Hello, world.

in #blockchaindev4 years ago

Hello, world.

I'm a blockchain designer. I helped build the Steem blockchain. I left the company Steemit, Inc. in December 2018.

I'm simply another member of this community now. I've been quiet for quite a while. Now I'm going to break my silence; I have a few ideas I'd like to share.

Lots of people on the Steem platform seem to be upset. Mostly they're upset at other humans. Upset about who did what. Who said what. Who owns what, and what they can do with it.

I'm sad, more than upset.

As a blockchain designer, I see Steem's current situation as a design failure triggered by human failure. Humans will act like humans. A successful system will take human nature into account.

System design shouldn't allow human nature to cause a system failure. If this occurs, it's a bug in the design.

I'm sad, because too many humans are too busy being angry at other humans. I'm sad, because this grand experiment of a social media blockchain is running into some difficulties. I'm sad, because too few of us are putting on our blockchain designer hats, and truly trying to understand the design bugs that have brought us to this pass.

Greed. Anger. Envy. Sloth. Some blockchain users will act from these motivations. It's part of human nature. A blockchain system needs to be designed to work under these conditions.

So I've decided.

I've decided to learn from the successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses. The hardest part of being a blockchain designer is predicting how users will behave. A well-designed blockchain can harness all the parts of human nature, all the user interactions, all the darkness and the light. To build a machine that can change the world.

From 2016 to today, I and the whole Steem community have been gaining hard-won experience about how users on a social media blockchain will behave.

Steem started as an experiment. Overall, it was pretty successful. What should we do with our experience?

Let's create another experiment.

Let's build a brand-new blockchain.

It will try new ideas that cannot be implemented on Steem.

It will innovate on parts of Steem's design that cannot be changed.

It could end up quite different from Steem.

It might not be successful.

It definitely won't be perfect.

It probably won't do everything that Steem does.

It certainly won't be as polished as Steem right away.

It will certainly be interesting, if you're interested in blockchains.

In future posts, I'll get into the meat of designing and building. I've just now started writing code. Soon a new blockchain will say "Hello, world." If you want to be there when it does, follow me on Steem.

I welcome any comments or suggestions; simply reply to this post. Apologies in advance if I don't answer you directly. I'll probably be too busy coding to personally respond to everyone.


I agree with you that we take in conclusions of the experiment, and rework a real social blockchain from scratch. And I actually came to the same conclusion more than a year ago, and did my own stuff for DTube. You will surely find this article interesting.

Also, do you have a github repo for your new project?

No Github repo just yet.

Thanks for the link. Really interesting curation algorithm. I'll have to learn a bit more about DTube :)

I have a suggestion @theoretical, (and I was also an very active user that went quiet...and more than any other emotion, I feel sad too. So sad. Lots of potential, squandered for all the reasons you listed)

But .. onto my suggestion. I have no idea if this could work or not, but I've suggested it for steem before and ... well... LOL maybe you can/will use it!

I kinda love how discord let's everyone use it for free, but then for extra features, lets people pay to upgrade .

As for steem,I understood why it was necessary to introduce RC's into hardfork 20 - but it was such a harsh and jarring jump...it killed the FUN of commenting and socializing. Especially for all the energetic, new accounts that brought all their "new, starry eyed" contagious personalities. We lost so much when we lost them.

I wonder if having other cool "paid for" upgraded features would lure people to invest for fun reasons...instead of making them feel "punished" for not spending more money.

I've played phone games before that I swore i wouldn't pay for - but I had so much fun playing...it became easy for me to pay for the in-app upgrades over time.

I think if you give people options, and show them what they're missing out on...over time, more people would "spend" their earnings/investments on upgrades and special features

Plus...it creates that sense of healthy competition too. Wanting to 'level up' with their friends... Showing off their new upgrades to the community... Etc.

This way people who are new can still enjoy the basic interactions in a relatively unlimited way because the more powerful accounts pay extra for extra features.

