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Cosmos Hub to Launch Mainnet

Pre-launch Dependencies & How to Safely Claim Your Atoms

In the summer of 2016, the Cosmos whitepaper was released. In the spring of 2017, the Cosmos fundraiser was completed. In the first months of 2019, the software is feature complete. The launch of the Cosmos Hub draws near. What does this mean for Atom holders?

If you are an Atom holder, you will be able to delegate Atoms to validators on the main network and vote on governance proposals. In fact, the future success of the network depends on you responsibly doing so! However, you will not be able to transfer Atoms yet. Transfers will be disabled at the protocol level until a hard-fork is executed to enable them.

Atom holders should carefully follow the guidelines in order to safely delegate Atoms. Please read through the entire guide first to familiarize yourself before you actually do anything: CLI guide

The process outlined in the guide is currently the only verified and secure way to delegate Atoms at launch. This is because the gaiad tool used in the guide is the only wallet software undergoing third-party security audits right now. No other wallet providers have begun security audits yet.

Remember that delegating Atoms involves significant risk. Once delegated to a validator, Atoms are bonded for a period of time during which they cannot be recovered. If the validator misbehaves during this time, some or all of the delegated Atoms may be burned. It is your responsibility to perform due diligence on validators before delegating!

The Cosmos Hub is highly experimental software. In these early days, we can expect to have issues, updates, and bugs. The existing tools require advanced technical skills and involve risks which are outside of the control of the Interchain Foundation and/or the Tendermint team (see also the risk section in the Interchain Cosmos Contribution Terms). Any use of this open source Apache 2.0 licensed software is done at your own risk and on a “AS IS” basis without warranties or conditions of any kind, and any and all liability of the Interchain Foundation and/or the Tendermint team for damages arising in connection to the software is excluded. Please exercise extreme caution!

If you are looking for more information about delegation and want to talk to the folks developing Cosmos, join the virtual meetup on February 14 where you will be walked through the step-by-step instructions for delegating Atoms at launch.

Register here:

Remaining Milestones for Launch

To follow mainnet launch progress, please bookmark:

5 Cosmos-SDK Security Audits ✔

In early January, the Cosmos-SDK underwent the first in a series of third-party security assessments scheduled for Q1 2019. This audit took place over a two and a half week period. To date, two different security auditing firms have assessed various parts of the Cosmos-SDK and a third audit is under way.

4 Cosmos SDK Feature Freeze

The final breaking changes to the Cosmos-SDK are included in the v0.31.0 launch RC. Once this RC is completed, the Cosmos-SDK team will engage in a round of internal bug hunting to further ensure sufficient pre-launch security due diligence.

Right after Cosmos-SDK v0.31.0 is released, a Gaia testnet will be released in an effort to flush out any hard to find bugs.

3 Game of Stakes Completed

Game of Stakes (GoS), the first adversarial testnet competition of its kind, was launched in December 2018 to stress test the economic incentive and social layers of a blockchain network secured purely by Proof-of-Stake. The GoS blockchain was successfully hard-forked three times to date. As soon as the GoS concludes, the scoring criteria will be used to determine winners. Those will be announced following the completion of the game.

2 Genesis Transactions Collected

The Interchain Foundation will publish a recommendation for the allocation of Atoms at genesis. This will include allocations for Cosmos fundraiser participants, early contributors, and Game of Stakes winners. Any one with a recommended allocation will have the opportunity to submit a gentx, which is required to become a validator at genesis. The ultimate result of the recommended allocation and the collection of gentxs is a final genesis file.

1 Cosmos Hub Mainnet Launch

Once a genesis file is adopted by the community, and +⅔ of the voting power comes online, the Cosmos mainnet will be live.

Official Cosmos Communication Channels

These are the official accounts that will communicate launch details:

Please be aware that the Cosmos forum, Riot chat groups, and Telegram group should not be treated as official news from Cosmos.

If you have doubt or confusion about what next steps to take and are unsure about trustworthy sources of information, do nothing for the initial period and wait for an update via the three communication channels listed above. Do not ever provide your 12 words to any admin, websites or unofficial software.

