Cryptocurrency, at scale. That’s Facebook’s vision as laid out in the long-awaited, just-released Libra white paper.
Block.One is giving away its $4 billion code this weekend and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next.
As profiled by CoinDesk, EOS is set to launch sometime soon, though the company that built its code is going out of its way to prove the software really will be open-source. This means it isn’t even designating an official launch. Rather, it’s up to potential users to take it from there (whether that results in chaos or not).
In some ways, it’s the latest unorthodox approach by EOS and its founding team, which has attracted controversy even for its architecture. (To process thousands of operations every second, EOS will rely on just 21 validators or “block producers” to verify each transaction, an approach the differentiate from bitcoin’s commonly copied model, in which any “miner” running the software on a certain kind of hardware can do this.)
Right now, though, the question is whether or not EOS can successfully launch.
Someone needs to launch the code. It needs to get tested and verified. Block producer candidates need to publicly identify themselves. One of them will need to be randomly chosen to create the genesis block, and then voting on the official first slate of block producers will take place. Even then, 15 percent of all the tokens in existence need to vote in order for EOS to turn on.
This mean there’s going to be a few interesting moments in this launch to watch for, which can be broken down into a series of questions.
- How long after the code release will it take before someone launches the software? A group of block producer candidates have committed to running a series of tests on the software before creating the first block, but it’s open source. Nothing is stopping someone else from running it.
- Will the genesis block get created without incident? When the initial block producers line up to win a position in the circle of validators, a random selection process will decide which create that first block. This has to happen in a way that everyone is comfortable with.
- Which block producers get voted in to the top jobs? Most people would probably agree that the best scenario ends up seeing some really sophisticated groups located all over the world getting chosen to serve as block producers. What happens if they are mostly located in one country, though?
- Will certain block producers be hit with distributed denial of service attacks? This is all but guaranteed. Who knows which ones will be hit, why or how well equipped they are to weather them.
- Do the choices for block producers stabilize? Voting will be continuous. Will users change their votes once they see the composition of block producers after it first goes live, or will that first group basically hold steady?
Still, crypto-enthusiasts are likely to want to follow along whether or not they see EOS as progress or not.
This is a huge new experiment for crypto, so those most invested in this technology will want to watch as closely as they can to see how this technological big bang spreads.
Unfortunately, because it’s so new, no one has created anything like a block explorer yet. There’s not user-friendly tools for viewing vote counts or even seeing which block producers get chosen. There’s also no official time for any of these events. And since different groups may attempt to initiate different launches, they might happen multiple times.
The best way to follow along in real time will be the social media channels these teams have been using the communicate so far:
Github Issues and Pull Requests
EOS is open source code, meaning it’s been publishing its work on GitHub all along. Block.One has released a few versions so far for teams to experiment with and develop on.
A quick skim of the “issues” page on the EOS code repository shows that the number of issues (bugs, vulnerabilities and other problems) identified has been accelerating as it gets closer to launch.
This is natural as the urgency becomes more severe and there are more eyes on the code, but if it explodes that could be a sign of serious issues.
Github issues on the EOS code repository. (Visualization: Josh Schneier)
Watch along with EOS Go
EOS Go has been the internet’s collective cheerleader for EOS, working primarily on Steemit and YouTube to provide education about the launch process. They have a lot of streams planned for this weekend and watching on there might be one of the easiest ways to follow along.
The group has already done live interviews with all the major block producer candidates, and they will be key to setting up the network. With lines of communication open to all those groups, they should know what’s going on, minute by by minute. It’s just going to be a lot of video to get through.
There are extended streams planned throughout the weekend. One for several hours on Saturday, two on Sunday and two on Monday. Look for them to talk live with block producers around the world as the code gets tested and then ultimately launched.
We’re sorry about this, but yes: Telegram channels. The smart bet will probably be to go to the @EOSBlockPros channel, where block producer candidates (the groups vying for the lucrative spots validating transactions on the network) will discuss what’s going on.
There’s also a general EOS channel, but like most community wide Telegram channels that’s mostly people asking the same questions over and over again. This weekend, that will almost certainly be: “What can I do if I didn’t create an EOS wallet before June 1?”
Provided EOS (or a few versions of the software) launch successfully, it shouldn’t be long until developers spin up some more direct ways to peer into its governance system, such as portals for viewing transaction volumes, staked votes and the average size of blocks. During this launch, though, all of that will be hidden in the bowels of servers.
Dawn image via Shutterstock
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