There are more ideas that can kinda spin off of that, but I've written long enough lol so..if you like it, take it and run with it :)

Really interested to see what you develop!

Take that sadness and turn it into the power to make something new, different, and worthwhile!

Following you :)

Hi, circumstances have changed. Delegations belong to Justin Sun now, not the community.

I disagree. Even though I realize that rules are basically off, I don't see why I should do that and destroy a trust cycle that has been going for 2 years + for dtube and its delegation.


And it will remain that way. If you want to talk more about it come on discord.gg/dtube and chat me private.

dtube has lost a lot of trust already by allowing posting on Steemit copypasta of not own YT videos and rewarding it.

Integrating with 3rd parties platforms has always been part of dtube's plan. Next version will showcase why better, hope you will give it a look when it releases.

The YT videos that we upvote are all original content from the community btw.

There have been dozens of accounts that have used someone else's videos without specifying that the videos are not theirs. They are not owners of these YT vidoes/channels.

Examples maybe? I can rectify it if it's really the case

Examples maybe?
I can rectify it if
It's really the case

                 - heimindanger

I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

At this point I don't see this getting resolved other than a new chain (fork of steem). I hope to be wrong but I don't see it.
No need to start from scratch though. Just fix the obvious flaws in the newsteem chain and fork him out. Build a DEX.
Hope to get your input when our witnesses decide to show him the finger and leave. See you around.

I want to build a new and better program. I want to do development.

Forking the Steem network is basically the opposite. It's running the same program on different data. Strictly an operational problem.

But it is posible to somehow "map" current "good" STEEM users and use that user map to onboard users to your new and better (non forked chain) program?

yes for onboarding not necessarily for airdropping, see my suggestions below

kudos to you, once a builder always a builder

Well I'm definitely following for this!

Please consider making the future blockchain more equalized for all people. If you choose to do something like the stake-weighted voting system, please consider doing a stake amount * stake length equation instead. This system allows people that cannot afford a large amount of stake to be "loyal" to the blockchain by staking for a longer duration in order to obtain equivocal influence in the chain.

I agree with @ew-and-patterns! I wish some witnesses agree with my Fork Proposal so that a better STEEM (or whatever it will be called) can be created.

Your airdrop proposal seems very selfish. If you get money for nothing, you cannot value it properly. Not really sure if that would be a good idea.

But I must admit, giving a small airdrop to the active community (let's say 1000 steem for every active steemian who owns more than 1000SP) would increase decentralization by a lot and it would be effortless.
You would have to do it for accounts older than 6 months to avoid people creating separate accounts to get more money for free. And exclude powerups that happened after the announcement and 1 week prior to the announcement.

If the attempted aidropping of 2 billion XLM via the keybase.io platform from the XLM/Stellar foundation taught me anything at all, it’s that people will go through with the most absurd, unbelievably complex attempts at scamming a system that you have ever seen, if it looks like there’s some sort of financial motivation for them involved in doing so. There’s a reason why that airdrop was called off after a mere 2 months...if you’re interested in reading about what a massive clusterfuck that was check keybase.io/spacedrop .

@mrd you can't scam an airdrop based on a map of existing users filtered by certain parameters. XLM/Stellar had different airdrops in place, some were scammed and some others not. For example, the one based on user map's were not (the airdrop for XRP users with non whale accounts, was not).

You can't abuse this kind of mapped airdrops:

You would have to do it for accounts older than 6 months to avoid people creating >separate accounts to get more money for free. And exclude powerups that happened >after the announcement and 1 week prior to the announcement.

Someone had over 1000 accounts on that thing. My mom and brother who had single accounts each ended up getting nothing. Such a shame

@ew-and-patterns I understand your point of view. It's just I don't envision a new chain that is neutral towards current steemians that don't care about the witness situation. Why would they benefit from deflation in the same proportion than users trying to save STEEM now? That would be the meaning of the airdrop.

i hope you're wrong, but we've both been around here long enough to know you're probably right. I don't think that will do very well for Steem's image though.

