The recent controversy between Steemit Inc and the community - the premine, control, and where it leads this blockchain

in steem •  last month

I'm not going to candy coat any of this, since I think the greater community needs a splash of realism and less pandering. At this point in time I have nothing to lose (besides wasting my time) and just think this entire situation is absurd. The vast majority of the "scare" surrounding the issues discussed over the last week have no actual merit and are, in my opinion, cases of manipulation to maintain the status quo.

Buckle up, this is going to be a long one.


How we got here

To start with, let me explain all of the events from an objective perspective. I'll try my best to leave my opinions out until later in the post, after I first try to give a better sense of what has happened up until this point.

Last week/weekend (between the 10th and 13th of January 2019), a discussion started and set this entire chain of events in motion. This was in the so-called "Secret Slack", a Slack community controlled by Steemit Inc which houses discussion between Steemit Inc employees, Witnesses, Developers, and other randomly selected Steem community members. I was present and participating in these discussions, as were a many others.

This specific conversation started as a discussion about how to attract developers into the Steem ecosystem. Ideas being tossed about, examples of other comparable systems debated, and opinions being stated about the challenges in the current environment. This type of chatter happens a lot - which isn't surprising due to the incredible amount of passion in this community.

The conversation eventually turned though, when a Steemit Inc employee chimed in. At this point in the conversation it was specifically about incentivizing blockchain developers (external of Steemit Inc) to contribute to the code that runs the platform. A disagreement occurred involving the approaches, the value of, and the effectiveness of this sort of effort. There were a few comments made during this exchange, which were viewed as talking points and an excuse not to act. This sparked the powder keg. From this point on the conversation was no longer about attracting developers but a serious discussion about Steemit Inc, it's overall competency, and it's leadership.

This is actually another common topic that comes up in the "Secret Slack" regularly. With the New Year having just occurred and everyone reflecting on 2018, it's been brought up more than usual. As the conversation progressed, with some strong statements from community members on this topic, this is the point in time where a fork was mentioned for the first time, on Friday the 11th. It was mentioned as a method to force Steemit Inc to change how they are operating, as opposed to all of us involved "just complaining". The fork proposed would have done one thing: freeze Steemit Incs premine assets.

The participants in the channel (community members) engaged in this topic. During this time there was no mention by anyone of supporting the idea. It was discussed like any other idea proposed, with speculation of both the good and bad it would do for the Steem ecosystem. The discussion continued over the weekend, hopping to different channels, as more community members were invited (even those not in the "Secret Slack"), and the debates continued.

As far as I'm aware, no one had planned on talking about any of this, it just happened organically. It was presented as a "nuclear option" to force change.

Sunday the 13th is when Ned joined the channel on the Secret Slack and made his first remarks of 2019 to any of us. The immediate tone was a defensive posture, labeling one of the participants in the discussion a "hacker", and then claiming the witnesses were considering the going through with the fork. Around this time is also when the Steemit Inc power down began (directly to exchanges), in an effort to protect themselves against this "threat".

No one anywhere at this point had expressed support for actually performing the fork on the live Steem network.

The participants attempted to defuse the situation on the spot (with mild success), and since Ned wanted to talk (after being absent for the previous weeks), those involved decided sure, why not talk. It was then decided that instead the usual tactic of "everyone just saying whatever we want in chat", a committee would be setup to represent the views of the group, while trying to address the problems at hand. The idea being less individual voices (from the community) = less confusion (for Ned).

I am/was a member of this committee, which regularly talked with Ned over the week (14th-18th). Many suggestions made by the committee were outright dismissed without any discussion. Unlike the public discussion where we discussed the merits of an idea, regardless of personal opinions, this discussion was unproductive in meaningfully exploring anything. It's unknown if any benefit will come from the efforts of the community and committee due to these efforts.

Yesterday (the 19th), we've all decided to open up publicly and share with you what's been going on.

So here we are. I'm a day late, but this post took a while to compose.

Note: This is where my objective view of the situation ends.


Why we are here

From here on out I am expressing my views as an individual, based on the behavior I've observed and past experience/history.

To disclose: I have been very vocal in these private chats about the direction Steemit Inc has been taking Steem over the years, especially over the last year. None of my opinions should come as a surprised to anyone involved in the "Secret Slack", whether they're a community member or Steemit Inc employee. I typically don't bring these opinions up publicly, like I am right now, because Steem and DPOS have enough public perception problems as it is. However, at this moment in time, one of the following is true: either I am at a point of inflection or the entire community is.

To put a TLDR in front of this entire section, the reason I believe we are here today is because Steemit Inc exists within the Steem ecosystem as an "unaccountable actor" who ultimately controls far too much. I'll attempt to highlight this belief as we push forward through this post.