We will never ask you for your private key or your seed phrase.

Staying Safe (and Secure!) for Mainnet Launch

The launch of any public blockchain is an incredibly exciting time, and it’s definitely one that malicious actors may try to take advantage of for their own personal gain. Social engineering has existed for about as long as human beings have been on the planet, and in the technical era, it usually takes in the form of phishing or spearphishing. Both of these attacks are wildly successful forms of trickery that are responsible for over 95% of account security breaches, and they don’t just happen via email: these days, opportunistic and targeted phishing attempts take place anywhere that you have an inbox. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Signal, Telegram, SMS, Twitter, or just checking your DMs on forums or social networks, attackers have a plethora of opportunities to gain foothold in your digital life in effort to separate you from valuable information and assets that you most definitely don’t want to lose.

While the prospect of having to deal with a malicious actor plotting against you may seem daunting, there are many things that you can do to protect yourself from all kinds of social engineering schemes. In terms of preparing for mainnet launch, this should require training your instincts to successfully detect and avoid security risks, curating resources to serve as a source of truth for verifying information, and going through a few technical steps to reduce or eliminate the risk of key or credential theft.

Here are few rules of engagement to keep in mind when you’re preparing for Cosmos mainnet launch:

  • Download software directly from official sources, and make sure that you’re always using the latest, most secure version of gaiad when you’re doing anything that involves your 12 words. The latest versions of Tendermint, the Cosmos-SDK, and gaiad will always be available from our official GitHub repositories, and downloading them from there ensures that you will not be tricked into using a maliciously modified version of software.

  • Do not share your 12 words with anyone. The only person who should ever need to know them is you. This is especially important if you’re ever approached by someone attempting to offer custodial services for your Atom: to avoid losing control of your tokens, you should store them offline to minimize the risk of theft and have a strong backup strategy in place. And never, ever share them with anyone else.

  • Be skeptical of unexpected attachments or emails that ask you to visit a suspicious or unfamiliar website in the context of blockchains or cryptocurrency. An attacker may attempt to lure you to a compromised site designed to steal sensitive information from your computer. If you’re a Gmail user, test your resilience against the latest email-based phishing tactics here.

  • Do your due diligence before purchasing Atoms. Atoms will not be transferable at launch, so they cannot be bought or sold until a hard fork enables them to be. If and when they become transferable, make sure that you’ve researched the seller or exchange to confirm that the Atoms are coming from a trustworthy source.

  • Neither the Tendermint team nor the Interchain Foundation will be selling Atoms, so if you see social media posts or emails advertising a token sale from us, they’re not real and should be avoided. Enable 2-factor authentication, and be mindful of recovery methods used to regain access to your most important accounts. Unprotected accounts like email, social media, your GitHub account, the Cosmos Forum and anything in between could give an attacker opportunities to gain foothold in your online life. If you haven’t done so yet, start using an authenticator app or a hardware key immediately wherever you manage your tokens. This is a simple, effective, and proven way to reduce the risk of account theft.

  • Be skeptical of technical advice, especially advice that comes from people you do not know in forums and on group chat channels. Familiarize yourself with important commands, especially those that will help you carry out high-risk actions, and consult our official documentation to make sure that you’re not being tricked into doing something that will harm you or your validator. And remember that the Cosmos forum, Riot channels, and Telegram are not sources of official information or news about Cosmos.

  • Verify transactions before hitting send. Yes, those address strings are long, but visually comparing them in blocks of 4 characters at a time may be the difference between sending them to the right place or sending them into oblivion.

If a deal pops up that sounds too good to be true, or a message shows up asking for information that should never, ever be shared with someone else, you can always work to verify it before engaging with it by navigating to a website or official Cosmos communication channel on your own. No one from Cosmos, the Tendermint team or the Interchain Foundation will ever send an email that asks for you to share any kind of account credentials or your 12 words with us, and we will always use our official blog, Twitter and GitHub accounts to communicate important news directly to the Cosmos community.