An objective analysis
What is ThunderCore?
ThunderCore is its own blockchain with its own native cryptocurrency, Thunder tokens. Developed by industry-leading experts, it is EVM-compatible with throughput of 1,200+ TPS, sub-second confirmation times, and low gas costs—making it quick and easy for dApps to deploy and scale.
There is no doubt that the team behind ThunderCore is talented. The CEO, Chris Wang, graduated with a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University at the age of 22. Since then, he founded a social gaming company, Playdom, which was sold to Disney for approximately $500 million. However, it’s important to note that ThunderCore only displays three team members on their website. They are currently hiring for about 15 different positions, with a focus on engineering talent. It appears that ThunderCore is attempting to scale the company, however, may be having difficulty finding top talent. This is noteworthy, given the fact that talented blockchain engineers are in high demand, and there is a clear supply shortage in the market. Furthermore, building a layer 1 blockchain protocol supporting dApps is no easy task, and will require a built out team in order to be successful. While Block.One is a global organization, ThunderCore appears to be operating solely out of Silicon Valley. This raises the concern of whether Thunder Token can compete at a global scale. For comparison purposes, see the employee statistics for Block.One and Thunder Token below.
Block.One has secured over $4 billion in funding via an ICO; with a notable strategic round led by PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel. Block.One has also set aside $1 billion to help fund applications utilizing the EOS.IO software.
Thunder Token is also attracting interest from top VCs, raising an undisclosed amount in seed funding and a private ICO. However, it is still unclear how ThunderCore will attempt to incentivize entrepreneurs to build on top of its platform. Developer activity on the platform is key to attracting users, which then allows for value accrual at the protocol level.
Block.One has a very transparent, vested interest in the health of the EOS network. They own 10% of all EOS tokens, vesting 1% each year for the next 10 years. An interesting caveat is that Block.One can currently vote for block producers with the full power of 10% of the tokens, but can only liquidate them per the vesting schedule.
We have yet to see what ThunderCore’s plans are in terms of token economies. Aligning the interests of the Thunder Token holders and the interests of the ThunderCore business itself will be absolutely crucial to its long term success.
While the block producers of EOS can freeze applications if bugs are found, it is still at the mercy of the block producers acting honestly. Fifteen out of twenty-one block producers must collude in order to successfully attack the network. This is a real threat, given the recent accusation of Huobi colluding with other BPs. The Thunder protocol reverts to a worst case condition if issues or congestion are present on the network.
Thunder Protocol guarantees security in this worst case scenario, while EOS can only hope its built in governance mechanisms can solve problems as they arise.
The ThunderCore protocol is only a scalable blockchain when certain conditions are met.
The slow-chain is secure
The Accelerator is online and honest
> ¾ of the committee of 100 consensus nodes are online and honest
Under these optimistic conditions, ThunderCore can reach speeds of 1,200 TPS.
EOS is more scalable in its current form, allowing for up to 3,000 TPS. Furthermore, EOS has plans to adopt parallelization and sidechains, which can theoretically allow for scaling up to a million transactions per second. It is unclear if ThunderCore has plans for enhanced scalability, or even if the optimistic conditions that allow for scaling can be consistently met.
While EOS and Block.One have a fairly clear roadmap, ThunderCore’s roadmap appears to be absent from the public eye. Either the roadmap is being kept secret, or there isn’t one to begin with. While EOS is focused on pervasive adoption and developer incentivization, ThunderCore is still working on its mainnet, set to be released in Q1 2019. Is ThunderCore too late to the party?
First Hand Experience with ThunderChat Messenger App on ThunderCore Test-Net
My experience using the ThunderCore test-net was overall very positive. ThunderCore allows for seamless integration with MetaMask and has clear tutorials on how to migrate dApps from the ERC20 standard. Furthermore, ThunderCore has chosen to create a proof of concept messenger application to display the speed of the blockchain (one second block confirmation time, allowing for 1,200 TPS). However, a messaging application that requires users to pay transaction fees for each message in unsustainable, and unusable at scale.
While Thundercore states that transaction fees will be significantly lower than Ethereum, this may not hold true if ThunderCore’s dApps are able to achieve mainstream adoption. EOS has zero transaction fees, which might be the huge catalyst for user adoption. No one is going to use a blockchain-based social media app if they have to pay transaction fees for each message.
Block.One and ThunderCore have talented teams, and it’s clear that they have the capital to execute. They both are attempting to build EVM-compatible blockchains that have the ability to scale. Block.One has a clear head start, however, I believe that the main issue to be discussed in the long run is network security and decentralization. At first glance, ThunderCore appears to be more secure, given its ability to revert to worst-case conditions that resemble proof-of-work chains like Bitcoin or Ethereum. If the EOS delegated proof of stake model proves to be corruptible or insecure, ThunderCore stands to gain market share from this fallout; if and when this ever occurs. That being said, there is no reason that both projects can’t co-exist, especially if the ecosystem continues to grow as a whole.