Unless you’ve been officially living under a rock, then you’ve become aware that Dan Larimer has officially left Block.one as the CTO. Now if it was EOS FUD we were after this is what we would say just before we dropped the mic and walked off stage. Wonder if that is how Brendan Blumer and the rest of Block.one felt when Dan decided to release this news on his Hive and Voice blogs?
Taking a step back here is what we know. On Sunday January 10th, 2021, it appears Dan Larimer first dropped a post on Hive.io announcing his departure.
“I have worked with Brendan and block.one for the past 4 years and am proud of the EOSIO software I was able to create and launch with the help of an extremely talented group of engineers. Alas, all good things must come to an end. As of December 31, 2020 I have resigned my position as CTO of block.one.
I will continue on my mission to create free market, voluntary solutions for securing life, liberty, property, and justice for all. I do not know exactly what is next, but I am leaning toward building more censorship resistant technologies. I have come to believe that you cannot provide “liberty as a service” and therefore I will focus my attention on creating tools that people can use to secure their own freedom.
I wish block.one the best with their future endeavors.”
Of course this immediately rippled through Twitter and other social media channels as a frenzy of what was happening became more speculative than the price of Bitcoin. Being as the Hive account had rarely been used, was it a possibility that somehow the account keys had been compromised. Stranger things have happened with the recent compromise of personal information by Ledger, a crypto currency hardware wallet company. As Luke Stokes pointed out below this Hive post of Dan’s, and rightly so, as it did seem very suspect.
“Please verify the authenticity of this message. It is very suspect to think a company like Block One wouldn't make an official announcement about this before you. It also doesn't make sense that you would post here instead of the other channels (like your blog) you've been posting on more consistently. No activity since October, and then two blogs posts (to make the account seem legitimate?) and now this? On a weekend? Seems like FUD. Post on your blog or on your Voice account or even Twitter (which I know you said you left).”
Not so long after however, the exact same post appeared on Dan’s official Voice account, prompting the community to begin to take this a bit more seriously. For as many were speculating similar thoughts to Luke’s above, the probability that Dan Larimer would lose access to both Hive and Voice seemed almost impossible. The problem was, there was still no official word from either Block.one or Dan Larimer himself confirming this as being legit, no matter how probable it may seem.
Now, of course in the real world people move from one company to another company all the time. And as Dan has been hinting recently in his personal blog and on social media channels that he is a builder of technologies and a libertarian, it should not be a surprise that due to the regulation that Block.one seems to be hindered by as of recent that Dan was considering leaving - but more on that in a bit.
What is a surprise however is the complete mismanagement of this situation by both Dan Larimer and Block.one. Not knowing all the details however, we can only speculate, but even then the best case scenario shows the complete and utter disregard for a proper protocol at how this all unfolded and will stain the history of both Block.one and Dan Larimer’s reputation for potentially years to come.
Block.one did release a statement eventually confirming what many feared, that Dan actually had resigned. And to their credit it was pretty cordial and even professional had it been in a vacuum distanced from all that previously transpired.
“Block.one today announced that Daniel Larimer, CTO at Block.one, has departed to pursue new personal projects.
“I co-founded Block.one with Dan in 2017, and since then we’ve seen both the industry and the company grow to unprecedented heights,”
said Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one.
“I’m not alone in being grateful for the contributions Dan has made to date, and I look forward to seeing what he will do next.”
In the last few years, Block.one has been focused on driving future growth by recruiting, developing and promoting world-class product and engineering teams. Block.one continues to stay focused on advancing its current and future products, and it looks forward to sharing its planned developments with the world in 2021.”
Now this begs many questions - almost too many to count to be quite frank - but a couple in particular in regards to the way this situation was handled.
In Dan’s original post he stated that he had resigned on December 31st, 2020. That being the case, why wait so long to inform the community? And why was it Dan himself going on a posting spree on public blogs instead of Block.one announcing this in a controlled manner? All in all it is a really bad look for Dan Larimer, Block.one, and by default, EOS and everything associated with it in general.
Looking around the community, there appear to be various takes. Some are irate at Dan for leaving citing the fact that he promised he would not do this again. Although promise is a strong word which we don’t have the time or want to either confirm or deny, there is no arguing that the sentiment from both within and beyond the community has existed since the beginning. Despite the fact that in the case of Bitshares Dan left his father essentially in charge, and there seems some merit to the fact that he may have been in a way pushed out of the Steem ecosystem as opposed just abandoning it, it cannot be denied that with this move he has officially solidified his reputation as beginning projects and departing.
