How UX Network Offers Price, Speed That Make Ethereum Seem Like ‘Playground For Rich Kids’ – Avalanche (AVAX/USD), Algorand (ALGO/USD)
In 2017, Block.one, led by Dan Larimer and Brendan Blumer, launched the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) protocol, one of the earliest “Ethereum Killers,” aiming to support decentralized finance apps at enterprise scale for a global audience.
It offered the speed, scalability and comparative cheapness that would put it well ahead of Ethereum ETH/USD for most developers. Yet EOS had the mixed fortune of being somewhat ahead of its time, and all did not go according to plan.
The EOS network was run by block producers (BP) who invested their stake in the infrastructure and community instead of staking EOS tokens. This approach meant the BPs tended to be large consortiums, and it was difficult to add nodes and scale.
In 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fined Block.one $24 million for failing to register its initial coin offering.
“A number of US investors participated in Block.one’s ICO,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
“Companies that offer or sell securities to U.S. investors must comply with the securities laws, irrespective of the industry they operate in or the labels they place on the investment products they offer.”
The EOS forks Telos and Wax continued to thrive but development on EOS dropped by 90% in 2020. According to DappRadar’s 2020 Dapp Industry Report, EOS was down to less than 4,000 active wallets.
In August this year, the troubled history of EOS Network took a turn for something a little more hopeful. After a spotty record of delays, unfulfilled promises and plunging token prices, the EOS Block Producers severed their relationship with Block.one and voted to pursue a new protocol to unite the more powerful forks and block producers.
UX Network UTX/USD, Telos TLOS/USD and Worldwide Asset eXchange WAXP/USD joined forces to create the Antelope Protocol, a successor to the aspirations of the EOS Network, ready to succeed where Block.one had failed in its initial promises.
“I think it really was a revolt against Block.one. I think it would never have happened without the tacit support of the bigger block producers, mainly in China. Yves La Rose kind of led the charge. He’s an operator, and he doesn’t mind being in front of the camera,” said Daryn Soards, co-founder and CEO of UX Network.
Benzinga interviewed Guillaume Babin-Tremblay, chief technology officer of UX Network, and Soards to get an inside look at where Antelope is now and where it’s heading in this chilly bear market.
This story is part of the Benzinga Future of Crypto summit-related content. The Future of Crypto takes place on Dec. 7 in New York City at Pier Sixty.
Some of the best minds and most important projects in Web3 will be in attendance, including Rarible, Cosmos, Yuga Labs, Solana, Laguna Labs and Algorand. Keynote speakers include Jordan Belfort, Kevin O’Leary and Anthony Scaramucci.
BZ: What did it mean to the EOS Community to break away from Block.one? How was the Antelope Coalition formed?
Babin-Tremblay: “At one point, the code was being exclusively developed, maintained and hosted by Block.one. They call the Antelope protocol release and activation ‘EOS Independence Day.’ It marks the day when the community took back the codebase from the hands of Block.one. So, this is a fresh start. The code was already being used by several chains – including Wax, Telos, and UX Network. We came together with representatives of each chain to see if it was possible to collaborate on the common code base that unites us. So we created the Antelope Coalition, which has four members – EOS, Telos, Wax and UX Network. We pooled resources and set out to fund whatever priorities these four chains saw as the most important.”
BZ: How did you contribute to Antelope?
Babin-Tremblay: “The largest grant was awarded to Origin. We took half of the budget to build and release Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) which allows all chains to communicate in a trustless manner and scale horizontally by spawning side chains. That was one part of our mandate.
The other part is what we call ‘instant finality.’ It addresses the time that it takes for a transaction to settle when you make a transfer. There’s a window of time during which transactions can be reversed. You could potentially lose your funds if you were to purchase something and deliver that something without waiting for confirmation. We are writing an update to the consensus model of Antelope that will bring finality from 3 minutes to just 6 seconds.”
