EOS Block Producer Candidates — Pros, Cons, Ratings, and Choices

As of today, (May 21, 2018) there are 160 Block Producer (BP) Candidates listed on the EOSGO Block Producer site. However, there are only 150 are “active” BP Candidates according to the EOSGO Update #9. We are 11 days away from the launch of the EOS mainnet on June 2, 2018 and it’s a very exciting time for the world of blockchain!

While the efforts of EOSGO are huge and deserve great acknowledgement and thanks (and hopefully payment from Block.One in the future through Worker Proposals) — there is still a lot to be desired in terms of learning more about which Block Producers to vote for in the upcoming EOS elections.

Here are some Pros and Cons of the current info that we have about Block Producers.

Pros

· Steemit Posts — EOSGO has requested that each Block Producer Candidate publish a steemit with photos of their team, details about how they plan to run their organization, and several other criteria. These posts are a great place to start researching.

· EOSGO Sitehttps://bp.eosgo.io — EOSGO setup a centralized (woah) place where we can view and learn about each of the Block Producer Candidates. This is a great place to start research.

· Independence — Block Producers are all independent organizations that agree to a constitution when they install the EOS.IO software. Competition is healthy and helps to keep a certain tension between entities that is generally a good thing for stability.

· Block.One -They have remained very neutral up until this point in time, however, they could choose to use their 100M EOS as votes to outweigh so called “mega whales” like Chinese cryptoking Xiaolai Li (who is rumored to have 60M EOS).

Cons

· Map Location Validityhttps://bp.eosgo.io — Block Producers can list themselves at any location on this map. It’s not clear if that location is where their servers are or where they are legally domiciled — or maybe neither?

· Lack of Verification — There is no verification that any of the info published is true. For instance, many Block Producer Candidates could be lying about their hardware or teams.

· Voting — The system is so plutocratic that the votes depend mostly on whales getting their EOS registered and online to support the people that they know or support BPs where they have some ownership.

· Vote-Buying — Block.One has made it “illegal” to purchase votes, however, it is very difficult to know if Producers are paying for their votes.

· Security — It is difficult for BPs to secure their nodes and if a vulnerability is discovered in EOS, then the nodes could be targeted quite quickly through the EOS software.

· Incentives are not totally clear — we have lots of estimates about what a Block Producer might make ($700,000 — $10MM/year), but will it be profitable to be a standby producer?

Which EOS Block Producers should I vote for?

This is a list of criteria that I have for which BPs I will be choosing to support. If I were creating a rating system, it would be based on the following criteria — scoring the BP Candidates out of 10 points for each of the following categories.

Infrastructure (Hardware Location, Hardware Type)

Many Block Producers seem like they plan to begin by building on VPS either on shared hardware or AWS. This seems fine for the initial launch, however, they have to have a quick and clear plan to move to serious hardware sooner than later for the EOS network to be viable. Are the nodes in various locations? Are there any backups or disaster recovery plans?

Domicile

The location of the legal entity is a very important piece of the Block Producer. This will affect how the Block Producer is taxed and also how the ownership is structured.

Funding

Is the Block Producer fully self-funded? This might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your opinion. Personally, I want to see whatever is best for EOS. If a BP decides to take outside investment, that seems fine to me as long as they are not paying for votes. Still, I want to know how transparent they are being in their financials and how they will be distributing their block and vote rewards (there is a difference).

Team

Is the team a legitimate group of people who are trustworthy and have a good track record?

Do they have all of the boxes checked — community, tech, overall leader, developers?

Technological Prowess

How skilled is the team in terms of technology? Will they have the chops to run the network behind a (currently) $11B blockchain?

Security

How seriously have they taken their security? Do they have any firewall? Is it enterprise equipment or are they approaching security as a small business would?

Community Project

How well organized and stated is the community project? Does it sound like a lot of fluff or will this really be valuable to the EOS community and/or the world?

Overall Viability

Out of those 150 BP Candidates that have announced their candidacy on Steemit, about 41 of them are newly announced in the past few weeks since update #8.

Some of these new block producers have been in planning stages for a long time and others clearly have thrown things together in the last few minutes. Ultimately, I would like to see more validation and inquiry into each Block Producer to find out why they are interested in being a BP.

Summary

All in all, there are a lot of great candidates, but some are definitely better than others. Geographic diversity is important, but so is the team, their investment in technology, and their ability to run and secure that technology.

The campaign to be an EOS Block Producer does resemble a political election for governance of a country. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the election process for the governance of a world-wide blockchain.

Overall, EOSGO has done an amazing job, but I do want to see more work from other members of the community — and even other Block Producers — to come out and say which Block Producer Candidates they are supporting and WHY.

If you are interested in doing some research and/or ratings with me, please reach out to me and let me know — just comment here or send me a message on Twitter.