Cosmos Staking Decentralized: Interview with Cypher Core

Cosmos Staking Decentralized: Interview with Cypher Core


Figment Networks has a history of decentralizing its staking delegations, and we’ve been on the lookout for more small validators (ideally sub 500k ATOMs) that have been contributing to the usefulness of the Cosmos Hub and its network. We’re also looking forward to welcoming the next 25 active validators! Our most recent delegation was to Cypher Core.

Cypher Core: ‘Delegate Now’

Cypher Core recently appeared on our radar for their open source Cosmos applications and thoughtful content, thanks to Adriana from KalpaTech. I chatted with Ken from Cypher Core last week.


Cypher Core

Highlights

  • Cypher Core is a team of five that began in mid 2017
  • participated in Game of Stakes; genesis validator
  • also supporting IRISnet, Origin Trail, Regen Network, and Solana
  • recommends delegators look at validator track record (contributions, uptime, commission)
  • recommends diversifying delegations to several validators
  • Cypher Core team stays active within each community, delivers some awesome content, and runs Coris, the Cosmos explorer

Continue to educate project communities about the importance of decentralization. We see a lot of people stray away from smaller validators because of misinformation or fearing the unknown … The incentivization metric should be based on the understanding that the better we strive for diversification and decentralization, the longer we can all play this game together.

— Ken, Cypher Core


Interview

Gavin (https://figment.network)

Super cool that you guys have been around before Cosmos genesis. How did the Cypher Core team get started? I recall members working on something called Laserbot.

Ken | Cypher Core

Yeah! We started out as a community crypto channel on Discord some years back. It was just a small group of friends. Then once we realized we had mutual business ambitions in mid 2017, we decided to start Cypher Core.

Laserbot was what Jay had been working on with some community members at the Eth San Francisco hackathon 😁

Gavin (https://figment.network):
Oh cool, how many people are involved in Cypher Core?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Right now it’s Jay, myself, our lead dev Art, our two writers, Andy and Liam, and an advisor.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What convinced you to begin by supporting Cosmos?

Ken | Cypher Core:
The potential! Around the time we started Cypher Core, Jay shared some content regarding Cosmos’ ambitions and technical details. From there we decided to join in on their testnet at the time and realized how huge staking was going to become over time, with its potential use cases like DeFi etc. We then opened up our staking ambitions to other platforms over time and here we are today 😁

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What was your Game of Stakes (GoS) experience like?

Ken | Cypher Core:
It was exciting and definitely a learning experience for all of us. Being a part of community involvement on a larger scale testnet like GoS was our first. So we had some hiccups, but in the end, everything worked out to our liking. One thing that stood out was the dev community support — so much quality insight was being shared at the time, and still is to date.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
Is there anything in particular you would like to see dropped, included, or improved upon by another network that hopes to learn from GoS?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Honestly, for what GoS accomplished, I personally think projects trying to utilize this model shouldn’t change a thing. Of course there could be some minor details that could be changed to cater to a more personalized approach for those participating, but honestly I wouldn’t even know how to accomplish such a feat with the scale of operations or how that would work while running similarly styled testnets.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What do you think the long-term value of the Cosmos Hub and/or Cosmos network is?

Ken | Cypher Core:
I couldn’t even put it into words, especially when factoring in the potential increase of interest and development when IBC rolls out… it blows my mind thinking of how huge this could be. I honestly think the Cosmos Hub is going to deliver beyond everyone’s expectations.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What about in the shorter term? What kinds of things do you think we’ll see in Cosmos’ future?

Ken | Cypher Core:
A significant increase of DeFi products. I think this year we’ve seen a huge spike of interest within that project sector and I think Cosmos delivers the perfect platform for those interested in building such products.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
I noticed from your website that you’re also supporting IRISnet, Origin Trail, Regen Network, and Solana. How do you decide which networks to offer staking as a service for?

Ken | Cypher Core:
We do a significant amount of research and have several chats with their team members before committing to a network. Being an early service provider in this space, especially one that was able to deliver well within Cosmos, has caught the attention of many Proof of Stake (PoS) projects looking for service providers to onboard onto their network.

