The Clear Case Against @berniesanders From An Investors Perspective
The other day, I watched a vlog by @exyle in which he talked about Vice Industry. Vice is a porn service and at first, they intended to be one of the first adopters for SMT. But, as @exyle reported, they decided to rather fork the Steem blockchain and create their own blockchain with their own witnesses, than using the ones of the Steem blockchain. I don't know why exactly they made this decision, but it got me thinking...
Imagine, you were responsible for the research about investment opportunities into blockchain platforms.
The company you work for wants to spread its wings into this new field and you have the task to find out what options they have. On your task list is to find out which blockchains are stable and prospering projects and whether the company should buy into an existing blockchain, create its own blockchin by forking it from an existing one or set up a completely new blockchain.
Of course, such a decision is highly depending on the company's specific needs for a blockchain. But let's abstract from that for a moment. Let's assume, all existing blockchains are relatively homogenous and therefore all of them are potential candidates to the same degree.
Technology aside, the most important decision factors are npw the question about the team behind the respective blockchain, existing financial success and the blockchains perspectives in terms of other companies being interested in it. Plus a few other things.
Making the case for Steem
At the end, perhaps 12 blockchains will enter your shortlist for the pre-selection and of course, one of them will be the Steem blockchain including its offshoot SMT. And this with reason. During the presentation in front of executives, you have a lot of great stuff to tell them about this Steem project:
- Most transactions of all blockchains, soon probably more transactions than all other blockchains combined.
- Unbeatable transaction speed compared to most other blockchains.
- Already a successful application with Steemit including a colorful environment of services around it - all of them profitable.
- Not one, but two currencies with a total market cap despite crash of more than 500 Million US-$ plus a high daily transaction volume.
- Very experienced team and enthusiastic users.
- All parameters, from user interactions to number of transactions to media coverage, are steadily grwoing on a daily base.
- With the Social Media Token project, the Steem blockchain will become a simple, cheap and easy accessible platform for other digital tokens.
"The Steem blockchain", you will tell them, "is a superpower in the making!"
Making the case against Steem
"Well, that sounds amazing," one of your bosses will reply. "So, there are no downsides as it seems," another one remarks. "The demand for the Steem platform must be very high. Are there already customer for this SMT system?"
"You know," you might give him back, "this is a new technology. There were already several interested investors. So far there are a couple projects are in the making and one project, Vice Industry, thought about using SMT, but then they decided to fork the Steem blockchain as a whole and create their own system with their own witnesses."
Then, you probably see the asking faces when dropping the word witness: "Witnesses are called those users who run the servers of the blockchain. We don't know exactly why Vice went this way, but considering the extra costs compared to a ready-made and perfectly well running environment, they sure had their reasons."
"I assume so. I mean, this is also what our decision here is all about as well," the guy on the head of the table will insist. "Isn't the whole system depending on the reliability of these witnesses. Or are they the same as the developers of the mother company of this Steem blockchain?"
"Oh, that's a good question. No, I don't think so. The developers are busy with other aspects of the blockchain like SMT. The fewest of them should have time to run one of the witnesses."
Immediately comes back: "Does that mean, we don't know who runs the servers?!"
"Well, yes and no. The blockchain and its witnesses are anonymous by principle, but of course the most of them are known by their name. They are the heart of the Steemit platform, which is a Social Media Site and as you can imagine, the social aspect there is very important. Most of them are quite popular."
"Anonymous..most..?" it echoes back from several executives at once.
"It's a matter of character, just as life is. You know that yourself. Beyond personal matters, they are all very respected programmers who know their craft. And it's more the exception that one of them lashes out against others beyond the professional level."
"So, there is open discours and arguing going on between them. Maybe that's not a bad thing," one of the people in the room might throw in while looking at the others with a bit of a smile, because that can happen everywhere. "Do you have an example for what that is about when a thunderstorm is raging among the Steem witnesses?"
"Sure, but it's basically just one of them. And he's a really great programmer and involved in a lot of the project surrounding Steem. There are many users who hold him in high regard."
"Well, if that's the case, I don't see the thunderstorm," an executive might reply to that. "Or is he one of the anonymous ones? I mean, we always need some legal leverage in case we have a dispute, as you will know yourself."
"Yes of course. No, we don't know who is is, but again, he rarely causes real thunderstorms." A bit sweat appears on your forehead. "They almost never happen, because everyone knows what a big and important player he is on the platform. He's got his money stored everywhere on his dozens of accounts."
You look around to reaffirm: "They say, he owns a good portion of all Steem tokens and so everyone is afraid of him. It's usually just when he doesn't like you or your opinion that something happens. Then he flags you relentlessly and really goes after you and kills off your account. But if he likes us, he will be a great ally!"
Silence and asking faces.
Two seconds later: "But that, as I said, is not needed too often."
Then the boss might object with this: "So, what you are saying here is that there is this one extremely powerful and anonymous user holding a central role in the Steem blockchain system. And although he is probably very competent, he sometimes just ticks out if he doesn't like you or your content and then he completely goes berserk by stealing your money and destroying your account...?!"
What would be your answer to that?
With @berniesanders unhinged, Steem (or SMT) will never survive such a pre-selection
I don't know what drove Vice Industry away from using SMT. But every potential investor who does his homework will at one point stumble over the illustrous character of @berniesanders and then Steem/SMT is off the table.
You may like him or don't care about what he does, but you cannot ignore the fact that he poses a risk. And in terms of risk I mean unsystemic and uncontrollable risk, which is the nasty kind of risk nobody gives you insurance for. In difference to that, systemic risks are normal, because you can half-way calculate them and prepare for eventualities.
- But can you prepare for @berniesanders rage?
- Can you account for those 50% of his behaviour that are not constructive but destructive?
- Is it reasonable to accept such a risk, if you have the choice not having to?
- How expensive is this risk compared to its costs, overall expected returns and alternatives?
If you had this picture, would you as a decision-maker still use the Steem blockchain and completely rely on it? Can you completely rely on @berniesanders?
I really don't think so. There will always be a significant amount of residual risk.
Investors need reliability, accountability and certainty. The more, the better.
@berniesanders represents the very opposite of that and day in, day out, he shows this with his behaviour. Against me and against everyone else in his rage who's opinion he doesn't like. If you don't believe me, look it up. It's all on the Steem blockchain.
And it is not only you, who can look this up, but also everyone else. Among them: Potential investors who are doing their homework.
When you have to make such a decision regarding your digital backbone, potentially with a budget worth Millions and a project time-span of five years or perhaps more and you have the owners, the workers, their families and customers and who else is a stake-holder relying on you picking the right alternative, you will not accept such a source of uncertainty.
Effectively this means, @berniesanders will either have to be stopped, or he will kill Steem. Everyone with something to lose can only fork. No one can affort to inflict himself with the risk of bernie by using SMT.
What do you think: Could @berniesanders be a decision factor for investors when they see how powerful and important he is - and how destructive he can be?
It would also be greatly appreciated, if @ned could give his two cents on this matter as well. I'd find it very interesting to hear from the "other side" of the Steem blockchain about whether this is an actual factor - meaning the character, ability and behaviour of crucial users - and to what extent this is being discussed and accounted for in terms of "Steem/SMT, the blockchain investment product".
You will find all my posts in this matter under the tag #curbyourbernie