When block.one announced its ICO (initial coin offering) was going to span over a year with no fixed price for EOS, many were skeptical. Those in the crypto-community found it odd; partly due to the fact that it had never been done before, and particularly because many were curious why any company would need to accumulate as much money as a year long ICO would generate.
FUD immediately began. Skeptics accused EOS of being a scam based on its year long ICO, and unfortunately dissuaded many would be investors from putting their money into the project. Those who listened (poor fools, me included) missed out on ridiculously low EOS prices (down to $0.50 USD at one point), prices that most likely will never be seen again.
BUT, for the believers - for those who dismissed the misinformation and DID invest, their belief has already been rewarded many times over, and so it should be. They had the VISION - they saw EOS for what was, what it is, and what it will be - in short, they saw the innovation.
A Peculiar Start
ICOs were made popular in the crypto world by Ethereum; this revolution helped skyrocket the smart contract based coin into the stratosphere. The invention of smart contracts allowed for companies to launch tokens on the Ethereum blockchain to fund their companies. While this was ingenious, it didn’t take long for regulators in the US and China to explore banning ICOs likening them to IPOs (initial public offerings) which are highly regulated and only accessible by certain licensed entities. So why, in this seemingly contentious environment, did Block.one decide to not only hold an ICO on the Ethereum blockchain, but to hold an ICO that would run a year long?
What may have at first appeared to be a money grab, a mistake, or just plain insanity instead turned out to be a stroke of genius. The year long ICO (ending June 1, 2018) fixed a problem previous ICOs had faced; consolidation. During other ICOs the window to participate was small, and as a result, only a small group of people ended up getting the first wave of coins. In a decentralized "sharing economy", this is a problem. Many coins in the hands of a few create what the crypto world calls “whales”, and whales, for better or for worse, end up holding all the power. If decentralization is the goal, this traditional ICO structure was not the answer. Block.one saw this problem, and did what they do best - they came up with a solution.
The year long ICO (called a Dutch auction in financial circles) resists consolidation by allowing a long window for participation; more people have time to find out about the software and research it. It also has the added benefit of allowing the budding EOS community to organize and setup the grassroots structures the EOS community will need to succeed in the long run. But that is not all; during the ICO the block.one team has consistently been updating and releasing its progress on Github, giving potential investors the chance to check out their work, ask questions, and give feedback. Any budding software would consider this a risk; if there were an error in the code, or a formulation that was found to be unfit or unworkable, the price of their coin could plummet, killing a startup before it even got a chance to begin.
Block.one also bucked traditional models by refusing to set a fixed price(s) for their token, instead opting to let the free market dictate the price. Everyday two million EOS “coins” are released by block.one, and when the buy period ends, a smart contract gathers all of the Ether contributed towards the “pool” of two million EOS coins. It then divides the two million EOS coins by the amount of Ether contributed during that period, and multiples the amount by the total amount of Ether contributed by an authorized purchaser during that period. The result is accountability; the block.one team is financially motivated to deliver during the year long ICO, thus making sure that the company and the community incentives are aligned. The more details that came out, the more block.one’s vision and commitment to decentralization became clear, but the question still remained; what would block.one do with all of the money that their year long ICO has made?
The Birth of the EOS Ecosystem
To date, EOS is the best funded blockchain project in the world; with over one billion in USD collected (and counting), their Dutch Style ICO was, no doubt, an excellent decision by the team. With so much money at play, the community began to wonder what it would do with all of that funding; then, in early October, block.one CEO Brendan Blumer hinted that one billion USD of the funds would go into building the EOS ecosystem.
Take a moment to process that information.
The crypto community said, “Hey, we believe in block.one and what EOS is doing, so we’re going to invest TONS of money to help build your software,” and the block.one team responded, “thank you, and to reward your belief, we are going to take that money, reinvest it into companies building on the EOS blockchain, empower developers, and grow the community so that all the value you handed over is delivered right back to you.”
What other blockchain has made such a commitment to its early investors? It’s unheard of.
Brock Pierce, co-founder of block.one has said 1,000 Dapps will launch on the EOS blockchain once it goes live, thus making EOS the biggest software launch in the history of, well, software. The block.one team has seemingly thought of everything; they created a more decentralized ICO period, they incentivized the best developers to launch their Dapps on the EOS blockchain, and they built an environment that would reward early investors for their belief in the team. But while their vision was taking shape, it was still not complete.
Putting The Pieces Together
In January 2018, Blumer officially announced that block.one would not be going at it alone. Tomorrow Blockchain Opportunities, managed by Derek Rundell of Eric Schmidt’s TomorrowVentures, announced their partnership with block.one in order to further build out the EOS ecosystem. A week later, Galaxy Digital, Mike Novogratz’s VC, announced that they too would be partnering with block.one to bring EOS to the masses; it was official, EOS was going mainstream.
While other blockchains had partnered with VCs, none had done it quite like this before. It seems that EOS may have figured out how to bring blockchain to the masses without selling out to centralized companies, or alienating the crypto-community. The simplicity of their plan is what makes it so genius.
Venture Capitalist firms have their fingers on the pulse; they know of every up-and-coming company, every game changing app, and every revolutionary idea. Block.one went to these VCs and said, “We have one billion dollars we want to spend on developers; we have a ton of money we are willing to invest alongside of you. If you have any projects that would benefit from being developed on our blockchain, let us know.” The VCs are elated; not only do they get to put some of their own money into a burgeoning space, but they can help select the talent that will build on the blockchain. This is highly motivating for the VCs. They spread the word about EOS and why developers should look into building on their platform. The rest of the picture is not as clear just yet, but one can assume something like the following will happen:
- VCs scout projects that would thrive in the EOS ecosystem
- VCs get tokens, and/or ownership stake in the companies they brought to EOS
- Block.one, having invested in the VCs will get ownership in the companies that build on EOS
- Companies that build on EOS are encouraged to distribute tokens (by airdrop of otherwise) to the EOS community to encourage early buy-in of their Dapps, as well to reward EOS investors
- Rinse and repeat.
Block.one has closed the loop, they’ve married Silicon Valley to Decentralized-land, they’ve played the game, and they have won. This mosaic, this masterful piece that they have created will undoubtedly change the world as we know it forever. With this sort of system, why would any company do IPOs anymore? Why would any entrepreneur seek out a VC without a blockchain ecosystem to deploy on? Why would any investor put their money in the stock market? Most of us are beginning to see the answer and it's simple: unless they are a fool, they wouldn’t.
And the good news is, the EOS ICO doesn’t end until June 2018.
This article is the second in a series about how EOS is going to change our world for the better. First article: EOS, the Great Liberator.
About the Author:
Katie Roman is an amateur paddle boarder and Dan Larimer fan girl. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband, son, and their rabbit Chestnut.
EOS Go aims to unite a community towards launching the Web 3.0 - EOS public blockchain - on June 1, 2018. EOS.IO open source software and final token snapshot provided by block.one.
Please visit https://forums.eosgo.io to get involved in the movement and help our organization bring the community together in preparation for launch.
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