What happens when EOS devs get bored of playing customer service?
EOS has no reason to exist now that its gross ICO has ended.
EOS eventually managed to launch into its mainnet after a thoroughly painful voting process. It never managed to reach the needed 15% mark, but the owners of the EOS blockchain eventually decided to just let Bitfinex temporarily stake its users' tokens to push it over the 15% mark and get the system off the ground.
One of their first orders of business was to show the world that it's a "managed blockchain," with real people behind it to better enable real-world adoption. The first order of business was for the 21 block producers (the elected nodes that run EOS) to freeze 7 wallet addresses and to set up an EOS helpline Telegram to address the flood of users who lost funds to scams, forgot their passwords or otherwise made mistakes over the course of the mainnet launch.
For its part, EOS argues that it needs to do these things to make blockchain technology scalable and useful in the real world, and that "code is law" doesn't do much to encourage uptake.
Its critics, meanwhile, point out that the idea of having a central authority freeze accounts, play favourites and otherwise manage the blockchain is completely antithetical to the idea of a decentralised system.
More pragmatically, it's not clear what's going to happen when EOS's 21 block producers get bored of playing customer service once the giddy rush of the mainnet launch wears off.
You have reached EOS. How can we help you?
Individual block producers can't unilaterally freeze wallet addresses. It's a big decision with important implications for the future of the ledger and how it's perceived, so they all got together on a big conference call and carefully considered the decision, mulling it over until they reached a unanimous agreement.
Obviously they can't do this every time they want to "ban" a user in the future, so the process will have to be either abbreviated or scrapped entirely down the line. Similarly, it's just not feasible for all 21 block producers to get on a conference call and play customer service every time someone forgets their password or gets scammed, and there doesn't seem to be any plan for what happens next.
So far it's all being managed by a mish-mash of block producers and volunteers. The general division of labour seems to be that some help each other sort through the customer service queue in Telegram, while others coo over how great it is to see the EOS community come together and help out.
No end in sight, except EOS
The problem is that it won't end. Assuming EOS actually manages to grow as a network and attract more users and dapps, it will continue attracting more reports, more forgotten passwords, more accusations of scams, more he-said-she-said arguments and all the other wonders of customer service.
EOS's only point of difference is that it promises to be a "managed blockchain" for real-world use, so it can't just drop those customer-service commitments.
The block producers can't all get on a conference call every time someone forgets their password, and those volunteers are understandably going to drop out as soon as they realise they're literally just performing a customer service job for free.
Are they going to hire some customer service personnel? Will they get paid with EOS or real money? Will the block producers create money out of thin air to pay them? But first, who will they hire to hire the customer service staff they need? How will they be trained to avoid hiring scammers? Will they be paid? And so on and so forth.
It's almost like EOS would make a lot more sense if it was just a company rather than a vain attempt at a public blockchain. But then, of course, they wouldn't have been able to launch that grotesque $4 billion ICO.
EOS's volunteers are the only ones keeping this circus on the road, and eventually they're going to get bored and burnt out and start wondering where Block.one is and why they're working for free when Block.one raised $4 billion in its ICO, and hey, just where is Block.one anyway and what are they spending that money on, and why are they working for free...
EOS is a joke, but it would be a lot funnier if it hadn't raised so much money. The SEC probably isn't laughing either.
If you haven't already, it's worth keeping EOS in mind while reading the SEC director's recent statements on when a coin qualifies as a security. Mr. Hinman mentions EOS in all but name.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC and NANO.