Tezos (XTZ), the liquid proof-of-stake (LPoS) smart contract platform, has experienced a series of recent developments that have its community buzzing over the future.
The top 20 cryptocurrency project, which was created with an emphasis around on-chain governance, saw its first self-amendment proposals introduced last week for the protocol’s forthcoming Athens upgrade. Both proposals were put forth by Tezos research and development team Nomadic Labs.
The inaugural amendments are conservative and maintenance-focused. Athens A would decrease from 10,000 to 8,000 the amount of XTZ needed to validate Tezos blocks and would increase the gas limit of the protocol. Athens B would simply increase the gas limit without reducing the Tezos roll size to 8,000.
However the community ends up leaning, the proposals highlight how the stakes and prospects of on-chain governance are rising in the cryptoverse.
— Jovan Smith ???????? Tezos Domain: jovitezos.tez (@jovitezos) February 28, 2019
“This process could end in the successful migration from current protocol alpha to Athens in about three months, if the participants decide so,” Nomadic Labs said.
XTZ are delegated to so-called “bakers,” Tezos’s version of stakers, for the purpose of winning block rewards. With amendment voting now underway, these bakers can participate in four voting rounds before any final implementation decisions are made on the Athens proposals.
For their part, Tezos baking startup At James put out a rallying cry to the project’s ecosystem on Tuesday, March 5th, calling for relevant stakeholders to actively engage in and foster the platform’s first major governance decision.
“Our governance will have a higher value if we all engage with it and if we have easy tools to understand and interact with it,”
Company founder James Baker said, noting that only 11 percent of bakers had voted on the Athens amendments as of Tuesday morning.
Coinbase Hires a Major Tezos Builder — Staking-as-a-Service Coming?
Another fresh development that has the Tezos flock abuzz is American cryptocurrency giant Coinbase’s hiring of Luke Youngblood, the architect of Tezos’s staking model.
Youngblood had been working at Amazon Web Services, or AWS, more recently before agreeing to come aboard at Coinbase. He’d previously built out the Tezos staking system at the request of the Tezos Foundation.
Coinbase, which said last December it was considering adding XTZ and 30 other cryptocurrencies to its brand’s ecosystem, has reportedly circulated a memo among clients saying Youngblood will be integral in bringing governance and staking infrastructure to their Coinbase Custody product.
The hire clearly indicates that Coinbase is pivoting toward facilitating its users’ direct participation in blockchain networks and that Tezos has a larger future at the company in particular. Staking and delegating are technically-intensive processes in the fledgling cryptoeconomy, and Coinbase is eyeing how to streamline these activities for its customers.
Due to the exchange’s vanguard status in the U.S., its hirings are typically scrutinized for their implications.
The company caused outcry this month for its hiring of Neutrino, a company who had staff connections to Hacking Team, a software startup that’s been accused of facilitating human rights violations for authoritarian governments.
On the flip side, Youngblood’s hiring is much more benign, technical, and straightforward: Coinbase has staking on the brain.
$1 Billion in STOs Coming to Tezos
Coinbase’s apparently increasing interest around Tezos comes after the protocol’s had a strong start to 2019.
Earlier this month, Elevated Returns, a real-estate portfolio operated by entrepreneur Stephane de Baets, announced it had lined up approximately $1 billion USD worth of properties to be tokenized and released as Security Token Offerings (STOs) via Tezos.
Read: What is an STO?
De Baets had previously used Ethereum to tokenize a resort in Colorado in 2018, but the Belgian businessman has since decided to pivot his offerings to one of Ethereum’s top smart contract competitors.
“There is no better solution than working on a Tezos-based token implementation,” de Baets said at the time. “We have a number of very high-profile deals lined up, and we could not afford to compromise the technological product.”