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Troubled path Tezos blockchain platform finally goes live

Tezos logo with bitcoin in foreground

Tezos has been handed over to its decentralised community of users.

(Reuters)

The blockchain project Tezos has put its past problems behind it by launching the platform fully live on Monday. Tezos raised $232 million from the public in July 2017, but corporate governance disputes delayed the completion of the project until now.

In function, Tezos has broad similarities to smartphone operating systems that allow third parties to plug in their services via apps. The main difference is that Tezos has a decentralised structure, which means it is owned, operated and developed by its entire community of users rather than by a single company or entity.

The platform has been operating in a controlled live phase since the end of June. In that time, users had been able to mint, or ‘bake’, the digital Tezos tokens needed to run the system in the knowledge that the platform could have been shut down in the event of technical problems.

Collective effort

Having passed that test, Tezos is now fully operational without such a kill switch or other forms of centralised control. “It’s a testament to the Tezos project - the technology and the community - that together we arrived here and are thriving,” Tezos Foundation president Ryan Jesperson said in a recent blog postexternal link.

"Please remember that the Tezos network is a new blockchain technology. As with any new blockchain technology, unexpected issues may still impact the network," the foundation stated in a later blogexternal link.

"Users are solely responsible for any risks associated with usage of the Tezos network. Prospective users should do their own research to determine if Tezos is the appropriate platform for their needs before engaging. In addition, those already on the network should apply judgment and care in their network interactions."

Created by US-French husband and wife team Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, Tezos set up a foundation in Switzerland last year to house and distribute the multiple millions raised in the form of cryptocurrencies from its initial coin offering (ICO). At one stage, at the end of last year, the foundation was sitting on a pot worth around $1 billion.

Fierce dispute

It had initially been indicated that the project might be up and running by as early as the end of 2017, but that timetable was rudely thrown out of the window by a bitter row over governance between the Breitmans and former foundation head Johan Gevers.

At one stage it appeared as though the acrimony might endanger the whole project, but it was finally resolved in February when Gevers stepped aside in favour of Jesperson and a revamped foundation board.

“There has been adversity, but everyone has come out of it stronger,” Jesperson told swissinfo.ch in an interview earlier this year. “Tezos chooses to view events in a positive light since they galvanised the community and developers and resulted in setting up the foundation anew in an effective way to move forward. I am very optimistic.”

With the Tezos platform now launched and firmly in the hands of its decentralised community of users, the Breitmans, the foundation and Gevers are left to deal with the aftermath of the dispute. This includes civil lawsuits and a potential regulatory probe into whether the Tezos tokens were illegally sold as securities last year.

swissinfo.ch

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