Ethereum emerged on the scene in 2014 promising to solve the problems caused by inefficiency in the Bitcoin blockchain. The Ethereum network sought to solve these problems with smart contracts and Ethereum essentially works as a decentralized platform for developing and running decentralized applications (DAPPs). Currently, users can be sure that Ethereum DAPPs will run efficiently without interference from third parties. Despite experiencing a good level of success, there are already competitors hoping to run more efficiently than the Ethereum network.
EOS, backed by Dan Larimer of Bitshares, Graphene, and Steemit fame, is a consensus blockchain operating system that provides databases, account permissions, scheduling, authentication, and internet-application communication to app developers. EOS will operate as a viable alternative to the Ethereum network and provide developers all the tools they need to operate without having to worry about advanced cryptography implementations or communication within the blockchain. At this stage we can only speculate regarding the future success of either platform, however, we can analyze the factors that will allow one platform to come out on top.
The Ethereum network is designed as a neutral platform for all potential applications. The Ethereum Design Rationale document states that Ethereum has no features and expects users to create their own feature specific sub-protocols inside of contracts. This hands off approach allows for greater flexibility and also reduces bloat among applications
Governance and Consensus Mechanism
Ethereum uses Proof-of-Work and is in the process of switching to a more efficient Proof-of-Work/Proof-of-Stake hybrid mechanism. Ethereum also focuses on a strict adherence to code, with major disagreements solved via forks, as was seen during the DAO hack. This should keep the community on the same page and foster a more efficient understanding and utilization of the network code.
The Ethereum network has achieved 25 transactions per second under testing which could increase to 50 or 100 tx/s per second. The network is also planning to implement improvements via the Metropolis hard fork with future upgrades also in the pipeline.
Ethereum uses gas fees in exchange for every use of calculation, storage, or bandwidth utilization. Here required fees fluctuate and miners have the option to select transactions depending on fee size. Proposed changes seek to bring down charges across the network and decrease the miners’ ability to mine transactions based on fee size.
EOS takes the view that different applications still require the same types of functionalities and will provide functions such as cryptography implementations and app/blockchain communication tools. EOS will feature a host of options ranging from a web toolkit for interface development to self-describing database schemes. EOS seeks to simplify user account generation and management.
Governance and Consensus Mechanism
EOS will use Graphene technology that utilizes the Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPOS) consensus mechanism. This mechanism has no potential for spawning multiple competing chains during a hard fork. In addition, EOS will include a legally binding constitution that establishes a common jurisdiction for dispute resolution, and will also use stake-weighted voting to decide self-funded community benefit applications.
Graphene technology has also achieved 10,000-100,000 transactions per second in stress tests. EOS will also use parallelization to scale the network, potentially allowing millions of transactions per second.
EOS will utilize an ownership model, and here EOS token holders will gain a proportional share in the network bandwidth, storage, and processing power. Users will receive a predictable amount of network bandwidth and computing power with the option to upgrade by purchasing more EOS. The network will also have zero transaction fees and no network development cost, apart from the initial purchase of EOS tokens.
On paper, the EOS project looks set to disrupt the Ethereum network as it will utilize superior, more efficient technology and mechanisms. However, the Ethereum network has a market cap of around $30 billion and has a strong case of first mover advantage. The EOS team also chose to run a yearlong ICO has given the Ethereum team extra time to implement upgrades, although the EOS token sale has currently managed to secure approximately $200 million worth of Ether. What the EOS team decide to do with the large quantity of Ether they have amassed will also be a major factor in determining who comes out on top. Only time will tell.