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David Tse & Matonis To Bring PoW Security to $ATOM IBC

How @babylon_chain is bringing the security of BTC to @cosmos

In this stream, @babylon_chain cofounder David Tse @dntse joins @Cryptocito & Zaki Manian @zmanian to discuss his plans to bring PoW security to the ATOM IBC.

Read our notes to learn more 👇 ⚛️

Background on @babylon_chain


•BTC is an expensive resource for confirming 6-8 transactions per second.

•@babylon_chain aims to leverage this resource for the entire blockchain ecosystem. 1/

•There are many attack vectors in PoS protocols that are not in PoW protocols.

•Wants to use the existing PoW chain (BTC) to increase the security of PoS protocol. 2/

•The idea of combining two protocols is not new: ETH PoS had the idea of having a Nakamoto consensus protocol running below w/ a finality gadget on top.

•In this case, BTC is on top & PoS is below. 3/

•Architecture is set up to use @babylon_chain to make commitments to BTC to get the PoW security & then security is distributed from @babylon_chain through IBC to other @Cosmos zones. 4/

•No matter how many people use @babylon_chain,">@babylon_chain the amount of commitment that is put on BTC remains the same.

•Currently ~ 10k per year.

•Transaction costs wouldn’t exponentially increase w/ more chains pegging to @babylon_chain. 5/

Architecture of @babylon_chain

•@babylon_chain is a zone.

•It’s secured by BTC through checkpointing technology.

•@babylon_chain wants to make sure that all attack vectors can be slashed. 6/

•If other zones want to use @babylon_chain to get BTC security, the easiest way is to use IBC. 7/

On Energy Consumption

•@babylon_chain will contribute 1/600k of the energy usage of BTC.

•Using cryptographic techniques to minimize the information that they have to put on BTC.

•That information is 0.01% of all the transactions on BTC. 8/

Current Stage of the Project

•Currently, @babylon_chain’s">@babylon_chains @Cosmos zone is being built & optimizing security.

•Team will attend @CosmoverseHQ in Berlin.

•Looking for partnership to build a testnet by the end of the year.

•Mainnet launch will be sometime in 2023. 9/

Team Size

•Research time is based at Stanford w/ 4 people.

•Engineering team is distributed around the world w/ 6 people.

•Looking for new people. 10/

Long-Range Attacks

•W/ bonding, the long-range attack is coming from one fundamental difference between PoW & PoS.

•In PoW to build any new block, you must do more work.

•In PoS, a coin can be used multiple times without any extra work. 11/

•A careful design of PoS protocol means trying to mitigate this difference.

•Once you unbond a stake, you can use that stake again to rebuild a parallel block to attempt a double spend. 12/

•In PoS the strongest security guarantee is slashing, once you unbond you cannot slash anymore. 13/

Merged Mining


•2 ways of using the security of the parent chain i.e. BTC.

•1. Miners must simultaneously mine BTC & another chain.

•The drawback is that the miner can attack @babylon_chain without

attacking BTC, thus there is no security from BTC. 14/

•2. Directly checkpointing on BTC means that to attack @babylon_chain,">@babylon_chain you have to fork BTC. 15/

•If you use checkpointing, @babylon_chain can be built as a @Cosmos zone itself, if you do merged mining, then @babylon_chain is a PoW chain, & interoperability w/ @Cosmos will be difficult. 16/

•Currently, @babylon_chain is a @Cosmos zone, & it does the hard work interacting w/ BTC, but for communication w/ other @Cosmos zones infrastructure of IBC is used.

•Using IBC as a security transfer. 17/


Q: To What Degree Could Liquid Staking Affect Long-Range Attacks?

A: @zmanian

•One benefit is that with liquid staking you don’t have to wait for unbonding period to trade your coins. 18/

•There is some overlap w/ @babylon_chain where it gives you capacity to reduce the unbonding periods.

•Liquid staking lets you reduce the amount of inflation of token issuance paid out to stakers.

Q: Product-Market Fit

A: @dntse

•Having @babylon_chain as the intermediary chain allows individual zones to use the service easier.

•Otherwise, each individual chain would have to worry about optimizing the checkpoint to BTC. 20/

•@babylon_chain does the hard engineering work while providing an easy interface w/ other @Cosmos zones, therefore, it’s a good product-market fit. 21/

•@babylon_chain hasn’t fully explored full product-market space that can be done w/ this technology. 23/

Q: Will @babylon_chain Compete With ATOM Interchain Security?

A: @zmanian

•ATOM Interchain Security brings a validator set that has a lot of economic security behind it, however, it applies only within the unbonding period. 24/

•@babylon_chain is about securing the system beyond the unbonding period.

•These are viewed as complementary systems. 25/

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Watch the original @cryptocito episode here 👇


NEW COSMOS CHAIN: Leveraging Bitcoin Security on Cosmos | with David Tse + Zaki ManianNEW COSMOS CHAIN: Leveraging Bitcoin Security on Cosmos | with David Tse + Zaki Manian
This post is based on this twitter thread.


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