My short journey to the EOS blockchain

tl;dr: in some ways, EOS is ready for prime time, but in most ways, it isn’t.

I will admit that I stayed away from EOS for the primary reason that I was not sure it was legit.

EOS is another player in the “smart contract network” space. You can think of it like an alternative to Ethereum.

It’s a company that raised $4 billion dollars before it ever launched a product. Yes, you read that correctly. It just seemed egregious. Sure, they are investing millions in their developer ecosystem, but still.

One of its lead proponents, Brock Pierce who is something of a crypto star, was torched by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight, further adding to the jittery feelings one might have with the project.

What’s more, their delegated proof-of-stake system has some legitimate questions about the degree of decentralization within it and there have been multiple allegations of collusion among the block producers.

So, all in all, there are plenty of reasons to not get engaged, but I figured I needed to give it a shot anyway.

Set up and Onboarding

The standard for interacting with Ethereum dApps is MetaMask.

You can’t use that for EOS, so after exploring a bit, it seemed that the wallet of choice for them is something called Scatter.

It’s software you download and install on your computer (versus a Chrome extension for MetaMask). The sign-up process for me was ok, but definitely not super intuitive.

The strangest part was the Terms and Conditions which I had to accept and the clause that basically read, “if Scatter wants to, they can shut down your account.”

Hmmm….a centralized checkpoint as an on ramp to a blockchain? What’s the point?

Maybe there’s another wallet for EOS users, but nothing jumped out at me.

Next issue was that I needed some EOS tokens in order to access the network via Scatter. I did not have any, but it was relatively easy to obtain them via Changelly.

Apps

Once I was set up, I went to see which apps I could use. I found a list of 20 or so at the EOS Apps site and began there. There were a few redundancies in terms of offerings (e.g. dice games) and a few that just didn’t seem to work or I couldn’t figure out how to get them to work.

I did start making an entry on Everipedia which was kind of neat and pretty intuitive. I ended up losing my work, but I think that was my fault and not theirs.

I also bet (and made!) some money on a dapp called Endless Game which gets about 4,000 users per month, so nothing huge. Of all of the experiences I had, this one was the best, even if there were only 2 games to play and one of them (for me, at least) wasn’t super clear.

What was fun to see was how, thanks to the blockchain, you can be sure that the game is not cheating you. Unlike the Runner Runner days, right?

That being said, what blew me away was the speed of the transaction. It was significantly faster than Ethereum and comparable to a centralized alternative.

Some would say it’s because it is centralized, I suppose.

Overall Impression

I’m not totally sold on EOS just yet, even if it the dominant platform right now for dapps, most of which are games and gambling related.

It has the fundamentals that will be necessary in terms of speed. Possibly in terms of scalability as well, if the 2nd most popular app has 4,000 users per month (Facebook has over 1.3 billion per day), it’s too early to say.

My concerns about centralization in terms of block producers and wallet on ramp (Scatter) are what make me maintain a skeptical outlook for the long-term.

I am sure there are things that I missed or don’t understand yet about EOS, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

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My short journey to the EOS blockchain was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.