ATOM is the native token of Cosmos, a decentralized network that provides open-source tools for developers to create their own interoperable blockchains. One of the biggest problems with blockchains is they are created independently and very few have the ability to transfer data between one another.
Cosmos is looking to become the “internet for blockchains,” allowing blockchains to freely share data and tokens across all the blockchains that are in the Cosmos ecosystem.
Cosmos raised $16 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017. Roughly 20% of funds went to the founders and the coin’s developers, while the rest went to investors.
Cosmos’ annual inflation rate is 7% to 20%. Guided by the Cosmos protocol, the rate automatically fluctuates based on how much money is being “staked” at once.
“Staking” is similar to investing money earning a return on investment. Users can “stake” their ATOMs (lock them up in a smart contract for a period of time) to earn rewards. The process is similar to depositing cash into a bank account to generate interest over time. Stakers earn the rewards for their work securing the network.
In 2019 and 2020, ATOM’s price hovered between $2 and $8. During a crypto bull run in 2021, ATOM’s price surged to a peak of $29.44 in May. Four months later, ATOM’s price hit its all-time high of $44.54. From there, ATOM’s price dropped briefly before spiking again to $43.22 in October 2021.
There are thousands of cryptocurrencies, but most of them can’t communicate with one another – a user can’t send tron over the Dogecoin network, for instance. Cosmos is one of the best-known platforms trying to fix that problem by allowing blockchains to connect to each other.
In Cosmos, each individual blockchain is called a “zone.” Each blockchain is tied to the inter-blockchain communication (IBC) protocol, which connects all the blockchains together.
With the deployment of both Tendermint’s Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus protocol and the IBC protocol, blockchains built on top of Cosmos retain their independence while interacting with other blockchains. Tendermint is a software company that is a core contributor to the Cosmos network.
Cosmos also provides developers with prebuilt modules that allow them to quickly deploy new blockchains that can be customized for specific use cases.
In 2016, Tendermint co-founders Jae Kwon and Ethan Buchman released the white paper “Cosmos: A Network of Distributed Ledgers” describing a new protocol for connecting blockchains. Later that year, they launched the Interchain Foundation to shepherd development of Cosmos.
In 2019, Cosmos launched an initial version of the project as well as the Cosmos Hub, the first blockchain operating on the protocol.
Kwon and early Cosmos contributor Zaki Manian went through a highly publicized feud, leading the members of Cosmos’ founding team to go their separate ways with three companies.
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