Iris is built with the Cosmos SDK. It’s an inter-chain service infrastructure and protocol for building trustworthy and distributed business applications. It has some similar functions with Cosmos but it’s focused on the business use of blockchain and allows the combination of off-chain computations and on-ledger transactions. Initially it aims at improving the fields of Decentralized Finance (DeFi), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Healthcare and E-commerce.

By incorporating a comprehensive service infrastructure and an enhanced IBC protocol into Tendermint & Cosmos stack, IRISnet enables service interoperability as well as token transfers across an internet of blockchains.

IRISnet dev teams include Bianjie, a national award-winning blockchain technology team based in Shanghai, and Tendermint, the world-famous team that created the Tendermint consensus engine and the Cosmos project.

The IRIS network is named after the Greek goddess Iris, said to be the personification of the rainbow and the faithful messenger between heaven and humanity.

Iris Overview

Iris aims to enhance the current blockchain technology and make it possible to enable thousands and millions of Small Medium Businesses (“SMBs”) and even individual freelance businesses to provide their services and enjoy the rewards in an open network.

Problems and consequent opportunities for technology innovations:

Not all computation could or should be implemented as on-chain computations such as smart contracts.

Smart contracts can only handle deterministic logic (so every node can reach an identical state after processing every transaction and block) while huge amount of existing business logic is not deterministic and might vary at different time and under different environmental parameters.

Some of the real world business logics are meant to be run once off-chain and shouldn’t be implemented as smart contracts with this type of replicated computing. Integration and collaboration of off-chain services and resources with a distributed ledger is key to further advance the adoption of blockchain technology for more real-world use scenarios.

How to re-use the existing blockchain resources, including both public chains and consortium chains.

It is infeasible to use one public chain to address all use cases. Distributed business infrastructure needs to have the Interoperability of many heterogeneous chains including public/consortium/permission/private chains. Existing inter-chain technologies are mainly designed to provide interoperability among existing blockchains and focus on token value transfer. The question of how to consume the resource provided in different chains still remains unanswered.

Building business applications involves handling storage and also different sources of data feeds. Iris will support building distributed business applications by reusing some of the existing work like storage (IPFS, SIA, etc.), data feed (Augur, Gnosis, etc.) and IoT (IOTA etc.).

Cosmos & Tendermint

Cosmos intends to build the ‘internet of blockchains’. It is a network of many independent blockchains, called “zones”. Each zone is powered by classical Byzantine fault-tolerant (“BFT”) consensus protocols like Tendermint, which is well suited for scaling heterogeneous blockchains as well as performance critical permission/consortium chains.

Tendermint is used as the consensus protocol for building the first zone on the Cosmos Hub. A Hub can connect to many different kinds of zones, and the communication is achieved via an inter-blockchain communication (“IBC”) protocol. Tokens can be transferred from one zone to another securely without the need for an exchange or a trusted third party.

The design of “many hubs and many zones” and “each zones are independent blockchains having independent governance models” from Cosmos provides a very suitable architecture for modeling the real world complexity. IRIS Network is a decentralized inter-chain network composing of hubs and zones that implements a layer of service infrastructure based on Cosmos/Tendermint, with enhanced usage of token.

Iris Innovations

IRIS network aims to build a technological foundation that facilitates the construction of distributed business applications. This will be achieved with the incorporation of a service oriented infrastructure into Cosmos/Tendermint.

The key challenges they aim to address via the IRIS network are two-fold:

  • Integration and collaboration of off-chain computing and resources on a distributed ledger;
  • Interoperability of the services across heterogeneous chains.

On-chain: In IRIS network, the inter-service communication is intended to be implemented over blockchain to leverage blockchain as a trusted machine for mediating business collaborations. It runs without prerequisite of existing trust among service provider and service consumer which is very hard to establish.

Off-chain: Iris will move the business application specific logics and transaction processing off the blockchain itself and will use the blockchain only to get consensus on the results generated through those services.

