How to Prepare for the EOS.IO Software Launch
It’s been a long time coming, but finally, we are just one week away from the release of block.one’s EOS.IO Software. The much-anticipated launch will be unlike any other in the history of cryptocurrency, and given this, many holders of the EOS ERC-20 token are filled with both a sense of excitement and unease. The uncertainty lies in the fact that unlike other blockchain platforms, block.one will not be providing an official blockchain running the software. Rather they will simply release the EOS.IO Software and leave it up to the world to create chains that utilize it.
This approach puts pre-launch token holders in a very unusual position, as even block.one readily admits that there is no guarantee that blockchains running the EOS.IO Software will honor the results of the company’s yearlong token distribution.
But there’s no need for this uncertainty to turn into full-out FUD. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to prepare for the EOS.IO launch. We’ll attempt alleviate some of your potential concerns and help you to put yourself in the best situation come launch day.
Expect Your ERC-20 Tokens to Be Honored
According to block.one, holders of the EOS ERC-20 token “should not expect. . . [to] receive any other cryptographic tokens or digital assets now or in the future.” This stance, however, seems to be more of a legal disclaimer than a prediction of what will actually happen once EOS.IO blockchains go live.
In reality, EOS token holders are likely to have their tokens honored for several reasons. For one, it is expected that upon the software’s release, numerous blockchains running EOS.IO will begin to appear. These chains will be in competition with one another for users, with each chain vying to become the unofficial ‘main chain’. Spurred on by competition, the chains most likely to succeed are also likely to honor the EOS genesis block. Simply put, if you as an EOS holder had to choose between supporting a chain that honors your investment and one that does not, why would you choose the one that does not?
A second cause for optimism is that, despite their public disclaimers, block.one clearly intends for EOS Platforms to honor the ERC-20 tokens. According to the company, EOS ERC-20 assets will be frozen on June 1, 2018 at 22:59:59 UTC. From there, “any person who wishes to launch an EOS Platform adopting the EOS.IO Software will be able to generate a JSON file mapping EOS public keys to the fixed balances of the EOS Tokens from the state of the Ethereum blockchain.”
In other words, EOS has made the process of copying the final state of the Ethereum EOS tokens over to a new EOS Platform very easy.
Holders of EOS ERC-20 tokens should therefore rest comfortably knowing that they won’t wind up holding useless tokens come June 1. A more likely outcome is that they will find themselves holding EOS tokens on a number of separate blockchains, much like how holders of Bitcoin found themselves with Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold when those platforms forked from the Bitcoin blockchain.
It remains to be seen how many of these separate EOS Platforms will be competitive in the market, and in turn, how much their local tokens will be worth. But it is not hard to imagine how having tokens honored across numerous EOS Platforms could result in a significant increase in value compared to the singular ERC-20 version of EOS.
How to Prepare
With our minds put at ease, we can get into the nitty-gritty of how you as an EOS holder can prepare for the EOS.IO release. Thankfully there is not much that you will need to do.
Transfer Your ERC-20 Tokens Off-Exchange
The most important step users should take in preparation for the EOS.IO launch is to transfer any EOS tokens held on exchanges to a secure, personal wallet. This is a good rule of thumb for all cryptocurrencies, but it is essential in preparing for the EOS launch for the simple fact that you must be in control of your private and public keys in order for your EOS tokens to carry over to future EOS Platforms.
As mentioned above, the EOS.IO launch will be unlike the launch of any other platform to date. Numerous blockchains running the EOS.IO Software will likely appear, each attempting to become the main chain. The chains are incentivized to honor your ERC-20 EOS tokens to make you interested in their chain.
In order for you to receive these tokens, however, you have to be shown as owning them by June 1, 2018 at 22:59:59 UTC. Whatever ownership looks like at that time will serve as the genesis block for future EOS Platforms, so you want to be sure that the snapshot shows that you are the owner of your tokens, rather than an exchange.
It is unclear at this point what will happen to users who leave their ERC-20 EOS tokens on-exchange at the time of the snapshot. Perhaps there will be some system in place whereby you can withdraw your ERC-20 EOS tokens post-launch, prove to new EOS Platforms that they were yours at the time of the snapshot, and then still be given an equivalent number of the new platforms’ native tokens, but this is certainly not guaranteed.
To avoid all of this confusion, simply transfer your ERC-20 EOS tokens to a personal ERC-20 compatible wallet before June 1. For users who do not already have an ERC-20 wallet, block.one recommends MetaMask or MyEtherWallet as two free, secure options.
Keep Tabs on Different Chains
As some of the above information would suggest, pre-launch EOS holders should also be prepared to keep tabs on new EOS Platforms as they go live. I’ve said it a couple of times in this article already, but I’m going to reiterate: nobody knows what is going to happen on launch day. There could be a dozen EOS blockchains that debut within the first week, or it could be a more gradual process—with new ones appearing one by one for weeks or months following the software’s release.
It is theorized that following the initial debuts of blockchains running EOS, the number of EOS platforms will decrease over time. Some will prove themselves to be better-run than others, and users will flock to the best and abandon the worst.
With this in mind, you as an EOS holder would do well to keep up to date with the various EOS Platforms. Being informed in this way will ensure that you are taking advantage of all of the options available to you.
It is particularly important that you be on the lookout for any information regarding how to store your EOS tokens for different EOS Platforms. Presumably each chain will have to develop their own method of token storage. Following best practices as described by each blockchain’s developers will be crucial for protecting your investments.
Know Your Role
Finally, the last thing you will want to do before the EOS.IO release is to familiarize yourself with what your role, as a normal user, will be on EOS Platforms. The specifics will vary from person to person depending on how involved they would like to get with the network. At the very least, however, all token holders will have the option—or responsibility—to vote for the 21 block producers on each platform.
It is the block producers’ job to complete the computational heavy lifting that keeps EOS Platforms running smoothly. You as a user have a vested interest in having the best block producers possible. Exercising your right to vote is an important part of this process.
block.one’s innovative decision to not provide their own EOS blockchain, and to instead rely on the community to build their own, has left a lot of unanswered questions regarding the future of the platform. How many blockchains will appear? Will there be multiple viable blockchains? Will competition lead to one dominant chain or an oligopoly of powerful players?
The answers to all of these questions remain uncertain. With the information in this article, however, you now have everything you need to know to prepare for the EOS.IO Software launch. If you take the above pre-launch steps and are willing to be flexible going forward, you should be in a good position to reap the potential rewards from your investment in EOS
Matthew Godshall is the editor in chief at Unhashed.com. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Matthew hopes to turn Unhashed into the Internet’s premiere site for cryptocurrency resources.