Inside the Sprawling (Ongoing) Vote That Will Decide When EOS Launches

Jun 8, 2018 at 18:30 UTC
Updated Jun 9, 2018 at 10:16 UTC
FEATURE

Almost one week after initiating, one of the largest, strangest experiments in global crypto governance hesitated as it neared its culmination.

While EOS, a new blockchain created by Block.One, which raised approximately $4 billion to build it over the past year, had effectively turned the code over to its users as of last Saturday, into Friday, the fruits of that effort suggest a lack of clear process is holding back progress.

At least two votes that could have ended with a version of the software launching actually took place (based on CoinDesk’s view of an unofficial stream of the decision-making). Assembled were candidates vying to become EOS “block producers,” or the entities able to process transactions and claim the network’s rewards.

The first vote was deemed invalid, but it had enough votes for a “go.” The second was deemed valid, but it failed to meet the agreed-upon threshold for launch.

Still, expectations are high for the next launch vote in the coming hours.

Here’s what we know:

  • All indications suggest its members are very likely to vote “go” at the next meeting, which begins at 1:00 UTC.
  • That meeting should be livestreamed on EOS GO’s YouTube channel, according to EOS New York.
  • EMLG holds a “go-no go” vote at a meeting that happens every 24 hours. The vote to go has to reach a threshold of two-thirds-plus-one of validator candidate organizations present. When a “go” vote happens, the network should go live in approximately 12 hours.
  • The chain will be declared active after 15 percent of token holdings have been voted to establish the first set of 21 block producers.

Changes on the ground

As profiled by CoinDesk, one of the unanswered questions surrounding the project was just how EOS block producers would be chosen and what influence they would have on the process. Already, this has reared itself in surprising ways (with groups jockeying for bigger roles).

The organization leading that launch is the EOS Mainnet Launch Group (EMLG), a coalition of groups who have set themselves up to be block producers.

Once live, EOS holders will vote on which candidates get a spot as a block producer. There will be 21 block producers, and they will be paid out through inflation in EOS tokens (much like bitcoin’s miners). But, there may be as many as 200 groups vying for one of those spots.

So, even if the idea competing softwares could be created has been ruled out, there’s still a decent amount of uncertainty.

For example, a validator candidate out of Hong Kong posted an update of the call on Twitter last night, which shows some of the other issues discussed before the vote.

In the EOS New York Telegram channel, after the vote, a leader in the group, Kevin Rose, wrote the following:

“Here is what happened: the voting process was an absolute mess. We need to create a process. Beyond that, Dan [Larimer] introduced doubt when he questioned going live without EOSIO 1.0.2 being released.
Because the voting was a mess, we don’t understand what the reasons for ‘no-go’ were.”

The EMLG held a check-in meeting this morning as it prepared voting for tonight’s meeting.

Voting trouble

But while who will be who in this post-EOS world isn’t clear, we do have a lot of information about the voting process. Last night’s meeting, one of many held over the last week to unite potential global users, lasted roughly three hours.

CoinDesk was watching live through the last hour or so, as the first vote was tallied and the second vote happened amidst discussion. Discussion and voting were never separated, with some participants still asking clarifying questions while the vote took place. As Rose suggested above, there was no clear, pre-established process for verifying that each person who voted was actually a candidate validator nor to make sure that each candidate organization only voted once.

Consensus on the call held that the first vote, to go, was not valid due to confusion by participants. One challenge facing the group is that all votes have to be translated for candidates in non-English speaking areas.

A subset of participants committed to create a sign-in based voting system within the livestream platform they were using, in order to ensure that voting would be straightforward, each organization could only vote once and no non-block producer candidates voted.

New EOS update

Information was also discernible about the role of the company behind EOS.

While Block.One committed to a diminished role in the EOS launch, and to refrain from voting on proceedings with its tokens, founder and CTO Dan Larimer showed up on the EMLG call to answer questions.

He noted Block.One plans to publish an update very soon, bringing the EOS software to version 1.0.2. This was described as a soft update, dealing with issues such as bugs in the whitelist and blacklists for smart contracts. Multiple block producers said that soft updates should have no impact on the protocol in production and in fact it wouldn’t matter if some ran on 1.0.1 and others ran on 1.0.2.

But the announcement appeared to engender uncertainty, which Rose confirmed multiple times on EOS NY’s Telegram channel.

In a statement also shared on that channel, a block producer candidate wrote it had voted “no-go” because its team had found errors with account creation and transfer finality. CoinDesk was not able to authentic these statements.

One group within the EMLG has expressed caution throughout, and the block producer candidate out of Hong Kong, HKEOS, was one of its first members.

That group’s Twitter feed affirmed its “no go” vote last night, writing:

“This is short-term pain, for long-term gain.”

Egg hatchery via Shutterstock.