The situation from a general crypto perspective

To help frame the conversation a bit, let's step back out of Steem and look at crypto in general. When you're considering the viability of a DLT project (blockchain or otherwise), in order to gauge "risk of investment" (either your time or money), one of the things you generally look at in the distribution is "how much control is the founding entity retaining?". This is typically referred to as "reserve fund" or a "premine" (depending on how fancy of ICO terminology you want to use) and is critically important in any system that relies on a token as a mechanism of control.

Generally from my perspective, the less tokens the founders control the better. There are multiple reasons for this:

  • Risk: a platform which contains a premine almost always relies on the entity receiving it to be successful.
  • Risk: the "control" (mostly in block generation) of the decentralized aspects of the platform can be manipulated by this premine.
  • Risk: the entity could cause downward pressure on a market as they sell this premine (which typically is why there's a lockup/vesting period).
  • Risk: the potential for corruption and abuse, due to the non-binding agreement in which they are granted tokens in a premine.

Today, I, as an investor, will likely reject the premise of a blockchain on this single merit alone. I didn't hold this view when I got started in Steem (which was the first chain I engaged full time developing on), but as I've learned (thanks to so many people here), this belief has been cemented in my head.

Any individual actor in a blockchain ecosystem that is just "granted" a significant portion of the token distribution becomes an "unaccountable actor". That doesn't mean they are good or bad, just that they are unaccountable to the token holders. It's a very common misconception that by owning a specific token, you have a say in how these prefunded entities operate, but you don't. You don't own any portion of whatever company was created with that distribution, nor do you have any say in what they do. They're completely unaccountable to anyone but themselves.

Steem

That brings us to why we are here today. We are in a situation, as witnesses, developers, and members of the community, where the unaccountable actor in our space has repeatedly failed to accomplish anything meaningful or even meaningfully consider alternatives.

From my point of view as an "insider", Steemit Inc has:

  • used their premine irresponsibly, likely due to inexperience (common startup problem)
  • consistently failed to resolve some of the biggest issues facing the Steem platform
  • retained/taken control of this "decentralized" system, both with their rhetoric and threats to use their stake to control it
  • acted in the best interest of their company, their product, and not in the best interest of the platform
  • has demonstrated a priority of company over the platform, refusing to entertain ideas simply on the grounds that it may be detrimental to Steemit Inc

The really sad part is they have every right to do this, and aren't in any way accountable to any of us.

I am not here to argue about ownership of the ninja/premine stake, simply because in every legal sense on this chain it’s Steemit Inc property and there’s nothing concrete that holds them accountable for its usage in anything. Ned could literally decide to retire, and using the same logic he's promoted over the past few days, shut down Steemit Inc because it owes nothing to anyone. Why? Again, there’s absolutely no accountability or responsibility.

It's always been this way, even though many of us would like to hold Steemit Inc to higher standards. That, to me, is the core problem of this entire conversation long before the discussion of a fork occurred. There’s not really a way you can force someone who is “accountable to no one” to change course, no matter what harm or good they cause. This is the case in most situations where a premine exists.

The committee and it's conversations with Steemit Inc

Sadly - through the process of this entire conversation, we actually pushed everything further in the opposite direction of the goals.

Not only are we in a situation where we (those involved in the conversation) have to explain ourselves against outlandish claims of a supposed fork, but now we have Steemit Inc powering down their premine to ultimately make it less transparent than it already is. Not only are they unaccountable to anything the community wants, but now they by hiding their funds we've lost transparency... all based on a conversation that started about addressing their constant failures and what the system would be like if they were actually held accountable.

I can tell you now, if over the past 2.5 years since launch they were being held accountable, Ned would have been fired, the entire organization reworked, and the direction would have changed to a more sensible approach to build great things for Steem. That's not happening and there's literally no leverage to make this happen, at least there wasn't until the word "fork" was brought up. Sadly those conversations also didn't go anywhere because many members of the community latched onto Ned's spin of "theft" and "hackers" causing further distraction.

Speaking of which, let's talk a bit about the fork that was being discussed.

A fork

I just want to make this very clear regarding the fork: these talks never even got far enough for anyone involved to decide anything. The idea wasn't immediately dismissed either, but in discussing nuclear options like this, you can't be dismissive.

Not only did no one commit to doing it, but even after reassuring Ned of this in private, Ned then started a social tour to drum up favor in advance of anything put out by the community. When asked about the power down cited this group as a "threat". Suddenly not only were we trying to have talks with Ned, but those who bought into the spin started expressing concern for what was going on. Either someone fed Ned bad information, he's spinning this for some more nefarious reason, or most likely he's making incorrect assumptions based off his limited understanding. That last one sounds just about par for the course.

Regardless of how it happened, it was a manipulative play, which is yet another common occurrence in a system where a premine exists.

