DeFi, How Tos

How to Get Started on Cosmos

Onboard into the Cosmos in 4 easy steps.
William M. Peaster William M. Peaster Oct 18, 20226 min read
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How to Get Started on Cosmos

Dear Bankless Nation,

We’re spotlighting the Cosmos ecosystem on Bankless this week!

If you’ve never stepped foot into Cosmos, William’s guide today gives you a step-by-step guide to get you started in four quick steps:

  • 👛 Get a Keplr wallet
  • ⚛️ Top up ATOM
  • ⚗️ Transfer to and trade on the Osmosis DEX
  • 🎨 Snag an NFT on the Stargaze NFT marketplace

This is your starter guide to Cosmos. The rest of the week will run through the history of Cosmos and a comparison against Ethereum.

Should be a fun week.

Let’s explore the galaxy.

- Bankless team


Cosmos, the “internet of chains,” is a decentralized network of blockchains that has one of the most active development communities in crypto.

However, the project isn’t based on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), thus many Ethereans don’t know how to begin exploring its ecosystem.

Accordingly, this Bankless tactic will show you how to get started on Cosmos as a beginner!

  • Goal: Learn how to explore the Cosmos ecosystem
  • Skill: Beginner
  • Effort: A couple hours of prep
  • ROI: Access to new DeFi and NFT frontiers

Getting started on Cosmos


Welcome to the Cosmos ecosystem

This Monday’s Bankless podcast episode featured Sunny Aggarwal and Zaki Manian on The Cosmos Thesis, both of whom are prolific builders in the Cosmos ecosystem.

The final discussion point centered around what resources beginners should start with and proceed from if they decided to dive in Cosmos today:

David Hoffman: “In Ethereum we have MetaMask, you got to have MetaMask. What’s the toolkit for people that they need to be equipped with to go explore Cosmos? What’s the MetaMask of Cosmos?

Sunny Aggarwal: “Go get a Keplr wallet… go on a centralized exchange and buy ATOM, which is the entry point into Cosmos today. You IBC it to Osmosis, do a swap for a token called STARS. You IBC that to Stargaze and go buy your first Bad Kids NFT. That’s your onboarding path, the to-do list.”

Zaki Manian: “I think if you just look at that, you’ve got an NFT app, an onboarding place, a decentralized exchange. Use these experiences and say hey, how different does this feel from Ethereum and how much did you spend on gas?

So there we have it, a tangible onboarding path to the Cosmos space recommended by the founders themselves that can help you go from novice to Cosmonaut in just four steps.

Below, we’ll walk through the basics of each step!


1. Get a Keplr wallet

Keplr Wallet is a browser extension/mobile wallet for opening and managing Cosmos ecosystem addresses.

Via the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, Keplr users can readily interact with ATOM and the main Cosmos Hub network plus smaller independent Cosmos appchains and their tokens.

To start using Keplr, download your format of choice (Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Android).

When you’re done downloading Keplr, use the wallet’s Create New Account option to prepare your first Cosmos wallet. This process will entail backing up your mnemonic seed, naming your account, and setting your password. Afterwards, you’ll be ready to receive your first ATOM deposit!


2. Get ATOM

Just like ETH is the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, ATOM is the native cryptocurrency of Cosmos. Just like ETH, you need ATOM to pay for Cosmos Hub transactions.

Accordingly, before you can proceed into the Cosmos ecosystem you’ll need to seed your wallet with ATOM tokens first, and the easiest way to do that is to acquire some ATOM on a centralized exchange.

Let’s say you don’t have any cash in your exchange account and you don’t feel like waiting a week for a bank deposit to hit, but you do have some ETH on hand.

For example, Coinbase offers immediate crypto-to-crypto conversions, so you could quickly swap some ETH for ATOM there and then move your new ATOM tokens to your Keplr wallet address.


3. Transfer to and trade on Osmosis

Osmosis, an appchain on Cosmos, is currently the most popular decentralized exchange in the Cosmos ecosystem. Since the project is its own chain, you’ll need to acquire some OSMO to dive into trading. Here’s how you could proceed:

  1. Go to app.osmosis.zone/assets and connect your Keplr wallet
  2. Scroll down to Cosmos Hub - ATOM and press Deposit
  1. Input how much ATOM you want to proceed with and press Deposit again
  2. When the transaction completes, go to the Osmosis Swap page and input how much ATOM you want to swap for OSMO
  3. Press Swap when you’re ready to proceed and approve the transaction — it will be free fee-wise since this is your first trade and you don’t have any OSMO yet
  4. Sunny Aggarwal’s onboarding suggestion was to proceed by trading for STARS on Osmosis, so use the Osmosis Swap page to trade your desired amount of OSMO for STARS
  1. Approve in Keplr popup.

4. Go to Stargaze to collect a Bad Kids NFT

Alright, you’ve got STARS tokens, the currency of the Stargaze NFT marketplace.

Now what?

The Osmosis dapp made moving ATOM to Osmosis easy, and it can also make moving STARS to Stargaze easy.

Just go to your assets dashboard, scroll down to STARS, and press Withdraw.

Then you’ll input how much STARS you want to transfer and approve the transaction, and boom! Again, approve the Keplr popup (zero gas selected). In a few moments your tokens will appear on Stargaze.

Now you’re ready to head over to the homepage of Bad Kids, a collection of “9,999 bad drawings of bad kids.”

At the time of writing the floor price was 3,500 STARS, which currently equates to ~$128 USD.

To proceed you’d simply click on whichever of the NFTs you want, press Buy Now, and approve the purchase transaction.

Agree to the terms and conditions when prompted.

Finally, approve the purchase in Keplr.

That’s it! After these steps you’ll be acquainted with the basics of Cosmos wallets, transfers, DeFi, and NFTs. Nicely done!


The Cosmos frontier is expanding

It’s a really interesting time for the Cosmos community.

Not only is the project on the verge of evolving into an optimized 2.0 version, but its DeFi and NFT frontiers are also blossoming out in all directions right now similar to how Ethereum’s DeFi and NFT scenes began a few years ago.

If this is a new bankless frontier that you’re interested in becoming an early settler of, then the onboarding path described above is a great way forward for covering all the basics.


Action steps

William M. Peaster

Written by William M. Peaster

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William M. Peaster, Senior Writer, has been with Bankless since January 2021. Immersed in Ethereum since 2017, he writes the Metaversal newsletter on the onchain frontier, covering everything from AI projects to crypto games, as the team’s lead NFT analyst. With a background in creative writing, he writes fiction and publishes art on Ethereum in his free time. He lives in Washington.

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