A new alliance between Tendermint and Kava Labs may have paved the way for the Cosmos Network to evolve into a fully functional and optimized “internet of blockchains.” Assuming the new partnership lives up to expectations, this could prove to be a big stride towards removing the interoperability issues impeding Cosmos from fulfilling its vision of “a highly engaging ecosystem of assets working together.”
Kava Brings Interledger Compatibility to Cosmos
Tendermint is pursuing the Cosmos project to find a practical and reliable solution to three of the most painstaking issues plaguing the wider blockchain community: scalability, usability, and interoperability. The project team started experimenting with the Interledger Protocol (ILP) nearly a year ago to make interoperable payments and value transfer between different blockchains easier and more efficient.
ILP is designed to facilitate secure transfers between ledgers in a manner that anybody with accounts on two different ledgers can connect both seamlessly. To make the process streamlined and reliable, ILP deploys what’s referred to as ledger-provider escrows, which, as the name suggests, allow conditional locking of funds just like normal escrows do.
Simply put, ILP attempts to get around the seemingly unavoidable proliferation of payment networks by connecting them all with an internetworking protocol that is independent of any one network, currency, or company. This way, blockchain networks like Ripple, Bitcoin, or Stellar don’t have to convince every other network to connect through their network to achieve true interoperability.
ILP adds further charm to existing blockchain-based payment solutions by enabling users to transfer funds through untrusted connectors securely. Additionally, the ability to transfer funds between different ledgers generates a global graph of liquidity.
Another significant advantage of ILP — one that other interoperability protocols can’t brag of — is the fact that it can easily bridge the gap between cryptos and non-blockchain payment systems.
Noting that “organizations like Ripple and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have seen the potential of ILP and use it in production in private networks,” Zaki Manian, advisor to the Cosmos developers team, recently pointed out that the “challenge with ILP was establishing a public blockchain implementation that was commercially viable and scalable.” And that’s precisely where the role of Kava kicks in.
Kava is the first-of-its-kind interledger solution provider that adds liquidity and interoperability to blockchains, crypto exchanges, and wallets. It has created a breakthrough by establishing ILP links between public blockchains such as the ones powering Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Kava, the blockchain startup that aspires to emerge a leading open payment system for cryptocurrencies, is rolling out the public beta of Switch, the company’s first major product. Switch is basically a cross-currency interface to interledger that lets users swap digital assets in a trust-minimized fashion.
(Kava’s Kevin Davis explains the concept beautifully using torrent files as an analogy. You can find this on the official Kava Labs blog for a better understanding of the underlying concept powering Switch.)
With Kava’s technology at its disposal, the Cosmos network can expand and link its ecosystem to the broader blockchain community.
Ripple’s David Schwartz Excited by the New Development
While the announcement from Tendermint on the development with Kava and Cosmos has not received massive media coverage, it did catch the attention of Ripple’s CTO, David Schwartz almost instantly.
David Schwartz seemed excited by the development involving the project of his former colleague Evan Schwartz (co-inventor of Interledger), as it could increase the usability of XRP. D Schwartz retweeted the announcement that same day, as well as posting numerous comments related to it.
To quote Schwartz:
“ILP allows XRP (and all other assets) to be used for payment and held for settlement wherever they work best. This levels the playing field and improves the usability of cryptos for everyone.”
“So ILP being available on more platforms is good for XRP because it enables more applications to have the choice to use XRP if it works best for them. And it’s good for XRP because it grows the space by allowing projects to choose an asset that’s a better fit even if not XRP.”
Another fan of the interledger protocol appears to be Michael Arrington, co-founder of TechCrunch and a well-known proponent of crypto/blockchain technologies, as he challenged Twitter users to convince him that Interldger is not “absolutely fantastic.”
I think @Interledger is absolutely fantastic. Convince me I'm wrong.
— Michael Arrington (@arrington) November 30, 2018
So far no users have been able to convince him.
Kava and Tendermint will be hosting a webinar on December 11, 2018, to discuss the technical nitty-gritty and potential impact of their collaboration on the existing blockchain ecosystem.