EOS FOR IDIOTS: What’s a BP?
Written by Stellabelle
BP means Block Producer.
I’m sure that doesn’t clear it up because the term Block Producer is brand new. A Block Producer is very similar to a Bitcoin miner.
Many people have asked the question, “What exactly do EOS Block Producers do?” so it’s time to delve into this.
EOSphere made a very cool video that explains what Block Producers do:
Let’s first explore what Bitcoin miners do because Bitcoin mining came first.
In order for miners to earn Bitcoin, they need to meet two conditions. One is composed of work, the other is luck. They have to verify a set of transactions. Then, they have to be the first miner to solve a computational puzzle. This process is also known as a proof of work.
When the computers solve these puzzles, the people who own them are not actually doing the work, the computers are. They are just maintaining the computers, making sure they have electricity and are in working order.
There is no social component to this system because the only thing that matters to the Bitcoin network is computational power and electrical resources. Keep in mind also that mining Bitcoin uses an increasing amount of energy as the puzzles get harder and harder to solve in time.
Block Producers are similar to Bitcoin miners, but are more specialized and do many things that Bitcoin miners don’t do. Block Producers verify transactions on the EOS blockchain and are voted in by the community.
Keep in mind Bitcoin mining is wasteful of all kinds of energy, including electricity and human intelligence.
Bitcoin uses a ton of electricity and the work being done to secure the Bitcoin network doesn’t contain any social, cultural, community outreach or governance components. There are entrepreneurs in the Bitcoin network usually in the form of mining pool owners, but the small miners are generally not involved in anything except mining. There is no real way to resolve conflicts and no built-in incentives to reward people who add different kinds of value, like marketing, artistic, legal or journalistic talents to the network. Dan Larimer, CTO of Block One, realized that in order to make a fully functional economy, incentives would have to be created to include everyone’s talents, not just those who are running computers.
So in 2014, Dan Larimer invented a new system called Delegated Proof of Stake, which is what EOS is based upon. In this new DPOS system, miners are called Block Producers and they are voted in by the people who hold EOS tokens. Dan realized that not everyone would be interested in being a miner, so the people who own the EOS tokens could decide who they wanted to secure the EOS blockchain. So, it is this voting aspect that transforms EOS into a social community and some would say a new economic society.
Block Producers in EOS do a wide variety of things and this list is not a complete one. Keep in mind this is an extremely simplified explanation.
The primary job of Block Producers is to verify transactions on the EOS blockchain. They also introduce software upgrades to the EOS network. BPs pay for servers, infrastructure and also have to upgrade their systems as the blockchain grows larger. They run software on computers to validate transactions on the EOS blockchain. Many BPs use cloud servers while others have their own hardware.
Yes votes from 15 of the top 21 Block Producers are required in order to make protocol changes. EOS has a governance layer, so the Block Producers have to abide by the decisions made by this governing body called ECAF (EOSIO Core Arbitration Forum).
Just like Bitcoin miners, EOS Block Producers are paid directly by the blockchain for their work. There is no HR or payroll department. The rules encoded in the software pay the Block Producers EOS tokens for their labor.
The top 81 Block producers are paid every day. The top spot is paid about 818 EOS ($3051) per day and the 81st spot is paid about 100 EOS per day ($373 USD). Only the top 21 are actively verifying transactions, but the standby BPs are also paid.
The Block Producers also must be well versed in cybersecurity. In a regular company, this would be similar to any IT department. But most Block Producers do a lot more than just verifying blocks. Block Producers have formed into teams of people or a company, and each team has specialized talents and skills.
Take a look at the top 21 Block Producers on this block explorer to see this list: https://bloks.io/
So, besides verifying the transactions on the EOS blockchain, what else do Block Producers do?
Many Block Producer teams create software projects, digital wallets, games, block explorers, educational resources, outreach projects, and other tools for the EOS community. They also support the development of dApps and entrepreneurial businesses. And many are businesses themselves. They host meetups, hackathons and blockchain events and collaborate with other Block Producers on a wide variety of projects.
Most top Block Producers also have Telegram channels where they provide technical support and outreach to users and the general public. Many BPs also have Twitter, Medium, Steem, WeChat, Facebook, Youtube, blogs and websites where they continually post new content.
There are of course controversial aspects of the way that Block Producers are chosen, as human nature when mixed with large sums of money doesn’t always produce the most desirable results. It’s important to keep in mind that this DPOS system is an experimental one, and going forward, it will need to be refined in order to achieve more optimal results. Many sister chains are now being formed to solve some of the issues that exist. These sister chains will be very good for the future of EOS, as they will be able to experiment with different governance structures.
There are many ways to add value to the EOS network, and it’s anyone’s guess what kinds of innovations will emerge from Block Producers in the future.
Check out the tools GenerEOS has created for the EOS community:
EOSToolkit — the premier free, open-source interface for managing EOS accounts with over 60,000 users to date: https://eostoolkit.io/home
EOS Help Desk — created as a one stop shop for tutorials on EOS related subjects with support: https://helpdesk.eostoolkit.io/hc/en-us (co-created with Blockgenic)
POOR token — created to help test and establish the airgrab token model for EOS-based tokens: https://github.com/generEOS/poorman.token
AirDrop Snapshot Tools — to give real time and updated snapshot data for dApp developers: https://github.com/generEOS/airdrop-tools
Interviews and State of EOS Educational Video Series: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFHa6AJmcZBjXGILF2EZnHQ/videos
Meetups and Developer Workshops: https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/EOSAustralia/
GenerEOS is a social enterprise block producing candidate with a mission of promoting and supporting scalable and highly reliable block production whilst giving back block rewards to Social Causes.
Based out of Sydney, Australia, GenerEOS is founded by a team of like-minded blockchain enthusiasts with diverse backgrounds and a passion to make a difference in the world and fostering the spirit of generosity by giving back.
Subscribe to the GenerEOS Medium publication to keep updated on everything EOS.
The Future of Giving