The purpose of this post is to start the discussion on what elements and language should make up the Steem constitution. This is not a final Constitution but merely a straw man for us to discuss. These are some of the Articles I would like to see in any Steem constitution.
1.0 Immutable Blockchain Data
The blockchain is immutable and its record of events will never be unwound by more than the last irreversible block. The last irreversible block is defined as any block that has at least 51% of active witnesses building on top of it. Generally speaking, after 1 minute your transaction is forever recorded in the blockchain.
This article applies only to the data held in the blockchain, not necessarily to the interpretation of that data.
2.0 Immutable Balances
Steem has a firm commitment to property rights, no hard forking change that reduces a user’s existing account balance of Steem, Steem Dollars, or Steem Power will be allowed. These balances may only be changed as the result of an operation signed by the account holder(s). These balances also include any funds held as open orders on the internal market.
3.0 Reward Funds are Community Property
Until a payout from a community fund is made, the community has the power to review and change who, what, where, when, and why someone gets paid. Changes in payouts happen every time a vote is cast on an article or witness. Given the power of individuals to allocate community property by vote, there shall be no restrictions on how these funds can be redistributed by a future hard fork.
The reward funds include all future issuance of STEEM, Steem Power, or Steem Dollars.
4.0 Capped Inflation Rate
The supply of STEEM shall at most double once per year after the initial issuance. The allocation of the STEEM created among vesting, curation, activity, liquidity, posting, and any future rewards is subject to change by those who vote with their Steem Power. The only exception to this rule is the redemption of Steem Dollars for Steem at the price feed.
5.0 Intent vs Implementation
Software bugs are assumed. The community recognizes that it is impossible for even the most skilled programers to prevent all bugs. The scale of the bug matters. Proof lies in the fact that a bug which earns the discoverer 99% of the market capitalization will render the remaining tokens worthless. Likewise, a bug that earns the discoverer 1% of the market capitalization is unlikely to significantly harm the network. The balance which maximizes market capitalization of Steem lies somewhere in between.
In the event a bug is discovered, no hard fork will retroactively change an account balance unless the exploit involves amounts in excess of 1% of the market capitalization. In this way, the blockchain consensus will offer a continuous bug-bounty and reward those who identify it.
The voters have the ability to reimburse any victim of the bug without punishing the exploiter. The power to reimburse a victim is derived from the general power of spending.
The voters must decide whether the code is executing according the common understanding of intent. We recognize that identifying something as a bug is a subjective loophole that could be abused. The cost of abusing this loophole will likely be extreme punishment in the market.
The effect of helping victims is for the blockchain to self-insure all users against losses due to some bugs. Victims are not entitled to compensation, but voters are not prohibited from approving it.
7.0 Developer Liability
Users of Steem hold developers blameless for any and all bugs, miscommunications, or misrepresentations regarding the code. All users of Steem take full responsibility for any losses as a result of a bug, attack, vote or misunderstanding. This clause merely recognizes that developers cannot be expected to be perfect and that everyone shares responsibility of reviewing code.
8.0 Side Chains
A bug in the implementation of a side chain shall not be considered a bug in Steem. Rules regarding immutable balances apply. If The DAO was implemented as a Steem side-chain then Steem would not hard fork to recover funds withdrawn. Voters may optionally choose to reimburse the victim of a side-chain exploit in part or in full under their general power over community funds and issuance.
9.0 Steem Dollars
The intent of the Steem Dollar is to create a stable unit of value denominated in units normally used in commerce. In the event that the U.S. Dollar is no longer a suitable currency, Steem may convert Steem Dollars into Steem Gold, Steem Silver, or Steem X where X is whatever unit account is widely used in the market.
In the event of any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to the use of Steem, or the breach thereof, the parties hereto agree first to try and settle the dispute by mediation, administered by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution under its Mediation Rules. If settlement is not reached within 60 days after service of a written demand for mediation, any unresolved controversy or claim arising out of or relating to use of Steem shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the International Arbitration Rules of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution.
A final draft would probably be short and concise. Detailed explanations and justifications can be documented elsewhere and referenced by the constitution. Once a final version has been drafted, the community members can sign their support of the constitution with an upvote.
Steemit.com can ask all users to review the constitution prior to funding their account. In this way we can get documented evidence of agreement.
Note: The proposed terms are broad so as to prevent us from getting painted into a corner. Voters will likely follow a more restrictive version in their voting habits.