Overall, the idea of the fork had a single goal of forcing accountability, it was not about "theft" or "hacking", it was about correcting one of the biggest problems in this entire system. A problem, which isn't recognized by the only people Steemit Inc is accountable to, themselves.

Fork Alternatives

During the discussions a few other ideas took shape that essentially achieve the same goal of making Steemit Inc accountable. Most of these ideas got pushed aside during the talks with such an intense focus on the fork option. Personally I don't think with Steemit Inc's recent statements of "this is our property" any of this will actually happen, but I figured I'd share them since there's such an intense focus on the fork alone. Some of the other ideas were:

  • Steemit Inc voluntarily giving all/majority of their tokens to an elected body which would, in return, fund Steemit Inc. This provides oversight, transparency, and accountability based on performance.
  • Steemit Inc being willing to burn their token supply in exchange for some sort of alternative funding mechanism.

These both remove the unaccountable aspect of Steemit Inc, which ultimately would lead to a more healthy ecosystem. Ned has made it crystal clear that he's not giving up control of those tokens or his grasp on the Steem.

Where to go from here?

If the goal is still to achieve accountability, I don't see a path forward anymore.

As someone who's spent 2+ years working on Steem, this is a really hard pill to swallow. Probably even harder to accept for those who have actually invested their own money in Steem. At this point the options are incredibly limited. We have already been told "if you don't like it, leave". In reality (and again, sadly) "leaving" is the first step in most of the options available for anyone unsatisfied with the status quo.

It's either drink the kool-aid Steemit Inc is serving and pretend this isn't a problem, or quit.

My confidence that things will improve is nearing zero, so I'm leaning towards the latter of those options at this point but still haven't decided. The last shred of hope I have for any success here isn't completely gone, which is the only reason I haven't officially quit. I'm still watching as things unfold, but with the direction things are heading (the discussions, threats, and the power down), that last bit of hope is slowly fading.

The status of my decision can easily be monitored on block explorers as to whether or not my witness is disabled, which will be the last move.

Final thoughts

I've spent far too much time on this post already, and while I could continue to ramble on a number of topics within this post, at this point I even question the value in it. I also didn't expect to be engaged in any of these topics this week, let alone for the situation to get far worse than it was a week ago (which mind you, is when this happened, along with the "reason").

My perspective today: Steem at this point is corrupted by the "unaccountable actor" and the premine it performed years ago. Those who still believe in Steemit Inc won't believe this - at least not yet, but that doesn't mean it's not true. A centralized actor is in control of this blockchain. Not only a centralized actor, but arguably a malicious one who does not listen to reason, ever admit fault, persists down unproductive paths, makes rash decisions without thinking them through, acts superior despite consistent failures, and also attacks the decentralized community that makes it all possible. All while there's nothing you or I can do to hold them accountable for this behavior.

Ask yourself, is this what you want in a system like Steem? If you're just here for the rewards, you probably don't care where it comes from. More power to ya for that, keep up your hustle. If you're here for the same reasons I am: the ideas a blockchain represents, a fundamental shift in how we can communicate and trust one another without third parties, I would hope this matters to you. There is plenty of innovation happening in this space right now, it's just unfortunate it's not here.

Everything in this system is voluntary. The reason Steem has value is because you believe it does. Steem, and every other blockchain, are all huge social experiments we choose to be a part of. The situation in this experiment at the moment is pretty dire, and it's up to every individual to decide if this is acceptable and if they want to be a part of this.

I'm trying to make that decision and it's not easy.


For further reading, may I suggest a number of other posts, created by community members participating in the same discussions:

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Thank you, Jesta. You've given more to this blockchain than most people combined. Your tools, Vessel, Steemdb, and more. I could go on and on... No one could say this as well as you because you've built so much value here.

In years past, many who saw these problems and shouted them from the rooftops did so in ways which were hard to receive as fully credible (at least for me). Their arguments weren't very sound and/or they seemed to argue and complain about anything and everything. It's possible they were the canaries in the coal mine of this whole system.

What we do next is what counts. Will many of the old guard finally throw in the towel, step aside, and let a new batch of fresh meat try to create value, build community, and create education only to later come to the same conclusions about Ned/Steemit down the road? What kept me coming back at SF2 was meeting some of the team and seeing communication improve. I thought maybe it could work out, and I had conversations with @andrarchy where he'd talk me off the ledge and convince me things were getting better. It's no secret I've never really understood Ned. Just about every interaction I've had with him has rubbed me the wrong way. I thought it didn't matter because this was a decentralized blockchain. I thought one person couldn't matter that much.

Clarifying things with the "unaccountable actor" language is really helpful.

What we do next matters. Will all this talent and shared understanding of the system float away compleletey to other things, or will there be some new future where something could possibly work? As I see it now, that depends on the actions of one person. Unless something changes, that's not acceptable. We want decentralization. That's what we signed up for.

