Informal Systems Q1 '24 Retro / Q2 ’24 Plan


As part of Proposal #839 (Fund 2024 Hub development by Informal Systems and Hypha Worker Co-op), Informal and Hypha have presented their Q1 Retro and Q2 Plan to the Oversight Committee to go over plans and reflections for the quarter.

Below we share the following with the community for transparency and community input:

  1. Informal Systems’ Q1 Retro
  2. Our summary of the oversight committee meeting and grades
  3. Our detailed Q2 plan for the Cosmos Hub

Hypha will share their Q1 Retro and Q2 plan in separately.

Informal Systems’ Q1 Retro


  • Completed an initial version and private testnet of Partial Set Security, the next iteration of Interchain Security.
  • Released Gaia v15, upgrading the Cosmos Hub to Cosmos SDK 0.47.
  • Completed a prototype of the Megablocks architecture.
  • Fulfilled testing priorities
  • Upgraded ICS and LSM to SDK 0.50
  • Implemented ICS epochs, making the protocol much more efficient and also simpler and easier to build on
  • Formed a collaboration with Babylon to bring BTC restaking to the Cosmos Hub- this has already yielded our first BTC L2 consumer chain.
  • Completed a first draft of the ATOM wars contract, along with ADR and litepaper.
  • Signed up 3 new consumer chains: AetherEVM, Elys Network, and Lorenzo Protocol.
  • Pulled in high-profile external teams to lead a new rollup project for the Hub.


  • Audit-related delays on Cosmos SDK 0.47 slowed our release of v15, impacting the v16 release date.
  • Small edge cases in the Skip fee market implementation further delayed release of v16.


Gaia v15 with SDK 0.47

We successfully released this. However, there were delays resulting from the magnitude of the Cosmos-SDK upgrade.

  • Several issues were found during audits of Cosmos-SDK v0.47. We had to wait for patches to these issues, and in some cases mitigate them ourselves.
  • The release broke some functionality that Asteroids protocol relied on. We patched this functionality for them.

Maintain a regular release cycle (v16)

Due to the delays on v15, we did not complete the entire v16 release cycle this quarter. However, we have a release candidate. It includes the ICA controller and the Skip fee market. Additionally, it includes several pieces of functionality that we did not anticipate adding, such as the IBC rate limiter, IBC fee middleware, and ICS epochs.

Future SDK prep

Upgrades to ICS and the LSM to Cosmos-SDK v0.50 have been completed.


Expand MBT functionality

We expanded our Quint formal specification of ICS to include key assignment, slashing, and PSS, which means the specification now covers most major pieces of functionality in Interchain Security. The specification helped us identify several problematic edge cases in PSS and ICS, which we already fixed or are in the process of fixing.

Restructure e2e tests

We added compatibility tests for ICS; these tests automatically run a basic tests suite pairing different versions of consumers and providers, and allow us to automatically assess whether a consumer and provider version can be used together. This addresses one of the blind spots of our testing infrastructure, where previously we relied on manually identifying whether versions are compatible or not.

Research and Development

Partial Set Security

After soliciting community feedback on several aspects of PSS, we put out an ADR and a signaling proposal. The protocol is now in an initial testnet. We have accomplished 100% of our technical goals for PSS this quarter.

Atomic IBC

We built a prototype of the Megablocks architecture which is able to run multiple Cosmos SDK state machines on a single CometBFT instance. Through our research on comparable technologies, we decided that adapting Atomic IBC (or the Hub’s atomic composability efforts in general) to a rollup-centric architecture is the best course of action. Read in the report here.

To build this rollup-centric atomic composability solution for the Hub, we’ve put together an all-star collaboration of core Cosmos teams, which will be announced soon.

ICS Epochs

ICS epochs have been successfully released in the latest version of ICS. The addition of epochs also gave us an opportunity to restructure how ICS handles validator sets. This in turn greatly simplified the implementation of Partial Set Security, making features such as opt-in, validator blacklists, and power caps much simpler to write. It also allowed us to simplify the logic for consumer key assignment. We expect this code simplification to continue paying dividends in the future.

