The Calm Before the Storm?
This issue of our regular Lumi Wallet Digest on EOS might seem short, but don’t rush to accuse us of laziness: despite breaking news, July happened to be a relatively calm month. But that just scratches the surface; behind the curtain, developers and common users alike are heatedly discussing long overdue voting reforms and other governing issues, projects of different scales continue to flourish on the blockchain, and Block.one continues to head, step by step, towards its major goal - implementation of v. 1.8 Upgrade.
Without further ado, let’s start with the latter.
Block.one’s EOSIO Labs series aims to expand the ideas of the EOSIO Manifests, Assert Contracts, and the Security Model behind them by giving the community free access to open source repositories and the opportunity to release their own products via EOSIO Labs.
The new release, the EOSIO Specification Repository, an EOSIO Labs initiative, provides technical design details for many of the ideas discussed in the Strategic Vision. It creates a dedicated repository on GitHub through which block.one hopes to collaborate more closely with the developer community.
"Goal: We aim to communicate our technical design choices and seek feedback from the community on our approach. However, we may not be able to respond to every element of feedback or synthesize all the feedback into a consensus approach."
Joseph J. Guerra, Developer
Block.one has a great focus on assisting developers, but does not forget to communicate with a wider audience as well, implementing a more detailed layout of their plans to expand the platform.
On the 18th of July they published an article, Strategic Vision: Scaling the EOSIO Platform (Part 1 of 4), expanding upon the ideas they proclaimed are their 4 core principles: Scalability, Development, Users, and Enterprises. The article itself focuses on the vertical and horizontal scalability of the blockchain and plans to maximize its efficiency.
In this first article in the series on Block.one’s core principles they did not forget to introduce the 5th one — Stay Connected — and state that they appreciate and endorse all the constructive feedback from the community.
And what about other projects on the EOS blockchain?
lterdice announces its first Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) with XR Web, a decentralized Protocol for XR (Extended Reality) apps built for the Internet of the 3D Physical World. The IEO is being held on the Alterdice.com IEO launchpad.
Equilibrium, a framework for generating asset-backed EOSDT stablecoins, and an EOS Authority and founding block producer, announced the REX Staking Functionality that allows users to receive REX rewards from EOS, stored as collateral on Equilibrium.
Effect.ai officially launched its project, Effect Force, on the EOS mainnet on the 10th of July. This project is a platform that provides microtasks on AI training to workers willing to participate all around the world. Since the moment of launching, 150k tasks have been completed, as Effect.ai reports on twitter.
LiquidApp is live on EOS, with LiquidAccounts available for dapp developers. Now they have the opportunity to offer free virtual accounts to users. The first LiquidApp running on EOS is Block.one’s Elemental Battles.
WIZZ Network released a new chat encrypted messenger for EOS account holders - WIZZ CHAT in beta. It offers private chats with end-to-end encryption, as well as encrypted group chats.
Hirevibes alpha release is live. It is a blockchain jobs platform that incentivizes freelance, contract, and permanent hiring via cryptocurrencies. Now users can apply and refer job openings while earning through recruiting fees and donations.
WORBLI, a financial services ecosystem for projects on blockchain, announced their involvement with the EDNA project. Through EDNA, users will be allowed to share their data and participate in genetic research while monetizing their own DNA data. WORBLI will help them develop their commercial strategy and provide the financial and regulatory glue to allow EDNA to operate on various chains by meeting the latest AML/KYC requirements.
CoinCola, a leading OTC Bitcoin trading platform, announced support for the EOS cryptocurrency, making it available for its retail customers. This continues the latest trend of EOS being rapidly embraced across the Asian region.
An Upgrade Is Coming
The Upgrade was proposed on #B1June. The Upgrade is a long-awaited almost-fork of EOS, that, by some estimations might be one of the hardest forks ever performed as it requires all major participants to simultaneously transit to the new version — 1.8 — of the mainnet. However, the benefits expected from it are also huge. Block.one promised an increase in the speed of transactions of up to 10x and a reduction in inflation from 5% to 1%.