Unfortunately we can’t commit to everyone, and even though we may not support every project that has approached us, we definitely wish the best for them in their ambitions.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What are the sorts of things that you want to see in a network that you support?

Ken | Cypher Core:
One of the biggest things we like to see of course is continuous improvement within dev ops. If a project is delivering technically, while maintaining a transparent and sound public community experience, then we’re happy to continue supporting them.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What should token holders consider when deciding which validator to delegate to?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Validator track record. Things like how long they’ve been contributing to their network of interest, uptime, and commission structure. When taking those into consideration, I’d still highly recommend diversifying their delegations to several validators. Not only does that protect them from potential validator faults, but it also helps further influence decentralization within the network.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What are the ways that you attract delegators to Cypher Core?

Ken | Cypher Core:
We try to stay active within each community we’re involved with on various platforms, from telegram to WeChat and so on. In those chats, we try to help and deliver insight for each project’s community members. We also offer a 24hr support community room on Telegram that we have to help answer any questions regarding our services. One of my favorites is our publication on Medium that’s dedicated to delivering insight within each project we offer services to.

Andy and Liam are two writers on our team who deliver some awesome content there on medium.

We also have Coris which is a network explorer that’s currently available for cosmos support. We’ll be rolling out support for Irisnet, Regen, Solana, and origin trail in the near future.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
Oh cool, which one? Week in Review? Project Spotlight?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Cosmos project tracker is Andy’s, Liam covers general blockchain discussion that helps onboard people to the space, I did Week in Review, but due to IRIS now doing their own biweekly update now, I’ve decided to restructure that into something similar. I’m looking to release a bi-weekly portfolio updates that include all of the projects we provide services for.

Jay and I take turns with the Project Spotlight. We’re working on a few more at the moment that have been really fun to work on.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What do you like about the writing process?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Learning! Coming from a sales management and finance background, this has been an awesome experience with expanding my own knowledge base.

I’ve always had an interest in tech, and growing up, I was able to get onboarded to blockchain tech and Bitcoin early on, which provided such a significant amount of content to take in. You can never truly see a stagnant phase when learning within this space. It’s unlike anything else because it’s constantly evolving.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
I love that about this space, too. Writing challenges me to fill my knowledge gaps and dive a bit deeper.

What should the community know about what it’s like to be a small validator?

Ken | Cypher Core:
It’s a constant learning curve, you can never be complacent with where you stand on the validator list. We’ve seen our rank go from 40 to 65 in such a short period of time, so it’s crucial to provide support in any way that we can, and to continue to push out relevant content and tools.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
How can large validators best support smaller validators?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Encourage token holders to understand the importance of diversification when considering their delegations. Some bigger players do a great job of this, while some don’t stress this enough.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
What are the biggest challenges for the staking ecosystem? What should we consider when we try to solve them?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Maintaining a decentralized network — we can’t stress that enough. As a small service provider, we can only deliver so much when driving this notion, and ultimately there’s only so much we can do. This answer solely lies within the delegators’ hands and entities like the Interchain Foundation (ICF).

Gavin (https://figment.network):
How do we ensure and/or incentivize decentralization within the staking ecosystem?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Just continue to educate project communities about the importance of decentralization. We see a lot of people stray away from smaller validators because of misinformation or fearing the unknown. Ultimately there are two things that the average delegator pays attention to: current rank and commission.

If there are ways we can help encourage promoting smaller validators, we’re always willing to help. The incentivization metric should be based on the understanding that the better we strive for diversification and decentralization, the longer we can all play this game together. Those two factors minimize several potential risk outputs that can bring harm to the network.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
Will you commit to delegating to and/or supporting smaller validators if you become a large validator?

Ken | Cypher Core:
Of course. If that happened I can assure you we would lead several ambitions to help further push smaller validator support. From delegations to content campaigns, and so on.

Gavin (https://figment.network):
Thanks so much for answering all of my questions, Ken!

We’re planning to continue to get to know and highlight small Cosmos validators. Please let me know if you encounter other small validators that you see working hard to make Cosmos a better community and network.


Thanks for reading this far! Please spread the word, and let us know if and (more importantly) why you think there’s a small Cosmos validator that we should be paying attention to.