Tezos is a self-proclaimed “decentralized blockchain that governs itself by establishing a true digital commonwealth”. It was founded by Arthur and Kathleen Breitman in 2014 with the support of a team of core developers. Tezos network is expected to launch at some point in 2018, after having raised over $232 million in two weeks in the summer of 2017. Tezos Foundation is based in Switzerland and will maintain veto power on proposals during the first year of network.
As a cryptocurrency, Tezos has not been officially launched yet and is currently in its pre-launch and pre-sale phase. It aims to have token-holders make decision together to govern the platform and improve it over time. A concept very different to that pushed by other smart contracts platforms such as, Ethereum.
One of the main differences between Tezos and Ethereum is the on-chain governance structure briefly mentioned above. Tezos system is designed for a gradual blockchain evolution rather than the creation of two separate versions through a hard fork. Tezos believes hard fork should be a last resort solution rather than a standard upgrading technique, and should occur only due to irreconcilable differences and contrasts over how two sides might envision protocols.
This results in Tezos developers independently submitting protocol upgrade proposals while also requesting compensation for it, and token holders voting on whether or not the proposal should be approved. Tezos hopes that this structure will work as an incentive for holders to take part in the project, as they have an active role in managing it, and developers to work for it, as they can be paid for their effort rather than having to rely on donations.
Tezos’ smart contract programming language, Michelson, also facilitates formal verification, allowing developers to mathematically prove the correctness of their smart contract code. This system avoids poor implementation of smart contracts as it has been seen, at times, with Ethereum. It is true, though, that such a system is very difficult to apply properly, potentially resulting in a tricky false sense of security.
It is hard to precisely understand the possibilities connected to such a platform, especially now with dozens of crypto-related projects announced every month, but Tezos seems to have gained some momentum and is currently looking fairly promising.