Cronos is an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible chain with added support for IBC (Inter-Blockchain Communications) networks based on the Cosmos SDK. In other words, it is compatible with Ethereum and Cosmos-based ecosystems, allowing for easy porting of Ethereum smart contracts and decentralized apps (dApps).
The network, which launched on November 8th, 2021, runs parallel to the Crypto.org blockchain, the network that powers Crypto.com’s Pay feature. Crypto.com is the company behind both blockchains and has existed in the cryptocurrency space for several years, having launched in June 2016 with its headquarters in Switzerland.
The crypto payments company, co-founded by Kris Marszalek, Rafael Melo, Gary Or, and Bobby Bao, initially operated under the name Monaco Technology GmbH. It was later rebranded to Crypto.com, and its platform token, called Monaco Coin (MCO), was also changed to CRO (Crypto.com Coin). With the launch of the Crypto.org blockchain, the company rebranded the token name to Cronos but retained the ticker symbol CRO.
CRO is instrumental in powering the entire Crypto.com ecosystem and acts as the native token on both Crypto.org and the Cronos blockchains.
Cronos appeals to both users and developers due to various reasons. Some of these are:
- EVM compatibility – developers will find it easy to port their Solidity-based Ethereum dApps to the Cronos platform without making significant changes.
- CRO EVM Fund – Cronos Labs, a subsidiary of Crypto.org launched a $100 million fund in May 2021 to support developers creating EVM-dApps on the Crypto.org Chain and Cronos Chain. Projects that apply and successfully qualify to receive the grant can get up to $1M each.
- Userbase – being part of the wider Crypto.com ecosystem, Cronos gives project access to at least 10 million potential adopters of their solutions and apps.
- Highly scalable – Cronos is based on the Tendermint Core’s PoS consensus engine which is multiple times faster than the current mining implementation used by the Ethereum network.
- Open-source – Cronos’s source code is publicly available for interested users to audit and contribute towards its improvement.
The Cronos Chain is based on Ethermint, a scalable, high-throughput blockchain framework that is fully compatible and interoperable with Ethereum. This is the main difference between Cronos and Crypto.org blockchains. The latter is not based on Ethermint and therefore does not support apps that are created for the EVM platform and other derivative frameworks.
The Ethermint blockchain framework on top of which the Cronos Chain is based is designed to run vanilla Ethereum as a Cosmos application-specific blockchain. This implementation enables Cronos developers to access all of Ethereum’s desirable features while also taking advantage of the scalability and lower costs associated with the Terndermint-based Cosmos SDK that underlies the Ethermint framework.
Ethermint comes with multiple features such as:
- Interoperability within the IBC ecosystem
- EVM support enables it to run Solidity-based dApps
- Fast transaction processing speeds due to the use of staking based on the Tendermint Core consensus engine
- Ease of code maintenance by utilizing Ethereum-based geth codebase
Cronos network relies on Tendermint Core’s proof-of-stake (PoS) engine to achieve consensus. PoS provides that validators stake a portion of their assets in a smart contract to incentivize good behavior while validating transactions.
The benefit of PoS is that it is much more scalable than Proof of Work (PoW) used by several established networks such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash, among others.
By adopting the Ethermint framework, Cronos adopts the best of both worlds from the Ethereum and Cosmos ecosystems. That is feature-filled EVM-compatible dApps and cross-chain compatibility with Cosmos SDK-based networks. Scalability is also a big attraction to entice dApp developers on the Ethereum network to port their apps to Cronos.
Cronos being an open-sourced blockchain, allows all CRO token holders to participate in its governance. Anyone can make a proposal, fund it and vote for it and others to ensure that it is adopted. Here is the eight-stage process of passing proposals within the network:
- Step 1 – Idea conception
- Step 2 – Drafting the proposal
- Step 3 – Collecting feedback from the community
- Step 4 – Revising the proposal
- Step 5 – Submitting to the mainnet
- Step 6 – Depositing 20,000 CRO tokens to activate the voting process
- Step 7 – Voting for active proposals on the mainnet
- Step 8 – Proposal adoption or rejection depending on voting results
The Cronos blockchain introduces innovative features, which include:
As the name alludes, a bridge is a structure that connects two things. In the case of Cronos, its Bridge enables users to seamlessly transfer assets between various blockchains, thereby fostering interoperability.
So far, the Cronos Bridge supports the following networks, all of which are based on the IBC channel:
As a result, it also supports these tokens that are native to the above-mentioned networks:
To take advantage of the Cronos Bridge, you can use any of these supported web wallets:
Cryptocurrency wallets are tools used to store private keys that control a user’s assets on a blockchain. They also facilitate asset transfers between various users. On Cronos Chain, the following self-hosted wallets can send, receive and store CRO tokens as well as be used to interact within the Cronos ecosystem:
The Cronos (CRO) token was initially called ‘Crypto.org Coin', but the name was changed to reflect the decentralized nature of the coin and the goal of making Cronos a diverse and extensive network. The token has a total supply of 30 billion following a decision by Crypto.com to burn 70 billion in February of 2021.
The remaining tokens, which were created on the Ethereum platform on the popular ERC-20 standards, were ported over to the Crypto.org Chain, but their utility remains the same. Here’s how the CRO token can be utilized across the Crypto.com ecosystem, including within Cronos blockchain:
- Staking – node operators, delegators, and governance proposers need to have CRO tokens to enable their activities. Staking can be done directly on the Cronos platform using supported self-hosted wallets or through a staking service such as the one offered by the Crypto.com exchange.
- Value transfer – CRO can be used to pay for transactions on the two parallel blockchains, pay for gas fees on the Cronos Chain and pay for trading on the Crypto.com platform. Additionally, CRO can be used to make payments across the multiple Crypto.com products such as the Visa Cards and the Crypto Pay app.
- Speculation – traders can speculate on the value of CRO on various trading platforms, including Crypto.com.
4. Cronos Play
Cronos provides gaming developers with a software development kit (SDK) through which they can connect their games to the Cronos ecosystem for added functionality. The extra functionality that can be gained by tapping into Cronos includes:
- Cronos is compatible with Ethereum making it easy to port dApps created using solidity programming language.
- The network is part of the Crypto.com family which currently serves more than 10 million customers that are potential Cronos users.
- It is highly scalable, cheap and more eco-friendly than Bitcoin and Ethereum, which use mining as a consensus mechanism.
- It’s interoperable with several other blockchains that are based on the Cosmos SDK.
- It is relatively young and therefore has not yet established a reputation.
- There are blockchains that are faster and cheaper than Cronos.
- Ethereum is upgrading to PoS staking soon, which should make it less attractive for EVM dApps to switch to Cronos and other EVM-compatible platforms.
As an innovative blockchain network, Cronos is now pushing the envelope toward making cross-chain interoperability a reality. That is its biggest strength. More crypto projects are launching with a similar vision, but Cronos has a leg up because it is launching as part of a family of other already established products.
Its parent company Crypto.com also runs another parallel blockchain dubbed Crypto.org Chain with limited features. Coupled together, the two blockchains complement one another and also enable Crypto.com to offer more advanced products such as Defi and NFT marketplaces, offering more utility to its userbase.
All in all, Cronos has had a very promising start, but only time will tell whether it achieves its vision of displacing Ethereum, which is currently ridden with scalability challenges.