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Tezos was first proposed in a position paper released in Aug. 2014 with more specifics announced in a whitepaper released in Sept. 2014. The network is designed with a focus on allowing token holders to vote for proposed changes to functionality in order to avoid forking the network. In 2015 the founders, Kathleen and Arthur Breitman established a company called Dynamic Ledger Solutions which was responsible for writing the initial code for Tezos. At the core of this codebase is a system to formalize proposing, voting for, and implementing changes to the functionality of the network. Once a proposal has been made holders of Tezos (XTZ) tokens are able to vote with a weighting of one vote per token. Consensus is determined using a version of a delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) system where stakers, called bakers within the network, can lock up their tokens in exchange for the ability to validate blocks. In Tezo's more liquid DPoS system users are able to "delegate" tokens to bakers without transferring ownership. Rewards for validating blocks are distributed to bakers in the form of new XTZ tokens with a proportional amount of the reward distributed to wallets that have delegated tokens to the baker. This enables smaller token holders to participate in the validation (and reward) process if they hold less than the required amount to become a full baker. Using the original source code which was released in 2016 Tezos launched an alphanet in Feb. 2017 prior to their July token sale. While the network was originally planned for a late 2017 launch the betanet did not go live until June 2018 due to disagreements within the foundation which delayed the release of funds to developers. Following a successful betanet launch the mainnet went live in Sept. 2018. 
Tezos is a multi-purpose blockchain platform that integrates features like smart contracts, on-chain governance, and the ability to conduct formal verification. The developers made a unique choice to use OCaml as the programming language arguing that it offers better security features and is a more powerful interface compared to other options like C++. OCaml also allows developers to check operations using formal verification which can detect potential bugs or errors in the code. To allow for future changes to the network Tezos is divided into network, transaction, and consensus protocols. The transaction and consensus protocols operate separately and plug into a generic network shell. This shell maintains the current state of the blockchain and allows the network to conduct internal checks on the protocols allowing them to validate their own replacements. Proposed changes can be made by anyone and are decided on by a vote from token holders. Proposals can include a payment to be made by the developer proposing a change which the team believes will incentive more impactful development on the platform. Tezos uses a DPoS system that differs slightly from established models in that block producers are not selected by token holders and anyone can participate as a baker (validator) if they hold a specified amount of tokens. Token holders that do not meet the minimum threshold can delegate their tokens to a baker without needing to relinquish control of their tokens. Using this model the team believes they can increase participation from token holders by reducing frictions and allowing anyone to recieve newly released XTZ to maintain the relative value of their holdings.
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