Recent reports of EOS block producer vote collusion has been a major controversy for EOS. Fortunately, Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer has stepped into the breach, addressing claims and calming investor panic… for now. We expect that this event will not sink EOS and that this important conversation will actually strengthen the cryptocurrency market in the long term.
The EOS Block Producer Collusion Controversy
If you buy EOS tokens, you buy the right to vote for EOS block producers. One EOS token equals one vote. If you have 10 EOS tokens, you can vote ten times, either 10x for one potential block producer or for ten different block producers, each once. Block producers who get the most votes receive new EOS tokens, which they then distribute in various ways. Block producers also perform numerous network security and enhancement functions.
The problem is that block producers, by and large, have more EOS tokens than anyone else. A major controversy about EOS’s Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) governance model (read the EOS Guide for more) is that wealthy delegates could just vote for one another, ensuring that the rich would stay in power. It’s unclear if this has actually happened in this case, but Blumer’s statement indicates the Block.one could take emendatory action if major problems were to occur.
Brendan Blumer’s Solution
Blumer’s statement is as follows:
“We are aware of some unverified claims regarding irregular block producer voting, and the subsequent denials of those claims. We believe it is important to ensure a free and democratic election process within EOS and may, as we deem appropriate, vote with other holders to reinforce the integrity of this process.”
This statement is somewhat cryptic, but it seems to indicate that Block.one could use their hefty EOS bankroll to vote for virtuous block producers if colluding block producers did, indeed, vote for each other in perpetuity.
This course of action will likely have one of three results, both of which are likely good for EOS and the cryptocurrency market at large:
1) EOS block producers don’t turn into wicked oligarchs and the blockchain progresses without major issues. EOS’s 21 block producer DPoS model was labelled as flawed by critics from the beginning. It’s possible that collusion has not actually occurred.
2) EOS block producers do collude, and thereafter take actions not in the best interests of the network. Block.one must vote for virtuous BPs, and thus becomes an arbiter of network security. This possibility isn’t ideal but would end up a net positive if Block.one’s chosen BPs were those the community also supported.
3) EOS block producers do collude and attempts to subvert them through voting fail. In this case, EOS would either have to change its governance model away from 21 BP DPoS. Failing this, more centralised blockchains like Ethereum would likely take back some of the market share swallowed by EOS. The whole ordeal would be a lesson to cryptocurrency, and the industry would become stronger as a result.
It will take some excellent sleuthing to prove what’s actually happening regarding EOS block producer collusion. Fortunately, due to the high degree of involvement on the part of the EOS user, develop, and investor communities, you can be sure that any problems will be noticed and any solutions will be shouted from the rooftops. Blockchain is still young, and while growing pains like these are difficult, these challenges ultimately make blockchain technology stronger.
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