In brief

  • EOS creator Dan Larimer has revealed his fourth blockchain project: Clarion.
  • It has similar aims to his previous projects, but will be built in a fundamentally different way.
  • Larimer hopes Clarion could help bring the "logical decentralization that was intended before Big Tech locked us into their services and stopped producing tools that empower people."

Blockchain developer Dan Larimer has announced his next project, called Clarion. Similar to many of his previous projects, Clarion will be focused on decentralized networking, enabling people to communicate without relying on trusted third parties.

Larimer is known for creating multiple prominent blockchain projects. In 2013, he built BitShares as a way of exchanging fiat money for cryptocurrency. In 2016, he founded Steem, a decentralized content network, which later suffered a blockchain war, evolving into Hive. And in 2017, he created blockchain platform EOS, which raised $5 billion in the world’s biggest ICO. And now he’s starting anew.

“Clarion OS is just getting started and is in the early design stage. We are assembling a team of developers to build the first prototypes,” wrote Larimer on coding community GitHub.

“This project will be developed in the open and welcomes contributions from anyone interested in restoring the internet to the level of logical decentralization that was intended before Big Tech locked us into their services and stopped producing tools that empower people,” he added.

The core idea behind the Clarion protocol is that it enables people to send messages to each other, in various ways. This will include delayed communication, like email, and immediate communication, like normal messaging. It will also support group chats, and let one person send messages to large groups of people.

Though he’s focusing on the same ultimate goal as in the past—trying to disrupt Facebook and Twitter—this project will be a bit different. Rather than build another blockchain, Clarion will be more of an underlying messaging protocol, similar to the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), on which Decrypt cross-posts all of our stories.

The focus of Clarion will be to move information around, as opposed to moving value, which is how a blockchain typically works. As a result, it’s less important to ensure that everything is in the right order (essential for Bitcoin to stop people from sending their coins twice). So, it won’t need the same complicated consensus mechanism that blockchains use, such as mining coins. This makes it much more scalable and frees it from many constraints that typical blockchains have.

But the project will still use cryptography, as blockchains do. This means each user will have their own cryptographic entity, controlled by a set of private keys, that identify who they are. This will prevent bad actors from easily impersonating people (as bots on Twitter do daily). But it does mean that, if someone steals someone else’s private keys, then they could steal their identity—at least through this protocol, or anything built on it.

How did EOS fare?

EOS was Larimer’s biggest project to date. The EOS blockchain is set to be the eventual home of Voice, a decentralized social network designed to reward users for posting good content. But for now, Voice is running on a purpose-built network that’s similar to EOS, in case anything goes wrong.

The EOS network is home to a few decentralized applications (dapps) that have plenty of regular users. The biggest by far, according to dapp tracker Dappradar, is Upland, a virtual property game mapped to the real world (unlike Decentraland, an entirely new world). Upland has 11,000 users, who spent $71,000 in the last 24 hours.

Voice, Block.one’s new EOS-based, social media platform that plans to rival Facebook and Twitter, will finally open its doors early next year.
Voice is a decentralized social network. Image: Block.one

The EOS network is fast and cheap to use. As a result, it is currently the most used blockchain platform by network activity, according to network monitor Blocktivity. The network saw 17 million transactions in the last 24 hours, and once saw 81 million transactions in a day. This is higher than Bitcoin, which sees 870,000 transactions per day with an all-time high of 1 million.

While Larimer’s projects have built up some traction in the blockchain space, they haven’t yet made a dent when it comes to disrupting those tech giants. But maybe the fourth time’s a charm.