Tag Archives: centralized

Beware EOS and NEO

Both EOS and NEO have been billed as the ethereum-killer and both have had concerted hype machines behind them. They are both building smart contract blockchains that hope to offer the same level of service as the current Ethereum Public Blockchain but with more throughput. Scaling is the buzzword of the month and EOS and NEO aim to achieve higher transactions per second by using a delegated proof of stake or delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance method.

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Delegated proof of stake is a system where a limited number of Block producers actually stake coin to validate and create blocks. In the case of EOS the Block Producers is set at 21 initially. Those 21 nodes stake EOS coin and are granted the privilege of creating blocks and capturing the block rewards.

EOS coin holders can vote for which nodes are staking through a 1 token = 1 vote method. Now these EOS coins should not be confused with the EOS ERC20 token. The EOS website is very clear “The EOS Tokens do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features, express or implied, including, without limitation, any uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features on the EOS Platform.”

Those that have bought the EOS ERC20 may have very well been scammed out of their ethereum.

NEO is using a slightly different consensus method call delegated Byzantine Fault Tolerance. This refers to an agreement problem involving trusting third parties and dealing with bad actors. The byzantine generals problem has been a big issue for many years {clip}.

So if satoshi solved the generals problem though the Nakamoto consensus why are back at this problem? Scaling. In a race to be the one blockchain that rules them all many scaling methods are being attempted. The big issue with the dBFT that NEO is using is two parts.

The system only needs 66% agreement.
The system is starting out with a handpicked 7 validator nodes. Chosen by the NEO developers because they hold 51% of the coins.

This is a huge red flag. The developers effectively have a 51% attack on the NEO blockchain. They control enough coin to pick the nodes regardless of votes, and the nodes they pick can choose to accept or reject whichever transactions or smart contracts they wish. There is no recourse. Even if the public NEO holders voted for a different node they only have 49% of the votes at most.

This is not a blockchain I trust or recommend. Even if more validator nodes were allowed the token distribution effectively squelches any dissenting opinions.

Even if the tokens were distributed more widely and more publically there would still be huge issues. With both EOS and NEO the voting to select a block validator process is fatally flawed from the onset. First and most importantly, most people don’t vote. Even when incentivised the turnout is almost always less than 50%. Second, votes can be bought and sold for money, social capital, or promises of future favors. Finally voting typically and most assuredly in the case of these two blockchains results in a plutocracy where the whales make the decisions. None of these are better than what we have now with the current consensus methods employed by Ethereum or Dash or Bitcoin Cash.

Furthermore I am very interested to see how the EOS ethereum token transfers over to the EOS platform. If there is not a direct 1 to 1 transfer then the fundraiser regardless of disclaimers is fraudulent. Be careful out there. Anyone can buy hype, anyone can make claims, but not everyone delivers.

Music: “Out of the Skies Under the Earth” by Chris Zabriskie