A leaked spreadsheet by an employee of Huobi, one of the biggest crypto-exchanges in the world, appears to suggest collusion between the exchange and other block producers for mutual benefit.


Details of the Leak

In what could possibly dent the trust of investors in the EOS coin, a leak by one Shi Feifei, a Huobi employee, has exposed the weakness in the blockchain which apparently is being exploited by the exchange in connivance with some other block producers (BP).

The leaked spreadsheet spells out the details of how Huobi and some block producers of the EOS blockchain indulge in mutual voting and sharing of proceeds from producing blocks in EOS. The document reveals that Huobi votes for 20 BPs and 16 of them vote for Huobi in return.

According to the document, the exchange was previously voting for seven standby BPs which have no public nodes, website, ownership information, or node interaction. Huobi, as is evident from the exposé, appears to have entered into some kind of arrangement with the BPs in question for sharing the proceeds from the block rewards.

Huobi allegedly earns 1,116 EOS per day from these arrangements, which currently are worth about $6,000. This is in addition to what the exchange makes by producing blocks itself.

An EOS investor going by the Twitter handle @MapleLeafCap on Twitter expressed his feelings of disgust and shared the spreadsheet snapshots in a series of tweets published last week.

LBN Huobi Expansion Japan

A Flaw in EOS Design

This incident has exposed a design flaw in the blockchain which has only 21 nodes acting as validators. Apparently, about 10 addresses on the EOS network hold almost 50% of all tokens, making the blockchain very centralized.

Huobi and Bitfinex are voting with EOS tokens deposited by customers in their exchange, giving a lot of control to these platforms. In other blockchains, exchanges have no say in protocol rules and do not participate in validation. This apparent deficiency makes the network highly centralized with the ownership being highly concentrated among few nodes only.

It appears that this weakness in design is very similar to the one that existed in Bitshares, the earlier project of EOS founder Dan Larimer. EOS had raised $4 Billion through an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) sale that ran for a full year.

Implications

This incident is sure to raise questions about the long-term feasibility of EOS as a legitimate decentralized blockchain that can be trusted. It also exposes the questionable integrity of some exchanges which seem to go to any extent for financial gains.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin who has been critical of the network’s over-reliance on trust tweeted:

Interesting! I mean, it was completely predictable, and I did predict it, but I did not expect it to happen so thoroughly and so soon!

What this expose has brought forth is a scary situation especially for the investors of EOS who placed a lot of trust on the project and the team behind it. EOS needs to take some prompt actions to address the flaws in its design if it intends to retain the trust placed by the holders of the hyped cryptocurrency.

Do you think that EOS has been an over-hyped project being dubbed by some as an Ethereum killer? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of ShutterStock

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