Most of note in this regard is long time EOS and Dan Larimer advocate Colin of Colin Talks Crypto YouTube channel. Quickly on the back of this announcement Colin came out to state that this had become the final straw and propelled him into liquidating his entire EOS position as well as putting in motion the steps to shut down his proxies.
Although some called him out on what they perceived to be a rather rash move, it is no secret that Colin has been quite critical of Block.one and the EOS mainnet for some time now. In a follow up video however, Colin does try to lay out a well defined take on the matter pointing out his responses to some of the community members comments on the matter.
As for what others are saying, well, this seems to be a mixed bag. Of course there are those that are calling Dan Larimer a scammer and this whole thing an exit scam - and primarily those that were calling Dan Larimer a scammer and a thief long before he resigned. Rest assured though, this is simply untrue. Although it is probable that Dan has enough money to do whatever he wants, and most likely got paid reasonably well for being the CTO of Block.one, all that BTC in the coffers of Block.one will remain there to further fund the operations of what Brendan Blumer has assured the community is coming.
And of course there are those now saying that EOS is officially dead as the main developer is no longer a part of the project. Ironically enough, many of these are likely the same people that have continually complained that EOS is too centralized. This irony aside however, Dan’s role at Block.one was as CTO, not developer, and Block.one is known to have a core team of very proficient developers and enough to pay them reasonably well for what they do. Although without any such official statement from Dan himself we cannot know for certain, it is unlikely at this point that Dan was even actively working on very much coding in comparison to others on the team at least very recently. From recent activity on his personal blog, More Equal Animals: The Subtle Art of True Democracy, it does indeed seem Dan was spending more time true to criticism on things beyond the scope of what Block.one’s intended mission or course, right or wrong, had been internally deemed to be.
Finally, many have been critical of Block.one for not supporting and funding community projects for quite some time now. Although it would have been nice to see this materialize, Block.one has been quite adamant at maintaining and upgrading the whole EOSIO core code which has been of benefit to not just EOS, but some other really promising chains such as WAX, ULTRA, and even TELOS. In the interim, the community of developers and projects that have been building on the EOS mainnet have created a wide array of both notable and usable dApps that have gotten attention above and beyond anything Dan, Brendan, or Block.one have been doing.
In the end, the sky is still the limit despite the fact that for many the fires of hell burn closer than ever before. From a fundamental level nothing inside EOS has really changed. It is very possible that part of the reason Dan left was because within the protocols of what Block.one was holding him accountable to his hands were tied.
Now this statement is not intended to excuse the fact that he left in the manner he did - quite the contrary actually. Both Dan and Block.one should and in a very broad community sense likely will be held accountable for all this chaos their mismanagement of the situation has caused. And although Block.one has a ton of capital and the best tech on the market, this whole situation will just feed into the narrative of the broader ecosystem being less than performant of expectations and officially beyond repair.
Keeping all that in check though, a new CTO could potentially revive the narrative in a reformed manner and free up Block.one to move forward in a direction that maybe Dan was not sold on due to his libertarian tendencies. With an estimated 240,000 BTC in the coffers Block.one has the funds to do pretty much whatever they want, and despite some community members finally having had enough, there are a lot of those that have always been here because of the tech and not Dan the man. And as regulations creep up on all crypto and blockchains especially within the US and more developed regions of the world, although many might not agree, compliance will for sure be a factor in longevity.
As for Dan, what his next move may be only time will tell. He could just as easily disappear into the shadows on a developer front free from the scrutiny of the community and tethers of being CTO of Block.one to deploy a series of dApps on the EOSIO mainnet or other EOSIO chains that has been his ambition all along. That said, it is just as likely that he may focus his energies on the political statements he chose so long ago to support and one of the primary reasonings for building in the decentralized space in the first place. Really, all we can know for sure is that the road less travelled for both Block.one and Dan Larimer is not looking to get any easier anytime soon. EOSIO though, don’t expect that to dissipate anytime soon as some of the other chains that have deployed it are already making waves and might possibly even continue to do so without the majority of the public even knowing the connection to blockchain never mind stamping them with the increasingly negative sentiments towards the Block.one and EOS brand.