The Cosmos and ETH Maxi CEO
I know the whole idea behind “maxis” is that they are often religious in their unwavering commitment to a specific token or L1/L2 or perhaps just to decentralization in general.
We started Iomob in 2018 to build a global decentralized, interoperable internet of mobility. Our CTO, co-founder, Josep Sanjuas (PhD in Computer Science and alum of the first ConsenSys Academy like 5 years ago!) was fully committed to building on Ethereum. I learned a lot from him and you could say I became a bit of an ETH maxi over the years (the guys at Bankless may have had something to do with that too:).
We now like to say we were 4 years ahead of product/market fit because blockchain tech wasn’t ready to support a seamless global mobility network (there was no such thing as Layer 2s, ZK and optimistic rollups and DAO tooling back then), investors were not ready and many legacy operators were not ready either.
So we went back to basics and built a centralized mobility platform with the hope we could eventually reconnect with our web 3 roots. Thankfully at the end of 2021 we realized the tech, investors and mobility community were now ready for a decentralized mobility network. Early evidence since making the renewed commitment has validated our assessment.
Since renewing our commitment to decentralizing our solution, we have assumed we would build on an EVM L2. Obviously the tools to build a scalable, decentralized network leveraging Ethereum have evolved tremendously since 2018. And there are so many great L2s that we reviewed in the past 6+ months.
We recently communicated with our community that after deep research by Josep and I, we have decided to build our own mobility app chain leveraging the Cosmos SDK. Obviously Cosmos has EVM capability so we are not abandoning our roots and believe in Ethereum.
However, as a unique blockchain project who leverages crypto rails to develop an IRL global mobility network, and based on our nearly 4 years of operation as a centralized tech platform in the industry, we have concluded that we need an interoperable app chain that combined a global public blockchain with a series of local and regional private chains.
The need for local and regional private chains emerge from our deep engagement with the ecosystem the past several years. We have learned first hand how user data about their mobility choices and journeys must remain private. Likewise many private fleet operators wish their business data to remain private. Finally, there are needs for the IoM (internet of mobility network) to support adaptation to local transportation regulation.
While we seriously reviewed other blockchain options (especially Avalanche) we concluded Cosmos offers the most flexibility to achieve our pragramatic and progressive decentralization ambitions and to meet the needs of our multi-sided ecosystem made up of mobility users, mobility service providers and vehicle owners, public transit agencies and a range of public and private demand partners to the IoM.
As we narrowed in on Cosmos, I continued to research the Cosmos ecosystem. Ironically enough, the Bankless team hosted a few episodes that helped increase my interest in Cosmos. The first one was one of my favorite Bankless podcasts ever when they interviewed Ethan Buchman in an episode entitled: “Why Bankless is Wrong”. If you haven’t listened to it yet I suggest you do.
Ethan makes a very compelling case for an alternative to the Ethereum “empire state” and towards a more decentralized sovereign network of interconnected app chains. But beyond that, Ethan demonstrated a deep commitment to leveraging blockchain to solve societal problems at scale. This resonates a lot with me as we aim to do the same with Iomob, embracing the concept of regenerative cryptoeconomics. And Ethan’s thinking around the velocity of money, local currencies, democratization and climate leadership are so aligned with my own reflections on innovation and capitalism from last book, Post-Capitalist Entrepreneurship (2017).
More recently, the decision by dYdX to shift from a L2 to Cosmos generated a massive amount of spirited debate in Ethereum circles, and again, the Bankless team were open enough to invite their CEO, Antonio Juliano to explain the rational for the switch. Hearing directly from the CEO of an established, scaling DeFi project why they made the move from an EVM L2 to Cosmos was fascinating. While Antonio was honest about the risks, and the additional burden on their team to build more of the tooling for their app chain, he was also compelling in explaining why it was the right move for dYdX, and insisted he was not abandoning Ethereum.
Our interactions with the Cosmos team so far have further validated our decision as they have been very welcoming.
While a deeper technical explanation of our rational for choosing Cosmos must be explained in the words of Josep, hopefully this post provides an overview of our evolution from decentralized to centralized back to decentralized and my own journey from being an ETH maxi to maybe an ETH and Cosmos maxi. Is that even possible? I guess in crypto anything is right!
About the Author
Boyd Cohen is the CEO and Co-founder of Iomob, a decentralized internet of mobility (IoM) network. Since obtaining his Ph.D. in strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado in 2001, he spent the past two decades focused on accelerating the path to a low-carbon sustainable economy. This included publishing 3 books, multiple peer reviewed articles, frequently contributing to Fast Company and starting a handful of ventures in the smart cities and sustainability arena.