Dan Larimer is credited with being responsible for the development of three different blockchains, Bitshares, Steem, and EOS. All three were different innovations that focused upon different aspects of the financial and social media world.
He is also the one who is credited with the idea of delegated proof of state (DPoS), the main consensus mechanism used on the networks he created. The decentralized autonomous corporations, which is a take off of the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), is also attributed to Larimer.
History and Early Career
Larimer is a native of Colorado although spent much of his time growing up in Florida and Virginia. He attended Virginia Tech, graduating in 2003 with a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science. He was taught programming at a young age by his father.
He reported started a number of companies after his schooling although he spent considerable time at a Blacksburg, Virginia-based automotive-tech company called Torc Robotics (2007-2011). He also was the Founder and CEO of Invictus Innovations, a company that focused on authoring technical papers and in-house developments.
This was created in 2014, stemming from the issues with centralized exchanges which could see people's accounts closed down at any time. Much of the existing financial system, including banks, are permissioned systems that often are exclusive.
Another key innovation during this time was the development of Graphene, an open-source mostly C++ blockchain implementation. This eventually served as the foundation for the BitShares and Steem blockchains.
The second blockchain venture was Steem. This was a social media ecosystem that focused upon blogging. The idea is to reward content creators with cryptocurrency. It is distributed based upon a voting mechanism called proof-of-brain (PoB). This takes the staked weight of each vote and calculated a payment. The coins issued out of the reward pool come from inflation.
It in an incentivization approach that provides both authors and curators with rewards for the actions. One can create posts along with comments while others engage in curation. The goal is to find content the community finds valuable.
Much like with Bitshares, Steem had a stablecoin called the Steem Backed Dollar (SBD). This was a bit different in that it was not pegged to fiat currency. Instead, it was backed by the other base layer coin, STEEM. Each SBD is convertible to $1 worth of STEEM.
Another innovation was the 3 second block time. This was in stark contrast to other blockchains around at the time, most of which used the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism. Bitcoin and Ethereum were the two primary ones although Litecoin is worthy of mention. All three had much longer confirmation times.
Larimer was also part of the formation of the company behind Steem, aptly named Steemit, Inc. He left the project in 2017 and pursued the development of his third blockchain.
Ironically, it was the pre-mine of coins by Steemit, Inc that led to the money attack against the community. In 2020, Justin Sun acquired the company, which has a large portion of the circulating supply of coins. He used this stake, known as the ninja-mine, to take over the block producers (called Witnesses).
This was billed as the Ethereum killer.
Larimer became CTO of Block.one, the parent and holding company of EOS. The company billed itself as a developer of open source software that is free for anyone to use. The company was behind the creation of EOS.IO. This was the foundation for EOS.
The goal of this project was to solve some of the issues that plagued other networks. Most notably EOS sought to scale, reduce transaction fees, and a lack of interoperability. It also wanted to focus upon onboarding legacy companies.
Behind this was the idea of an operating system-like construct which allowed the horizontal and vertical integration of decentralized applications (DApps).
On June 26th, 2017, EOS kicked off a year long initial coin offering (ICO). This was a way to raise funds while also trying to distributed the token as widely as possible. The ICO resulted in the raising of over $4 billion. It also captured the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Eventually, Block.One settled with the agency by paying a $20 million fine for selling an unregulated security.
On January 10, 2021, Dan Larimer resigned from Block.One as CTO.