Cosmos (CRYPTO: ATOM) has blazed its path in blockchain by approaching the blockchain equation not with a single star blockchain but with its stated "internet of blockchains," with Cosmos hub providing the infrastructure for each team to build its project on a dedicated chain that suits its particular needs.
One of their most high-profile use cases is Crypto.com, one of the world's most popular crypto wallets with over 50 million users. Cronos is working directly with Crypto.com to provide an EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) bridge that connects the Cosmoverse to the father of all DeFi chains, Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH).
Intent on creating a blockchain with superior interoperability, Cronos claims to be among the top 10 blockchains with close to 1 million users.
Cronos recently integrated the Cronos Play plugin for Epic Games' Unreal Marketplace, the secondary market for DLC and objects you can buy to incorporate into your game.
The Cronos Play for Unreal Engine Plugin is free on the Unreal Engine Marketplace. The Plugin has been downloaded more than 15,000 times since its launch in mid-October. Cronos has also launched Cronos Cruisers NFTs as a utility for next-generation Web3 users through the Cosmos-based NFT marketplace, Minted.
We interviewed Ken Timsit, managing director of Cronos Chain and Cronos Labs Accelerator, about the project's trajectory of the first Ethereum bridge.
BZ: What is the objective of Cronos?
Timsit: "At a high level, the vision of Cronos is to be one of the chains that will bring the next billion users to Web3. We believe DeFi and self-custody should not be separated from fiat currencies and the banking system.
The next generation of users will not be as attached to specific ecosystems of chains. For many of those users, their first experience of crypto is through a centralized exchange where they don't know where what chains are transacting to because everything is available in the same interface.
When we built Cronos, we made it the first Cosmos chain that is EVM-compatible (Ethereum Virtual Machine) to ensure robust interoperability and a broad range of DApps. That means it's the Cosmos SDK and the Tendermint consensus. We are supporting the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) bridge protocol. But at the top layer, it's Ethereum compatible, so developers can use Solidity and smart contracts and ERC-20s and all the tools that have been very successful in terms of developing DApps."
BZ: Is EVM-compatibility essential to interoperability that will be meaningful for users?
Timsit: "It is not so much a bet on a specific technology. We're offering users connectivity. Today, you have 300 million 350 million people worldwide holding crypto. And out of them, perhaps, you know, 30 to 50 million are familiar with self-custody and interacting directly with the blockchain.
Our vision of the user journey is that someone will first touch crypto through a centralized exchange. But they're not going to want to be cut off from part of what's interesting in the ecosystem. So they will be interested in a chain connecting multiple ecosystems. Building on EVM, on top of the cosmos SDK, was a way to get the best of both worlds. Cronos will be will be able to not only integrate IBC bridges but also interchange security, which is a way for Cosmos users to control accounts on other chains and take advantage of apps and other Cosmos chains."
BZ: Are you replicating the functions of EVM on-chain to avoid bottlenecks on Ethereum network?
Timsit: "We're building a side chain, not a Layer 2. So we're not relying on the Ethereum network to process any of the transactions on Cronos. we're providing an environment that supports solidity smart contracts but on a different chain."
BZ: Is Crypto.com your main use case at this point?
Timsit: "Crypto.com is our main source of users since it has 50 million users worldwide. Most of Cronos users are also Crypto.com users. However, Cronos is an ecosystem of third-party applications. Today, there are around 300 applications on Cronos, and all of them are independent. So crypto.com is not running applications on Cronos. They are making it easy for their users to access applications living on Cronos."
BZ: So what are you offering to Crypto.com users?
Timsit: "We're offering them a broader range of self-custodial applications than the more narrow universe of investments and applications that they could have access to, if they were purely transacting within the confines of the custodial apps. Look at the top exchanges around the world today. They all have realized that within the exchange itself, you can offer a limited number of tokens and applications, just because integrating them natively takes a while. So you need to provide a way for your users to access the broader world of decentralized applications, if they want to have access to the latest and greatest opportunities. Coinbase is doing that by creating a multiparty computation wallet within their application. Crypto.com is doing that by creating a separate application, the DeFi wallet that provides easy access."
