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What is Cronos? | Defi-Compatible Smart Chain Explained

Justinas
Baltrusaitis
1 month ago
11 mins read

In this guide, we will look at the EVM-compatible Cronos Chain, a parallel network to Crypto.com’s Crypto.org Chain. Specifically, we will consider its value proposition, use cases, features, and how it works. Additionally, there is a brief comparison between Cronos and Crypto.org Chain, and Ethereum.

What is Cronos?

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.

Why users choose Cronos

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.

How does Cronos work?

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.

Architecture

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:

  • Web3-compatibility;
  • 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.

Consensus engine

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.

Governance

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.

Cronos Features

The Cronos blockchain introduces innovative features, which include:

1. Cronos Bridge

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:

  • CRO;
  • ATOM;
  • AKT.

To take advantage of the Cronos Bridge, you can use any of these supported web wallets:

2. Cronos 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:

3. CRO token

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.

Cronos (CRO) token logo. Source: https://cronos.org/

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;

Note: CRO can also be used within Defi platforms to lend and borrow, earn interest payments and bonuses, as well as cashback when using the Visa-branded Crypto.com card.

4. Cronos Play

Cronos provides gaming developers 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:

  • Player authentication;
  • In-gaming NFTs such as builds, merchandise, etc.;
  • Value transfers through custom tokens that facilitate the in-game marketplace, among several other ways.

Currently, Cronos supports the Unity cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies.

Cronos Chain value proposition

Cronos may only be a few months old, but it is poised to become a big contender in the blockchain space. Here’s why:

EVM compatibility

Ethereum is currently the leading smart contract platform, but it faces a few challenges that have proven problematic towards its widespread adoption. The shortcomings include high network fees and slow transaction processing times.

Cronos has duplicated the features offered on Ethereum through the Ethermint framework but has adopted the Tendermint Core consensus engine, which uses the more scalable PoS consensus. As a result, the blockchain is much faster, cheaper, and eco-friendlier.

IBC interoperability

By tapping into the Cosmos ecosystem through the use of the Cosmos SDK, Cronos is able to communicate with other more established networks such as Terra, Akash, and the BNB chain. Interoperability brings more utility to the network, making value transfer and service exchanges amongst multiple blockchains more seamless.

Blockchain scalability

The proof of stake consensus mechanism has proven to be more scalable than its more established rival, Proof of work mining. PoW is what is used by Ethereum and Bitcoin, among others, and contributes to the low transaction processing speeds. Cronos is not only fast but also cheap, two of the main benefits of using PoS over PoW.

Crypto.com Ecosystem

Cronos was launched as part of the wider Crypto.com ecosystem, including the popular exchange platform and the parallel Crypto.org blockchain. So far, the exchange serves more than 10 million users across the world, showing an already available user base that can be activated to use the new network. Additionally, Cronos complements the exchange service, enabling it to offer its customers a wider variety of products.

Cronos Use Cases

Now that you understand some of the unique features of Cronos, let’s consider where to use it and some of its applications.

  • NFTs – these are unique data or pieces of information existing on a blockchain that represent real-world assets, including images, property, tangible and non-tangible assets, etc.;
  • Defi – the decentralized finance space has enabled the use of blockchain to disrupt the traditional financial industry that heavily relies on intermediaries for service delivery;
  • Metaverse – this is a virtual reality environment that is fully immersive and all-inclusive, with users interacting within a computer-generated environment;
  • Gamefi – game finance is the merger between gaming and finance whereby blockchain is used to facilitate and incentive interactions within gaming environments through custom utility tokens;
  • Web3 – poised to be the next iteration of the world wide web that is built on top of a blockchain infrastructure that includes token economies, decentralized organizations, non-fungible tokens, and Defi, among others.

Pros and Cons of Cronos Chain

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

Final thoughts

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.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cronos Chain

What is Cronos?

Cronos is an EVM-compatible blockchain created on top of the Cosmos-SDK launching in November 2021. The network is an addition to the Crypto.com ecosystem running parallel to Crypto.org blockchain.

What is CRO?

Cronos (CRO) token is the native utility token on all affiliated Crypto.com entities, which are the Crypto.com exchange, Crypto.org, and Cronos blockchains.

What are the use cases of Cronos?

The Cronos blockchain has several applications, and given that it is EVM-compatible, it mirrors Ethereum’s use cases which include hosting:

  • DAO (decentralized autonomous organizations);
  • DEXes (decentralized exchanges);
  • NFTs and NFT marketplaces;
  • Gamefi;
  • Defi;
  • Metaverse, etc.

What is the difference between Cronos Chain and Crypto.org Chain?

Cronos is an Ethereum compatible blockchain designed to host decentralized applications and smart contracts written on the Solidity programming language. Additionally, since it is based on the Ethermint codebase, it is interoperable with Cosmos SDK-based blockchains on the IBC channel. Crypto.org, on the other hand, is a less generalized platform designed to power Crypto.com’s expanding suite of financial products, such as the Crypto.com Pay.

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Justinas Baltrusaitis
Author

Justin crafts insightful data-driven stories on finance, banking, and digital assets. His reports were cited by many influential outlets globally like Forbes, Financial Times, CNBC, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Nasdaq.com, Investing.com, Reuters, among others.

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