Delegated PoS systems like EOS have a collusion problem

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

News & Commentary

When EOS was first introduced as an "Ethereum-killer", supporters lauded its delegated Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. It works like this: large stakeholders to compete to become a delegate, or "supernode", fulfilling roles similar to miners and full nodes in a Proof of Work system. Users can trust these supernodes because any "cheating" on their behalf could, in theory, be transparent to (and punishable by) the other supernodes

In this Chinese-language article, one blockchain researcher explains how lucrative the role of supernode can be. Described as "a bidding war of cloud-service providers" due to the requirement on bandwidth, the competition leads to concentrations of supernodes in China, Korea, parts of Europe, and the US. Rampant collusion and bribery increases the chances of success for incumbents, but the system appears fair from the outside.

A few weeks ago, Vitalik Buterin published an article entitled Governance, Part 2: plutocracy is still bad, in which he doubles down on the argument that collusion is inevitable in DPoS systems, to which EOS team responded with this post.

Further commentary from Meltem Demirors

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