The Steem and Sun Debacle
After the dust has settled a bit and emotions have calmed, I wanted to offer my say.
For those who need a recap to bring you up to speed on the issue, just in case you haven't heard, check out THIS POST by Steem News. I don't have time for a recap.
After closely following the story the last couple of days, listening to the AMA with Justin and Ned and the follow up meeting between Witnesses and Justin, I have some thoughts I'd like to share with our top witnesses and Mr. Sun ideas about moving forward.
After all the bad blood and confusion that has been generated I think it's most important to find a way forward quickly. If we don't, the longer this power struggle continues the more we demonstrate that the system is ungovernable and unstable. How can anyone hope to thrive on a chain that can't be priced - due to the broken price feeds - and that is always under threat of a power struggle should a powerful user decide to use their stake to influence the chain?
THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
It's important to give the benefit of the doubt to both @justinsunsteemit and the Witnesses. At the moment everyone is seeing everyone else in their least charitable light. Justin is a liar, the witnesses are thieving hackers, etc. This kind of dialogue is 100% not going to help either of us and it needs to stop. We need to err on the side of being a little more charitable if this is going to work out.
JUSTIN IS A BUSINESS MAN
We know what Justin wants. He wants to make money! Knowing this is good. He's transparent in that way. From the last conversation between witnesses and Justin, Justin sees himself as a business man and looks at his stake as an investment to sell once he makes Steem better and more valuable, like an angel investor, and in almost any other case where angel investors are involved, they have some control over the product their investing in, BUT ONLY SOME.
After all, it's in the investor's self interest to protect his investment, JUST LIKE the witnesses. Both the witnesses and Justin have a claim to some of the value and power over the network due to their own investments. It's how the system works. It's how it was designed and everyone knew that going in. I think everyone knows now that Ned's promise was merely a fig leaf for what he really wanted... which was to cash out. You know what? GOOD FOR HIM. He created something that we all love to use, maybe not at the moment, and now he gets to collect his cheddar. BYE! The community should be adult enough to know that's a huge reason he got into the game to begin with.
We have to move on from Ned and Steemit and look to the future and what we can build with the power of the community and hopefully this new investor.
Justin is a major stakeholder now and it's time to start treating him like one and let him in so we can keep building with new understanding and clear eyes.
His stake should be given back do with as he pleases. It's his right.
What @ned did by not disclosing his promise - I have yet to see any actual evidence that Justin's current stake was promised to be used in a certain way contractually - is unethical, but I do not think it's right to hold Justin to the verbal promises of another when he didn't know about them to begin with (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt). That is quite literally between Justin and Ned and there's little value in going back to that well as an argument to keep Sun's funds locked up or force him to use them in a way that he doesn't want.
If the promises of the past weren't contractual or coded into the blockchain in some way, the promise was merely a courtesy to probably preserve the harmony and value of the network (by my humble guesstimation) at the time.
It's worth pointing out that the soft fork was a measure I agreed with. Justin and his team are terrible communicators. Just awful. By the looks of it, Justin also didn't know what he was buying. Justin's reputation for centralization and talk of swapping tokens, rightly freaked everyone out. At the time, it seemed like a necessary stop gap until we understood what was actually going to happen and felt hostile from the beginning. This whole thing was a disaster of miscommunication, a comedy of errors, a cascade of classic blunders.
I think many people regret how each side acted / reacted and are deservedly salty, but it's spilled milk. Time to move forward.
Regarding Justin's poor due diligence, I think instead of looking down at him about about that, as I sensed in the conversation last night, we should help him become a part of Steem. Teach him the ways of the Chain and community.
Because of the aforementioned communication problems, the witnesses felt compelled to force a conversation with the soft fork and a conversation they got in the form of an all out power struggle that has resulted in a harmful stalemate. If I am to understand things from last night's conversation, the chain cannot continue in this manner for very long without destroying it due to the broken price feeds and the top witnesses not being in consensus.
It also demonstrated though that the community truly cares about their platform and I commend the Witnesses for doing what they thought was best for the network at the time, but I think it's time to change direction. I also commend the community for stepping up to prevent the overwhelming power directed at the network by the exchanges at Sun's behest.
In my opinion, Justin was wrong to coordinate this roundabout way of usurping the witnesses. It destroyed whatever goodwill was left between us and he should apologize for that more than the malicious hacker statement and reverse it. At the end of the day, your besmirched honor is worth far less than the network and we need to focus on the real problem here, the exchanges and dealing with large stakeholders going forward.
Likewise, the witnesses should apologize for locking up Justin's stake as an act of goodwill and unfreeze his stake.
That said, I don't see any way forward for the exchanges and Justin that doesn't involve some aspect of the law. The SEC needs to look into what the exchanges did and Justin should be scrutinized for it. Let the organs of law do their job so we can move forward with the chain.
Official complaints should be filed against Huobi, Binance, Poloniex, Steemit Inc, Ned and Justin, but we should let the law do what it does even if it takes years.
- I agree with the witnesses that the power down time should not be changed to accommodate the exchanges and let them off the hook. Personally, I think reducing power down time for bad actors is a non-starter and should be rejected, even at the cost of the original Steem chain with a fork. They should suffer the consequences of being sued up the ass by their users because their funds have been misappropriated and if the chain forks and their funds are jacked, hate the game, not the players.
- Justin should be allowed to use his stake. I even think he should be allowed to be a witness or he should be able to use a witness of his choosing, but only one. That said...
- If possible, there should be a version of the code that limits the power of users and witnesses after a certain steem power has been reached. Let's say, randomly, that at 1,000,000 SP, you're vote won't be worth anything more. Just an idea. Maybe even make it 100,000 SP. Whatever is most beneficial to flattening out the monied hierarchy a bit.
- A new version of Steem should be presented as the compromise. Call it 0.3.0, or whatever, where all the ideas of code are presented as a means of compromise that all current witnesses, even the sock puppets, agree to use, even if it's just to get the price working again. Code in whatever you want as a means of negotiating, but it has to be reasonable. We can't dictate to Justin what he can do with his stake, just like we really couldn't hold Ned or Steemit to their word. If we can't bounce the sock puppets, the least we can do is to get them to run a temporary code that keeps things functioning at a stalemate.
- Once the exchanges are able to power down their stakes, Steem should be delisted from their exchanges. I know it means less liquidity, but it also means less hostile takeovers. They can't be trusted.
- Regardless of how we proceed with Justin, formal inquiries from authorities should happen simultaneously. I don't think there's getting around any of that at this point.
- Let's keep it civil and try to work our way out of this and not make it so adversarial.
- EDIT: Justin's stake - at least some of it - should be locked into the network in the form of Steem power so that when he decides to cash out it will be orderly and predictable.
NOW THAT ALL OF THIS IS ALL OUT OF THE WAY
Thanks for hearing me out. I may not be a witness, but I am an advocate and investor in Steem. This place is great and I want it to continue. I know that many of you will disagree with me, and that's okay. I voted for all of our human witnesses and see the actions by Justin and the exchanges as hostile and unethical. That said, we should unwind things, let the authorities do their job and let the chips fall where they may once we let Justin in.
I believe our witnesses can find a way out of this and that we as a community are in the best position to govern the network with or without Justin or ned or Steemit.
That said, if the witnesses decided to fork the chain tomorrow, I'd follow.
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