to change, thanks to the migration to Protobuf. And there’s more.

Reliability, composability, and better UIs

Protobuf will introduce a standard for composability. That means easier development of reliable front-end user interfaces (UIs) that work together with other UIs. Current UIs need an intermediate process to read/write blockchain data, which makes things slow and unreliable. Not only will web apps (in Javascript) be able to communicate directly with a Cosmos node, applications using any of the many Protobuf-supported languages will do this as well. Protobuf will be critical to attracting user interface developers who want to make great new Cosmos apps.

Chain Upgrade Module

The initial versions of the Cosmos Hub used a flexible but painful chain halt to upgrade the blockchain. At the point when we moved up to cosmoshub-2 and cosmoshub-3, we stopped the Cosmos Hub for over an hour-a disruption we can’t bear as the Cosmos Network relies more and more upon the Cosmos Hub. This strategy of the upgrade is challenging for validator operators and introduces an additional layer of risk for their operations, as well as to their delegators, who may be slashed. Thanks to the Regen Network team, this new upgrade module will automate the upgrade process to reduce the coordination complexity, potential for human error, and the demands on the validator operators to all upgrade at the same time.

Stargate will enable the ability for a governance proposal to specify either an upgrade block height or time, safely shut down block production on the legacy chain, and then enable validators to opt into running the management process that seamlessly deploys the new software, migrates the state, and starts the new chain.

The Regen Network has been running this upgrade procedure for about a year on their testnets and their validator community has already built up considerable experience with it. We’re foreseeing a future of Cosmos Hub upgrades that are much less eventful, something we are all looking forward to.


All opinions expressed in the above article are solely of the author’s and do not reflect the opinion of the Global Crypto Alliance Ltd., any of its affiliations or any other company. This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. The Global Crypto Alliance Ltd. strongly recommends that readers conduct their own research and due diligence into the company, product or service, if any, that may be mentioned in the above content.