To fully understand a blockchain consensus, the engine, the propulsive force underlying any blockchain project, is not within everyone's reach. It's technical, complicated and requires skills in many specialized domains. Very few people in the world master the complexity of this essential component of a decentralized project (platform or application).
Which engine should propel the next generation of blockchains? Proof of Work (PoW), Proof of Stake (PoS), Leased Proof of Stake (LPoS), Proof of Activity (PoA), Proof of Burn (PoB), Proof of Capacity (PoC), Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET), Delegate Proof of Stake (DPoS), Proof of Importance (PoI), Tendermint, Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA), practical byzantine fault tolerance (PBFT), SIEVE protocol, Cross-Fault Tolerance (XFT), others?
Most of us don't have the required background to evaluate the pros and cons of selecting a specific consensus for a blockchain project. So, let's say we compare investing in a blockchain project with buying a plane.
SELLER: Well, dear customer, this is the plane we would recommend for you.
CUSTOMER: Mmmm. I like the design. Please tell me about scalability, autonomy, speed and reliability. But wait, this is much too technical, so here is John, my expert.
This lucky customer can hire and trust an expert to deal with technological aspects. We don't have this luxury in the actual blockchain space. Our blockchain experts are already busy coding different projects. So, we must make up our mind (express our free will) within a limited decision space. In other words, we have to trust the project core development team for selecting or creating the appropriate technological tools in order to bring a specific blockchain ecosystem to life.
Who should I trust? Satoshi Nakamoto (Bitcoin), Vitalik Butarin (Ethereum), Ohad Asor (TAU-CHAIN) and Dan Larimer (EOS, Steem and Bitshares), to name a few. They discuss the subject openly, educate us, provide detailed white papers and implement their science in their respective platforms. Only that these big brains do not agree on the subject. So who to believe?
I found help on this matter when reading Steven Kaufman's (another genius) excellent Unified Reality Theory book (Balboa press). In chapter 4, Steven discusses free will, intention, and action.
"The only truly free will is the will that's controlling its intentions." (page 417).
Aha! Intentions … Let's look at some blockchain projects with this perspective in mind:
||"…give users the ability to implement virtually any P2P network over tau-chain."
||"Build unstoppable applications"
||"…innovative payment network and a new kind of money"
Let's say that my intention is to invest hard-earned savings as a means to participate in the next (or alternative) economy, aiming to be part of a more human ecosystem. Let's see how I can relate to these projects on the level of intentions:
EOS: "Decentralize everything" – Totally agree, let's do it!
TAUCHAIN: "…give users the ability to implement virtually any P2P network over tau-chain" is also aligned with my intentions, if the P2P networks are decentralized.
ETHEREUM: "Build unstoppable applications". I am puzzled by this one. Unstoppable applications? What a weird concept. Who would want to build an unstoppable application? Maybe they meant "Decentralized applications"? As a former software application developer, I had to create countless software updates to evolve and debug projects. An unstoppable project implies perfect code. I can't relate to this one for now.
BITCOIN: "… innovative payment network and a new kind of money". If I understand correctly, this project is a DAPP (Decentralized Application) focused on moving value from Alice to Bob, having also some scripting possibilities to create limited smart contracts. However, this is a DAPP that could easily be developed on EOS, Ethereum or other smart contract platforms. There are so many other kinds of decentralized applications to be built that I prefer to invest in a development platform.
So, in this example, I am left with two projects directly aligned with my intentions (EOS and Tauchain), and one that I don't understand for now (Ethereum). All three could easily host a network payment DAPP, so there is no point for me to invest in Bitcoin - even if I like the fact it was the first DAPP and is still working after nearly a decade.
Now, am I right? I've been wrong many times in my life, so how can I make sure I choose the right projects? As you suspect, nobody can make the decision for me. It is a question of trust (the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something).
But because experience shows free will is always expressed within a limited decision space (I recommend the book 'MBT' by Tom Campbell for a more thorough discussion on this subject), we always make decisions based on incomplete data. It sucks, I know, and is very hard to admit. So what can we do about that? Let's use some logic to further express our intentions.
My example (continued)
I stated my intention is to invest as a means of participating in the next (new, alternative, decentralized, human, global) economy. A planetary economy. This implies the targeted platform will have to process huge (mega, big, massive, impressive, …) amounts of transactions in a decentralized context. Let's see how my targeted projects handle this requirement.
ETHEREUM: I assume it is difficult to upgrade running blockchain projects like Ethereum, having not been designed from the ground up to be scalable. Vitalik's team must find a way to change the plane engine (consensus) while flying. IMHO, this is a very complex and risky proposition. Moreover, I understand that complementing the actual PoW (Proof of Work) consensus with PoS (Proof of Stake) will not really solve scalability, bandwidth, governance, and performance issues. Same for sharding and/or off-chain secondary network considerations, adding moving (centralized) parts to an already very complex machine. I like Vitalik, and I respect his contribution to the space, but I don't believe in the Ethereum proposition. Logically, I don't believe it will be able to scale to planetary demand in a decentralized context.
TAU-CHAIN: The Tau-chain project is still under development, and information on scaling and features is not yet available.
Which leaves me with EOS. Simple logic tells me this will be the first DAPP development platform aimed at planetary adoption. Unlimited tx/sec, low latency, decentralized, no transaction fees, non-consumable tokens, 1 billion US$ available to fund DAPP developers, an intelligent data storage model, full database capabilities for each contract, shared account management, etc.
You might ask: what about other platforms like Lisk, Ark, Rise, Neo/Antshare, Aeternity, BOSCoin, Tezos, Waves, Burst, and others? Everybody knows you should diversify your portfolio, right? Maybe, if my intention was to buy a lambo.
I understand many of these projects are driven by good developers and dedicated teams, but my guts tells me to go all in with EOS. At the level of intentions, we share exactly the same passion for a new society and the same definition for wealth: being able to impact positively the life of other humans.
This is not financial advice. Feel free to comment on these thoughts.