A few years after the launch of Bitcoin some of its core developers voiced their desire to extend the blockchain's features by allowing persistence of variables not related to an address' balance. The idea was to create a decentralized blockchain whose scripts (smart contracts) could record and modify its variables (state). This decentralized computing system, coined the "Ethereum Virtual Machine", started to pick up in usage and hit fever pitch in 2017 during the cryptocurrency boom of that year.

While the boom saw Ethereum's price skyrocket, the increased usage of the network shined a spotlight on the network's inability to properly scale with increased usage. Foreseeing the potential for scaling issues, Dan Larimer, a developer with previous experience launching blockchain projects (Bitshares and Steem), wrote a white paper in early-2017 describing a decentralized virtual machine focused on scalability and based on a new consensus mechanism, Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS).

After a year-long ICO that raised 4 billion dollars on the Ethereum blockchain with the ERC-20 EOS Token, Block.One released the EOSIO software to the public on June 1, 2018. A little over a month later, Telos® was started by a group of EOSIO software enthusiasts, block producers (also known as validators or miners) and developers who had a vision of what they could do with the software. This vision was about making the most out of the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPOS) mechanism and building a governed public blockchain that could operate effectively beyond the traditional “code is law” mindset.

This group quickly grew to more than 120 people from around the world, from teams based in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. This decentralized community became known collectively as the Telos Launch Group (TLG). This group self-organized into multiple work groups with various focuses and agendas including coding, development, security, hardware, outreach for exchange listing, public relations, and marketing.