This is the first in a series of blog posts I intend to write using data analytics to help understand several blockchain projects. My goal is to shed light on various blockchains and how their communities are using the platforms. For the next couple weeks I’ll report on EOS as it’s going through its ramp up phase. This post will be looking at token usage activity from June 29th until July 5th GMT.

Status of Token Usage on EOS

One of the first questions that came to mind when thinking about the EOS blockchain was whether or not it is currently being used for more than just transacting the EOS token. From it’s genesis on June 9th until July 5th, 124 unique tokens/coins have been transacted on the EOS blockchain. As expected, many of the tokens are not seeing too much usage. During the last week, only 65 tokens (52% of available tokens) were active. I define an active token as one that has been transacted one or more times during the given time period. Even amongst these 65 active tokens, the top four tokens account for 97% of all transaction traffic. In total, there were 104k token transfers on the EOS blockchain during the last week. …

ZK-SNARKS, Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive ARgument of Knowledge, are non-interactive proofs that allow a verifier to verify a defendant’s claim without the defendant revealing auxiliary data. In order for zero-knowledge proofs to be efficient enough to be used in applied systems, they have to rely on randomness, interaction, and probabilistic certainty. Note that with ZK-SNARKS, there’s never a full mathematical guarantee. However, depending on how much computing power you’re willing to use, you can get extremely close. Let’s break down what this means.

In an interactive proof, there are two parties: the defendant and the verifier. The defendant is tasked with creating the proof and the verifier is tasked with verifying the veracity of said proof. There is a back and forth “conversation” or “interaction” between the two parties in order for the verifier to do its job. In general, it takes much longer to generate the proof than it does to verify it. Verifying takes around 9ms regardless of proof size. Generating the proof varies depending on implementation and proof size. In ZCash for example, the defendant has to call 128 invocations of SHA256 in order to generate the proof. …

Explain Like I’m 5

Imagine you have a vault in the bank that requires multiple keys to open. Each party can access their key by presenting their correct credentials to the bank associate. In this case, someone found out how to claim one of the keys and subsequently threw it away, meaning the vault can not be opened. This key also happens to be needed for any other vault created by that manufacturer. By losing one key, he managed to lock several high value vaults. We still know whose money is inside these vaults, but we just can’t get it out.

Note: There might be some slight technical flaws in this analogy, but it’ll give you a general idea of the problem.

The city of Gotham is in desperate need of a new subway system. Running high on debt and low on tax income, the city decides to be hip and crowd fund the resources necessary for the new subway system.

The mayor makes a speech in which he proposes to sell tickets for the new subway in advanced via an auction. These tickets allow for unlimited access to the subway, but they’re the only tickets that will ever be produced for this subway. If someone wants to take the subway, they’ll have to find someone to sell them a ticket.

Some keen transportation experts and reward seeking speculators buy the offered tickets even though the subway hasn’t been built yet. They see the potential value of such tickets in the future, but their investment is currently worth very little. The construction of the new subway could even fail due to unforeseen circumstances. The city takes these collected funds and starts working on the subway. …

On October 16th (block 4,370,000), Ethereum will hard fork to Byzantium, the first half of the larger Metropolis update. Unlike the Bitcoin hard fork, the Byzantium update is not expected to create another Ethereum coin. Although this update doesn’t introduce the much anticipated anonymous transactions and proof of stake, there are still some interesting changes to be aware of.

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Reduction in Mining Reward

The mining reward will be reduced from 5 ETH to 3 ETH. This change is made in preparation for proof of stake, where mining will be phased out all together. Although the reward was reduced, the previous plan to exponentially increase block times (the ice age) has been delayed. …

This semester, classes have almost become a side project for me as I undertake one of the most exciting endevours of my college career. On September 19th, several amazing friends and I launched the Columbia Blockchain Lab with the idea of providing a centralized community for all blockchain activity at Columbia University.

Originally I was introduced to blockchain through Bitcoin mining in high school, but as I entered college, my Bitcoin days were left behind. About a year ago, Ethereum peaked my interest and reignited my curiosity for the space. I spent months learning as much as I could and making as many connections as possible in the blockchain world, skipping school if needed to travel for conferrences. …


Mohamed Abedelmalik

Blockchain Enthusiast | CS @ Columbia University

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