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First step would be, you all should abandon secrecy and establish an open forum for everybody to see. I know you were/are an advocate of opening up the secret slack, at least make it visible for everybody. I think all of this drama happened because of this secrecy. I hope top witnesses, Steemit Inc, etc will leave secret groups and open up for the entire community.

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Thank you for stating my position correctly. I’m not a fan, at all, of private conversations. One approach we’ve been exploring in the DAC governance model is read-only channels for elected custodians to dialogue freely without noise, with most conversations happening in memeber channels and full open conversations in community channels even for non-members (eosDAC has this structure in our discord).

I’m comfortable with my words always being transparent, but many are not. I’ve been told by some that my thinking on transparency is flawed because some aren’t comfortable expressing themselves completely if they don’t know the audience involved and think their words will be twisted and used against them. In my experience, this happens more often with “secret meetings” than with open transparency (nothing is secret unless it’s encrypted and even then...)

That said, I respect how leaders are sometimes needed to lead, organize, and propose action. If they spend all their time justifying their every word and providing context so people don’t take things the wrong way, they get little accomplished.

We have to find the balance and part of the way forward may be creating public, read-only feeds from these various “secret” communication mediums. The challenge there is it can actually decrease communication. If people who are not comfortable being transparent know their every word will be displayed, they simply stop talking. That’s when communication fully breaks down.

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Facts, but that still looks like a lose/lose. Keep the secret conversations and wish for the best or open up a feed and people filter what they say with potential hidden agenda's.

Hardforks, secret meetings, powerdowns... sounds like a brew for a bad situation. I wish I had a answer, I don't want to just be another person complaining. What ever direction is for the better is what I will hope to support as a invested user.

Hearing from a insider about lost faith does not re assure me and I am sure other "users" feel the same.

Truce.

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Я тоже так думаю!

Greetings @jesta,

Happy New Year!

Thank you for this enlightening and well articulated article.

There has always seemed to be disturbance at the top, unknown, unacknowledged yet there. Objectively, one might say most of us do not need to know the minutia, afterall in order to get things done it really need not be bandied about.

However, from a business perspective, investment-wise, at some point, particularily when the price of the asset goes down in a big way, investors begin to ask questions....and so they should.

Just because one has invested does not mean they are here only for a return, however a return is in the mind of anyone who invests their energy, be that energy; time, dapps, money, etc.

Steemit is a worthy and worthwhile project and investors have invested their energy in many forms....all of them are looking for returns, be that return recognition, rank, renumeration, etc.

I for one would appreciate and have looked for Steemit to get out ahead of its investors of all types, keeping us posted on how Steemit is progressing and in all fairness it must come from the top.

Principle, Leadership cannot be divorced from Salesmanship.

Wishing you all the best.

Cheers!

NB Thank you for all you do and have done for Steemit.

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Happy new years to you as well, and thank you for engaging. I agree with pretty much all that you've said and I really hope that sort of change happens.

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I appreciate the honest account of things that happened. You and rest of the top witnesses are guilty of keeping secret slack, regardless of Steemit Inc's control. Open it up already.

Partly you and other witnesses are responsible for all of this debacle, because you chose to keep everything in secret. Your account probably is the least diplomatic, hence most sincere. I suspect reason is because you are no longer top 20 witness. Would you be this honest and sincere if you still were a top 20 witness??? I am not sure, but still appreciate an honest account and observation being shared. I appreciate your work for the platform and I voted for your witness as soon as I saw you were out of 20.

As far of Steem/Steemit, I think it will still be around because of all the people involved, and as you said people still believe in it. I think Inc has done ok, just failed in PR, budgeting, and marketing. I strongly hope @ned will hire a PR mentor or assign CEO duties to someone else. He had a great opportunity to become a face of the Crypto for people in general. He still does. He can become the visionary of the crypto space, only if he wanted to. Just need to ditch that guitar. :)

I believe 2019 will be awesome for all of us. This debacle happened because you all chose to be in a secret environment. If you all chose more openness and rejected secrecy, things would be different, in my opinion.

Steemit will do whatever their vision is. Yes they are the largest stakeholder. That has been the fact since the beginning. Nothing has changed in that regard. I see @andrarchy as a visionary, I wish Ned would listen to him and take his advice or make him a CEO or something.

Anyway, crypto speculators will do their thing, community will still be around. I doubt things can get worse than they are. It is disappointing that human error is stopping the progress though.

In conclusion, forking out any account funds would be the dumbest move ever. I doubt any of the top witnesses would ever go with that. I am kinda surprised the idea was even entertained. Bottomline, if there is no security of funds why bother using the blockchain?

