Earlier this spring, I began noticing EOS-related posts in Steem communities that I support with votes. At first, these posts didn’t bother me, because I’ve always been glad to see other cryptocurrency projects posting on Steemit, and I have voted for many of those in the past. Steemit and other Steem-driven sites are a great place for crypto projects to share information and build their communities.
But the more I investigated, the less comfortable I felt with the EOS cheerleading posts. And through my investigations, I have learned enough that I recently implemented a new policy: I will not make any more votes to support EOS-related posts. And similarly, I will not vote for Steem witnesses who are double-dipping with candidacies as EOS block producers.
Because many people have asked me about these two decisions, I have written this post to clarify my reasons
If you haven’t heard of EOS, it’s a smart contracts platform that’s in development. I wish EOS and its dapps the best. In fact, I was the one who purchased the @eos address on Steem and gave it, free of charge, to Block.One’s CTO, Dan Larimer, to keep it in his custody and away from squatters. And I’ve had high hopes that EOS could excel in its own niche, which is smart contracts.
Are you sure it's not your EGOs?
But that was before the egos over there decided to get into the same business that Steem is in. The CEO of EOS’ parent, Block.One, stated his intention to create a social network site, a la Steemit. In fact, the first use case shared by EOS on Github, as an example of what could be done with its platform, was a Steemit-type example. In retrospect, perhaps this should not have been that surprising, since EOS’ origins lie in a fork of Steem. Also, one of the first dapps on EOS will be ONO, which apparently will have a social media-type site, though it may be the first cryptocurrency site I’ve ever read that left me with less confidence after reading the team profiles.
Oh no. A currency that’s many times more expensive than Steem. Security vulnerabilities. A (lack of) governance system that’s setting up to be a royal mess. Remind me why I own any EOS when Steem’s SMTs should be much better? But, I digress…
EOS’ social network aspirations make it a potential competitor (even though its costs may be too high to compete meaningfully with Steem).
Once I understood there was a potential conflict, I began to take a closer look at the EOS-cheerleading posts that were on Steemit. I realized some authors were receiving support or had been promised certain incentives to pump those projects by either Block.One or some dapp spawn (though my evidence there is second-hand, several people have confirmed that was the case). And that’s when I understood that it’s not healthy for me to be voting for those posts using Steem Power.
Support your own cheerleaders; I hope you don't mind if I use my voting power elsewhere. Disclaimer: To my knowledge, Ladybeard has not endorsed any blockchain, but was the best image of a bearded cheerleader I could find. Source: Creative Commons via Wikipedia.com by Dick Thomas Johnson.
If the EOS community wants cheerleaders on Steemit, it should support them itself. I won’t do so with my Steem votes. Many Steemians have worked hard over these last two years to build communities, support great content, and/or create Steem-powered applications. It would be a disservice to them if I did not put them first with their ongoing loyalty and commitment.
Steem Witnesses should be 100% committed to the Steem ecosystem, not divided in their loyalty, commitment, or fiduciary status
That brings me to witnesses, who are paid to verify blocks for the Steem-chain. After I explained to several communities that I would not vote for more EOS- or ONO- stuff on Steem, the question arose of how to handle votes for Steem witnesses who also stand for similar positions on EOS. And the way I see it, consistency requires me to withhold votes for any witness who has announced intentions to do the same for EOS. So I also unvoted some witnesses who are double-dipping with Block Producer candidacies for EOS (a BP for EOS is similar to a Witness for Steem).
Sadly, I happen to really like some of those people and consider them better than certain other Steem witnesses when it comes to the good work they have done here in the Steem ecosystem. But for the money they are making as Steem witnesses (which, when the markets are happy, can be as high as $25,000 per month for a top witness), each one of them should be 100% committed to building with Steem.
Instead, what I hear when a Steem witness decides to become a Block Producer candidate on EOS is that: (1) they are not making enough money here, or (2) that they would like to spend more time on other (non-Steem) projects.
If so, they’ve lost my vote here. Tinkering is fine. Experimenting is healthy. I encourage people to try new things. It’s not at all disloyal to poke around over there. But all of those are possible without being paid a large sum of money. If you take the witness money from Steem, then this is your team.
And even if I were the world's largest EOS holder, I would demand the same commitment over there.
Finally, witnesses are not merely running some esoteric code. They are the governors of our blockchain, who vote (or not) to adopt any proposed updates. They are trustees who have a fiduciary duty to uphold the best interests of Steem. And if they hold a similar position for another blockchain that has aspirations to compete in the same space, then they are serving two masters: communities that need to be able to trust them.
In legal terms, that’s a conflict of interest, because they cannot make decisions on behalf of one without potentially disadvantaging the other in that same space. Thus, when they are presented with a proposed update that favors one blockchain over the other, they have no choice but to violate the oath they have taken to act in the other community’s best interest. If they don’t anticipate that possibility, then they may be too naïve to be entrusted with the governance responsibility.
Business Ethics presentation via Slideplayer.com by Madeline Dawson. http://slideplayer.com/slide/4728985/
I am not asking others to join me. I have the greatest respect for anyone who chooses to disagree with my position. Yet enough people have asked me about this that I felt the need to provide the above explanation.
If you’ve never voted for witnesses before, you can visit the following page to do so: https://steemit.com/~witnesses .
Disclaimer: I do not have a witness. I will donate 100% of this post's rewards to Steem curation initiatives.