IBC routing

We now think this is best approached as a component of the rollup-centric Atomic IBC effort above, and are working with Polymer (the creators of IBC routing) on it.

Atom Wars

This was not listed in the Q1 plan, but we’ve made great strides on this project, completing an initial specification, ADR, and even developing a first draft of the CosmWasm contract.


Business development

We focused on this much more than anticipated during Q1 and had several wins, with the following consumer chains announced: Lorenzo Protocol, Elys Network, and Aether. There are also several unannounced chains that are interested in revealing their plans in the near future, when ICS 2.0 is closer to a permissionless release.

Babylon collaboration

We formed a collaboration with Babylon, to bring Bitcoin security to the Cosmos Hub. This dovetails well technically with another effort to integrate Eigenlayer security, keeps the Cosmos Hub relevant as larger security providers enter the picture, and is a promising source of consumer chain leads from the Bitcoin L2 community.

Consumer chain signups

We’ve landed a few great consumer chains- Aether, Elys, and Lorenzo (our first Bitcoin L2). These chains are slated to launch as soon as possible.


We are ramping up our marketing efforts to take on more responsibility for the marketing and growth strategy of the Cosmos Hub as a whole, not just Informal’s protocol and software development work.

  • We organized and co-hosted a number of ATOM Zone Twitter spaces with future consumer chains to answer Q&A with the community
  • We launched co-marketing initiatives with Babylon, including sponsorship to future Bitcoin Renaissance events where we will run workshops for the BTC L2 community
  • Our team appeared on two Cosmos podcasts (the Interop and Frens Validator) to educate our key audiences about the new developments around the Cosmos Hub.

We plan to lean more heavily into this type of activity and will be running dedicated awareness and educational campaigns for ICS 2.0 and ATOM Wars for the rest of 2024.

Transparency Reporting

We did not move any funds out of the budget wallet in Q4 or during Q1. Now that the quarter has closed, we have reconciled our FTE headcount at 12.85 FTEs. We will be transferring the following back to the community pool based on the 12.85 FTE headcount for Q1:

  • $64,893 USDC
  • 2,936.61 ATOM

We have changed the FTE headcount allocation to better align with our future plans and the success of the Hub.

In support of our ambitious roll-out of ICS 2.0, we have remapped the open role for a Go Engineer in our team to instead hire a Business Development Lead to support our go-to-market strategy for ICS 2.0. If you know great candidates for this role, please encourage them to apply.

We have also remapped our DevOps Engineer role to create space for a full-time Senior Software Engineer with a front-end development focus. This individual will support several exciting initiatives including the permissionless platform for validators for ICS 2.0 and ATOM Wars. As we lean more into marketing we are looking long-term at ways to better market, attract, onboard and support consumer chains on the Hub, which may require additional front-end work.

Oversight committee meeting and grades summary:

Meeting last quarter’s plan

Overall, the oversight committee felt that it was challenging to grade Q1 because we did not use clear enough KPIs in our Q1 plan. However, most agreed that we had met expectations on our main goal by getting PSS into a devnet by the end of Q1. One member of the committee graded “needs improvement” since we did not get Gaia v16 out during Q2. However, they did not know how this should be prioritized against our other goals.

Progress on overall roadmap

The oversight committee also had a lot of feedback on our Q2 plan, that it also did not have clear enough goals and KPIs. After receiving this feedback, we have completely revised the Q2 plan, scheduling work clearly and setting clear KPIs for each area of focus. The plan in this document is the revised plan, not the original.

Integration of community input

Several committee members felt that we exceeded expectations integrating community feedback, since we frequently posted about our work and incorporated community suggestions into our plans. However, several other members felt that we needed improvement because we did not show enough leadership in the permissioned CosmWasm debate. We gave our opinion (cautious support) on permissioned CosmWasm on the forum, on Twitter, and on podcasts, but we did not make it a major marketing priority to either promote or oppose the proposal.