Huge respect for you. I hope you will still be around for years to come.

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I think Inc has done ok, just failed in PR, budgeting, and marketing. I strongly hope @ned will hire a PR mentor or assign CEO duties to someone else.

Have they really? I'm asking because I've heard many different and conflicting statements about this. Is it really just the PR and communication or does mismanagement of funds also play a part in this?

If I'm looking at other projects with similar sized teams, I see that they generally get a lot more done. I know this might be comparing apples with oranges, but I don't really have the feeling that Steemit Inc. is working very efficiently.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really hoping that I'm mistaken about this, but some of the problems that they're working on now should have been resolved much earlier.

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Well, Steemit.com works. And works just fine. That to me is team has done ok. I do see progress. If it wasn't for Steem price going to unexpected levels (below $1), I think SMTs and other dev works would be on track to completion. I think it will still be happening and eventually, Steemit Inc will deliver SMTs, Communities, etc. Everything else is just a distraction. That's why I think better PR is needed, to actually show all the work being done, maybe even exaggerate a little bit. :)

P.S. I don't like the fact that Steemit Inc and/or Ned is actually not interested in continued development of the flagship site though.

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Did you know that before HF17, later known as HF17.5 and finally HF18, we had 16 hardforks in less than a year, I think it was 8 months or almost two HF's a month. Did you know the most anticipated change after HF16 was for a linear reward curve/proportional rewards to stake, which was completely absent from HF17, HF17.5 and HF18 (All known as hf 18)? Did you know that after months of the community demanding it, HF19 finally addressed that singular issue, only to be revealed in the weeks that followed as not necessarily a fix as much as it was a problem especially alongside delegations? When do you think this will be fixed, a simple yet profound change away from linear and not quite back to exponential that ought to have been made more than a year ago but which to my knowledge has still never even been acknowledged by stinc? O yeah, what are the proposed changes for the next HF?

Do you think, knowing that we've had only 3 (or 4?) hardforks in almost 2 years, that steemit is developing and pursuing development of steem in an OK way? Do you really think that stinc can even say "we've been listening to the community"? It seems like as long as they keep making promises, maybe even a little embellishment on top, everything else is a distraction from where you're standing. As long as they apPeaR to be working on the supposed solution to whatever problem community and SMT will solve you will happily encourage them, even though stinc has not given a shit to the community directly evident from HF17 onwards, and even with HF19, as they haven't reached to the community or assessed the results once. I don't know on what you base your thoughts on how well they have done, or them doing OK, but by my standard stinc is completely fucked and it's no wonder that nuclear options are discussed in the slack they created and run, they are after all the ones responsible for the complete lack of communication with the community and the assessment of the changes committed through HF's and the followup to those assessments that has driven the discussion in the direction of considering the options available should their unresponsive and otherwise unacceptable and unaccountable stance to the development of steem continue.

What do you think the community should do if the ones in charge of development don't care about the community? Keep on keeping on?

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No, I am not really familiar with the history before HF19. I understand what you are saying. I can see the frustrations and disappointments for lack of progress (or visible progress). I just choose to focus on the positive. Among them, I see platform working as positive, smts still in development, there were improvements to dev portal, hivemind, etc.

I was also a bit frustrated and disappointed towards the end of 2018. This year will be awesome for Steem. I think/hope Steemit Inc will deliver this year.

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Unfortunately that's just it, they could have sat on their hands all this time since Dan left almost 2 years ago and the platform would still be functioning /working. Why is that a positive then, if it's not strictly framed in terms of HOW MUCH WORSE IT COULD BE. As if keeping it running was/is an accomplishment, I guess it could be if you consider that they could have broken it.

Steemit- At least it's still working.

Steemit- #SMT2kandwhen

Steemit- From 2 HF's a month to 2 years every HF.

Steemit- Etc. (ETC).

Posted using Partiko Android

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What project has anything done? Every blockchain out there is a fluff of dreams. Steem is the only one with actual work, even if it's not too much.

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When I wrote my reply, I was thinking of LBRY to be exact. They've been issuing updates very regularly and the amount of work they've done in a very short amount of time is pretty amazing.

Now, it's still comparing apples with oranges, because their project is a lot more straightforward than Steem.

Source:
https://lbry.io/news

To be clear, they have a working product, nothing fluff about it.

I mean just look at this one development update and compare it to Steemit's development updates. The difference is huge IMO.

https://lbry.io/news/nov-dec-update

Compare that to:
https://steemit.com/steem/@steemitblog/new-year-new-devportal-updates

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In my time around Steem this is not the first time that discussion of a fork has occurred. It is the first time it has come out into the open and that maybe is a good thing. It lays out the arguments and lets the community respond with their views.

