Decentralization, permissionless computing, and trustless systems are keystone to the global cryptocurrency movement. In the same vein, those core tenets are keystone to Tendermint Inc’s (as in, All in Bits) organizational policy. Adopting such policy paves the way towards resilient, redundant, and more productive ecosystems as the network evolves into an Interchain. To better enable the Cosmos Network to proliferate and make progress without risk of running into bottlenecks (halting), we at Tendermint Inc must necessarily undergo needed restructuring. The following update outlines the high-level details of what will be restructured:
A Refocus on Engineering
Because we recognize the extraordinary talent of the protocol engineers and researchers at Tendermint Inc, autonomy and free agency will serve to empower them to continue to ship and improve the infrastructure that powers Cosmos. To this aim, Tendermint Inc will part ways with its IBC and Tendermint Core teams as they start a new, independent Berlin-based GmbH, with the support and sponsorship from the Interchain Foundation (ICF).
What does this mean for IBC?
We’re incredibly proud of what our engineers have accomplished in the past year in specifying, prototyping, and implementing IBC.
Christopher Goes and his work as the lead IBC researcher and spec deployer has been an invaluable contributor to the Cosmos ecosystem. We want to thank Federico Kunze for his work as one of the core implementers of the IBC protocol, Callum Waters for his work on the relayer algorithm, and Joon who contributed to the first MVP of IBC as well as to the the Interchain Standards.
It is with bittersweetness to say that this team will be parting ways with Tendermint Inc to work on IBC under the new GmbH entity.
We’re looking forward to seeing this engineering-focused team deliver the IBC implementation and we are more than excited to support them in launching it on the Cosmos Hub. We will continue to coordinate with the new team and communicate updates to the greater Cosmos community.
What does this mean for Tendermint Core?
Tendermint Core is the realization of a vision that Jae Kwon had in 2014. By the time Tendermint Inc hired its 4th employee, a soft-spoken p2p engineer from Russia, Tendermint Core hit the ground running on its way to becoming the gold standard of Proof-of-Stake. It is with bittersweetness to say goodbye to the unsung hero of Tendermint Core, Anton Kaliaev, who, along with Tess Rinearson and Erik Grinaker, who will continue to maintain Tendermint Core under the new GmbH entity.
Other longstanding Tendermint Inc employees who have been core contributors to the ecosystem who will be operating under the newly established GmbH entity include: billy rennekamp, developer relations extraordinaire and our “human peg” to the Ethereum ecosystem and Anna Harbaum, German logistics & accounting maestro.
Tendermint Inc Alumni
The following is a chronology of historical departures and startups created by former Tendermint Inc employees who have gone on to generate industry-wide value for not only Cosmos but the greater blockchain sector as a whole.
Chorus One (2018)
Brian Fabian Crain departed Tendermint Inc to cofound Chorus One, a prominent validator for Proof-of-Stake-based blockchains. He also successfully co-hosted Epicenter, a popular podcast about cryptocurrency.
Lunie Software Systems (2019)
Jordan Bibla and Fabian Weber worked on Voyager, which was ultimately rebranded to Lunie, within Tendermint Inc before they created an independent entity. In 2019, Lunie Software Systems received funding from the ICF and is today a popular open-source in-browser wallet for the Cosmos Hub.
Jessy Irwin, Zaki Manian, and Jack Zampolin have recently resigned from their positions at Tendermint Inc. We wish them the best of luck on their future ventures in the Cosmos ecosystem.
Tendermint Inc’s Current Verticals
Tendermint Inc is currently home to two verticals, and in 2020, we are considering kickstarting business opportunities that build on those verticals. The current teams consist of 1) the Cosmos Community & SDK Team and 2) the Virgo Bootstrapping Team.
Cosmos Community & SDK Team
Tendermint Inc, as a contractor to the ICF, is responsible for supporting the growth of the Cosmos ecosystem and the ongoing development and improvement of the Cosmos SDK. As such, the Cosmos Community & SDK Team will operate business-as-usual.
Virgo Bootstrapping Team
A new, experimental vertical that was recently spun up is the Virgo Bootstrapping Team. Virgo is a community and a movement aimed at solving world issues with better org tech (powered by Cosmos-based blockchains). The Interchain Foundation is funding this team under a separate budget from the Cosmos Community & SDK Team.
In the near future, the Board will become diversified to enable Tendermint Inc to pursue new business opportunities. This enables Jae Kwon (previously the sole board member and CEO) to focus on building out Virgo.
The Future of Tendermint Inc
Going forward, Tendermint Inc seeks to prioritize business opportunities that leverage our level of sophistication with the tooling that’s been developed in the Cosmos stack. In collaboration with our ecosystem partners and affiliates, we are forming plans around the possible creation of the following business opportunities:
This prioritizes onboarding affiliates and business partners including, but not limited to, enterprise solutions, other open-source projects, blockchain applications, and large-scale institutions that may find Cosmos technology a fit for their needs.
This potentially leverages our team to vet and certify the technicality and viability of Cosmos ecosystem projects that leverage any of our core products like Cosmos SDK, Tendermint Core, and IBC.
Though the size and shape of Tendermint Inc will be changing in the near future, the team is dedicated to the vision of an Interchain ecosystem and is continuing to prioritize the launch of IBC.
We are truly grateful to the open-source contributors of this project within an ecosystem which has taken on a life of its own. Without this vibrant, understanding, and collaborative community, we would just be another technology company. We look forward to continuing to work with the best and brightest minds in the blockchain space.
At times, interpersonal work relationships and social dynamics ultimately get the better of organizations. It occurs so commonly that it’s almost a rite of passage for burgeoning startups. But because we operate in an open-source, decentralized setting, where permission need not to be granted, this kind of flexibility is largely what makes the blockchain ecosystem resilient to these kinds of risks. As long as incentives are aligned, different entities can still collaborate effectively together to work toward a common goal.
That common goal is the Cosmos.