BZ: What does UX Network provide that no other Layer 1 does as well?
Soards: “The most important thing that we have that nobody else has is a rational resource model. For the first time in crypto, as far as I know, we can essentially guarantee what the cost of transactions is going to be for extended periods of time, and we can price them in U.S. dollars.
Ethereum is the best example of the problem – you have no idea how much your transaction is going to cost. You’re paying a gas fee that will fluctuate based on the state of the chain, how congested it is and how many people are actually using it at that time. And on top of that, you have the price of Ethereum, which will also fluctuate, based on the market sentiment. Maybe today, I can process 1,000 transactions for like $10. Tomorrow, I can only process one transaction for $10,000. Those are extreme examples, but they have happened in the history of Ethereum. And that creates a terrible user experience and prevents anyone serious from building on these chains. Because the first question that people building applications on these blockchains are asking is, ‘how much is gonna cost me?’ How much does it take to perform a transfer? How can I predict what that resource cost is going to be? So we are the first to be able to provide that consistency. The price will be the price for the next five years.
We do have a much more flexible, rational, and aligned model for the costs. Nobody has that on Ethereum. They don’t even discuss the requirements to run an Ethereum node because nobody knows. How many transactions can you process? What kind of hardware can run that?”
BZ: How do you measure the throughput of the UX Network?
Soards: “We build Yes Mechanics, a benchmarking application that allows you to test the performance of block producers in terms of their actual availability of resources and how many transactions they can perform. That’s one of the main reasons why Antelope is so fast. We’ve been measuring that information and tweaking the software over the years to achieve better performance.
There are protocols that claim speeds like 60,000 transactions per second. But they are using multi-threading. The minute we start using multi-threading, our real number is going to be in the millions of transactions per second.
The most important thing is we can align the price of resources with the cost of running these resources for the block producers and network node operators. There’s no way in hell anyone will be able to run anything enterprise-level on Ethereum. It’s a playground for rich kids.”
BZ: How are you maximizing speed and usability for devs on your network?
Soards: “We constructed a resource model that centers around resource utilization. So it always responds to resource utilization. But because it’s rational, it’s usable and anyone can understand it.
With all of these Layer 1 platforms, it’s going to come down to the rationality of resource costing. So we took an approach of rational internal allocation. So the minute you get external capital coming into this system, the capital value of the token will reflect that economic expansion. But without damaging the user experience or the cost of resources, driving the value of the whole system. We don’t try to trap value inside the chain, which is the mistake that every other protocol makes.
With a standard Fat Protocol thesis, all of the value is in the bottom chain. But the world doesn’t work like that. If you’re a Layer 1 network, you’re not a price maker; you’re a price taker. So you’ve got to make it for the users.”
The Last Word
To be judged fairly, EOS Network must be considered in the context of its time: the ICO boom that led to so much optimistic crowdfunding, followed by an almost universal fall and the failure of many projects. We also must remember that EOS was one of the earlier efforts to carry out many of the same goals that many larger “alternative” DeFi networks pursue today. These networks have the benefit of learning from EOS’ mistakes.
The large block producers that made it hard for early EOS to scale may have a solution to save the original goals of the network with the new protocol and the Antelope Coalition.
UX Network was created by one of the BPs to provide the scalability, speed and price control that EOS initially promised. By joining forces with the two successful forks, Telos and Wax, they have formed a hub and spoke model that most resembles Cosmos since it is composed of dedicated chains.
The BPs have also learned from their earlier mistakes, and the focus on the efficient use of resources has given blockchains like UX Network some attractive qualities that could compete with the likes of Avalanche AVAX/USD, Algorand ALGO/USD and Layer 2s like Polygon MATIC/USD.
It remains to be seen whether the EOS association will help or hinder their efforts, but those of us who remember the early enthusiasm around EOS will be watching to see if all the original promise is fulfilled. They may have been ahead of their time in 2017 – perhaps history has caught up with them in 2022.