A snap overview of EOS
…to know what it’s really about beyond the recent hype
EOS is a blockchain and smart contract platform that enables development, hosting and execution of commercial-scale decentralized applications (dApps) with a focus on speed, scalability and user experience. In a much simpler sense, EOS is a general purpose platform on which many decentralized applications can be built.
EOS uses delegated proof of stake (DPoS) model. Also, it regards token ownership as a bandwidth on the network to achieve high throughput and zero transaction fees. It is considered the major challenger and competitor to ethereum. However, other smart contract platforms that competes in the same category include NEO, Cardano, Tezos, Dfinity, Rchain, etc.
EOS is an open source software currently being developed by Block.one. Block.one is a company registered in Cayman Islands. Block.one describes EOS as an operating system for decentralized applications. Block.one currently employs more than 50 people and it’s growing.
EOS was first announced in May 2017 at the Consensus event. The project is by Dan Larimer who already been part of two successful projects in the blockchain world. The first is Bitshares which is a crypto exchange and the other one is Steem (which is like a decentralized Medium). Graphene was used as the framework for both projects and it is the choice for EOS also. Dan left Bitshares in 2016 and co-founded Steem and Steemit with Ned Scott. He left Steemit in the early part of 2017 and announced EOS soon afterwards.
Dan Larimer is the CTO of Block.one. The CEO is Brendan Blumer, a serial entrepreneur based in Asia.
Mainnet launch and tokens:
The date of the EOS mainnet launch is June 1, 2018. It is expected to be live by June 2. The current EOS tokens being traded on cryptoexchanges is a voucher token that will be exchanged for EOS coins (on EOS blockchain) by June 1, 2018. (This has already begun to take place on several exchanges). Current EOS token holders will receive an EOS coin for each EOS token they have.
The case for EOS:
There is (reportedly) a huge market for for dApps that needs to be hosted on a neutral, global database that offers platform-grade censorship resistance but with high level of speed and throughput.
For most blockchain apps, being hosted on a distributed neutral database is more important than maximizing decentralization. The thinking behind the EOS blockchain is that validation by a large network of consumer-grade computers all over the globe is unrealistic and unnecessary for global scale dApps. Therefore, the EOS model is to optimize for speed and throughput by using only as much decentralization as necessary to maintain useful levels of openness, censorship resistance and lack of a single point of failure.
Some argue than it will only capture the market for apps that do not need to be on the blockchain in the first place. High throughput apps that doesn’t require strong levels of censorship resistance should be built on a database not blockchain.
Decentralized ownership gives developers freedom and confidence that their apps will not be rendered worthless by top-down executive decisions. Also, the argument fueled by the existence of Steem that some apps do not require decentralization but could benefit a lot from it.
EOS uses DPoS, Graphene, message-based architecture, Web Assembly Virtual Machine (WASM), protocol-layer account recovery. DPoS concentrates block production in the hands of just a few known, semi-trusted entities in order to achieve orders of magnitude and more scalability than POW (Proof-Of-Work) or other POS (Proof-Of-Stake).
Ethereum’s POW consensus is quite slow and expensive. Not too long ago, a single dApp known as Cryptokittens halted the ethereum network. This is why ethereum is mulling a transition to POS.
In delegated proof of stake (DPoS), holders of network token casts votes to elect block producers. Votes are weighed by voter’s stakes and the block producer that receives the most votes are those who produce blocks. Block producers do not necessarily need to have a large stake but they must compete to receive votes from users.
EOS will launch using WASM Virtual Machine rather than Ethereum’s Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). WASM is known to be faster and better than EVM. Even Ethereum is said to be working on a WASM implementation. The advantages of WASM includes improvement in speed (and performance) and support for C, C++ and Rust (with prospects to add more compliers in other languages). This means that developers who already have experience with these languages can begin building on EOS instead of having to learn a new language like Solidity.
EOS is projected to be far more scalable than ethereum. Bitshares and Steem both have 3-second block times. EOS is targeting 0.5 second blocks.
Users don’t have to pay transaction fees to use the network. Rather, they must own or rent network tokens. EOS uses just inflation to pay block producers. The block producers will also offer storage services.
Ownership of EOS coins grants; bandwidth, storage, voting rights, access to dApps (for users), access to users (for dApps), income from renting out bandwidth and airdrops.
Block.one’s year long ICO has raised about $4B USD and have announced that they will reinvest majority of the amount raised into the EOS ecosystem. Block.one has an allocation of 10% of all tokens.
The best case scenario is that it outperforms ethereum and becomes the leading smart contract platform. The worst case scenario is where no (or very low number of) dApps is built on the platform.