For interchain communication, Cosmos IBC defines a protocol for transferring values from an account on one chain to an account on another chain. The IRIS network designs new semantics to allow cross-chain computation to be invoked by leveraging IBC. The network is intended to provide the service infrastructure for handing and coordinating on-chain transaction processing with off-chain data processing and business logic execution.

Iris Network Design

As illustrated in the figure above, the IRIS network is intended to have the same topology as the Cosmos network. The IRIS Hub will connect to the Cosmos Hub as one of its zones and regional hubs. IRIS full nodes, developed with the IRIS SDK (which is itself a planned extension of the Cosmos SDK), are proposed to provide a service infrastructure as well as offer integration with an embedded InterPlanetary File System (“IPFS”) node.

IRIS Services (a.k.a. “iServices”) are introduced to bridge the gap between the blockchain world and the conventional business application world, mediating the complete lifecycle of off-chain services — from their definition, binding (provider registration), invocation, to their governance (profiling and arbitration).

While the IRIS network focuses on providing an innovative solution for distributed business applications, it is still part of the broader Cosmos network. All zones connected to the IRIS hub will be able to interact with any other zone in the Cosmos network over the standard IBC protocol.

The team behind IRIS Network has already successfully developed blockchain products. IRIS Network will incorporate these products into the service layer as a tool to obtain data for analytics models.

Enterprise users of the proprietary chain will have access to external sources of data offered by other participants on the network, enabling use cases such as a secure, distributed AI-training through the IRIS Hub.

Use Cases

Distributed AI for privacy preserving data analysis

The proposed service infrastructure has been prototyped by Bianjie AI into its permission product BEAN (Blockchain Edge Analytics Network) to solve the longstanding challenge of getting data for running analytics models. It develops distributed analytics services as an additional layer to the blockchain and connects service providers & service consumers and provides trustworthy distributed computing foundation.

Thanks to its design, the model developers do not have to worry about someone stealing their idea; equally, the data owners never need to worry about losing control of data usage as their data will not be leaving its origin and will be protected.

Other potential benefits could include the following:

  1. Only a small amount of parametric data being exchanged on-chain, which can help improve performance.
  2. A more practical way for data usage auditing, which is often needed in the healthcare domain.

This minimum viable product (“MVP”) service layer implementation is built on top of Ethermint in an attempt to connect hospitals, insurance companies and analytics service providers to provide privacy preserving healthcare data analytics capability.

Data analytics

From studying several proposed AI+Blockchain projects, it seems that most of the projects aim to provide data exchange markets and analytics API markets. With proposed IRIS infrastructure, those networks could potentially be built with ease through publishing data as data services and wrapping analytics API as analytics services utilizing the IRIS service provider SDK.

Distributed e-commerce

Integration with traditional systems to obtain inventory information, or inter-chain query on trusted data sources to obtain information such as transportation and weather data. With those services integrated to support distributed e-commerce applications, it could be possible for distributed e-commerce applications to provide a similar user experience as centralized systems, such as Amazon or Alibaba.

Combining public chains & consortium chains

For many business scenarios, taking a hybrid architecture of combining the good features of a public chain and a consortium chain can provide beneficial results, particularly with regards to performance, security and economic incentives.

Large-scale spontaneous collaboration could be made possible while still supporting stringent performance and security requirements.

More efficient asset based security systems, distributed regulation technology such as due diligence, mutual aid marketplace etc. One of IRIS project plans is also working closely with such application project teams to support and enable them with needed blockchain infrastructure and allow them to focus on delivering the envisioned business value more efficiently.

Binance Dex Integration

The IRIS Hub and Binance Chain are both developed on the basis of Cosmos SDK. Through the Inter Blockchain Communication IBC protocol, assets can be seamlessly transferred between blockchains, which will greatly improve the assets variety and decentralization of DEX.

Many of the assets on IRISHub can be connected to Binance DEX leveraging the gateway in the future. What’s interesting is that assets on Binance Chain can also participate in the interchain ecosystem via the gateway. For example, they can participate in DeFi application scenarios supported by IRIS Hub or other application blockchains connecting to IRIS Hub.

