Post By Anthony Broderick on June 25, 2018
Here at WEB3-IOT our aim is to track the inevitable convergence between the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) such as blockchain. One of the most heated debates in the DLT space right now is - which blockchain will form the infrastructure for the coming wave of Decentralised Applications (Dapps) that will run on Web 3.0? Anthony Broderick takes a deep dive into how Bitcoin and Ethereum' blockchain platforms stack up against EOS.
Ever since Vitalik Buterin released Etherium on the 30th of July in 2015, developers have been able to use it to host their dapps on the platform. In total, more than 77% of all Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are hosted on the Ethereum blockchain. As a consequence of its popularity and functionality, Etherium has seen an exponential increase in the price of its crypto coin ETH; currently worth $452 per coin at the time of writing. In the eyes of many, Etherium will continue to overcome growing pains such as its inability to scale beyond 10-16 transactions per second (TPS). They also believe it will inevitably remain in a dominant position for future dapp developers looking to use blockchain as the foundation of their projects. Although their beliefs are perfectly justified, some Etherium believers are having their faith firmly tested by the changing tides of the crypto space, namely the ICO of EOS.
When EOS’s whitepaper was first released by its founder Daniel Larimer it received a great deal of attention from the community.
"The EOS.IO software introduces a new blockchain architecture designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralised applications. This is achieved by creating an operating system-like construct upon which applications can be built." - EOS’s whitepaper.
Following on from this whitepaper EOS raised $4 Billion in its ICO, the most ever raised from an ICO to date. A lot of cryptocurrency experts are very passionate about EOS, and therefore there’s no surprise that at the time of writing EOS ranks 5th in tables (at $7.2 billion) when comparing the market cap of each cryptocurrency on the market today.
At the time of writing EOS in under development with no minimal viable product realised so far. Thus any conversation regarding its potential to transform the crypto space and uproot Etherium as the blockchain platform can only remain a theoretical one, however, we believe it's a conversation worth having.
The three most significant differences in the EOS and Etherium architecture are as follows:
Click here to view graph as an image (mobile version).
On paper, it may appear that Etherium's consensus mechanism (currently PoW, but soon PoS) is more decentralised than the one proposed by EOS in the form of Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS), but this may not be the case. There is growing concern that "block producers" that mine BTC and ETH are forming cartels and this is having a negative impact. Cartels, also referred to as "Mining Pools", make it increasingly difficult for smaller independent block producers to compete thereby making both Bitcoin and Ethereum's blockchains less decentralised. Furthermore, there is evidence that by working together these cartels are giving themselves an unfair advantage because they are increasing their chances of obtaining crypto pay-outs as a result of aggregating their combined hashing power across the globe.
If this is allowed to continue it could make both Bitcoin and Ethereum vulnerable from a 51% attack as a result of collusion between Cartel members. Vitalik Buterin would probably refute this point by saying that it is within the mining pools' best financial interest to operates their nodes honestly in order to continue reaping profits from being block producers. Although his point is perfectly valid, the risk of such an attack remains and is, therefore, something worth bearing in mind.
Furthermore, if Etherium and Bitcoin are at the behest of unelected mining pools would it not be better to use the EOS system of Delegated Proof-of-Stake whereby witnesses are elected on their merits and integrity to mine blocks and verify transactions? Afterall EOS has 21 elected witnesses, and that's many more than the number of mining pools which currently have such a powerful grip over the way both ETH and BTC are mined.
In conclusion, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out, and which DLTs grow in dominance and which become irrelevant. Some believe that there will be one blockchain platform to rule them all, but we think it is far more likely that Dapps will end up running on many different flavours of DLT. In the West, there is always a Pepsi to rival Coke, and an Android to rival iOS so it is very probable that we will see something similar in the DLT space. Some blockchains will have universal appeal for Dapps developers, while others will probably be optimised for more niche use cases.
It's important to remember that we are at the genesis of DLT evolution. Bitcoin was the very first blockchain platform to exist, and Ethereum was the second. EOS is a part of the third wave, but there are plenty more DLTs that don't even use blockchain such as IOTA and Byteball; they utilise something called Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs).
As newer more radical DLTs are found that make early generation blockchain platforms appear obsolete, it may be possible for these outdated Blockchains to survive by mutating. This can be achieved by replicating new approaches and integrating them into their platform's protocols via a consensus among miners to upgrade themselves and potentially avoid extinction.
Ultimately, the collective drive for dominance we are witnessing between rival blockchain platforms such as Etherium and EOS is a good thing as it will ensure that only the fittest survive. This will make the DLT space better, stronger, and more resilient, which has got to be a good thing if, like us, you believe that a more decentralised Internet will make the world a better place.
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