[PROPOSAL 924][PASSED] Gaia v17 Software Upgrade


  • 2024-05-17: Revised title for on-chain proposal & added link to release
  • 2024-06-05: Updated title for vote passing


The Gaia v17 release is a major release that will follow the standard governance process by initially submitting this post on the Cosmos Hub forum. After collecting forum feedback (~ 1 week) and adapting the proposal as required, a governance proposal will be sent to the Cosmos Hub for voting. The on-chain voting period typically lasts 2 weeks.

On governance vote approval, validators will be required to update the Cosmos Hub binary at the halt-height specified in the on-chain proposal.

Release Binary & Upgrade Resources

IMPORTANT: Note that Gaia v17.0.0 binary MUST be used.

  • The release can be found here.
  • The changelog can be found here.
  • The upgrade guide can be found here.

Release Contents

This release adds Partial Set Security (PSS) features to the Cosmos Hub blockchain. When the PSS enabled chain binary lands on mainnet, new consumer chains will be able to:

  • choose the % of Cosmos Hub’s voting power that is required to operate the consumer chain
  • use allow/denylists to customize validator participation
  • choose a per-validator voting power maximum (voting power cap)
  • use a different number of validators compared to the Cosmos Hub (validator number cap)
  • choose to run as an “Opt-in” chain (running the chain is not mandatory for validators)
  • have validators choose a different commission rate on their chain

Stride and Neutron Change-over to Top N=95% Chains

Information here is provided by Lexa from Hypha, directly from their work on the Hub’s ICS Testnet.

After the v17 upgrade, Stride and Neutron will both automatically become Top N=95% chains, but will retain the 5% soft opt-out logic implemented on the consumer side.

Impact on immediate operations

  • Top 95% of Hub Validators: The top 95% of Hub validators (by voting power) will experience no change in operations and will automatically continue to validate Stride and Neutron.
  • Bottom 5% of Hub Validators: Any validators in the bottom 5% who are currently validating Stride or Neutron will have their node unbonded and see “This node is not a validator” upon restarting. To continue validating, you must send an opt-in transaction for each chain.

Impact on consumer chain security
Both Stride and Neutron are currently Replicated Security chains with a 5% soft opt-out.

  • Current state: both chains are secured by 95% of the Hub’s active set (100% of the set is mandated to run the chain but the bottom 5% of the mandated faces no penalties for not running it).
  • State created by this update: a Top N=95% chain with a 5% soft opt-out is guaranteed to be secured by 90% of the Hub’s active set (95% of the set is mandated to run, but the bottom 5% of the mandated set faces no penalties for not running it).

Stride and Neutron may choose to remove the soft opt-out feature on the consumer side in a future consumer upgrade, which would result in 95% of the Hub’s active set being mandated to run the consumer chains. This was the original logic intended by Replicated Security with a 5% soft opt-out.

Testing and Testnets

The v17 release has gone through rigorous testing, including e2e tests, integration tests, and differential tests. Differential tests are similar to integration tests, but they compare the system state to an expected state generated from a model implementation. In addition, v17 has been independently tested by the team at Hypha Co-op.

Validators and node operators have joined a public testnet to participate in a test upgrade to a release candidate before the Cosmos Hub upgrades to the final release. You can find the relevant information (genesis file, peers, etc.) to join the Release testnet (theta-testnet-001), or the Interchain Security testnet (provider).

Potential risk factors

Although very extensive testing and simulation will have taken place there always exists a risk that the Cosmos Hub might experience problems due to potential bugs or errors from the new features. In the case of serious problems, validators should stop operating the network immediately.

Coordination with validators will happen in the #cosmos-hub-validators-verified channel of the Cosmos Network Discord to create and execute a contingency plan. Likely this will be an emergency release with fixes or the recommendation to consider the upgrade aborted and revert back to the previous release of gaia (v16).

Governance votes

The following items summarize the voting options and what it means for this proposal:

YES - You agree that the Cosmos Hub should be updated with this release.

NO - You disagree that the Cosmos Hub should be updated with this release.

NO WITH VETO - A ‘NoWithVeto’ vote indicates a proposal either (1) is deemed to be spam, i.e., irrelevant to Cosmos Hub, (2) disproportionately infringes on minority interests, or (3) violates or encourages violation of the rules of engagement as currently set out by Cosmos Hub governance. If the number of ‘NoWithVeto’ votes is greater than a third of total votes, the proposal is rejected and the deposits are burned.

ABSTAIN - You wish to contribute to the quorum but you formally decline to vote either for or against the proposal.


As an ISLE participant, PSS is a must and will make ICS chains management way easier, better and observable, so its a no-brainer.

One thing to consider: the logic of current consumer chains being converted to Top N chains should be highlighted and broadcasted to validators as much as possible, as the bottom 5% will get kicked out of the consumer active set until they opt-in (it’s clarified in this post, I just want to highlight that communicating this at all stages is extra important). Maybe some guide for validators on how to prepare for the upgrade itself and the consequent consumer chains actions they will need to do will help here?

Hope this’ll go as smooth as the today’s v16 upgrade, LFG!


It is with utmost respect to the Informal team that we will cast a YES vote to support the update to v17. This important milestone will undoubtedly be pivotal in the long history of the Cosmos Hub. We foresee the next major development to be the addition of layered security, which will offer more composite collateral sources to the mix. The Hub is at a crucial turning point, poised to deliver on one of the most promising features envisioned in the Cosmos whitepaper released in 2016. To quote the authors:

Since the Cosmos Hub acts as the central ledger for the whole system, the security of the Hub is of paramount importance. While each zone may be a Tendermint blockchain that is secured by as few as 4 (or even less if BFT consensus is not needed), the Hub must be secured by a globally decentralized set of validators that can withstand the most severe attack scenarios, such as a continental network partition or a nation-state sponsored attack.

source: cosmos/WHITEPAPER.md at master · cosmos/cosmos · GitHub

Indeed, the Hub is now about to grow beyond offering the most secure enclave within the Cosmos Ecosystem. It is now about to outshine this security and propose it as a service (SaaS) offering. With this key feature coming to market, we are eager to open a new chapter in the future of the Hub as a beacon for the Cosmos. We greatly anticipate the new frontiers proposed to further bring utility to ATOM as a durable unit of account, namely the Liquidity as a Service (LaaS) and Atomic capabilities within the ICS network, which we expect to offer significant new economic properties.

Thanks for reading!


Thanks for the comment Govmos!