Blockchain Live Keynote speaker and CEO of Headline Sponsor block.one Brendan Blumer began his career in the technology space at age of 14. Brendan has made a name for himself as a leading entrepreneur in virtual currencies, blockchain and gaming, among other industries. We met with Brendan and Ian Grigg, a partner at block.one and advisor in development of EOS, for a chat about the exciting work they are leading in making blockchain scalable for enterprise application.
The first thing that struck me about Brendan and Ian was their commitment to the user and to the idea of community. This becomes more evident when you look at the history of EOS and its foundation on the community success of Steemit, the brainchild of block.one CTO and renowned Blockchain visionary Dan Larimer. According to Brendan, any good public blockchain project is in fact a community and it is this community which gives it its value and in some respects the community is the blockchain product itself. It was this intrinsic understanding of both community and business needs which enabled them to create the most promising innovation in Blockchain since Bitcoin itself. EOS is the platform on which future communities and smart businesses (or Decentralised Autonomous Corporations) can flourish. And as we learned from our chat with Brendan and Ian, EOS is the infrastructure that enterprise has been waiting for.
At a glance EOS can be described as the first blockchain protocol to support massively scalable projects. In comparison with the rate of 3-5 transactions per second on bitcoin or the 15 transactions per second rate claimed by Ethereum, EOS expects to scale up to, and past, 1 million transactions per second. At this point Brendan and Ian bring the issue home. Despite the catalogue of promises associated with blockchain, much of its transformative potential is far from being realised. We learn that taking even a single step towards fulfilling this promise, requires a total re-envisioning of its infrastructure.
Hold onto your hats, this is where it gets technical!
EOS can achieve scalability because of Dan’s pioneering work with asymmetrical communication between the chains, which according to Brendan ‘allows parallel processing on the block, so as one chain reaches its limit, instead of the entire network tapping out and unable to handle anything else, we’re are able to just add another chain’. Brendan clarifies that with EOS, blockchain applications are able to scale on a distributed network in a similar way to a cloudserver.
So what does this mean for someone wishing to move onto the blockchain? Brendan and Ian explain that such an architecture translates to scalability and enterprise-ready performance which not only dramatically reduces cost but also diminishes the risk of downtime. Another nifty technical feature of EOS is its take on preserving determinism of contracts by hashing messages, not states. We are told that unlike Ethereum, the focus on message hashing makes it built for smart contracts and as such, smart businesses. For more technical guidance we encourage you to check out the EOS.IO Technical Whitepaper.
Having been thoroughly impressed with the specifications and features of EOS, we were interested in learning more about the driving force behind creating this pioneering platform. Again, the sense of community and the focus on user experience were key. Ian pointed out that with bitcoin and other altcoin architectures, the safety of the user came up short. We understood that with the bitcoin blockchain, the chain itself was secure, but for Ian it lacked the human element, stating ‘if something does go wrong, it’s the user who is ultimately out of luck’.
This is not such a great foundation for building a business which will need to deal with the general errors and pressures which a business environment can often present. The motivation of business needs and to a large extent human needs, has fed into every design element of EOS. Ian commented that EOS allowed communities to build a governing chain where you could collectively ‘agree that certain things should be allowed back’ effectively overcoming the hacking and hard forking issues which have most recently plagued the bitcoin blockchain. Brendan describes this as the ‘ideological shift’ away from code as law and back towards better accommodation of the human element.
Continuing the conversation, we learn about another ground breaking functionality of EOS, the idea of a Blockchain Constitution. Brendan explains that ‘anytime you put a transaction on the network, you’re hashing in your consent to a constitution’. And by constitution we mean a peer-to-peer licence agreement which allows participants to come to a consensus on how they will overcome the inevitable loss of value caused by imperfections in the code. The creation of a constitution gives power directly back to those transacting on the network, providing a welcome alternative to the highly centralised decision making processes related with the bitcoin and ethereum blockchains.
We were interested to learn just what kind of communities Brendan and the team had been working with and what kind of businesses were ripe for using the EOS platform. They said that they had been approached by a whole raft of companies at various stages of production, some exciting new projects had approached them and others were keen to jump from traditional platforms to EOS. From Brandan’s engagement with the community, the platform represents ‘a breath of fresh air for those who are ready to roll things out but just haven’t had the technology.’
If you are interested in learning more about EOS and block.one, you can catch Brendan and Dan as well as their Partner, Brock Pierce at Blockchain Live. Check out the latest programme and don’t forget to visit their BlockchainLive exhibition space where they will be giving informative sessions on the technology behind EOS.
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