Cosmos is a project with an ambitious mission: To create a network of distributed ledgers that will solve long-standing problems in the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities.
The Cosmos network consists of many independent, parallel blockchains, called zones, each powered by classical Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) consensus protocols like Tendermint (already used by platforms like ErisDB). Some zones act as hubs with respect to other zones, allowing many zones to interoperate through a shared hub. The architecture is a more general application of the Bitcoin sidechains concept, using classic BFT and Proof-of-Stake algorithms, instead of Proof-of-Work.
The first blockchain in the Cosmos network is the Cosmos hub. The Cosmos hub connects to zones via the novel IBC (inter-blockchain communication) protocol and keeps a record of the total number of tokens in each zone. Because all inter-zone token transfers go through the Cosmos hub, you can transfer tokens from one zone to another, quickly and securely, without the need for a liquid exchange or a trusted third party between zones.
The Cosmos hub can connect to many different kinds of zones, as long as each zone speaks IBC. As a result, Cosmos can support a variety of currencies and scripting languages like those found in Bitcoin, Ethereum, ZeroCash, CryptoNote, and more.