Introducing Re-Staking and Co-Developing ‘Mesh Security’ in the Cosmos Ecosystem

Cosmos (ATOM), a blockchain platform known for promoting interoperability between different blockchains, has recently initiated efforts to introduce a new feature called “re-staking.”

This development is part of the Mesh Security initiative, a collaboration between the Osmosis Grants Program (OGP), Axelar, Akash Network, the Osmosis Foundation, and the ATOM Accelerator, aimed at enhancing security within the Cosmos ecosystem.

The goal of Mesh Security is to increase the economic security of Cosmos chains while maintaining their sovereignty. Unlike other shared security systems such as Interchain Security (ICS), Mesh Security allows chains to combine their market caps for bi-directional or multi-lateral security.

It enables delegators with staked tokens on one chain to re-stake their bonded tokens to validators of their choice on a partner chain. In case of misbehavior by the chosen validator on the partner chain, the staked tokens will be slashed on both chains. In return, delegators receive staking rewards from the partner chain proportional to the amount of power their home chain secures for the partner.

While ICS and Mesh Security may seem like competing models, they actually serve different use cases and can be complementary. Mesh Security is primarily designed for appchains that already have established stakeholder sets and a sufficiently high market cap to secure themselves. By adding mesh-secured partners, these chains gain additional economic security.

On the other hand, the Cosmos Hub’s current implementation of Interchain Security is intended for early-stage projects that prefer not to bootstrap their own validator set and rely on the Cosmos Hub’s validators. As ICS chains mature, they can transition to Mesh Security while still maintaining partial or majority security from the Cosmos Hub.

The introduction of Mesh Security is expected to bring several benefits to the Cosmos ecosystem. Firstly, it will increase the economic security of Cosmos chains by aligning with existing economic relationships. Mesh Security mitigates the risk of interdependencies between chains, ensuring a more secure environment.

Additionally, the initiative enables lightweight security provision, allowing validators on established chains to underwrite the launch of new chains. New chains can leverage restaked tokens from chains with higher market caps, providing them with increased security without requiring governance approval from the security provider chain. Lastly, Mesh Security facilitates the creation of utility chains with shared security, enabling services that require collaboration between multiple chains.

The Mesh Security initiative will be implemented over three phases, each spanning approximately three months. The first phase involves delivering specifications and architecture, as well as deploying a minimum viable product (MVP) on testnets for feedback.

In the second phase, a uni-directional version will be deployed with low-cap chains as consumers, while the bi-directional version will be tested on testnets. Successful governance proposals will be submitted on chains such as Osmosis and Juno to signal support for implementation. The final phase will see the deployment of bi-directional versions on mainnet, along with the delivery of open-source repositories containing core components and a user interface (UI) kit.

The development and funding approach for the Mesh Security initiative follows a bottom-up model. It will be developed as a public good by teams from across the Cosmos ecosystem, with funding provided by various Cosmos projects. The Osmosis Grants Program will lead the project management, ensuring a collaborative and inclusive development process. This approach differs from top-down security models like ICS and EigenLayer, which were developed by a single company.

Overall, the introduction of Mesh Security within the Cosmos ecosystem aims to enhance the economic security and interoperability of Cosmos chains. By leveraging the collective power of multiple chains, Mesh Security provides an innovative solution that promotes collaboration and secure cross-chain operations.

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