Back in 2018, EOS (EOS -1.09%) was one of the highest-profile cryptos in the world. It had a best-in-class Layer 1 blockchain that promised lightning-fast transaction processing speeds as well as zero fees. The hype was so great around EOS that it raised over $4 billion in one of the biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs) in crypto history. But since then, almost nothing has gone right for EOS, and even though it still ranks as a top 40 crypto by market cap, many people have never heard of it.

However, now it looks like EOS is attempting a comeback. The crypto world is calling it a "rebrand," and it involves a major effort by EOS to convince developers, users, and investors that it's back. It is basically throwing out its old developer team, getting a brand new developer team, and planning for a new tech upgrade on Sept. 21 that will prepare it to handle the Web3 future of blockchain development. So is this the start of something new and exciting, or just more hype from a crypto that has already been written off by many?

The art of the crypto rebrand

In the tech industry, rebrands, reboots, and pivots are nothing new. Even some of the most influential names in the tech world -- such as Alphabet, the company formerly known as Google, and Meta Platforms, the company formerly known as Facebook -- have done them. In the best-case scenario, a rebrand is simply a way to signal to investors that something is changing in the business focus of the company (as in the case of Meta), or that the company wants to be known for more than just one thing (as in the case of Alphabet).

Office worker using sticky notes during a brainstorm.

Image source: Getty Images.

But this is the crypto world we're talking about, and rebrands are a bit riskier here. Just look at what's happening in the world of algorithmic stablecoins, where the rebranding of Terra is an attempt to convince investors that the whole Terra LUNA meltdown crisis never happened. And that's why the EOS rebrand is sure to be so controversial. Even the head of the EOS Foundation has referred to EOS as "a failure" and "a terrible investment." There have been rancorous internal struggles between the EOS Foundation and its primary developer team, Block.one. And there have been class action lawsuits filed against EOS related to the ICO back in 2018.

The new EOS

So, obviously, it will take a lot to convince investors that the new rebrand is more than just hype. A big part of this will be the severing of all ties with Block.one, which seems to be a major part of all the controversy surrounding EOS. EOS is now turning to Antelope, which is an open framework for building next-generation Web3 products and services, to rebuild its codebase, update the technical capabilities of the blockchain, and regain trust with the EOS developer community. One goal of the Antelope rebrand will be to convince developers that EOS is a leading blockchain platform for building Web3 products and services. On Sept. 21, there will be a hard fork of the old EOS blockchain that will finally break all ties to Block.one.

From that date on, EOS will be making a bigger push into Web3, which includes entertainment, gaming, and the metaverse. That certainly sounds promising, given that no other Layer 1 blockchain has really dominated this Web3 space. Moreover, the choice of Antelope is encouraging as well. EOS will gain access to a new development protocol that offers speed, scalability, stability, and transparency (due to its open-source codebase). 

Too little, too late?

The problem, quite simply, is that EOS may have squandered its early-mover advantage. Back in 2018, it was one of the top Layer 1 blockchains in the world, and it seemed like it was destined to be a market leader for years. But now the Layer 1 blockchain market is more crowded: Ethereum has become the well-entrenched leader, with challengers now including the likes of Solana and Avalanche. For now, it might be best to take a wait-and-see approach with EOS as it figures out what is going to happen next.