Operational smoothness

Overall the committee felt we had done well on this front, with no major issues during normal operation or upgrades.

Overall grade

Overall, the committee gave us an average grade of “Meets expectations”. We hope to improve this in Q2 by meeting and exceeding the clear KPIs we are setting below.

Informal Systems’ Q2 Plan

ICS 2.0 (PSS)

ICS 2.0 will allow validators to opt in to secure new consumer chains, allowing consumer chains to launch fast and scale their security as they need it.

It was completed during Q1, and this quarter we will be moving through the release cycle, and hopefully the first consumer chains to use this new feature will launch towards the end of the quarter:

  • During April we have been finalizing the development of PSS, and running a private DevNet to catch any rough edgesIn the first week of May, we will merge PSS into the Gaia v17 release.
  • During the week of May 13th, ICS with PSS will also go through an incentivized testnet called ISLE (see Hypha’s report for more detail).
  • Simultaneously ICS with PSS will go through an internal security review by Informal.
  • Release of Gaia v17 and the production debut of ICS 2.0 will occur during the first half of June.
  • Elys is planning to launch on ICS 2.0 in the third week of June and Lorenzo is planning to launch in the 4th week of June.


  • ICS 2.0 in production in the first week of June.
  • At least one consumer chain launched on ICS during Q2.

Gaia Upgrades

Gaia v16 upgrade

We will upgrade the Cosmos Hub to Gaia v16. This upgrade will add several new features, including ICA controller, IBC fee middleware, IBC Rate Limit module, and ICS Epochs

Gaia v17 with ICS 2.0 (aka Partial Set Security)

Once development on ICS 2.0 is finalized, it will be merged into Gaia v17 release (see above for more details). Simultaneous to the release cycle, security reviews and incentivized testnet will be ongoing. Barring any unforeseen issues, voting will go live in mid-May for an upgrade date in early June.

Gaia v18

Gaia v18 will include permissioned CosmWasm, as mandated by a recent signaling proposal. Our focus this quarter is to get v17 with ICS 2.0 out, but once v17 is in production we will begin focusing on v18, which should get into production in early Q3.


  • Gaia v16 in production.
  • Gaia v17 with ICS 2.0 live on mainnet.
  • Gaia v18 with CosmWasm started.

Security Aggregation (Babylon integration)

In making the Cosmos Hub the best place to launch a chain, we also want to give developers the option to secure their chains with leading assets such as Bitcoin and Ether. Security aggregation allows them to do this and leads to a flywheel effect where more chains pull in more assets, leading to higher security for existing chains and revenue for the Hub.

We are collaborating with Skip and Babylon to make this happen, and the items on this roadmap only cover the work to be done by our team. In late April we will release a signaling proposal for the Babylon integration, along with a detailed technical ADR. After this we will start on development of individual modules such as power mixing and rewards. In mid June we will put our code into a private devnet. Depending on the progress made by Skip and Babylon on their parts of the integration, we may mock out the Skip and Babylon components of the code.


  • ADR and signaling proposal on the forum in early May
  • Informal’s part of the code in a private devnet by mid June

Hydro / ATOM Wars (protocol owned liquidity)

Hydro (formerly known as Atom Wars) is a protocol owned liquidity platform which will allow Atom stakers to vote to deploy liquidity to Cosmos Hub consumer chains and other projects.

The CosmWasm contract is nearing completion, and a litepaper is being written. We are collaborating with SimplyStaking to secure community pool funding for a third party contract audit. In early May, the litepaper will be posted on the forum. During mid May the contract will be deployed on the Neutron testnet, and the audit will be completed. Based on any bugs found in the testnet or audit, we will make fixes to the code in preparation for a production deployment. We’re targeting a release on Neutron’s mainnet in the last week of June.


  • Audit and testnet deployment in mid May.
  • Production deployment end of June.

