The Cosmos Hub utilizes Tendermint as the underlying BFT consensus engine and uses a BPoS protocol for block proposer elections, where each proposer (validator) is weighted according to their relative total bonded stake and where a validator’s total bonded stake is directly correlated to their chance to propose a block and the amount of rewards they receive for doing so. The protocol supports a fixed number of bonded validators .
These validators can self-bond, meaning they can delegate ATOMs to themselves, and they can also receive delegations from any other atom holder. These bonded ATOMs acts as collateral and cause each delegate, including validators, to have “skin in the game” so to speak. If any equivocation or byzantine behavior by a validator were to be committed, the validator and its delegates would be slashed a percentage of their relative total bonded stake.
Delegates may have many reasons to delegate their ATOMs. First and foremost, delegates and validators receive rewards each block that are proportional to their total amount of bonded stake per each validator they’re bonded to. Secondly, it directly contributes to the security of the entire network. Of course delegates and validators themselves may choose to unbond their ATOMs for a variety of reasons.
However, it is important to note that these ATOMs are subject to what is known as the UnbondingPeriod, an on-chain parameterized period of time upon which all delegates, including validators, must wait for their ATOMs to become fully unbonded. Until the UnbondingPeriod has passed, the ATOMs are essentially locked. In addition, these ATOMs are still subject to be potentially slashed upon commitment of any byzantine behavior. The UnbondingPeriod ensures a variety of security measures in the network, such as accounting for network synchrony assumptions, providing a lower bound for the length of a long-range attack  and solving the “nothing-at...