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Osmosis co-founder reveals cross staking through mesh security in chainmail armor at Cosmoverse

Osmosis co-founder reveals cross staking through mesh security in chainmail armor at Cosmoverse

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Osmosis founder Sunny Aggarwal took to the Comosverse stage in Medellín on September 26th to talk not about Omosis but about online security systems.

Aggarwal opened his speech in a 40-kilogram suit of chain-mail armor, which he “crossed two continents… with a one-line joke.” Considering the party atmosphere already seen at the conference, the armor was in line with the atmosphere of the event.

online security sunny Aggarwal
Source: Cosmosverse 22

The political compass of network coordination

Aggarwal began his speech seriously, talking about differences in network coordination. The chart below shows an interesting subsection of network types, with economic left and right on the x-axis and authoritarian and libertarian on the y-axis. The image is a variant of the political compass, often used to identify differences between those on the left or right of the political spectrum.

political networks
Source: Cosmoverse

The image “really spoke to me,” noted Aggarwal, who called it “kind of a meme… but it’s a good model for defining network structures.” He further explained that the authoritarian economic left and the authoritarian economic right are based on traditional network architectures found in the web 2.0 version of the Internet.

Authoritarian systems, Aggarwal noted, have a “centralized point of failure … and we have to build networked systems.” When authoritarian systems begin to be abandoned, either “consensus coordination” or “emergent coordination” remains under the libertarian banner.

The green systems in the picture (Coordination by Consensus) are built using consensus protocols. Aggarwal gave examples of the consensus protocol in the Tendermint BFT consensus system or the concept of traditional democracy. However, Aggarwal claimed this

“The problem is that these green systems don’t scale very well because they require n-squared communication.”

The scalability issue of consensus protocols is something that Aggarwal claimed to have sensed while developing Cosmos, and thus Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) was invented. IBC, according to Aggarwal, was a method that allowed “green subsystems” to talk to each other.

However, a network of “green subsystems” can develop into a more authoritarian system if a particular network is at the core of the entire network as a metatopology. Aggarwal argued that Polkadot parachains or Ethereum using roll-ups are the best examples of this in practice.

“If we end up recreating this with Cosmos, I think the whole Cosmos experiment was a waste of time…we didn’t really accomplish anything.”

Aggarwal argued that this scalability problem means that “we need online systems” but that “voting doesn’t work at the cross-chain level”. That’s why he ended up with the “yellow systems” in the diagram above, which represent “Emergent Coordination”.

NATO’s security approach

The Osmosis founder reasoned that the Cosmos ecosystem has already formed a network system similar to the “yellow system” on the map. Cosmos’ IBC system allows threads that need to talk to each other, but does not enforce such a relationship across the entire network.

In the security world, Aggarwal argued that NATO is the best example of a “yellow system” in the real world. In NATO, each country is an independent state with its own internal policies and network architecture. However, if one is attacked, Article 5 states that all other members must protect it.

NATO mesh security
Source: Cosmoverse

Aggarwal believes that NATO’s example is directly related to cross-chain security. Currently, validators validate their own blockchains.

Interchain security versions

Version 1 of cross-chain security is one where one set of validations fully validates another sovereign blockchain. Aggarwal found that this method is similar to increasing the block size, so it is not ideal or new.

Aggarwal explained that another version of cross-chain security would be one where a subset of validators fully validates another sovereign blockchain. In other ecosystems, this version is called “sharking”. It is more scalable and does not require consensus to add additional blockchains. However, Aggarwal argued that this version still lacks the universal sovereignty of a proper online system.

In the third version, Aggarwal presented a system where Cosmos validates its blockchain, and a subset of Cosmos’ validators validates Osmoos. At the same time, the sovereign validator placed in Osmosis also validates its own blockchain.

However, in the third version, Cosmos still acts as a centralized “red” point of failure for the entire ecosystem, as shown in the image below.

space safety
Source: Cosmoverse

The solution to version 3’s centralization problem, Aggarwal suggested, is to allow chains like Osmosis to validate the Cosmos chain through a subset of Osmosis validators, creating a mesh network.

“All Cosmos chains are both supplier and consumer chains… it will be a security network.”

Cosmos mesh security
Source: Cosmoverse

Cross betting and the future of network security

Aggarwal then presented that about 75% of Osmosis validator suites also use Juno validators, while 72% of Juno validators also validate Osmosis.

The effect of this is not an increase in centralization, Aggarwal argued, but a form of “soft distributed security” where malicious validators on one chain would be cut off to another chain through governance.

Aggarwal introduced the concept of contribution between the Cosmos ecosystem to codify this shared security. The crossover would allow validators to increase rewards across the Cosmos ecosystem by using IBC to “send transactions and correlate their identities across both chains.”

To avoid centralization, all delegates choose the validator who receives the most rewards because they participate in cross-validation. Aggarwal explained that delegators can also stake a separate validator.

In addition, Aggarwal clarified that smaller chains could limit the voting power of other chains to protect against 67 percent attacks.

According to Aggarwal, cross-selling is likely to be very attractive to chains with high financial dependence. Chains like Osmosis and Axelar or Osmosis and Mars share millions of dollars in economic activity. Thus, the ability to protect each other is in the interests of both parties.

Viewer discretion is advised.

As a little easter egg and to show the casual nature of the event, before Aggarwal’s speech, below is a clip from the Cosmoverse opening. The Cosmoverse conference kicked off with a version of Eminem’s “Forgot about Dre”, including lyrics changed to fit the Cosmos thread. The words to the chorus are read,

“Nowadays every brand wants to talk like they have a use case. Nothing shows up, they tell you to buy the dip, just a bunch of nonsense; what the hell was that? Like Cosmos isn’t cool.”

Below is a clip of the song. Viewer discretion is advised as there is a lot of jerking in some scenes.

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