The IRIS Token


IRIS tokens can be used as both staking tokens and fee tokens.

The design of the IRIS Hub economic model can be divided into three levels:

1) IRIS is the fee token used to pay for all types of network transactions.

2) IRISnet consensus layer is inherited from Cosmos SDK and Tendermint. IRIS token holders can participate in network validation through staking the tokens to network and receive new block provision fee as well as network fee.

3) On top of the consensus layer, IRIS Hub offers two key components:

  • multi-asset management module, which provides the underlying support to Defi applications;
  • iService module that enables onchain-offchain interoperability based on a service oriented architecture.

To interact with the multi-asset module, one has to pay fees when issuing tokens, minting tokens or creating gateways. To act as an iService provider, one has deposit IRIS tokens; IRIS and other whitelisted tokens on IRIS Hub can be used by service providers to charge service fees. IRIS tokens are also required as deposits for service governance to resolve disputes.


Similar to the Cosmos Network, the IRIS network, as presently designed, is intended to support a multi-token model. The tokens will be held on the various zones, and can be moved from one zone to another via the IRIS Hub.

Initial token distribution:

On Genesis, the initial token supply will be 2,000,000,000 IRIS tokens. The distribution of IRIS tokens is planned to be as follows:

  • Private Sale: 25%

  • Bianjie Developer Team: 15% (4-year vesting period starting from IRIS Hub launch, during which the team will vest 1/48th of its IRIS tokens each month)

  • Tendermint Developer Team: 10% (2-year vesting period starting from IRIS Hub launch, during which the team will vest 1/24th of its IRIS tokens each month)

  • IRIS Foundation: 15% (reserved to support the operations of the Foundation)

  • Ecosystem Development: 30% (swap with zones connecting to IRIS Hub; grant to potential users; awards to outstanding partners)

  • Cosmos Hub Airdrop: 5%


IRIS is being developed by two teams:

Bianjie is the core development team for the IRIS network, leveraging the team’s experience established from building distributed applications. Bianjie is a Shanghai-based start-up established in 2016. It focuses on developing innovative products and solutions for healthcare and financial industries, using advanced Blockchain and AI technologies. It is the operation and service partner of Cosmos Network in China.

Tendermint’s intended role is to give technical advice and development support to the IRIS project team in extending the Tendermint ABCI and the Cosmos IBC technologies.


The IRIS project has already accomplished the Pangu stage and is currently in the Nuwa stage. The IRIS project stages are set out below:

  • PANGU (January 2018 ~ March 2019) The first stage of the IRIS project focused on having the IRIS Hub up and running. Initial version of the mobile client for the IRIS network was released. In this stage the fundamental IRIS Service Layer was built and was released to IRIS Hub. The fundamental IRIS Service layer enables service definition, binding, invocation and query.

  • NUWA (April 2019 ~ October 2019)  In this stage we are adding more fundational modules to support application development especially DeFi applications. The new modules planned to release in this stage including multi-asset management, Coinswap, multi-sig account etc. We plan to collabrate with 1-2 ecosystem parteners to develop applications using those modules. We also plan to accomplish the test connection with Cosmos Hub through IBC at this stage.

  • KUAFU (Nov 2019 ~ September 2020) In this stage the connection of IRIS Hub with applications blockchains through IBC will be accomplished. The IRISnet mobile client will be upgraded to support those applications. The third stage will also focus on incremental upgrades to the IRIS network in order to support the planned advanced IRIS Service features.

  • HOUYI (Beyond September 2020) The fourth stage will focus on further technology innovations to the IRIS network, SDK and mobile client, as well as developer engagement.



IRISnet is designed to be the foundation for the next generation distributed applications. Built with Cosmos-SDK, IRIS Hub enables cross-chain interoperability through a unified service model, while providing a variety of modules to support DeFi, AI & Healthcare related applications.

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