What is EOS? A Beginner’s Guide
[Editor’s note: This article was updated on 7.9.2018 to reflect updates on the project.]
An Introduction to EOS
EOS is a blockchain platform for the development of decentralized applications (dapps), similar to Ethereum in function. It makes dapp development easy by providing an operating-system-like set of services and functions that dapps can make use of.
The idea behind EOS is to bring together the best features and promises of the various smart contract technologies out there (e.g. security of Bitcoin, computing support of Ethereum) in one simple to use, massively scalable dapp platform for the everyday user to empower the impending blockchain economy.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll get into:
How EOS Works
The EOS vision is to build a blockchain dapp platform that can securely and smoothly scale to thousands of transactions per second, all while providing an accessible experience to app developers, entrepreneurs, and users. They aim to provide a complete operating system for decentralized applications focused on the web by providing services like user authentication, cloud storage, and server hosting.
The EOS network is a ready-made platform for apps that lets developers tap into a full-featured authentication system. User accounts, complete with different permission levels and their own locally secured user data come as a feature of the network. You’re also able to share database access between accounts and store user data on a local machine off of the blockchain.
Recovery for stolen accounts is baked into the system as well, with various methods of proving your identity and restoring access to a compromised account.
Keep It In the Cloud
Server hosting and cloud storage are part of the EOS system as well, meaning that application developers can build and deploy applications and web interfaces with hosting, cloud storage, and download bandwidth provided by the system. This opens developers up to bring their ideas into reality free from the demands of securing storage and bandwidth.
As a developer, you have access to usage analytics for storage and bandwidth directly from EOS and are able to set limits for specific applications to whatever levels you choose. These services are paid for by staking EOS tokens.
Most common blockchains (think Bitcoin and Ethereum) use “consensus over state,” meaning that at any point all of the computers on the network can verify the current state of the entire blockchain in order to prevent fraud and confirm transactions. The blockchain in those cases is a graph of the state of the system, and when each new block is added to the blockchain, nodes on the network take each transaction from the block and update the state of each address associated with those transactions.
When using consensus over events, the focus is on the transactions (or simply messages) as opposed to the state. Instead of verifying the state of the network at any given time, nodes verify the series of events that have occurred so far to keep track of network state. The result is a system that takes longer to completely reconfirm the history of transactions when restarted but can handle a much higher throughput of transactions while running.
What this means in plain English is that the network can scale to one million messages or transactions per second out of the gate on a single machine, with theoretically infinite scaling possible in parallel between multiple machines.
Free to Use
An application built on the EOS platform does not require micropayments by end users to send messages and perform tasks on the blockchain. This is left up to the individual app developers to determine how transactions fees (which are extremely low) will be paid, meaning companies are free to come up with their own monetization strategies and offer their users service for free or not.
Features, not Bugs
The EOS system provides a governance model based on block producers than can vote on which transactions are confirmed, whether an application is running correctly and on changes to the source code of individual applications as well to the system itself. This means that the community can actively upgrade, downgrade, and fix bugs in the system in a democratic and secure manner.
No Trouble Performing
The EOS system reduces the latency and maximizes performance by structuring each block (produced every 3 seconds currently and being tested at 0.5 seconds) even more finely into “cycles,” which are sequentially performed. Cycles are in turn structured into “threads” that run in parallel within cycles. This allows for messages and transactions to be sent and responded to within single blocks and between blocks, bringing the theoretical bottom limit to the response time down to simply message transmission time over the net.
The Technical Whitepaper outlines a lot of the nitty-gritty features and details that we’ve left out here for brevity.
Roadmap, Team, and Community
The EOS project is being developed by a company called Block.one, led by Dan Larimer (co-founder of both Bitshares and Steemit) and Brendan Bloomer. Both provide some serious experience in the crypto world and have been publicly active in promoting the technology as a whole in addition to their own projects.
EOS Dawn 1.0 was released September 14, 2017, the Dawn 2.0 release brought resource tracking and inter-blockchain communication on December 4, 2017 and the Dawn 3.0 release (the project’s official launch) occurred in April 2018.
The community behind EOS is vibrant and global, with a lot love from investors and contributors alike. Meetups are common, art is being created, the Telegram group is active, and more communities can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Steemit.
The EOS token sale was one-of-a-kind. It took place over a full year, starting June 26, 2017, with 350 periods of distribution. At the end of each period, the total number of EOS tokens designated for that period were distributed to contributors based on the amount of ETH they contributed divided by the total contribution amount.
During this time, EOS tokens were listed on most of the major exchanges. Therefore the price was mainly determined by the market. This opened up the sale to anyone interested and gave plenty of time to watch the development and progress of the EOS team before contributing. The result has been one of the highest funded token sales to date and a lot of growth for the token in the meantime.
The EOS token itself doesn’t perform a function. It’s only useful in that developers developing applications on the EOS platform are required to use EOS tokens to generate their specific application tokens. And, each application’s acceptance on the platform is contingent on voting by EOS token holders.
How to Buy EOS
The simplest way to buy EOS is to purchase it on Binance with either USDT, BTC, or ETH. You can also buy it on Bitfinex, Huobi, or OKEx although the process may not be as straightforward.
If you only have USD (or any other fiat) currently, you’ve got some additional steps. First, you need to set-up an account on a platform that supports fiat to crypto exchanges. Gemini, GDAX, and Coinbase are all popular options.
Once you’re set up, you should link your bank account and send USD to the platform. From there, buy Bitcoin.
Now that you own Bitcoin, send it from your original exchange to Binance. Finally, on Binance, trade your Bitcoin for EOS.
EOS is a controversial project in the dapp arena with a proven team, lofty vision, but questionable execution so far. The $4bln budget should be more than enough, though, for the project to accomplish all it’s set out to do. The next couple of years will be crucial for the platform to place a foothold in the dapp market.
Love it or hate it, one thing is certain: EOS isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m a casual nerd who likes crypto and community building. Software dev, social psychologist and sipper of tea. I love art of all kinds, actively seeking truth, and alliteration.