A company engaged in testing blockchains claims that the EOS protocol, which today is estimated at $5 billion, is not a blockchain in itself.
In the course of its experiment, Whiteblock concluded that the EOS token and the associated RAM market are, in essence, a cloud computing service based on a perfectly centralized structure. At the same time, it doesn’t possess some of the fundamental characteristics the blockchain should have, for example, immutability.
The testing of EOS network was ordered earlier in September by ConsenSys blockchain startup, engaged in the development of the ethereum ecosystem.
“Whiteblock was chosen after successfully creating a replica of the EOS network that could be used to test the network's ability to withstand certain stress conditions and various faults that would be typical in a production environment,” states the press release.
EOS differs from ethereum and bitcoin in a number of characteristics, the most notable among them is the selection of transaction validators.
In contrast to blockchains based on the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism, in which anyone can allocate their resources to support the network, EOS selects the block producers using the complex voting process that is part of the Delegated Proof-of-Stake mechanism used in it. During the election of block manufacturers, each EOS token corresponds to one voice, meaning that those who own more tokens have more control over the network.
Specially for the experiment, Whiteblock created its own version of the EOS system, which was as close to the original as possible.
The Whiteblock team was testing their own copy of the EOS blockchain for the last two months. It describes EOS as a network that promises to provide computing resources stored in a “blackbox” where users can get them, and claims that it uses a centralized, hole-filled management model.
“EOS is not a blockchain, rather a distributed homogeneous database management system, a clear distinction in that their transactions are not cryptographically validated,” the team has stated.
A significant part of the report is devoted to proving that the EOS protocol lacks a mechanism that would prevent collusion among manufacturers of blocks, which opens up possibilities for organizing a cartel to disable the entire system.
“There is no mechanism for accountability due to the lack of transparency on what Block producers are able to create in terms of computational power.”
Thus, Whiteblock argues that EOS contains vulnerabilities at the consensus level and “lacks Byzantine Fault Tolerance”, which is why it may fall under the control of malicious conspirators.
The researchers also note that the primary threat to the integrity of the EOS system is its vulnerability to Sybil attacks, in which one of the nodes can have multiple identifiers, which in turn allows the network to fill with spam data and conduct DDoS attacks.
After that, the authors of the report proceed to the statement that the manufacturers of the blocks do not actually process transactions using any consensus mechanism, but only confirm them “mechanically” without performing a full verification of their correctness.
“This is in fact a large vulnerability in the system as fraudulent users are essentially able to create malicious accounts much faster than the block producers are able to come to consensus [on which accounts to exclude]. This further proves the high level of centralization that exists in the EOS network and the tremendous power these block producers possess,” Whiteblock warns.
Tests of Whiteblock showed that the number of transactions that the EOS blockchain is capable of processing in practice does not seriously reach the values originally mentioned in marketing materials, and never exceeds 250 transactions per second, even in ideal conditions, including those with zero delays and without packet loss.
Other testers in the past have been measuring the EOS network bandwidth. According to a popular belief, the marginal figure for EOS is currently 4,000 transactions per second (TPS). The white paper of the project states that in the future its network can scale to “millions of transactions per second”.
ConsenSys said they would take into account research results and use it to prepare a report that will be sent to such partners of the company as Microsoft, Ledger Capital, and Google. Meanwhile, the Michigan University of Technology and the University of Southern California asked Whiteblock to conduct more tests. The company responded to the request - the following tests will be held a little later this month and in real time.
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