Statement by EOS Alliance Regarding Resolving the Dispute About Allegations of Vote Buying and Collusion

The EOS dispute resolution system is founded on timeless principles of justice, and uses a documented, fair and open process. EOS Alliance recommends giving the system a chance to work.

The mission of the EOS Alliance is to make EOS software and policies work so that humanity and the $75+ trillion a year global economy is able to maximize the potential benefits of the historically significant innovation of distributed ledger technology and triple entry bookkeeping. To do this, the EOS Alliance respectfully requests that all members of the EOS community:

  1. Walk our talk (use the documented systems currently existing, and change them also according to the documented process).
  2. Remember that people (and corporations are considered “people” in EOS) are innocent until proven guilty.
  3. Consider that not every allegation is true, and not every allegation is false, and what matters is what evidence is found and that a fair, repeatable, documented dispute resolution procedure is followed to its conclusion.

Background

Serious allegations have recently been made in Telegram and the press of voting abuse by supporters of some of the (current) top 21 block producers (BPs) and by other paid standby producers. Such abuse, if it exists, may not directly or immediately impact the public perception and business reputation of the EOS mainnet, however it does raise a very serious question as to the long term viability of the network.

Part of the enthusiasm for EOS derives from enthusiasm for Bitcoin, and from the fact that, unlike virtually every corporation or government’s network, the Bitcoin Blockchain has never been successfully hacked. It is in the interest of all members of the wider Blockchain community that EOS, which arguably has been the best funded product from a start up in history, shares comparable safety and security as Bitcoin, so preventing powerful actors from gaming the system is a legitimate source of concern.

Many so-called hacks are due to social engineering rather than from hacking, from subverting stakeholders, so EOS Alliance acknowledges and respects the concerns of the EOS community that vote buying, a particularly grievous form of social engineering, is spotlighted and dealt with, if it exists, but without brand-damaging drama, witch hunts, or mob rule.

Dan Larimer’s Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) was designed with the requirement that 15 of 21 independent votes are required to operate the network securely. If, as some alleged recently, some current Block Producers are coordinating together, this might call into question the transactional reliability of the EOS blockchain data for all users and the attractiveness of EOS as a platform for dApps.

Is this actual fact? We don’t have all evidence to determine, so we need to use the dispute resolution system. Not following our own documented procedures would call into question the goal of having a decentralized system that avoids a single point of failure, but having no clear dispute resolution system that is followed, is, itself, an even greater failure than gaming the system.

This requirement for BP independence is enshrined in the Constitution as well as within the REGPRODUCER and VOTEPRODUCER contracts which every Block Producer candidate and every voter, respectively, must agree to.

Proposal

Two safeguards exist for the benefit of the community to enforce these requirements within EOS. These are the token holder voting system and the arbitration system. Token holders have the power to vote out any BPs who appear to engage in collusion, and the arbitration system is the proper venue for evaluating allegations of misconduct by filing a dispute.

We are in the coming weeks about to discover, based on evidence not just allegations, if there has been a violation, and if so then how well these safeguards work.

The Alliance’s role is not to weigh in on the accuracy of the allegations. It is the role of the Alliance to facilitate dialogue within the community, in whatever form members choose that dialogue to be: negotiation, sharing of interests, rewriting or investigation. We are committed to ensuring the community as a whole understands the facts of this situation and its ramifications on the EOS ecosystem so that they may take informed action.

It is also important to understand that there are geopolitical considerations, given that Chinese corporations and investors are potentially being demonized, and the consequences in China might be more dire for the individuals involved than they would be in other countries. The EOS Alliance does not want people unfairly demonized in China (or anywhere else). The community seeks to provide reasons for the Chinese government to increase the opportunities to legally engage with Blockchain projects, and not create a sense that Chinese token holders or BPs are being unfairly picked on.

The EOS Alliance is a non-profit organization designed to empower the voice of the EOS community and to accurately represent the collective will of individuals in a decentralized system. We serve under our founding principles to shed light and facilitate conversations on issues the ecosystem may need to resolve, and step forward when the clearly expressed interests of token holders may not be accurately reflected in the actions of others. The stance of EOS Alliance is to always seek to discover and amplify the will of the EOS community.

EOS Alliance strongly encourages everyone to step forward and assist the examination of these allegations, to demand that token holders and block producers do the same, and continue working for the betterment of EOS.

How would a dispute resolution like this work in practice?

The most likely sequence of events, based on the current governance regime, is:

  1. One or more EOS mainnet members file a claim with ECAF against alleged vote-sellers and vote-buyers
  2. ECAF assigns an Arbitrator or 3-person Panel to take the case
  3. Parties to the dispute are required to place deposits against a potential adverse verdict
  4. The Arbitrator (or Panel) solicits expert assistance from relevant sources
  5. Subpoenas are issued and facts are gathered
  6. All parties are given ample opportunity to question the evidence
  7. An Arbitrator’s Decision is reached, including an Order if appropriate
  8. Block Producers carry out the Order if the parties do not comply voluntarily

EOS mainnet dispute resolution is based on the rules of international trade arbitration embodied in UNCITRAL. It can best be contrasted to the “emergency conference call with Vitalik” approach Ethereum used to resolve the DAO Hack. Both involve a “human layer” for dealing with exceptional situations; but only one has the advantages of a documented, fair and open process.

It is through tests and crises like these that a public blockchain, and a community, discover their true strengths. The EOS Alliance believes the EOS community will rise to the challenge posed by this situation, and fulfill the potential inherent in its governing documents. We will continue to assist in that process.

Signed,

Thomas Cox, interim Executive Director, EOS Alliance

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