As a result, COSMOS is deploying a multi-token model in which the ATOM is used primarily for staking and the Photon can be used primarily for transaction payments. Because ATOM holders are heavily incentivized to bond their staking tokens, it would make it far more difficult for the attack scenario described above to occur on the COSMOS Network. If anyone tries to buy the amount of ATOM required to get 33% of the stake on the open market, the market for ATOM will become progressively more illiquid, causing the price of each successive ATOM to become more expensive, greatly increasing the cost required to make an attack feasible.

Many Fee Tokens, One Ecosystem

Transactions sourced from various networks expend varying amounts of resources, so instead of ordering by the absolute amount of transaction fee via some exchange spot price, transactions are instead ordered by fee per resource, i.e. x Satoshi’s per byte. Instead of trying to get all the validators to agree on the prices of each of the tokens on every block, that block’s proposer uses their view of how much they value each token to order transactions when it’s their turn to propose.

Because building a multi-token ecosystem is core to the COSMOS Network, rather than force users to pay fees in a specific token in order to use the system, the COSMOS Hub accommodates a number of possible whitelisted tokens.

Tendermint team proposes that Photons are whitelisted as a secondary fee token to the primary ATOM staking token. This will be written as a text proposal after launch for governance to vote on.

The Photon

The proposed ‘photons’ would be awarded as block rewards to the COSMOS Hub validators. Photons can be used to pay ‘gas’ fees on Ethermint zones as well as pay fees for any zone in the COSMOS ecosystem that accepts it as a fee token.

The Photon block reward will be minted at a constant rate of 500 Photons per hour, which leads to an inflation rate that asymptotically reaches 0. However, instead of starting from an initial supply of 0 and all the Photons going to COSMOS validators — which wouldn’t make for a very distributed initial allocation — we will propose to the COSMOS Hub governance a Hard Spoon to distribute all Ether holders an equivalent amount of Photons.

Distribution Method

In Ethereum, a large portion of Ether is stored in smart contracts such as multi-sigs. Because of this, in order to allow everyone to claim their Photons, we would need to fork the entire Ethereum state, including contracts, into an EVM. We have an execution environment called Ethermint which can facilitate just this; it allows anyone to spin up an EVM chain running on Tendermint consensus.

This hard-spooned “Photon Zone” with the Photon distribution will be one of the first zones to connect to the COSMOS Hub shortly after launch. Once this happens, Ether holders can claim their Photons and migrate them to the Hub and then into the rest of the COSMOS ecosystem. Note that this Photon zone, due to being bloated with the current state of the Ethereum blockchain, is not intended to be used as a normal Ethermint zone for smart contracting purposes but rather as a way for users to claim their Photons. There will be other “clean” Ethermint zones connected to the Hub that users can use to build smart contracts and dApps on top of.