With a stable release of both EOSIO v1.8 and EOSIO.contracts v1.7, block producers have to coordinate a simultaneous upgrade, and any EOS nodes that fail to upgrade before the scheduled deadline will stop syncing. For now, EOSIO v.1.8.0 has been successfully deployed on two testnets, Jungle and Kylin, and all developers are encouraged to join those testnets to increase the chances of carrying out the coming update flawlessly.
BP EOS New York submitted an on-chain poll to make sure all BPs agree on the date of upgrade and are prepared for it. The proposed date is September 23.
Which problems could arise before this important milestone and what benefits could be reaped afterward?
Let’s start with the problems.
Chinese BP’s and Voting
The problem of possible collusion of Block Producers, the formation of cartels, and vote-buying stays with any blockchain that is built on the principles of democratic representation. We’ve touched on this topic throughout previous digests, and we will continue to do so as long as the problem stays afoot.
And in this particular case, concerns about Asian BP’s holding the overwhelming majority in active BP’s pool are more serious than ever. At the start, quiet musings about EOS drifting East were nothing more than a result of poor communication between different cultures and styles of maintenance of the community, but the longer Asian and Chinese BP’s, in particular, stayed on top, the louder the voices of the displeased got.
While it would be tempting to write it off just as a subtle form of xenophobia, it is actually based on rational concerns:
- The Government of China is unpredictable and can ban or strictly regulate cryptocurrencies at any time, and with the local web already under their extensive deep control, it can turn all the worst fears of EOS skeptics into reality.
- Even without the threat of government legislation, lack of proper communication between Eastern and Western BP’s could lead to a lack of unison during the transition, which would cause unpredictable damage to the network.
- The ideas of skeptics might be already true: cartels exist, vote buying happens ubiquitously, and the end is nigh.
For all these problems it seems there is only one solution: the reformation of the voting system on-chain as soon as possible, which would address all these issues. While new ideas constantly emerge in discussions and propositions are made, there is still no consensus, and September is going to come fast, faster than any theorists expect.
We are trying our best to monitor all the proposals being made on EOS governance, from Dan Larimer’s meditations to threads on reddit, and hope to sum them up in an upcoming digest or a standalone article. Stay tuned, because politics on-chain are heated no less than in the real world, but at least have more hope of being solved to everyone’s satisfaction.
Whispers about Voice
But let’s imagine that all these troubles were far behind, the update successfully implemented, and the grass is green again. What would EOS users get?
Voice. There was an overwhelming sentiment after #B1June that the announcement of Voice was not the “big thing” everyone had expected, and that it was rather disappointing - another social platform, whatever. But a strange trend emerged a few weeks later - every news article about Facebook’s “Shadowbanning” patent, unexpected twitter shutdown, or even controversial redesign was followed by a discussion on EOS threads and even more. “If only we had an alternative”.
With the current state of social media and censorship on those platforms, Voice still looks like the only forthcoming platform that has the resources and qualities to shake the status quo. If it can be embraced by the masses. And that can only happen If the upgrade goes smoothly. And to save trust on-chain, voting protocols must be dealt with. And everything must be solved before the 23rd of September.
Have we already mentioned that EOS sometimes resembles an action-packed drama? Well, it does.
Patience and a Little Effort
Big ups and downs are ahead. Now it is time to master your skills and prepare for the upcoming battles. If anyone wants to study something new, on the 10th of July eos.io released a Webinar with an introduction to EOSIO Blockchain Development by Block.one. And if this interests you any further, Block.one is now hiring, check their page.
If you prefer to support projects with coin and advice, watch this soothing video of BP’s rank constantly changing during the first year of mainnet existence and post some ideas on governance reform. Or just have a jog in the park, what could happen in an hour - the President of the United States tweeting about bitcoin?
It’s an exciting time we are living in for sure. Stop worrying and enjoy it. At least with EOS news, every two weeks you are fully covered.