Research Says EOS Lacks Essential Blockchain System Attributes

A new benchmarking study suggests that EOS lacks several fundamental attributes of blockchains and operates more like a centralized cloud service.

Blockchain testing firm Whiteblock recently conducted a benchmarking experiment on EOS, which turned up multiple red flags indicating that the blockchain protocol may not be a blockchain at all. The study claims that EOS lacks blockchains’ key attributes such as immutability, and is merely a cloud service with a centralized design.

Whiteblock assists decentralized apps and blockchain protocols in testing, which includes analyzing fault tolerance and measuring transactional throughput.

As per The Next Web, the study was commissioned by ConsenSys, which focuses on the development of the Ethereum-based decentralized eco-system.

“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 report stated.

EOS varies from Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains regarding its way of validating transactions. Ethereum and Bitcoin leverage a proof-of-work consensus mechanism while EOS follows a delegated proof-of-stake method.

In EOS, token owners vote for and choose block producers (masternodes) who will validate transactions and receive the mining rewards as a result.

Whiteblock built a test environment replicating the EOS network. Its chief technology officer Zak Cole 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.”

During the two months, Whiteblock has concluded that EOS acts as a network resource that offers computational power for individuals to access. It argued that the network is based on a centralized architecture.

“EOS is not a blockchain,” Whiteblock said, “rather a distributed homogeneous database management system, a clear distinction in that their transactions are not cryptographically validated.”

“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 firm noted.

The paper stated that EOS did not implement a mechanism that prevents collusion among block producers to preserve the monopoly. It also said that there is no security against the likelihood of malicious actors crashing the network.

“Conceptually, it is impossible for EOS to implement Byzantine Fault Tolerance,” Whiteblock observed.

The research further indicated that EOS is vulnerable to Sybil attack, and the network can only manage a relatively less throughput (250 TPS) than what is believed (4000 TPS).

The report also stated that the transactions are not cryptographically verified and are cross-referenced against Chainbase instead. “All of these actions operate in an environment that lacks cryptographic validation of the contracts and transactions.”

Meaning, participants such as block producers could reverse the transactions, further implying that it is not immutable.

“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,” it added.

An EOS DApp developer has reportedly refuted the last finding, justifying that the Chainbase design is a way to boost performance and that blockchain does not use cryptography.

EOS had its share of issues since the launch of its mainnet in June. While the paper’s claims are damning, it is interesting to note that ConsenSys are Ethereum ecosystem promoters. Whiteblock is looking to live-stream the EOS benchmark tests later this month.