*We couldn't find any detailed description of Cronos in open public sources, so this article is based on the publication of Messari "Cronos: An Introduction and Analysis of a New L1" (original article). Though, we couldn't find any technical information there either.
Crypto.org is a blockchain built on the Cosmos SDK and used for staking and transactions within the Crypto.com cryptocurrency exchange.
Cronos (formerly called Crypto.org EVM chain) is an Ethereum-compatible network built on the Cosmos SDK. Cronos was developed by Crypto.com, but now Cronos Labs is responsible for the network development. Cronos is a permissionless open-source blockchain. Cronos Labs' main goal is to enable developers and users to instantly port their apps and assets from other networks, thereby attracting to the Cosmos ecosystem new DeFi, GameFi and users.
*There is nothing remarkable about the Crypto.org network, i.e. it is a common area in the Cosmos ecosystem without any innovations, but like all other blockchains based on the Cosmos SDK, it is fully compatible with other blockchains within the ecosystem. So, we will focus on the description of the Cronos Network
Crypto.com was founded in June 2016. At first it was called Monaco and represented a centralized exchange.
The number of Crypto.com users has grown from 1 million in 2019 to 50 million in 2022. Crypto.com conducts an aggressive marketing campaign (many of you probably have seen their logo at various major sporting events, like NBA, NHL, UFC, Formula 1, etc.). At the moment Crypto.com is among the ten largest exchanges, moreover, it owns a very popular cryptocurrency wallet. In addition, Crypto.com has developed a kind of crypto cashback to debit/credit cards. Rewards to the card holders are paid in the native CRO token, and to receive these rewards users must keep some amount of CRO on their card balance.
In 2019, the Crypto.com team has launched its own blockchain, named Crypto.org, with the goal to enable users to trade, make payments and use financial services on blockchain "rails." However, normal development of the network was impossible due to insufficient functionality of native smart contracts. To solve this problem, the Crypto.org EVM network was launched in 2021 (after the rebranding it became Cronos). For development and design of the network Cronos Labs was formed. Immediately after the formation, Cronos Lab received a $100 million grant from Crypto.com.
At first, the team planned to create their own EVM-compatible blockchain, however, they ended up using a ready-made solution from Ethermint (now Evmos) with some necessary modifications.
As of July 2022, there were 27 validators in the Cronos network (the current number of validators can be seen here), with plans to increase that number to 60-80 by the end of 2022. However, in order to become a validator, a user must have a certain number of governance tokens, which are called "Cronos governance tokens". This token is not traded on any exchange and is issued to active members of the community.
Although, the consensus mechanism is based on Tendermint (i.e. a typical PoS, where the probability that the current block will be signed by a certain validator depends on the number of coins validator owns), the team itself characterizes Cronos as a Proof-of-Authority blockchain.
Average block time is 6 seconds, and validators do not receive any rewards for finding a new block, the only thing they get is transaction fees. Also, governance token holders have the right to participate in voting, where the voting power is proportional to the number of tokens they have.
The Cronos token (CRO) is native for both Crypto.org and the Cronos network, and exists in three different standards: native CRO for Crypto.org, CRC-20 CRO for the Cronos network and ERC-20 CRO for the Ethereum network.
The CRO token is used within the Crypto.org ecosystem to stake, pay transaction fees and validators rewards (5 billion tokens out of a total supply of 30 billion are allocated for this purpose). In the long term perspective CRO will also serve as a governance token. Users can stake CRO to validators (any user can be a validator, but only the top 100 validators get rewards), and get rewards depending on the number of tokens and locktime (more details here).
As for the Cronos network, there are two tokens. Governance token utility was described above, and the CRC-20 CRO token is used to pay transaction fees. As noted, there are no additional block rewards in the Cronos network. Therefore, to attract more validators, the team is planning to expand the user base with CRO token holders from the Crypto.org ecosystem.
- VVS Finance - DEX in Cronos ecosystem, has the largest TVL within all projects on Cronos, 70k users (per month). It also stands out by a unique mechanism of new tokens listing, called Initial Gem Offerings (more details here).
- MM Finance is another DEX, with a yield optimizer and its own native algorithmic stablecoin.
- Tectonic is the largest lending protocol on Cronos (TVL about 450 million as of July 2022).
- Single Finance and Thetanuts Finance - both projects focus on structured finance (options, derivatives).
- In April 2022 Cronos Play was launched. Cronos Play is a platform that will allow game developers to use popular engines such as Unity and Unreal, as well as provide a set of tools to create their games within the Cronos ecosystem (more details here).
- In July 2022, Cronos integrated Gravity Bridge technology (there is also a blockchain with the same name in the Cosmos ecosystem, but Cronos uses its technology, not the bridge itself), which will allow users to transfer ERC-20 tokens into the Cronos network. As of July 2022, Gravity Bridge is in test mode.
- By the end of the second quarter of 2022, Aave v3 is expected to be launched on Cronos.
It is worth noting that while Crypto.com is a well-known exchange and has been operating for a long time, Cronos is a very young network even by the standards of the Cosmos ecosystem. They have yet to solve the issue of centralization and build/attract quality DeFi and GameFi protocols and applications. However, Crypto.com is a very recognizable brand and Cronos Labs has a good team that is recruiting new employees in large numbers. Despite the fact that Cronos' plans and goals don't seem particularly innovative, it will be interesting to see if Cronos Labs can make them real.