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Discussing topics is fine. But, in the end, any blockchain that can just delete accounts/funds/stakes will be a failure. I thought the main promise of blockchain technologies was/is TRUST. Nobody will trust and/or invest in a chain that has a history of removing accounts/stakes/funds.

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i quite agree about not liking the reasons for the proposal. The discussion coming out into the open is healthy in that the community gets opportunity to weigh in. It also provides opportunity to observe the behaviour of the witnesses.

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Then explain why almost nobody trusted ETC and and why everyone trusts ETH.

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Promoted with as many bots as possible to reach the audience this post deserves.

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Mother won at bingo last night. Promoted with as many bots as possible to reach the audience this post deserves. -Lil' Beanie 2019

Screen Shot 20190118 at 12.16.28 PM.png

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I know I'm pretty much begging for another ass-kicking but that's funny! If he zaps you for posting it, and/or me for pointing out the humor (...UH-gain!) then at least we'll go out laughing.

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Great move!

Firstly, thank you for a comprehensive explanation of what had actually been going on. It was feeling a bit cryptic with all the little titbits that were coming out.

I have to say that I think Ned's reaction and stance is purely human nature. He is the creator of Steem, is he not, so is it any surprise that he feels it's property? Most people feel that their creations are and want some sort of control over it. So to hear people say he should be cut out from any control would make him feel like his project is being stolen from him.

I know the idea behind this is that it is decentralised and run by the community, but relinquishing and allowing yourself to be overridden isn't easy for anyone, especially when what you've created is being touted as something pretty special and is even being copied by some. He's probably feeling a bit betrayed at this point with all the criticism coming his way, whether it's rightly or wrongly received. Pride can make it very hard for us to hear advice, even when it's in our best interest.

Not making any judgements either way here and I know nothing of programming. Just some thoughts to put behaviour into perspective. It kind of begs the question, will decentralisation ever work with human nature as it is?

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Well said, I can't disagree with any of that.

I know I've felt the same sort of "desire for control" over open source projects I've started, that others have forked and improved upon. I've asked myself the question of "why don't they just work with me instead of forking it?", which is a valid question, and maybe the answer is just that they'd rather go it alone without my involvement.

It is human nature to question these things.

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It is human nature to question these things.

Isn't it just! I guess that's why they came up with copyright protection. We're not the best at sharing. ;D It can't be easy to see someone forking something you've created, even when it was created open source.

Posted using Partiko Android

Thanks @jesta for posting publicly on these matters. I'm not part of the "secret slack" and the amount of communication that goes on in private venues when we have a permissionless blockchain for communicating is disturbing to me.

The post discusses the nuclear option of a hard fork to remove Steemit Inc's share. While this sets a dangerous precedent of theft by the masses, it also is the most straightforward method for rectifying an undeserved premine. What percentage of all STEEM does Steemit Inc own? If my understanding is correct the early distribution of STEEM was a disaster and the inequitable distribution of early stake creates problems to this day.

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What percentage of all STEEM does Steemit Inc own?

~30% of all powered up Steem, if you factor in liquid Steem/SBD they own 23.4% of all tokens. But they have sold a lot over the last 2.5 years.

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Good to see the number decrease, but still too much. All that selling has put pressure on steem to stay about #51 on CMC

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currently #39

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You're absolutely right that the early distribution as it occurred does cause some problems on the scales of a social platform. Not all of the actors from that period are good or bad specifically, but it's created some really weird power dynamics.

I'm not part of the "secret slack" and the amount of communication that goes on in private venues when we have a permissionless blockchain for communicating is disturbing to me.

Yeah, you'd think a better solution for accountability would exist at this point. Unfortunately Slack, which is permissioned and very controlled, has far better communication tools than what we have on Steem today. That to me is the primary reason - it's hard to use Steem to talk about this stuff, unless you write massive blog posts that take almost 3 days to write :)

  1. I don't see how Steemit is exceptionally unaccountable. In what way are you or I or anyone else here accountable to the community in ways that Steemit Inc. is not?

  2. Do you think Steemit Inc.'s role is deserving of a higher standard of accountability than any other user, and if so are you willing to articulate that standard?

  3. Do you recognize that a substantial contributing factor in this scenario is your and others' willingness to participate in a secret governance forum? Will you stop?

  4. Why is Steemit Inc.'s vague potential use of their premined stake to influence events unacceptable, but Freedom's actual use of premined state to vote you (until yesterday) and others into top witness slots something that needed no action?

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There is no democratic action happening here if someone owns that much stake. If as a developer or investor your ideas can't get any leverage or traction because they can be turned over instantly then what is the point of having a "decentralized" system?

-#3. I agree on this one big time, while ultimately there is no way to stop this, communications should be happening publicly on chain.

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To be completely honest, it's hard to have productive conversations on-chain with the tools at our disposal. It's a lot more efficient to use a polished tool like Slack, which in my opinion, is far superior to steemit.com for this purpose.

