On a Wednesday morning in November, Yves La Rose, a member of the EOS blockchain community, addressed a virtual gathering of China-based users. “EOS, as it stands, is a failure,” he said.
Built using open source technology created by a Cayman Island-based company named Block.one, EOS promised more efficiency than any other cryptocurrency network at the time. At one point, a running joke among crypto enthusiasts was that EOS stood for “Ethereum on Steroids.”
Ahead of the launch of EOS in June 2018, Block.one had raised over $4 billion in the biggest initial coin offering of all time. (ICOs let startups rake in eye-popping sums in exchange for cryptocurrency tokens to be used on a not-yet-built blockchain platform.) From those early days, La Rose devoted himself to EOS. He had even helmed the EOS Nation “block producer,” a kind of digital umpire responsible for validating the transactions taking place on the blockchain.
Nearly four years later, EOS was in free fall. Its user base was shrinking, it supported just a handful of popular apps, key developers were leaving, and the value of its token, also called EOS, had plummeted from $10 in June 2018 to $4.40 in late 2021. In the virtual session last fall, La Rose said that he and everyone else in the community had become the casualty of a venture that profited off their work and left them with nothing.
“Block.one knowingly misrepresented their capabilities,” the 39-year-old Canadian entrepreneur said in the meeting. “And this amounts to negligence and fraud.”
La Rose is still a believer in EOS’s potential; his grievance is with Block.one, which he believes has driven the project into the ground. La Rose has a plan to save EOS: He launched an organization called the EOS Network Foundation (ENF), with the goal of nursing the blockchain back to life, and, importantly, to hold Block.one accountable for the project’s decline.
He wanted Block.one to go away—and to give at least some of the money back.
Block.one had no intention of complying with his request. In May 2021, it announced that it would launch Bullish, a cryptocurrency exchange whose liquidity derived in large part from the proceeds of the EOS ICO. It registered Bullish in the Cayman islands—with subsidiaries in the Caymans and in crypto-friendly jurisdictions including Delaware, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar—planning to take it public via a $9 billion merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called Far Peak Acquisition Corp by March 8. After two extensions, the deadline is currently set for July 8, 2022.
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