Was the Core Protocol Development in EOS Outsourced?

What is EOS?

EOS is a blockchain protocol for building scalable decentralized applications.

Blockchains can only have two of these three properties: Decentralization, Scalability, Security

You’ll want all of your public blockchains to be secure, so you have to pick one of the other two options: Decentralization or Scalability. It is important for the market to test out both pathways.

EOS is an experimental blockchain with lower decentralization and higher scalability.

There have been countless blog posts, tweets, videos and talks about how EOS isn’t decentralized at all. I won’t be touching upon that subject since it’s been debated to death.

Here is some content if you’re not aware of the discussions:

EOS raised $4.19B worth of ether during an ICO that lasted for 1 year.

Block.one, the company behind EOS, sold 90% of the tokens and kept 10% of the tokens for themselves. Which they are still HODLing. That’s $4B hard cash raised and $400M tokens owned by the company.

EOS is the best funded project in the history. To give you an idea, SpaceX only needed to raise $1.9B to reach the moon. (pun intended)

Outsourcing Core Protocol Development

Wait, so, a consulting firm built most of EOS, one of the biggest blockchains in the world?

Yes.

If you dive deep into EOS, you will realize something interesting in their Github.

A consulting firm named Object Computing Inc. built most of the core EOS protocol. [1]

For the first year of EOS development three out of the six core developers were from Object Computing, Inc. We can see this by going to their Github contributors page.

The accounts heifner, brianjohnson5972 and pmesnier are Object Computing employees. The account bytemaster is owned by EOS CTO Daniel Larimer. The other 2 accounts are developers who were contributors to Steem & Bitshares (Both were previous projects of Daniel).

If you go down a little further down their contributors page we can find that there are also 3 more developers from Object Computing: cj-oci, PaulCalabrese and mitza-oci.

These are only the obvious accounts, which have this information available on their Github account. I suspect there are other OCI employees that have not made this information available public on Github. [2]

So, what is Object Computing, Inc?

It’s a software consulting company founded in 1993 in St. Louis, MO that now has 70+ employees. They work on projects from wide variety of industries like defense, energy, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, commerce and telecommunications.

Why is this a problem?

If you are building any kind of mission critical software that has few predecessors, you need full time all star developers in your team, working for your project without other professional involvements or you’re not going to be able to build it [3]. This statement gets more significance when building any kind of hard tech, like EOS is attempting to do.

No serious technical innovation has been made by saying “I have this great idea, now build it for me, here’s some cash.”.

Take a look at a list of all the top tech companies. Which one of them outsourced the development of critical components of their product? [4]

Why does the most prematurely funded company in the history of humanity, Block.one, not have a dedicated developer team and instead uses a consultancy service for their critical development activities? Surely they can hire a battalion of full-time in house engineers to work on the product with the money they raised.

So, what does EOS spend funds on instead of hiring a full-time in house engineering team?

Hiring a Q&A team? No.

Trying to hire Research Scientists in Times Square?
Creating a VC fund, because why else would developers build here?

Block.one did not have a hiring/career page on their website until March 2018. And after February 2018 they actually hired a few engineers, so there is progress. But why specifically at February-March, what happened then? Leave a comment if you know.

What could EOS have done with hiring and development team?

I’m just throwing out some ideas, roles and numbers without thinking much about it to prove a point.

Create a Research Department (18 people):

Hire the top 3 people in the world from each these areas:

  • Distributed systems, Cryptography, Programming language theory, Economic game theory, Distributed database, Crypto economics

Create an in house Protocol team (20 people):

Hire the top 5 people in the world from each these areas:

  • C++ programmers [5], QA engineers, DevOps engineers, Penetration Testers

Product team (35 people):

Hire the top 5 people in the world from each these areas:

  • Product managers, product designers, web developers, mobile developers, UI designers, UX designers, Graphic designers

That’s 73 people in total. Since there is a high demand for these talents, let’s go way over the market price and give them each a $1M yearly salary. The cost of building this team would be $73M yearly. $730M in 10 years. With a whooping $3.3B left for operations and marketing. Wouldn’t this a better way to spend investor money?

EOS is either going to be the most spectacular winner in the history that changed every rule in the industry like Facebook, or the most spectacular loser in the history like pets.com.

Which do you think it will be? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Notes

  • [1] According to a founder of a top 30 EOS Block Producer: “OCI was hired to be Block.One’s dev shop, which is a common business practice in the industry.”
  • [2] Another thing to consider which I haven’t is diving deep into the code, look at key core files and figure out who wrote it via blame view. I checked out the EOS Launcher main.cpp real quick and 80% + of it was written by by OCI employees. 
    Also, almost no documentation in an open source application?? Not even going to mention issues with software design patterns in the code.
  • [3] Or you build it with bandaids and the software is going to be full of bugs and the developers building aren’t really going to care about it.
  • [4] Companies and people who try to outsource critical components usually get Zucked, like how IBM & Apple got Zucked by Microsoft. Or how Winklevoss twins got Zucked by Zuck.
  • [5] If they actually hired people for a research department, this product would probably be written in a functional programming language instead of C++.

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