Since its inception, the world of blockchain has been incredibly community-focused. Going beyond community participation in the literal sense in the form of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), blockchain and all of its extensions has always had a fervent community backing it.
From financial contributions to community-driven events, the world of blockchain is inseparable from the community that follows it. With this social structure embedded in the medium, it’s no surprise that many cryptocurrency projects have made community activities and support a core function of their enterprises, giving back to the community and empowering them wherever possible.
However, due to the overwhelming community focus, many new cryptocurrencies and blockchain deployments take this engagement as a salespoint rather than an actual asset. While blockchain projects were once about focusing on delivering quality and continuous streams of communication to their community, this has now slowly shifted into another guise for gaining more money.
With new crypto projects that are engineered by enterprises or public figures already having a significant capital base, their pandering to the community spirit seems ingenuine and out-of-place. This is especially the case in the modern day, with blockchain’s total market value being predicted to reach 67.4 billion by 2026, with this potential for capital gain attracting more centralized organizations looking for a quick opportunity.
In this article, we’ll explore the notion of community within the blockchain and Web3, demonstrate how it became such a focal point for success, how businesses misuse this, and finally, how some companies are still carrying the torch of community-driven blockchain projects.
Let’s get right into it.
Isn’t Community and Decentralization the Case with All Cryptos?
When people first learn about blockchain, the word ‘decentralized’ is often thrown around without a full understanding of how it actually works. While the vast majority of blockchain projects describe themselves as completely decentralized, this often isn’t actually the case for two core reasons. Equally, while more modern blockchain companies put forward a front of being community-driven and involved, this is more so a public facade for positive PR.
Despite what companies may state, a large bulk of blockchain projects aren’t truly decentralized for two main reasons:
- Ownership – Modern blockchain projects love to present an idea of being community-driven but do very little to actually contribute to any form of community structure. This is typically the case in larger-scale projects that have heavy backing from financial institutions or even governments. While being seen as decentralized, they still have a central staff of board members that directly work for or on behalf of centralized organizations. Although seemingly separated from centralized organizations, if the controlling members work with them, these ‘decentralized’ companies are nothing of the sort. Peeling back the layers of who the main investors, board members, and CEO of a blockchain project are can often shed light on this factor immensely.
- Decentralized Centralized Nodes – If a blockchain project prides itself on using individual node verification for transactions, this is typically seen as a decentralized process. However, who actually owns those nodes is something that’s rarely thought about. Typically, blockchain companies buy nodes from a specific company, using their widespread network to give the impression of being totally decentralized. The problem with this is that their nodes are actually centralized, working directly through a company that feeds back into larger legislation. This has caused problems when geographical and financial restrictions are in place, with some developing countries being unable to access their funds or being completely shut out of supposedly decentralized platforms due to sanctions from the US or other major territories. When a government has control over these nodes, they also indirectly have control over the crypto or blockchain project, which has led to entire countries being shut out of ‘decentralized’ networks.
Just because a blockchain project says it’s 100% community focused and decentralized doesn’t mean it is either of those things. As cryptocurrency and blockchain as a whole increase their market caps, more centralized corporations see the Web3 space as a market opportunity.
This injection of centralized capitalism into this supposedly decentralized sphere goes against the fundamental pillars of what blockchain stands for.
How the Community Driven EOS Does Things Differently?
Going against the false promises of many other blockchain institutions, EOS focuses on creating a community-driven experience that pushes the potential of blockchain even further than before. Recently rebranding their protocol from ESIO to Antelope, this stage of development centers upon community engagement and puts this into practice.
EOS has incorporated community into the center of its entire foundation. Their current management and execution structure is conducted through a DAO. This means that everyone that forms a part of EOS (by owning and using their cryptocurrency) has a say in how they conduct business. From choosing how the business grows and scales, how the community develops, and even the future requisites for membership.
But, going beyond just the DAO structure, their community focus allows them to create a completely decentralized election process. Every 0.5 seconds, the platform polls how many transactions are made with EOS, often clocking in with over a billion individual transactions. From there, the top 21 producers on the gain are selected. Once this continually shifting 21 is found, 15 of 21 of those members must agree on the proposed network upgrades or changes, making the development of EOS directly related and controlled by the community.
Even the application development side of the blockchain aims to push community engagement and accessibility forward as much as possible. EOS is completely open-source, with this open blockchain development, meaning that developers can implement their own ideas and help the platform to grow. Quite simply, even the foundational blocks with which EOS is built are completely community-driven, demonstrating the lengths this company has gone to.
But What Happened With Block.one?
While the strides that EOS is taking might be a completely new and exciting bit of information, many of those that have been in the blockchain community for quite some time will recognize this name from a few years ago. In 2018, Block.one raised over $4 billion in their ICO launch, EOS. At that point in time, this news created waves in the community as this was the largest amount that a singular ICO had raised to date.
The main focus of Block.one in this endeavor was to develop a digital network with EOS, employing large names in the blockchain world to head up this project. Fast forward a few years, and Block.one made almost no progress. While, on paper, this blockchain network was an efficient system, the reality was that the project placed very little focus on development and innovation.
Without a strong strategy for future development, the project soon fizzled out, with many of the funds either being frozen or disappearing into the project. The modern-day rerelease of this project goes in a completely different direction, with developers having fought for years to make this project community-driven.
Instead of a project which was run into the ground by corporate greed, this new community-based iteration of the blockchain is truly by the people and for the people. The ENF community is now reinstated, using their collective power to put EOS back on track toward becoming a first-rate blockchain system.
One of the biggest distinguishing features between this release and the 2018 horrorshow, apart from the focus on community, is the fact that they have a coherent and structured plan for future growth. Currently, they’re working on bringing smart contracts onto Antelope, with this entailing over 10,000 transactions per second, high performance, and full runtime maintenance.
With this infrastructure in place, EOS acts as a perfect springboard for dApps and DeFi development, with its phenomenal tools, fantastic TPS, and community-backing leading this blockchain into a poised position for success.
Further distancing itself from Block.one and its mismanagement of funds, ENF is currently working with a legal firm to reclaim the $4.2 billion. With this public movement, the community-driven blockchain system seems to have all the markings of a project that truly puts the core community-centric ideas back into this ecosystem.
The community has always been important in the blockchain world, with many projects being made or broken by the support they can secure. Yet, with the history of scams, dud projects, and failed launches, gathering a community is now harder than ever before.
EOS has positioned itself as a mold-breaker in this regard, having established an international community of DAO members that are actively fighting to secure a bright future for this blockchain network. As every decision within this blockchain ecosystem is decided upon by the community, with a unique consensus mechanism for action plans in place, this is truly a community endeavor brought to life.
With the further distancing from its past of Block.one, EOS seems to have an incredible few years lined up. As this project continues to grow in popularity, we are reminded of why blockchain originally garnered such community support. In 2022 and beyond, companies that put community first in this space – in working reality and not just in publicity – seem to be sure shots for success.