I have been following the Steem versus Eos controversies with great interest. The cryptoverse is so fractured and parochial. Understandably so. There is too much to know. Consensus algorithms, scaling debates, forks and governance. Privacy or transparency? Are you decentralized enough? Are you peer reviewed? And while the incumbent financial overlords cry ponzi scheme even as venture capitalist ‘when lambo moon’ types shrug, there are regulatory environments around the world jockeying for control. Gee, you even have to know your way around geopolitics to get a handle on this stuff!
Enter the ever rational @corbettreport. James reminds us that we need to educate ourselves. Of course we do. We need to learn. And we need to make sure that all of this doesn’t morph into some facecoin hydra.
It’s like playing with lego as a child. Stacking blocks. But not like the pyramids or anything. You can’t just rock up to Steemit monoliths in the desert and look admiringly at the wonderful geometry of it all. You have to understand how the blocks are stacked. That’s the hard part. The learning.
ATM I am thinking about why Eos needs to be a social media platform. I got to thinking about this after watching an @eosgo interview with Dan on the staking categories in Eos and this post by @rumble suggesting that there will indeed be a social media component to Eos. And of course @clayboyn’s open letter to ned and the comments therein.
Anyway see what you think.
Crypto As Currency
This blockchain revolution. What is it really? In the first instance it has its roots in the problems with money. In particular it is a technical solution to triple entry accounting proposed by Ian Grigg. The open public ledger is stamped by all of the counterparties to every transaction. It is a technical solution vouchsafed by our amazing new wheel, cryptography.
What a thing this new wheel! The first wheel turned proudly in the physical world, solving physical problems like transportation, mechanics. This new wheel, made from the stuff of mathematics, helixes sublimely in the conceptual domain, solving social problems, perhaps even ethical ones. With cryptography we can model trust. Who would have thought it!
Bitcoin then was born to solve the problem with money. Bitcoin prevents the private or corporate enclosure of the monetary system. More prosaically the open ledger provides a public commons to record the movement and flow of value. The circulation of value. It is a circulatory system. A blood system.
Currency And Governance
If Bitcoin is like the blood what is the body that this blood circulates through? The body of this metabolic system, of this monetary system, is of course us. We the community. It is us. We collectively are the body. America’s sickly circulatory system, the US dollar, is supposed to carry oxygen to the American people. But the US dollar got drunk on petrol, it became the petro dollar, intoxicated, depleted, and by now it is almost barren of haemoglobin. It is a poor carrier of oxygen. Anemic. The American body is bleeding. It is death by a thousand cuts. The community is suffering.
America, indeed the world, is now in constant need of blood transfusions. Quantitative easing. A perverse euphemism hiding the extreme medical interventions of the voodoo doctors at the FED and the IMF. But this new blood doesn't circulate. It just aggregates in stagnant pools around big pharma’s drug deals, rent seeking monopolies, regime change, war and terror. It doesn’t circulate. The body, starved of nutrients, has reached the terminal stage.
Money should circulate to where the body needs it! It should always flow to where we, the people, need it. The problem is not only to do with the monetary system. There is a problem with the body too. Of course our current political elite make noises about representing us. They say that they will help the money to circulate to where it is needed. Yeah right. On the promise of an election circus every so many years. Weasel words.
You see the problem is that the same people who regulate the money supply decide where the money goes. It is like conflating our brains with our hearts. A horrible mish mash. How can a single organ be both a brain and a heart?
Whenever we interact as social beings, engaging in discussions, engaging in transactions, this is where the green shoots of governance grow. It all starts with our consensus. We humans are gregarious beings. Consensus is built into our natures. In fact currency only arises because of this, because of our social groupings. Currency is secondary to consensus. If we are to have a new and open currency then surely concomitant with this we must also have a new and open form of governance.
I used to think that Steemit was a social media platform. I used to call it that.
But thinking more deeply I have now come to believe that Steemit is a governance platform.
Everything we do here, every post, every action, is governance. Everything is an act of governance. Through our interactions we are evolving the social norms around which our community coalesces. Indeed many posts here talk about governance directly. Block producers campaign here. We discuss reward pools and how they should be distributed. We talk about what to do with that huge stake of steem controlled by Steemit Inc. But even a post in the black and white photo challenge is governance. It informs our shared view of the world. We build on it.
Here’s what I find so amazing about Steemit. The amazing thing about this blockchain is that it includes in its protocol ideas about how the value should circulate. It asks us where the blood should go. Everytime we thumbs up a post we are saying that this is valuable to our community. The block producers are the hearts that pump those steem dollars around but we decide where they go. These two functions, like in a healthy body, are separated. They are related, interdependent, but separate.
I really am in awe of @dan’s prescience. My contention is that in building Steemit he was not really building a social media platform, rather he was exploring how to move beyond the notion of the blockchain as a simple mechanism for the transfer of value. The blockchain represents the social being. Dan gave us Delegate Proof of Stake. It draws us humans in. We need to vote for block producers to secure the network. We are right there in the consensus algorithm. But beyond that we decide how the value circulates. We decide where the community’s shared value should go. That's what's most important.
The most valuable thing, the most vital thing in any community is the evolving consensus around which the community forms. Whoever is leading that consensus by engaging in debate and organising and planning needs to be rewarded. They need oxygen. On Steemit they need Steem power to power their continued good works. Applications like Telegram and discord, as useful as they are, are not enough. The chain needs to record the hard work of those that keep the community healthy. The brain, connected to the body, is brought to life by Steem power. So so too with Eos. Eos tokens also need a body to power, a community to enliven. Eos needs to be a social platform too.
Being A Currency Is Not Enough
I have come to believe that it is not enough for a blockchain to merely be a currency. That's the revolution, that's what this paradigm shift is. The old notions of money, the old understandings of currency are dead. Blockchains circulate tokens. Tokens serve communities. Inside the blocks in the blockchain you will find what we the community values and the tokens circulate so that our values can breathe.
I sincerely hope that one of the community benefit contracts in Eos is a social media platform. A governance platform that is curated by Eos token holders who stake Eos tokens for voting. A platform that rewards community builders with those selfsame Eos tokens. Like here on Steemit a place where the community can meet and thrive.
What do you think? I haven’t completely convinced myself even if I sound like I have! Nearly! Anyway I love Steemit and I don’t see Eosit as competition. We already have a strong community. Just watch @davidpakman’s interviews with the likes of @stellabelle and @aggroed. The idea is rather that all blockchains should be social platforms for their communities. Otherwise the chain is missing the most important part.
And I really hope that @dan keeps posting Eos development updates here regardless.
The photo is of Untitled by Jonathan Owen exhibited at he National Gallery of Victoria.
@soufianechakrouff and @imp.unity asked recently why I hadn't posted in a while. Now that's what I'm talking about!