Can EOS Overcome the Bear Market?
Since concluding its year-long crowdsale, EOS has quickly emerged as one of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies. This was highlighted not only by its rapid growth during the bear market, but by its ability to attract hundreds of developers and enterprises to its protocol. As the bear market drags on, there are several compelling reasons why EOS could have staying power in an industry facing constant pressure and change. (Note: the author has no investment stake in EOS or its parent company, Block.one).
EOS: A Look at the Benefits
Block.one, the company behind EOS, recently published four reasons why developers are migrating to the EOSIO protocol. They include scalability (15-20 transactions per second), speed (very low latency compared to other blockchains), practically zero fees (eliminates the need for transaction costs) and environmental sustainability (66,000 times more efficient than bitcoin).
Against this backdrop, there are at least 260 projects being built on top of the EOS platform, a strong sign that the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) model was appealing to a wider range of developers. Although the company didn’t elaborate on the types of projects being deployed, the general view among industry is that EOS allows users with very little technical background to leverage blockchain technology.
At the same time, EOS’ strong development capacity has been well documented by industry observers and even government entities. A widely consumed blockchain index developed by the Chinese government has routinely ranked EOS as the world’s top cryptocurrency based on technology, application and innovation. As of December, EOS had once again dominated the ranking with a total index score that was nearly 20 points higher than Ethereum, the second-best cryptocurrency based on the same value metrics.
EOS was designed with scalability in mind. As such, it is a direct competitor to Ethereum, whose shaky position may have pushed developers toward EOS and other protocols. In fact, decentralized application volumes on Tron and EOS have already overtaken Ethereum by a considerable margin. (The author would argue that EOS has a much stronger value proposition than Tron for reasons too numerous to name here.) According to Dapp Radar, the largest Ethereum dapp by volume is ranked 37th, with EOS and Tron accounting for the first 36 spots.
The EOS blockchain is also well funded, with the network paying for development through a maximum 5% inflation. A portion of that is earmarked for block producers but token holders get to decide on how the rest is allocated. Options include burning tokens to reduce overall inflation or allocating funds to pay for popular projects.
A Look at the Risks
While no blockchain project is without risk, EOS faces several unique challenges that have been well documented by the cryptocurrency community. Concerns about voting cartels, block-producer incentives and even regulatory scrutiny have weighed heavily on investor sentiment. Those fears have been exacerbated by the second-longest bear market in crypto history.
EOS creator Dan Larimer has more or less admitted that he botched the protocol’s constitution by giving the network arbitrator too much power. In proposing a new constitution last summer, Larimer said, “I have learned a lot about human nature by watching the disputes, the witch hunts, the ‘bring everything before the ECAF mindset.” ECAF is the EOS Core Arbitration Forum.
The platform recently launched the EOSGO referendum tool, which some analysts speculate may result in constitutional changes. In the meantime, a group of EOS developers have already joined hands to create a new alliance for collaborative decision making. According to the official EOS Alliance website, the group “will be held accountable to the community under the EOS Constitution.”
EOS has also faced controversy over allegations of irregular block producer voting, which critics say undermine the network’s “free and democratic election process.” Evidence purporting to show voter collusion involving Huobi, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, and other block producers surfaced last fall, forcing Block.one to take decisive measures to end the so-called voting cartel.
Then there’s the issue of EOS’ original funding mechanism, which managed to raise $4 billion in a highly irregular, year-long crowdsale. EOS may have skirted federal scrutiny during its token sale, but that could change if the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chooses to re-evaluate the ICO. That’s the view of Charles Hoskinson, founder of Cardano.
Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in November, Hoskinson predicted that the SEC will bring punitive measures against Block.One for its “egregious” token sale.
EOS has not been immune to the bear market inflicting all cryptocurrencies. Despite demonstrating inverse trading patterns during the early stage of the bear market – namely, after the cryptocurrency was launched – EOS has more or less traded in the general direction of its peers.
The EOS price has declined nearly 50% since mid-November. The total cryptocurrency market cap has declined by roughly the same over that period.
At the time of writing, EOS/USD was valued at $2.43, having gained 3.3% compared with Tuesday. At current prices, EOS has a total market cap of $2.2 billion, placing it fourth among active blockchain projects.
Daily trade volumes amounted to $666 million, which is fairly consistent over the past week. Bibox is the largest market for EOS, with trades against Ethereum accounting for 12% of total market volumes.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.