What is IBC Protocol
IBC was included in the development plan of Cosmos early on. It was developed four years after the creation of Cosmos and was officially integrated into the Cosmos network in February 2021. Alongside Cosmos SDK and Tendermint, the IBC protocol is the core component of the Cosmos ecosystem.
Similar to the Cosmos SDK, IBC consists of a collection of modules with various specifications and properties. As long as the basic requirements are met, it can achieve the same cross-chain communication functionality in different scenarios. For blockchains, they only need to be compatible with the basic IBC requirements to freely connect and interact with each other, without requiring further special permissions.
Moreover, IBC is not limited to Tendermint-based blockchains. It can also be applied to other blockchains such as Ethereum, Polkadot, and more. It can be implemented using any consensus algorithm that supports verifiable finality. IBC makes no assumptions about the topological structure of the network of blockchains in which it operates. IBC can reason about security and correctness at the level of a single connection between two modules on two chains.
What problems does IBC solve?
IBC solves the problem of cross-chain communication within the Cosmos ecosystem. As a complex ecosystem composed of multiple blockchains, information needs to be exchanged between different blockchains within Cosmos to achieve interoperability between chains. For example, a user may want to stake a stablecoin from blockchain A in a DEX on blockchain B to generate yield. The IBC protocol provides the necessary standard to facilitate such cross-chain asset transfers.
IBC enables communication between two blockchains without the need to trust intermediaries. It not only solves the interoperability problem between chains within the Cosmos ecosystem but also enables the cross-chain transfer of arbitrary data in a trust-minimized, scalable, and generic manner. This includes cross-chain transfers of assets and information, such as the transfer of tokens and NFT assets, cross-chain account management, information queries, and more.
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