Introduction and History

Eos is a platform intended to run decentralised applications (dapps). This Ethereum-like creation is the brainchild of Dan Larrimer – also the creator of Bitshares and Steemit, and is run by the Cayman Islands company block.one.  Its ICO, based not on its own technology but offered as a token on the Ethereum network, ran from 26 June 2017 to 1 June 2018 and raised $4bn. Mainnet EOS started operation on 9 June 2018.

Technology

One characteristic of blockchain technology is its immutability.  Applied to smart contracts, the consequence is that code which is either incorrectly programmed or which has unintended features cannot be altered and will therefore will continue to be carried out.  The most well-known example of this is the attack on the DAO, an organisation set up using smart contracts on Ethereum.  Incorrect code allowed a hacker to take funds from the project, with the ultimate resolution where the main chain of Ethereum restarted from a block before the hack, and the minority chain Ethereum Classic where the hack remained.   Eos has an arbitration process which differs from the approach that code is unalterable (“code is law”) so that in the event of a dispute about a smart contract a dispute resolution process can decide what is to be executed (“intent of code is law”).

Another aim of Eos is to have rapid block generation times.   To achieve this a consensus algorithm procedure called delegated proof of stake was designed.  This has two stages: at first a number of block producers are chosen by a vote, weighted by the number of tokens held.  Voting is continuous, meaning that poor producers can be replaced.  Since block producers, as with traditional proof-of-work miners, are compensated for their role, they have an incentive to stay honest, as otherwise they can be voted out.  As there are only relatively few producers, confirmation times can be very rapid, at the cost of a higher degree of centralisation. With a stated aim of being able to settle transactions in under one second, an aim of the developers of Eos is that products such as video channels,  decentralised exchanges, and social networks will be able to run on it without performance degradation.

Other features of Eos are no transaction fees, the possibility of parallel instruction execution and operating system functions such as user accounts, permission management and database structures.

There is a total supply of 1 billion EOS tokens, and they can be purchased on exchanges such as Bitfinex and Kraken.  Various 3rd party wallets are available to store EOS tokens.  The price of EOS, as with most alt-coins, has been very volatile, with a low of $7 and high of $21 in 2018.