If we had a Slack-like interface that used Steem to make the conversations public record, I'd be pushing for that.

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Yeah, it's essential and a killer app at the same time.

Posted using Partiko Android

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Make one?

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People have explored it, there are a number of hurdles in the way of "doing it right".

It'd probably also take a significant amount of time, more time than I have available as one dude.

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Well, theres always hurdles in the way. Still think it can be done and monetized quite easily.

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Yeah.. Make one...With the computerizing and the keyboarding and the coding.... ;)

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There exist one. I'm not sure how good it would be though but it exist.

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  1. Witnesses are accountable to voters (the community). Beyond witnesses though, there is no expectation or accountability for anyone else. I'd like there to be ideally though, for anyone who wants to contribute and be held accountable. Those people should be rewarded.
  2. In short, yes. In any blockchain project out there, if during it's genesis the founding group reserves a portion of the supply for themselves, do you think they should be held to higher standards than those who purchased in? I think it's implied, otherwise why would anyone ever agree to participate?
  3. I've never been opposed to making all of those discussions public, except security incidents. I don't choose where these discussions happen though.
  4. Steemit Inc's premine was a premeditated act by the organization launching the blockchain (in secret) as part of a "plan" to fund themselves. I don't have enough information on who freedom is (as does anyone else) to render any sort of opinion. I do think the way the entire inflation model has played out (with many early miners earning millions of steem) is also a problem, but is not the subject of this post. A fair distribution is an entirely different topic, especially in how it relates to a social economy.
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Witnesses are accountable to voters (the community).

By which you mean "Witnesses are accountable to Freedom."

So a registered company with an address and an ability to receive service of documents exercising outsized control over the chain is bad, but a complete unknown exercising outsized control over the chain is fine because you don't know enough to judge? That is a bizarre position.

I'm beginning to doubt the "nobody knows" narrative anyway. The recipients of his support have been remarkably well-organized to defend his interests here. Maybe that just happens to be a coincidence.

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I'm beginning to doubt the "nobody knows" narrative anyway

I can tell you that I don't know, I've heard plenty of rumors though that name every notable personality you can imagine.

By which you mean "Witnesses are accountable to Freedom."

Eh, to some degree. There are a number of witnesses, myself included now, who are still up there even without the pumpkin vote. Having a massive anonymous stake like that voting against you does make it incredibly hard to progress in ranks.

So a registered company with an address and an ability to receive service of documents exercising outsized control over the chain is bad, but a complete unknown exercising outsized control over the chain is fine because you don't know enough to judge? That is a bizarre position.

I didn't say that at all, what I did say is that I don't really know enough to make an opinion on that account specifically, then further stated the fucked up distribution on this chain is also a problem but not the subject of this post or recent drama.

Steem has plenty of problems, I'm not saying any of the issues you raised are "ok", just that I haven't been focused as much on those lately.

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By which you mean "Witnesses are accountable to Freedom."

Well, yeah. He has the most stake. Thats how DPOS works. :D
We signed up for this... for all the good and the bad and now it doesnt suit us anymore?
All you can do is hope that whats good for Freedom is good for the rest of us.

Enjoy your ned and don't forget to recommend nedcore!

Decisions worth making are never easy, but you have to make them sooner rather than later, for your own sanity first and foremost. It is, of course, your decision to make, but I hope you don't mind if I add my interpretation of your post.

Based on the content and tone of your post, it seems to me that you are very frustrated with the status quo, and your objectives are simply not met with said status quo. I would think you should be leaning heavily towards a fork. Of course, a fork is difficult, and will require coordination with other witnesses, but if you are as serious about blockchain innovation as I think you are, you need to make it happen with like minded people. What do you stand to lose? Maybe rewards in the short term, unless the fork ends up worse than Steem - but even so, you'll know that you tried. Right now, it's just an endless abyss of frustration, don't give in to the sunk cost fallacy. So, it comes down to - does the stability of current rewards matter to you more than your penchant for blockchain innovation?

Clarification: Before someone accuses me of shilling for a fork, I don't care for or support a fork. I have made a statement committing to not support a fork, and I stand by it. That doesn't mean I can't understand and appreciate contrary views on the matter.

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Clarification: Before someone accuses me of shilling for a fork, I don't care for or support a fork. I have made a statement committing to not support a fork, and I stand by it. That doesn't mean I can't understand and appreciate contrary views on the matter.

LOL, I don't blame you one bit for this disclaimer. So here's a disclaimer of my own:

I am not supporting a fork by saying any of this. I enjoy solving problems, and exploring ideas that may lead to better solutions.

Based on the content and tone of your post, it seems to me that you are very frustrated with the status quo, and your objectives are simply not met with said status quo.

