EOS creator Dan Larimer has made a statement that proposes changes to EOS’s current block producer model. In brief, these changes would force standby block producers to contribute to the network regularly. In a discussion on EOSGO.IO, Larimer wrote:
“I am starting to think that the Steem model where the 21st producer is rotated in makes more sense. Then they only get paid per block produced … I would probably rotate … once per hour.”
EOS currently relies on 21 block producers, which are elected by EOS token holders, to validate the blockchain. These block producers provide blockchain consensus and supply computing power for the entire EOS network. In return, they are compensated with EOS tokens.
In addition to those 21 block producers, several others are kept on standby, and they are paid to be ready to contribute to the network when needed. However, there is currently no way to tell if standby block producers are actually able to provide the resources that the EOS network needs.
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Larimer’s suggestion involves requiring each standby block producer to temporarily serve as EOS’s 21st node producer, a measure which would “prove all standby [block producers] have nodes ready to take over.” This is the model used by Steem, another blockchain that Larimer is the creator of.
EOS New York, a block producer for the platform, noted that Larimer’s suggestion was in fact originally planned for EOS. However, Larimer reportedly told EOS New York that the plan for a rotating block producer was removed because the feature would introduce inefficiencies in inter-blockchain communication. Now, it seems that the decision is instead taking a toll on EOS’s overall performance.
It is not clear whether Larimer actually intends to implement his new proposal. Recently, rumors have begun to circulate that Larimer will be leaving EOS and its parent company, Block.one. Although this is not entirely true, it seems that Larimer will indeed be focusing on other projects. This means that his proposed change to EOS may not be made after all.
Although it is impossible to tell whether any given standby block producer is unqualified, problems with inactive block producers have arisen in the past. Some block producers perform inconsistently, and others intermittently fail to produce blocks or provide resources. This is a serious issue that can do temporary damage to EOS’s performance or consensus.
There are, however, checks in place: dead block producers are currently removed after 24 hours of inactivity, and users can vote to remove block producers if necessary. But in practice, these measures are not always efficient. Even if Larimer’s exact suggestion is not implemented, it seems that inactive block producers and missed blocks are a common enough problem that a solution will be introduced on EOS at some point.