On Tuesday, Block.one announced that Google Cloud will become a block producer candidate for the EOS public blockchain. In other words, Google Cloud will run a node if sufficient EOS token holders vote for it. Block.one also announced Martin Chavez, the ex CIO at Goldman Sachs, will become its Advisory Board chair.
Block.one raised more than $4 billion from the EOS ICO in 2018.
Many have commented that EOS isn’t sufficiently decentralized. A dynamic set of 21 nodes get to decide what is written to the blockchain. By limiting the number of nodes that need to reach consensus (using delegated proof of stake), performance is enhanced. These block producers take on a similar role to miners in proof of work blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
And like Bitcoin and Ethereum, a large proportion of the block producers are based in China. Nine of the current top 21 EOS block producers are based in Hong Kong or China, with three claiming to be in tax havens.
Block.one might hope that having Google as a block producer will make the blockchain more attractive to corporates. For Google Cloud this is another way to provide hosting infrastructure and related add on services. We’ve previously written about Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems starting to provide staking services for public blockchains.
Like Google, Deutsche Telekom operates a node for another distributed ledger technology (DLT) network, Hedera Hashgraph. But in Hedera’s case, the validating nodes were all controlled by major enterprises such as IBM, Nomura and Boeing from day one.
Block.one co-founder Dan Larimer spoke to Naomi Brockwell about the EOS shift. “If it works out well for Google, then other big companies will want to get involved,” said Larimer. “That has the potential to really transform the image of EOS. Instead of being perceived as a group of Chinese of questionable quality, if we can get big tech companies to take the slots of block producers, that will decentralize it amongst a lot of companies with a lot of reputation.”
Block. one’s CEO doubled down on the enterprise shift when talking about the appointment of Chavez. “As more enterprises discover that blockchain provides powerful solutions to seemingly intractable challenges, it will become increasingly critical to bridge the gap between the blockchain industry and those still learning about the performance and reliability that the technology can deliver,” said Brendan Blumer, CEO at Block.one.
And Chavez emphasized his outside perspective and said he hoped to promote a “deeper understanding of the potential that blockchain offers to industries aiming to evolve their digital transformation.”
If you were wondering about that $4 billion ICO, last year Block.one settled with the SEC and paid a $24 million fine. Those who held the tokens since the ICO would have lost money as the current market capitalization is $2.4 billion.