This was supposed to be the Cosmos’ ecosystem banner year. And in a way, it already is.
By itself Terra, a blockchain built using the Cosmos SDK (software development kit), is the No. 3 ranking chain in total value locked (TVL) terms at $17.32B as of Feb. 16, according to DeFi Llama.
TVL is a metric which represents the assets locked in a blockchain’s smart contracts and is an approximate proxy for a chain’s usefulness. Terra trails Avalanche by just $40M in TVL and Ethereum by a whopping $144.08B.
But looking at other leading Cosmos chains like Osmosis, Cosmos, and Crypto.com’s Cronos chain, all of which were built using Cosmos’ SDK and are connected via the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, it’s clear the entire ecosystem is actually the second ranked in TVL terms by over $3B as of Feb. 17.
Osmosis has $1.41B in TVL and Cronos has $2.43B, according to DeFi Llama, but few of the IBC enabled chains show up on DeFi Llama’s TVL-by-chain list.
That the Cosmos ecosystem is No 2 is surprising. “Cosmos has traditionally had an issue with marketing and getting the word out there,” said Shane Vitarana, co-founder of Stargaze, an NFT launchpad and marketplace, on a podcast on the YouTube channel, Confident in Crypto, this month.
Last month Stargaze airdropped 25% of its STARS token to people staking ATOM tokens, which secure Cosmos’ chain, and OSMO stakers and liquidity providers as well. The project is the fourth-ranked Cosmos chain in terms of IBC transfers, according to Map of Zones which tracks and visualizes the ecosystem.
OSMO and JUNO, the token for Juno, a platform for interoperable smart contracts, have both airdropped to ATOM stakers (Last week’s DeFi Alpha provides a walkthrough for how to stake ATOM).
So while the Cosmos ecosystem is still relatively quiet, people are starting to take notice. Before the market tanked on Feb. 17 three of the top four 24-hour gainers were for Cosmos chains — ATOM, OSMO, and JUNO.
Vitarana says it’s more than the “free money” that’s bolstering the Cosmos tokens. “I don’t think it’s just the airdrops,” the Stargaze co-founder told The Defiant. “I think the multichain thesis has taken hold and people are starting to explore. The UX is much better than on Ethereum Layer 2s and the word is getting out.”
Banging the Drum
This is supposed to be the year Ethereum Layer 2s (L2s), which execute transactions off the main chain (Layer 1), flex their muscles. The meme “L222”, which can be found in Ethereum supporters like Synthetix founder Kain Warwick’s Twitter name, exemplifies this push.
Blue Kirby, a crypto influencer who has been banging the drum on OSMO, among other Cosmos tokens the airdrops have certainly helped push the ecosystem forward.
“OSMO and JUNO airdropped to ATOM stakers. Those people got rich. OSMO and JUNO stakers are now getting more airdrops and getting richer,” the influencer told The Defiant. “So I’d say the interchain community is having a lot of fun right now that some people are missing out on.”
Despite the positive price movement early in the day, ATOM, JUNO, OSMO, are all in the red in the past 24-hours as crypto has lost 5.5% of its market cap. With the Cosmos ecosystem quietly taking the No. 2 spot in TVL there may be an alternative narrative that comes to define 2022.