Recent benchmarking research suggests that EOS lacks many of the fundamental attributes of blockchains and works more as a centralized cloud service.
A recent benchmarking experiment conducted on EOS by blockchain testing firm Whiteblock has turned up several red flags that indicate that the blockchain protocol that managed to raise $4 billion in May 2018 may not actually be a blockchain at all. The research claims that EOS lacks several key attributes of blockchains – including immutability – and is essentially a cloud service built with a centralized design.
Whiteblock is a firm that helps blockchain protocols and decentralized apps with testing that includes measuring transactional throughput and analyzing fault tolerance.
According to The Next Web, the research was commissioned by ConsenSys, an entity which is focused on the growth of the Ethereum-based decentralized eco-system.
The report states:
Through practical testing and experiments in a controlled laboratory setting, this research provides a thorough and objective model of [EOS’] design, performance, and economics in order to present a reference for the blockchain community.
The Test Environment
EOS is different from Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains in the way transactions are validated. Unlike the latter two, which use a proof-of-work consensus mechanism, EOS follows a delegated proof-of-stake method.
In EOS, token holders vote for and select block producers (masternodes) who are responsible for validating the transactions and, as a result, earn the mining rewards.
Whiteblock created a test environment which replicates the EOS network. Zak Cole, Whiteblock’s chief technology officer, noted:
It runs the exact same software. The block producers within the Whiteblock environment perform the same functions a block producer would perform in the main net.
Over the course of two months, Whiteblock arrived at the conclusion that EOS behaves as a network resource that provides computational power for users to access. It further argues that the network is built on a centralized architecture.
“EOS is not a blockchain,” Whiteblock told TNW, “rather a distributed homogeneous database management system, a clear distinction in that their transactions are not cryptographically validated.”
The benchmarking firm also noted that “EOS block producers are highly centralized, and users can only access the network using block producers as intermediaries. Block producers are a single point of failure for the entire system.”
The paper goes on to say that EOS has not implemented a mechanism to prevent collusion amongst block producers to maintain a monopoly. It further states that there is no protection against the possibility of malicious actors who could crash the network.
Conceptually, it is impossible for EOS to implement Byzantine Fault Tolerance.
The paper further states that EOS is vulnerable to Sybil attack and the actual throughput that the network can manage is considerably less (250 TPS) than what is believed (4000 TPS).
Commenting about on the design, the report says that transactions are not cryptographically verified and are, instead, cross-referenced against a table called Chainbase. “All of these actions operate in an environment that lacks cryptographic validation of the contracts and transactions,” says the research.
This means that transactions could be reversed by participants like block producers further implying that the blockchain is not immutable.
It further adds:
EOS is fundamentally the same as a centralized cloud computing architecture [client/server] without the fundamental components of a blockchain or peer-to-peer network.
The last finding was reportedly refuted by an EOS dapp developer who justified the Chainbase design as a method to optimize performance and said that blockchain does use cryptography.
EOS has indeed had its share of issues since its mainnet launch earlier in June. While the claims made by the paper are damning what is interesting to note is that ConsenSys which commissioned the tests are promoters of the ethereum eco-system. Whiteblock plans to live-stream the EOS benchmark tests later this month.
What are your thoughts about the findings of the EOS test report? Let us know in the comments below.
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