An article comparing the vision and current state of Cosmos and Polkadot

Both Polkadot and Cosmos are considered third-generation blockchains with a similar approach to horizontal scaling, while Ethereum and Solana tend to scale vertically.

This article will compare Cosmos and Polkadot from the vision and current state of the ecosystem.

While the uninformed might see the two ecosystems as twins, they actually have some major differences in design that make the results very different.

The core architecture of Cosmos prioritizes the maximum sovereignty of the application chain, and deliberately reduces the importance of the main chain Cosmos Hub. Allowing multiple hubs to coexist is a voluntary design decision, and decentralization is the main driving force behind this choice.

The second reason behind this architecture is: the Cosmos ecosystem must ensure continuity at all costs, and the collapse of the most dominant chain should not bring the entire ecosystem together.

If you have multiple hubs, the fall of one is not enough to destroy everything.

The Cosmos Hub acts as a trusted neutral by avoiding rent withdrawals.

This is why IBC routing can be done outside of the Hub chain.

For example, Osmosis can be considered a second Hub as it handles more IBC transactions than the Cosmos Hub itself.

By sticking to its role as a public goods infrastructure and refusing to collect rents from the ecosystem, the Hub lets other Lisks shine. Best example: Terra, the Lisk for Cosmos, was much larger than The Hub at its peak.

LUNA’s all-time high market cap is $41 billion, while the Cosmos Hub is $12 billion. Before Terra crashed, the Cosmos Hub was only the third largest Cosmos chain by market capitalization, after Terra ($LUNA) and ($CRO) Lisk.

The development of Polkadot is a direct answer to Ethereum’s inability to scale. Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood noticed its limitations and continued to build on his vision with Polkadot.

In this vision, parachains are specialized chains that interact with each other, similar to the idea of ​​application chains on Cosmos.

A key difference between Cosmos and Polkadot is the degree of centralization.

The relay chain is omnipotent, it acts as the main chain of the ecosystem and is the only security provider of the parachain (all validators only verify on the relay chain), not like Cosmos, any application chain may start own validator set.

This design decision puts a lot of pressure on the relay chain.

If the relay chain fails, the entire Polkadot ecosystem is at risk.

This centralization is also reflected in the market capitalization of Polkadot, which is much larger than its largest parachain, Moonbeam.

At their peak, Polkadot and Moonbeam had market caps of $56 billion and $1 billion, respectively.

One interesting thing to note: the introduction of Interchain Security to Cosmos will make the ecosystem more similar to Polkadot, with one key difference.

Interchain Security on Polkadot is handled exclusively by the Relay Chain, and this feature can be deployed across multiple regions on Cosmos and is not unique to the Cosmos Hub. @EvmosOrg or @JunoNetwork have already indicated their interest in providing Interchain Security.

Network admission is also an important difference between the two ecosystems: parachains on Polkadot must pay expensive admission fees through auctions.

For example, Polkadot’s decentralized exchange, Polkadex, had to pay 973,324 DOT ($13.8 million at the time) for a 2-year lease on a parachain slot.

Cosmos, on the other hand, has no barriers to entry and does not charge setup fees or rent to maintain Lisk.

In this regard, it makes sense to compare parachains to tenants and the Cosmos application chain to masters.

Ecosystem and Valuation

Notably, the Polkadot network has two twin ecosystems: Polkadot and Kusama.

The latter is the canary network of the former. A fair comparison with Cosmos should include Polkadot and Kusama, at least in my opinion.

The rationale for including Kusama in the comparison is that it is the home network for projects with real economic value, not a traditional testnet like Cosmos.

The market capitalization in circulation is from Coingecko, while the actual items are taken from and

The reason I’m not using Coingecko’s ranking is that they list unrelated tokens in the Cosmos and DOTSAMA ecosystems. (The Polkadot and Kusama ecosystems are commonly referred to together as the “DOTSAMA” ecosystem)

I use the two sites above to identify actual projects built on both ecosystems, and then get market cap data from CoinGecko.

The combined market capitalization of the two ecosystems is close: Cosmos at $11.6 billion and Polkadot at $10.5 billion.

An important factor to consider is: the DOT + KSM relay chain accounts for 91.4% of the total market capitalization of the DOTSAMA ecosystem, while ATOM only accounts for 25% of the entire Cosmos.

An article comparing the vision and current state of Cosmos and Polkadot

An article comparing the vision and current state of Cosmos and Polkadot

Two things were observed from the data:

1. The advantages of the Cosmos application chain vs the relative disadvantages of parallel chains.

By excluding ATOM, DOT, and KSM, effectively comparing Lisks and parachains (DOT and KSM are not parachains), the total market capitalization of the Cosmos Lisk chain is $8.7 billion, while the total market capitalization of the DOTSAMA parachain is $954 million. In other words, the value of the Cosmos application chain is 9.12 times that of the DOTSAMA parachain.

2. The value acquisition ability and high popularity of DOT and KSM are in stark contrast to the lack of value accumulation and utility of ATOM.

Developer share

Developer share is probably one of the most important metrics for evaluating a blockchain. According to @ElectricCapital:

December 2020: Polkadot (825 people) + Kusama (175 people) have around 1000 developers. In December 2021, the number climbed to 1,700 (1,400 at Polkadot + 300 at Kusama), a 70% year-over-year increase

In December 2020, the number of developers of Cosmos was about 575, compared to 975 in December 2021, a year-on-year increase of 69.5%


In these two years, DOTSAMA has performed better. Remember, it’s July, so Electric Capital’s latest data is from the past 7 months.

One possible reason why Polkadot has more developers is that the development framework Substrate supports any WASM (widely used Web Assembly) compatible language, while the Cosmos SDK only supports GO. In other words, Polkadot aims to gain more developers by giving it more flexibility.

Popularity with general audience and crypto funds

Polkadot’s official Youtube channel has 46,000 subscribers, while Cosmos has 11,500 subscribers.

On Twitter, Polkadot has 1.3 million followers and Cosmos has 460,000 followers.

Website Traffic: See detailed data for March, April and May 2022 below: Polkadot (red) and Cosmos (white)


Polkadot also appears to be favored by crypto funds, with 14 top funds holding DOT in their portfolios, while only five top funds have ATOMs in their portfolios. The data comes from a study published by Messari last April.

The top crypto funds are configured as follows:


There is no denying that Polkadot has always done a better job of branding than Cosmos.

Cosmos has always taken a low-key approach when marketing itself, tending to prioritize quick rollouts of features like IBC or Interchain Accounts.

On the other hand, while Polkadot is better in terms of brand awareness, its ecosystem is immature and its infrastructure readiness lags behind Cosmos.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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