It’s safe to say that lately things haven’t gone perfectly for EOS.

A month ago, the company behind the platform, suffered an email breach which led to a particularly sophisticated phishing attempt on its users. Then, just as it was readying to activate its new blockchain, news broke that a Chinese security firm had discovered “a series of epic vulnerabilities” in the platform. Trying to solve those issues while navigating the complicated EOS governance structure led to the launch being pushed back multiple times.

Further controversy hit this weekend with the announcement that the top 21 EOS Block Producers had decided to lock seven accounts which had been apparent victims of phishing attacks. The “difficult decision” was made after a two hour conference call.

Nick Szabo is just one of those in the cryptocurrency world who has been unsettled by how the EOS story is playing out. Though he has frequently denied it, Szabo is often thought of as a potential candidate for Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator. Whether or not he developed the world’s first cryptocurrency, he is certainly hugely influential in the sector and designed “bit gold”, an unimplemented precursor of Bitcoin.  

For Szabo the EOS Block Producers’ decision amounts to a situation where “a few complete strangers can freeze what users thought was their money.” Rather than trust the code, with EOS “you must trust a ‘constitutional’ organization comprised of people you will likely never get to know.” He described that constitution as both “socially unscalable” and a “security hole.”

Social scalability through trust minimization

When challenged that “a subset of the community” will always have “disdain for governed chains,” Szabo replied that the aversion to governed chains does not come from a disdain for people, but from a better understanding of them. For those “who do understand diverse humanity,” with the limitations on our attentions, capabilities and social minds, ensuring a blockchain’s “social scalability is far more important than narrow obsessions with transactional performance.

This view was backed by well-known crypto figure and Etherplan founder Donald McIntyre who wrote that “the goal of Bitcoin is to continually minimize the influence of the social layer,” and that this is the “correct direction for any trust minimized blockchain.” For everyone to enjoy “distributed property & contract rights on a global scale” the technology must proceed with “trust minimization, immutability & censorship resistance.

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