I think in this situation, that Justin Sun aka Tron should sell their Steem Stake thru a public auction. After Justin Sun bought the Ninja mine Stake and didn't even understood the Steem mechanics, community or agreements I think he should just admit it was a bad decision and try to sell the ninja stake in the best possible way.
He could advertise it that Steem becomes more decentralized by selling the Stake to private investors who believe in the new course of Steem.
I hope that we see something like this otherwise we have to deal with reckless dumping or another big investor with bad intentions.

I would like that, but I doubt he would do that.

Why should he not do it? He is in a weak position and has bad media.
He should try to promote his Stake as valuable as possible. How can he do it?
He should get in touch with the old Steem Dev Team and release SMTs. While that is happening he should auction of his stake to private investors with the slogan " Invest in the new course of Steem - more decentralized and powered by SMTs".
This way it would be a win-win situation where he can sell his stake to a reasonable price and we get SMTs, marketing and more decentrlaizitation.

Sign me up!

I feel the same for a year for now at least. Now steemit is more like a old 90s style forum than a viable content product from 2020s. Devs are made product for themselves, not hearing any user feedback.

We should do more on witness promotion logic. More on reward side. More on content range and visibility algorithms. Onboarding is a shitty mess that simply does not work. And lets dont forget about apps and their creators.

I'm data analyst with 5 years of experience. I've built a lot of motivation/KPI systems - it's like think about real people down the line and how they will try to game the system to earn more and how you could be one step ahead. How we could develop our product based on real users actions data. Also have a DB and backend experience.

You could find me here

  1. One token one vote (if using PoS)
  2. Posts don't stop earning rewards after 7 days
  3. Super easy onboarding
  4. Easy to understand rewards mechanism
  5. Resteems get rewards

Resteems get rewards

Oh god

I like these ideas, generally.

1 - The system of votes should be the same, but by hiding the value of posts to the public, that forces people to be more selective in their votes. Not just voting for something because 20 people beat you to it.

2 - This is the by far best idea, instead of linking the value of a post to 'likes over 7 days', by shifting the rewards of a post to 'total rewards for that day / total votes for that day = rewards given to that post per vote received that day'. This way, a tutorial that might not have seen much attention in week 1 might still have value if a few hundred people give a thumbs up over the course of a year.

  1. Resteems; because that's getting someone to show their audience something you may have written got their attention, perhaps a split from resteemed votes.

The point being, the platform has made all these choices that, because of human nature, actually harms the usefulness of the site and accessibility for new people without an audience.

posts have to stop earning rewards at some point because who is stopping me from powering down and powering up a sock puppet account to vote on the same post?

That's the same as self voting.. it takes 3 months to power down?

Hello @theoretical, it's been a while, it's wonderful to have you back. I eagerly await whatever you are cooking up, and will be following, supporting and offering my thoughts along the way.

I have observed Steem closely since 2016, and have some thoughts on what Steem did well, what can be improved, and what needs to be dropped.

  1. Steemit Inc. has spent years chasing scalability despite the tiny, tiny audience for Steem, it's been a constant rabbit hole that has got in the way of actually improving the social features. My first thought is blockchain social should be built on a Layer 2 solution. All data need not be clog up a blockchain, that is just not a sensible or feasible approach for something that may scale into the hundreds of millions. Instead, build a Layer 2 solution on an established chain like ethereum or EOS. There's some great tech available for ethereum like ZK/Optimistic rollups. The main motivation is actually to leverage the formidable network effects of these established chains, perhaps even make it cross-chain. I know you're building a brand new blockchain, and that's fine, just sharing my thoughts. Regarding fees - see below. Governance can be achieved by community leaders (more on this later, will tie into a community-centric approach).

