Last week, a group calling itself the EOS Alliance announced its formation in a post on Medium. According to the post, the initial board members include Bancor and LiquidEOS head of business development Galia Benartzi, musician Akon, and Bitcoin Foundation chair Brock Pierce. The announcement claimed the goal of the alliance was to "unlock the full potential of EOS ... by providing a platform for collaborative, transparent decision-making and information sharing within the EOS community." It also stated the alliance will conduct regular meetings (in three languages – Chinese, English, and Korean) that address "key ecosystem issues."
The announcement said the alliance had the support of more than four dozen block producers and other prominent EOS entities. In the days following the announcement, several EOS block producers (including EOS New York, EOS Tribe, LiquidEOS, and EOS Nation) made announcements of their own in support of the plan.
It seems natural to conclude that a streamlined communication forum would benefit EOS, which in the past has had some high-profile communication breakdowns. During the mainnet launch, for instance, many responsible for voting whether to go ahead with the launch were not even sure which platform they were supposed to submit their votes to. And in response to a registration scam that put more than 3,500 EOS at risk, one block producer failed to act because the organization was simply unaware of the situation.
But EOS' divisions are not solely about communication, but rather about questions fundamental to decentralized organizations.
For instance, after some accounts were compromised in the scam mentioned above, the EOSIO Core Arbitration Forum (ECAF) ordered several accounts frozen. The reaction to this decision tended to fall into two categories: that it was the right move (but happened too slowly) or that it represented an inappropriate centralization of power and a betrayal of the "code is law" philosophy of EOS.
Dan Larimer, creator of the EOS.io blockchain protocol, was of the latter opinion. He argued there should have been no intervention whatsoever: "My opinion on disputes regarding stolen keys is that no action should be taken … bottom line, damage to community from ECAF is greater than funds we hope to restore to users."
With the announcement of this new "coordinating group" possibly putting itself between EOS users and ECAF (or EOS users and block producers), some may be concerned that what is being created is another bureaucratic group that is incompatible with (at the very least) the spirit of EOS. Possibly to assuage such concerns, the alliance has announced that it will refrain "from gaining any executive power within EOS governance structures."
It's striking that an organization would use the announcement of its creation to assert that it intends to remain powerless. But that just demonstrates the fine line such an organization has to walk. Larimer has called EOS a "grand experiment to see if it can combine the best aspects of crypto-contracts, human contracts, and human dispute resolution," and most of the controversies that EOS has suffered amount to arguments about the balance between those three aspects. It is a tension inherent in all decentralized organizations – between too much or not enough centralized control, too much or not enough human discretion. By being recognized and supported by the major EOS player, but wielding no official power, possibly the alliance can satisfy those on both ends of the spectrum, making EOS a little more organized, without making it less decentralized.