Decentralized Applications (DApps) using smart contracts offer the promise of fast, secure, and reliable blockchain-ready software. Unfortunately, current blockchain platforms retain design flaws that keep these promises at bay. Until these flaws get resolved, DApps adoption will be hindered by slow transaction speeds, unstable code, unfriendly UI and convoluted coin purchasing.
With that in mind, several forward-thinking developers are creating new platforms that solve these problems. Among the most innovative are EOS and XTRABYTES, two networks seeking to fully disrupt the current DApps paradigm. Both promise faster speeds, novel consensus algorithms, and better smart contract functionality. While these two networks display some similarities, they reveal several significant differences as well.
Roughly a year ago, investors defrauded by a scam coin (Bitmox) came together behind fellow investor/developer Borz to create XTRABYTES. Along with co-founder CCRevolution, Borz offered to create a revolutionary blockchain platform that was infinitely scalable and extremely secure. After forking the scam coin, Borz and his development team worked hard to refine their vision with the few resources at their disposal. In the fall of 2017, an internal development token named XFUEL was created to help advance the project and partially fill STATIC nodes (further explained below).
In contrast, EOS was created by Dan Larimer, the founder of Steemit, Bitshares, and now Block.one. Although EOS is built upon the Bitshares code, it has been modified to facilitate smart contract usage. And being rather unique, Larimer’s Block.one company launched an ICO for an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum network. Unlike other ICOs, Block.one has gradually released these tokens for sale over the past year. After this ICO sale ends, all EOS tokens will be frozen in their wallets. At present, they have raised over 1.5 billion USD from this ICO.
Although both coins have been making big promises, both coins have had difficult tech challenges to overcome as well. And at present, both EOS and XTRABYTES have yet to produce a deliverable product. While the Block.One team’s technology is better understood, Dan Larimer has been criticized in the past for not finishing the projects he starts. Investors frequently consider this a significant weakness when discussing EOS’ long-term goals.
Nonetheless, investors are more likely to greet the XTRABYTES with greater skepticism. XTRABYTES’ revolutionary technology retains a multitude of unknowns, a substantial difference from EOS and one that is reflected by their lower market cap. This reality will remain the case, at least until the XBY team secures its patent pending status later this spring (expected April 2018).
Not incidentally, both networks are trying to achieve fast transaction speeds by employing new consensus methods. EOS employs what they call Delegated Proof of Staking. Here, 21 “producers” ensure that the blockchain remains running and accurate via their consensus. These producers are chosen by the voting rights given to coin holders. The 20 producers with the most votes will always be used on a rotational basis for each block (the 21st is randomly chosen from the remaining pool of votes).
As so few producers are required, the EOS network intends to incorporate very powerful server clusters to meet their demands. As a matter of governance, the majority of coin holders can vote a “bad-actor” producer out and allow a new producer to rotate in. However, critics assert that this system will centralize power among the few producers needed to run the blockchain. There is also a question of how many holders will actually vote. Will it be a small percentage with high stakes because they are producers? Or will the broader community stay active in order to keep the network inline?
XTRABYTES will also use a new consensus method. Their Proof of Signature (PoSign) consensus method relies upon 3584 STATIC nodes connected through a governing system called VITALS. As currently planned, PoSign will incorporate three tiers of STATIC nodes 512 (Level 1), 1024 (Level 2), and 2048 (Level 3). Each STATIC node will require a specific amount of XBY (or combination of XBY/XFUEL) to register. While few details exist on how these levels will interact, the resources required to run these STATIC nodes will be far fewer than what one could expect from one EOS producer.
In the future, the XTRABYTES team will have the ability to double the online STATIC nodes if the network traffic demands it. Bad actor nodes will automatically be booted offline if they do not conform to the Proof of Signature requirements. It was implied that there may be a group of “trusted” nodes that will maintain order, but at this point, it is unclear how that will function. However, with so many governing STATIC nodes, the XTRABYTES network will be at the forefront of decentralization efforts.
In order to fund STATIC node holders, a fee structure will be implemented and appropriated among node holders. This fee will be dynamically-based and determined by how a DApp is used on the network. At present, we can assume that the DApp will have some control over how that fee is paid. That is, the fee will either be hidden from the user (if they use their own coins to pay network fees) or actively paid by the Dapp user. In addition, current node holders will receive a portion of the registration fees incurred by new STATIC node owners. Some of this should be revealed on March 7th when XTRABYTES unveil their new On The Pulse live stream.
In contrast, EOS is planning for a fee-less network. Rather than collect fees, producers will earn new coins when a new transaction block is produced. Given a 5% maximum inflation rate, 5% of new coins will be mined each year. Thus, when the network launches, EOS will create 50 million coins each year to add to the 1 billion coins in circulation. However, DApp developers will have to hold EOS coins to access the resources available on the network. The percentage of coins a user holds in comparison to the network determines their access to the network resources. Thus, if a very popular DApp will obtain more coins it will thus reserve more of the network’s bandwidth.
EOS’ smart contracts employ Web Assembly, a web standard reliant upon the popular programing language C++. Used by high-quality developers, C++ is a vast improvement over Solidity, the custom-built language reserved for Ethereum. By using C++, EOS opens the doors for experienced programmers to move into the DApp sector. While 3rd parties can create compilers in other languages, EOS believes that C++ will perform best for them.
DApp developers will be able to access XTRABYTES’ core features and data through its Distributed Command Message API (DICOM API). The latter allows DApp code to be developed in a wide array of programming languages. Hence the term code-agnostic. All that will be needed is the ability to call on the API functions within the specific code. This will allow developers from a wide array of fields to jump into coding XTRABYTES DApps quickly.
Like the cryptomarket as a whole, EOS and XTRABYTES are still in the very early stages of their life cycle. They will most likely go through changes in function and background code as they move forward towards a finished blockchain network. Fortunately, there is room for both to succeed. And as a community, we should be open to the many ideas coming forth that tackle the issues that the entire cryptomarket is trying to solve.