Block.one is a private blockchain company founded by Brenden Blumer and Dan Larimer in 2017. It is best known for developing the EOS.IO protocol, which the company announced in 2017 and subsequently released as open-source software in 2018.
The EOS.IO blockchain was developed with the aim of facilitating efficient and scalable decentralized applications (dapps). The blockchain includes an operating-system-like set of services and functions and works similarly to the Ethereum platform. Block.one completed an initial coin offering (ICO) of EOS in June 2018 after taking over a full year and 350 periods of distribution (one token distribution of 2 million tokens per day). The ICO raised over $4 billion over the full year, with 1 billion tokens sold: 90% to the ICO participants and 10% to the Block.one team.
In order to secure its network, EOS.IO uses a delegated proof-of-stake model (DPoS), a concept first developed by Larimer. DPoS uses real-time voting combined with a social system of reputation to achieve consensus on who can create the next block of transactions in the blockchain. Every EOS token holder has influence over what happens on the network, proportional to how many tokens their account holds. After initially deciding not to utilize its influence in the platform’s governance process, Block.one later decided to utilize its tokens to vote for block producers.
In 2019, Block.one revealed that it would launch a social media platform on the EOS blockchain called Voice. The platform will have its own native token, the Voice Token, that will allow users to earn crypto while posting content. Furthermore, in order to keep bots off the platform, Block.one will perform identity checks using a government ID.
In September 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that Block.one must pay a $24 billion penalty for their 2017-2018 ICO, which the SEC classified as an unregistered securities sale. Adding to that, Block.one’s problems are not yet over. Block.one promised to build a decentralized protocol without a leader when raising money in 2017. But critics argue Block.one failed to achieve that goal. Investors filed a class-action lawsuit against Block.one in May 2020 asserting that Block.one raised money during “a global frenzy over cryptocurrencies and unchecked human greed.” At the start of 2021, Dan Larimer announced his departure from the company via a public message on Block.one’s social media platform, Voice. The former Steemit and BitShares creator gave no indication as to what motivated the move but said he intends to turn his focus towards “building more censorship-resistance technologies” elsewhere.
By John Metais and Alyssa Hertig