ken timsit

Cronos (CRO) is a coin that took the cryptocurrency community by storm over the last few years thanks to its explosive growth alongside partners Crypto.com. 

Cronos launched at the start of 2019 and in November of last year, reached an all-time high market cap of $23 billion.

Crypto.com’s marketing campaigns over the last two years have also been extremely aggressive and highly successful.  Most notably its Fortune Favours the Brave campaign, starring Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon, was shown in dozens of countries around the world.

Crypto.com also bought the branding rights for the Staples Center – home to the LA Lakers and Clippers of the NBA, LA Sparks of the WNBA and LA Kings of the NFL – renaming it the Crypto.com Arena. 

Built on the Cosmos SDK, Cronos works with Crypto.com to help to further their shared mission of bringing cryptocurrency, with all its benefits, to the masses.  The crypto exchange and Cronos Labs work together to ensure that protocol development of the Cronos chain is such that tens of millions of users can be onboarded over the coming years. 

I sat down with Ken Timsit, head of Cronos Chain and the Cronos Labs accelerator programme, to ask about the mission of Cronos, its competition and the future of the project.

First and foremost, what is the Cosmos SDK? 

The Cosmos SDK is a fully open-source project that anyone can contribute to, and the goal is to make it as easy as possible to build new blockchains. 

Is it quite similar to the Polkadot technology? 

There are parts of it that are similar, but it is different. Our closest competitors are Binance Smart Chain and Polygon, as they both have low fees and are onboarding lots of users.  

Binance is also an exchange that helps develop Binance Smart Chain, like how Crypto.com contributes to the open-source nature of Cronos. 

What is the relationship between Cronos and Crypto.com? 

Crypto.com and Cronos are two completely different projects. Crypto.com is a crypto exchange and is fully regulated. On the other hand, Cronos is an open-source project. It is a decentralised network and therefore it does not exist as a legal entity. 

Crypto.com was created because they want to promote cryptocurrency across the world. They really believe in the promise of crypto: self-custody, agency, and financial freedom from monopolistic financial institutions. 

The origin of Cronos is that it comes from the Cosmos community. The Cosmos community thought it would be useful to have an EVM-compatible blockchain. 

Cronos aims to be interoperable with Ethereum, but at the same time it is faster and cheaper to use. Crypto.com found it very interesting and decided to contribute to its development, but Crypto.com is not the only one – there are lots of contributors.

Most of our users come from Crypto.com. So, they come via the Crypto.com app, which is custodial, but they have the opportunity to download the Crypto.com DeFi wallet, which is a self-custodial wallet. 

The two applications can be linked very easily, but they are separate applications. Crypto.com is a very valuable contributor, they contribute to Cronos on the protocol level. 

It is much easier for Crypto.com to provide exposure for our applications when they are involved in the technical direction of the project. 

What is Cronos’ competition? 

Cronos is very similar to Polygon and BNB. It is decentrliased, but will never claim that it is as decentralised as something like Ethereum. 

We are not a walled garden, and our users can transfer to and from other EVM chains very easily. 

But I think different blockchains have different communities and different cultures. Our community culture is different from Ethereum – we are more focused on speed and low fees. 

In terms of trying to optimize for speed and scalability, I would say that our closest competition is BNB and Matic.

Why did Cronos choose to build on the Cosmos SDK? 

The Cosmos SDK allows people to build custom blockchains very easily, meaning that you can set all the parameters that you want.  

The Cosmos community believed that it was very important to have an EVM-compatible blockchain

Is there an overriding mission to Cronos? 

Like Crypto.com, we also believe in the benefits of the masses using crypto. 

We know that if we are to onboard tens or hundreds of millions of people, we need to make sure that the user experience is as seamless as possible. 

We need to have an extremely fast blockchain that is highly scalable and with low fees.  There are over 300 applications that have already chosen Cronos as their home, and there are more joining all the time. 

Also, since Cronos does not use proof of work, it is a very eco-friendly chain, and this is very helpful. 

How important is the Cronos to Ethereum bridge? 

We are not a walled garden. Our users can transfer to and from other EVM chains very easily. 

We think that interoperability is really important.  You could even say that our users inherit some of the security of Ethereum because they are always able to transfer their funds across.

The bridge is very important, it means that people can move their funds around very easily. 

Also, it is very easy for Cronos users to move funds between other chains that are built on the Cosmos SDK. 

Given the many hacks of blockchain bridges recently, how can people be comfortable using the Cronos bridge? 

We recognize that there have been a lot of problems with blockchain bridges, so we think that the best way to build a bridge is to make it trustless – or as trustless as possible. 

We are very careful in our approach to development, because we want to make sure everything is as secure as possible. 

For example, the bridge is currently deployed on testnet and we are testing it very thoroughly.  We take security very seriously, even though we are optimized for speed. 

Self-custody and speed are always important, especially for these more complex applications, but being eco-friendly is also part and parcel of the mission to promote cryptocurrency. 

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