BZ: What should we expect from the next year of development with Cronos?
Timsit: "We're not trying to sell the chain to the end users. In an ideal world, we are simply creating an ecosystem which makes Web3 useful for end users. We're trying to create an ecosystem where they can access the 50 million users of Crypto.com. We're trying to make it as easy as possible for all the creators on all chains and applications to access our users. We're going to take advantage of the slower market right now to build strong foundations in GameFi, DeFi, and socials.
In our accelerator program, the first cohort just finished last week and out of nine startups incubated there are five games, and we've really worked closely with them. We believe that social Web3 really looks like a social network where it's much easier and more profitable for either creators or influencers to monetize the network. So through the accelerator and other initiatives, we've started thinking about how we can build social applications where, for example, a LinkedIn user can be compensated for the referrals that you give to others."
BZ: Do you see play-to-earn as a relevant dynamic in GameFi in 2022?
Timsit: "GameFi is the epic replication of peer-to-peer finance, to create new business models for games. But in those business models, it's very unlikely that everyone who plays will earn significantly. So the concept of playing to earn is not going to apply. What is going to apply are the specific ways that players are rewarded. The best example that I've seen so far is esports. Today you have esports tournaments. They are huge events where people pay a fee and it goes into the tournament pool. We believe that with crypto, you can organize those kinds of tournaments in a much more agile way, you know, with hundreds of tournaments a year, in multiple countries and communities in ways that allow almost everyone to participate in tournaments. So there are going to be people who play to earn. But fundamentally, the game economics remain sustainable."
BZ: Can DeFi maintain its relevance without offering early adopter payouts and mountains of hype?
Timsit: "The real question is, what's going to happen once early adopters who've been enjoying early-adopter rewards cannot rely on those anymore? It's not the first time that it has happened. When we first had Uber, they were subsidizing both riders and drivers. When PayPal started, every time you opened an account, I think you got $5 or $10 credited to your account by default. That's the price that you pay to create adoption.
In crypto, we've done the same thing. And we will continue to do it for a little while until we create a critical mass of users. It doesn't mean that once those incentives disappear, the technology disappears. If we have high inflation and high yields in the real economy — and I think that's what we're going to see is that DeFi retains its value — the value of DeFi comes from the composability of applications. It allows you to make your capital super efficient by exploiting every liquid investment opportunity and every way you can monetize your liquidity. I see crypto investors as very much like investment banks in the sense that they have all those investment options that enable them to make their capital super efficient.
I think that core value that DeFi is creating is going to remain even after we stop paying for rewards."
The Last Word
These days, slavish devotion to a single chain seems like an outmoded idea that puts the community at risk of holding onto outmoded technology due to its reputation, even when there are clearly throughput and transaction speed problems, certainly with Ethereum.
Cosmos and the Cronos chain have interoperability and decentralization baked into their core functionality. That sounds like good future-proofing for a crypto project and allows developers to reach a truly global audience with Web3 apps.
Right now, the Cronos project seems to be relying on the Crypto.com use case for user acquisition — this is a strength at present but could be a self-limiting liability in the years to come.
If Cronos wants to grow past its big brother project with Cryto.com, they will have to define their identity and advantages without Crypto.com, and it could be that Cronos has the flexibility to change models that an established exchange like Crypto.com may not have.
The Future Of Crypto: Cosmos will be presenting its vision of an interchain future at the Benzinga for its first Future of Crypto live summit on Dec. 7 in New York City at Pier Sixty.
Some of the best minds and most important projects in Web3 will be in attendance, including Cosmos, Yuga Labs, Immutable, Solana, Laguna Labs and Algorand. Keynotes include Jordan Belfort, Kevin O’Leary and Anthony Scaramucci.
Cover photo based on image by ipicgr from Pixabay.
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