CosmWasm on the Hub

In preparation for the integration of permissioned CosmWasm in Gaia v18, we will write a signaling prop with proposed guidelines for the Cosmos Hub’s permissioned CosmWasm deployment, outlining how it should be used and suggested criteria for voters to use when evaluating proposals. We will then put this on the forum and on chain as a signaling proposal, incorporating feedback from the community at every stage. CosmWasm will be integrated into Gaia v18 no matter the outcome, but hopefully we can help the community set up good guidelines around its use.


  • Draft Hub CosmWasm guidelines.
  • Put signaling prop on forum and incorporate community feedback.
  • Put signaling prop on chain.

Estimated Breakdown of Effort and Priority

The charts below give an estimated breakdown of our effort and the major roadmap items below are listed in the order of priority for our team to deliver successfully in Q2.

ICS 2.0

As much of the engineering work has been completed with ICS 2.0 (PSS), we move into heavy Ops, BD and Marketing efforts to ensure that the go to market is a success and we see multiple consumer chain launches before the end of the quarter. This involves assisting consumer chains with their set up and chain launch, creating guidelines for managing the valset, and coordinating co-marketing activities between the chains and with Cosmos Hub marketing channels.

Maintenance and Gaia Upgrades

Gaia Upgrades are how we take new features live, so this will still consume a good portion of our engineering team’s time. The non-engineering effort is relatively low because we have settled into a streamlined routine for coordinating and launching Gaia upgrades.

Security Aggregation (Babylon Integration)

We have reached a point of understanding from a product design perspective where our engineering team is now able to lean in heavily to the actual build of the constituent parts of the Babylon integration. Bringing this to market successfully will require some non-engineering efforts coordinating with our dependencies (Skip, Babylon) and also working with Babylon on co-marketing and business development efforts.

Hydro / ATOM Wars

We see this as very close in priority to the Babylon integration, but the reality is that bringing the first iteration of this to market will require less effort across our engineering and non-engineering team members. As we move throughout the quarter, we will be keeping an eye on our capacity and if we find an opportunity to increase resources here, then we will look at ways to enhance our Q3 deliverables with more work done in Q2.


This is such an extensive post that we will take the effort to share a review that honor the amount of time the authors spent into crafting it. This is testimony to the transparency commitment made by both the Hypha (which report is available here) and the Informal team have made to the Cosmos Hub community.

Before proceeding with our review, we want to remind the community that this level of transparency is unparalleled in the crypto industry. We shall all be proud to have such high level of quality builders committed to the Hub’s success.

We are interested to have more details regarding the expected design choices currently considered by your team to implement Ethereum Security.

We expect this to be the crux for Hub success in the coming months. After the lackluster demand for ICS1.0 we’ve been eager to see the more composable version offered by the Partial Set Security (PSS). Now we approach the final line and the production stage. As validators we are preparing to integrate this new features as well as the huge responsibilities that will belong to validators when it comes to decide which chains to operate on and which to decline.

This is a very good news, as we were expecting a longer-term release not until late Q3-Q4 this year. We hope the team will be able to deliver in such timescale.

This quote is really interesting and we would like to have your sentiment on whether Informal thinks it needs backup to perform the marketing effort or not. We were thinking about potentially initiating a debate to fund a BD/Marketing effort for the Hub’s upcoming PSS release. We would really need your input on this matter. Feel free to reach out to us via email:, or just share your thoughts as an answer to this comment!

To conclude, we want to shout out to both Informal/Hypha teams regarding the enormous amount of work achieved so far and our best hope for the one that is still ahead. We can’t wait to take our validator’s responsability to make the best use of the PSS and help eliviate some of the BD work you’ve spearheaded so far.

Thanks for reading!


Details will be shared on the forum when available.

Love this attitude. This is the kind of sense of shared ownership and leadership that the Hub needs to grow and succeed. All upcoming consumer chains, CryptoCrew, AADAO, Informal Systems and Hypha are leading individual and coordinated efforts to ensure the go-to-market for ICS 2.0 and the launch of the upcoming consumer chains is successful. That being said, more hands make light work and we always are down to collaborate. Please put your thoughts up on the forum or ping me via Twitter / TG to share the ideas you had.

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