The Kima Blockchain: What’s Happening Under the Hood?

The Kima Blockchain: What’s Happening Under the Hood?

Kima is a universal liquidity protocol that tackles Web3’s fragmentation issue by providing a seamless and secure mechanism for cross-chain atomic swaps – no token wrapping required. 


Based on the Kima blockchain, the protocol enables efficient liquidity transfer between blockchains and integrates DeFi with legacy money systems.


We’ve already discussed how Kima avoids asset wrapping by maintaining and managing liquidity pools on each integrated Layer-1 blockchain (find more in this article). 


In this article, we dive into the Kima blockchain and its functionality.


How Does The Kima Blockchain Work?


The Kima blockchain is built using the Cosmos SDK, which provides a steadfast framework for developing a custom blockchain. Our blockchain employs a committee-based consensus mechanism, where a “committee” is selected to produce blocks and run the consensus protocol. 


Each committee consists of a rotating set of “wardens”  that ensure the asset pools remain in sync. They also make sure withdrawals from a pool on the destination chain are authorized by Kima when a corresponding deposit has been confirmed on the source chain. 


Kima wardens control asset pools on the destination chain using Threshold Signature Schemes (learn more about Threshold Signatures here) and a Trusted Execution Environment (more on that here). 


The Kima blockchain controls Kima’s wardens as well as the parameters of the Kima platform.


The Kima blockchain is permissionless, allowing anyone with enough delegated stake to become a block producer and warden. The permissionless nature of the Kima blockchain means that the wardens will change regularly. To avoid changing the pool contracts, Kima uses proactive secret sharing to allow existing wardens to pass their key-share onto the newly elected wardens without weakening the system’s security.


Kima’s blockchain fulfills four main goals:


  1. It manages and updates the set of wardens for committee-based consensus.


  1. It executes the platform’s governance, e.g., choosing the blockchains and supported tokens, setting fees, etc.


  1. It creates an auditable record. Every cross-chain swap will be recorded on the Kima blockchain (and the underlying chains) to create a secure audit trail and provide accountability for the wardens.


  1. It supports smart contracting. As Kima develops beyond its initial deployment, Kima’s platform will allow users to perform more than just simple cross-chain atomic swaps. The Kima smart contracting platform will enable users to write contracts that control accounts across multiple blockchains from a single, unified environment.


It’s All About the Committee-Based Consensus


When users request cross-chain transfers, the warden committee is responsible for:

🔷Recording the request on the Kima blockchain
🔷Monitoring the source chain to ensure the deposit was received
🔷Completing a threshold signature to release funds on the destination chain
🔷Recording the finalized process on the Kima blockchain


The Kima consensus mechanism and the underlying Threshold Signature Scheme provide an auditable record of the actions of the validators, which consists of a committee of wardens. Thus, if a committee member misbehaves during the consensus protocol or the Threshold Signature Scheme, there is evidence of this misbehavior. This can be presented as proof and used to slash the committee member’s stake. In later articles, we’ll discuss Kima’s blockchain security and how our design guarantees it.


This architecture has been proven in existing Cosmos SDK-built systems like Axelar and Thorchain.  As in other Cosmos-based blockchains, a committee of validators is elected through stake-weighted voting. In addition to producing blocks on the Kima blockchain, the block producers are responsible for validating and recording events on the connected chains. To do this, Kima block producers can run full nodes on each connected blockchain.


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