  2. Privacy. Whilst the open and public social network has some appeal, for most of the world, privacy is a very important and fundemantal right. It's essential for all parts of the social network to offer privacy controls.

  3. Ditch the inflation-funding rewards. This one's crucial. I believe inflation funding on a common rewards pool is a major contributor to Steem's failure. Firstly, the economics are broken, the tokens are regularly dumped, leading to Steem being a strong degenerator type asset which is in perpetual decline save for the few euphoric altcoin pumps-and-dumps. The other, more insiduous drawback is people view the reward pool as a public property that is waiting to be abused for selfish gain, in various ways. In a way, it reflects some of the downsides of unfettered communism combined with unfettered liberty - the worst of both worlds. This has led to a lot of toxicity and abuse on Steem. Finally, most people are on social media to create social capital, not financial rewards, so the rewards has never drawn a substantial audience anyway.

  4. Instead, replace it with a decentralized advertising and gamification model. We have seen some experiments by BAT and Voice on this front. The general idea is - anyone can create content, and there are ways to pay to achieve visibility. For example, if there's a celebrity content creator, there'll be people who would want their comments/contents to be high up - they can pay for it. The content creator will receive a large share of the advertising revenue. Another possibility is advertising on a certain community. I realize this is pretty vague, but I believe the revenue model must be attention economy-driven, rather than inflation-funded. And yes, the smart contract will take a miniscule cut that'll go towards paying for maintenance of Layer 2, development and Layer 1 fees. Of course, the same structure can also be used for a native blockchain solution like the one you're building.

  5. Gamification. Tying into the above, it's important to gamify the social network. There's a lot of inspiration that can be taken from free-to-play games. There's a great body of evidence to suggest that people will pay if they are engaged. I believe this type of tokenisation and gamification is the only USP for blockchain-based social networks for the masses.

  6. Community-based system. Communities has been great for Steem, but at this time it's clear to see it's a fix on top of a problem. I'd like to see a social network that treats Communities natively. Of course, it should be people centric as well, but Communities should be factored into the fundamental design of the system, including the advertising platform. There are many ideas to expand on Communities, including robust but decentralized moderation controls, gamification options, etc.

As you can probably tell, having been on Steem so long I have plenty of experience and thoughts. If you have any questions, please feel free, I'd be happy to help. I'm available @liberosist#8254 on Discord for a more private venue. I'll be following your project closely, look forward to it!

PS: Although I'm not a developer, if there was any way to actively contribute to this project, I'd be glad to.

Ditch the inflation-funding rewards. This one's crucial. I believe inflation funding on a common rewards pool is a major contributor to Steem's failure.


The other, more insiduous drawback is people view the reward pool as a [private] public property that is waiting to be abused for selfish gain [whales encourage indiscriminate downvoting in order to boost their own share of the pool-pie], in various ways. In a way, it reflects some of the downsides of unfettered communism combined with unfettered liberty - the worst of both worlds. This has led to a lot of toxicity and abuse on Steem.

Well stated.

Sounds like you're well and truly over this experiment =o

Yes and no. I still want Steem to succeed, and some of the observations above can be added to Steem. As it currently stands, yeah.

What other system do you propose then ?
We can now see that with a stake-based voting system, the majority rules. It is just unfortunate, that this majority was bought by one individual, under the table. I still believe 'the market' would have solved this - there are just not enough players involved right now.

So, refreshing to hear someone focus on the system and not the people. I need to do a better job of this as well.

I'd be curious to hear your view of what exactly broke down.

Looking forward to updates on your project.

Seems interesting.. Can't wait to see what your vision unfolds.

As one that understands the theological construct known as total depravity that pertains to humans, I can relate to the problems that people are apt to bring to a system.

I will add that I also have been considering a new vision of Steem (not merely a fork) and would be happy to collaborate. Think I already have a solution for front end media storage so let me know if you would like to work together.

Me sad too. =(
Thank u for giving me smile today. =)

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