One of the more controversial aspects of the new EOS blockchain and its governance model is the concept of “Block Producers” (BPs). In an attempt to reduce the influence of mining pools, EOS has an ever-changing group of 21 BPs, decentralised entities which produce the blocks for the EOS blockchain.
However, there have been problems. First the mainnet launch was delayed by several days while BP candidates decided on whether the platform was free of the “series of epic vulnerabilities” found by Chinese security firm 360. Then at the weekend BPs decided to lock seven accounts which had apparently been victims of phishing. The decision was highly contentious in the cryptocurrency community, with Nick Szabo describing the EOS constitution as “socially unscalable and a security hole.”
Now one BP, Simon from EOS store, is under fire from the EOS community for failing to prevent a double spend due to “some private affairs.” According to community member “Daz”, Simon “failed to update [his] blacklist” on one of the frozen accounts, causing “that account to lose its assets.”
Simon apologised for this oversight saying that he “didn’t receive the last blacklist.” Apparently the BP, who is paid $10,000 per day for holding the post, “didn’t attend the meeting [of BPs] these two days” as he had “something else to do.” When pushed on what he could have been doing that was more important, Simon responded “some private affairs.”
The need for decentralisation
The oversight has caused fury in the EOS community, with one member saying that such issues show “why we need true decentralization and not some faux version of it.” This was echoed by many users, with comments like “the whole idea behind blockchain is to make the code responsible to enforce rules, not humans responsible to enforce the rules.”
Well known cryptocurrency figure “WhalePanda” noted that the kerfuffle around Block Producers is largely “small-scale politics.” Individuals and groups run a “social media/political campaign to get your BP “elected” so you can earn free EOS/money.” He also pointed out that due to the disproportionate voting power of cryptocurrency exchanges they can largely control who becomes an EOS Block Producer.
The rest of the cryptocurrency world will be watching the EOS experiment closely to see if these issues are just teething problems while everyone gets used to a new system, or if the platform, as it stands, is ungovernable.