It has been reported that the Stargate upgrade includes a series of improvements to the Cosmos protocol and its Software Development Kit.
However, the most important of Stargate’s features is IBC, the interoperability layer for Cosmos blockchains. The protocol is one of the key elements of the Cosmos vision by allowing for effortless interoperability between Cosmos SDK blockchains and other blockchain protocols.
IBC allows bridging tokens and arbitrary data between all blockchains it supports, primarily those built with the Cosmos SDK. Other blockchains can also be supported, but they require case-by-case implementations.
The report said that there are a number of projects that have been built with the Cosmos SDK in the past, including Binance Chain, Kava, Terra, and Secret. Before the introduction of IBC, the networks were siloed and the individual projects had to create their own bridges to connect to the wider blockchain ecosystem.
Brian Kerr, the CEO and co-founder of Kava, said that the project spent “years of developer time and millions of dollars in investment to construct the custom bridges that exist today,” notably for the Binance ecosystem.
"The launch of IBC will accelerate the rate at which Kava can add bridges to other Cosmos-SDK chains, offer its services, and use their assets as collateral." @Cointelegraph #DeFi #Cosmos #IBCGang https://t.co/81R3YxxfXh — Kava Labs (@kava_labs) February 19, 2021
Kerr explained that the launch of IBC would “accelerate the rate at which Kava can add bridges to other Cosmos-SDK chains, offer its services, and use their assets as collateral.”
Likewise, while IBC also supports interoperability with blockchains built on Substrate, the blockchain framework championed by Polkadot, other blockchains outside of these ecosystems will remain somewhat difficult to integrate within Cosmos.
According to the report, Stargate also carries a host of other performance improvements. These include support for the Protobuf serialization format, a more efficient mechanism for streaming data; State Sync, which allows nodes to synchronize with a Cosmos blockchain in less than 30 minutes; Automatic upgrades for the blockchains built on the SDK and improved light client security that improves IBC connection guarantees. Stargate has been in development for months, with Cosmos issuing a dedicated bug bounty to ensure its safety.
“Kava is designed as an Apple store, allowing only vetted projects to build on its platform. While this makes Kava one of the most trusted platforms for enterprises seeking DeFi solutions, it does limit the rate at which developers can quickly deploy code and iterate on ideas.”
According to Kerr, Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain provide an environment with less oversight, which makes both of them valid options for building DeFi.
Other DeFi options on Cosmos include Secret Network, a privacy-centric blockchain for smart contracts, and Terra, a stablecoin-centric ecosystem.
Thus, Kerr noted:
“There are hundreds of Cosmos-SDK chains that will be able to connect with IBC.”