Frustrated at this point almost feels like an understatement.

I would think you should be leaning heavily towards a fork. Of course, a fork is difficult, and will require coordination with other witnesses, but if you are as serious about blockchain innovation as I think you are, you need to make it happen with like minded people. What do you stand to lose?

When it comes down to actually creating a competing project, I think my preference would be to go far beyond just a simple fork. Discussions in all of this never actually got far enough for me to express that idea, but I don't think long term I'd simply want to just fork Steem and improve upon it.

The hard truth at this point is that the Steem codebase isn't ideal at this point. If you look at most other variations of Steem, they've all had to solve a lot of "round peg, square hole" type of problems due to the rigid way it was setup. Some have made due, while I believe others have migrated completely off the Steem codebase (or plan to). It's been interesting to watch as developers attempt to adapt the Steem codebase for various purposes and the struggles they've run into.

Truthfully if I were planning on creating a competing platform to Steem, I'd probably either start from scratch or adapt it from a different platform, one which offers more flexibility. Steem could probably have been a lot more modern if it weren't for the whole "product over platform" approach that's unfolded over the years.

Right now, it's just an endless abyss of frustration, don't give in to the sunk cost fallacy. So, it comes down to - does the stability of current rewards matter to you more than your penchant for blockchain innovation?

Innovation matters way more than the rewards, which is exactly the reason I've considered outright quitting. I still put a decent amount of time into Steem at this point, and it doesn't help scratch that itch. I do have a certain fondness for both community and content software though, so there's a part of me that really wants to see it succeed. I think that's what makes it hardest to leave. I know there's potential in a system like Steem, whether it's Steem or not though is what remains to be seen.

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@jesta !
IF you want to migrate this community to another BC, I think you could do it. You have garnered the respect of many, and have learned so much in the recent years. I do believe if correctly airdropped and distributed over a long period of time, this community could have the best dapps and biggest rewards, and truly redefine the internet. Unfortunately, the current skewed distributions of Steem are not what @dan had in mind certainly, and also dont work well with DPOS.

Form a DAC, list 20 reasons how a community based BC will have much more fair and inclusive participation, the role of bots defined or at least limited, etc.

For the community, owned by the community.
Thanking all the progenitors that came before it for the leg up!

It could also be FAR MORE SIMPLE to understand for users if simplified at it's core. Ned has always been operating his laboratory more than selling a product... so for example, SBD gone would help.

This type of thing is exactly why Steem has a "public perception" problem. The problem isn't the public's perception... the problem is that "blockchain" was invented to eliminate the kind of BS that Steemit Inc has lorded over the community.

Trusted Third Parties are Security Holes

what steem needs, for any long term success, is to shed itself completely from Steemit Inc.

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I believe this as well, and it's not out of malicious intent towards Steemit Inc, but out of the potential positive effects it could have on Steem overall.

The intense discussion about "forking" completely overshadows all the other potential solutions that could be discussed to achieve the same results.

One of the best posts I have ever read since I got here over a year ago and investing a big chunk(it’s relative) of usd into a system that I believe in much like you do for the same reasons. The ONLY thing I disagree with was in your final thoughts and that his post may not have any value. It most certainly does and validated feelings I have been experiencing for many many months and I appreciate you perspective. I am in the same mindset as you right now, you just about spoke everything I am thinking at this moment and I too am in a quandary. Really appreciate the post and hope we can find a great reason for both of us to continue on.

Thank you for your post and giving us all clarity on the situation!

One thing I’m left wondering about:

If the main problem is “the unaccountable actor” and the proposed fork would solve exactly this issue - wouldn’t that be a good solution?

To me, a fork would mean that we’ll have two Steem blockchains and people can choose which one to join. Wouldn’t that be the best way for the community to choose wether they want to stay here or move to the new version where Ned doesn’t have the kind of control he has here?

Or am I misunderstanding something? I don’t understand why this proposed fork is being labeled “theft” when all it does is give people an alternative. If nobody joins it, it won’t change anything. And if everybody or most people join it to co-create something new and much fairer - then that’s a good thing and shows the power of decentralization and the “people freeing themselves from centralized control”, no?

At least that’s how I view it, but I might be missing something.

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If the main problem is “the unaccountable actor” and the proposed fork would solve exactly this issue - wouldn’t that be a good solution?

You're not wrong to think it is a potential solution, but "good" really would depending on how it's done and is ultimately subjective. I don't understand the "theft" label though either, nor do I understand a lot of the reasoning behind what they're doing.

I don’t understand why this proposed fork is being labeled “theft” when all it does is give people an alternative.

There were basically two way the fork could have unfolded, one of which I think gets the "theft" label more commonly than the other, but when you think through the label doesn't make sense in any situation...

The two ways it could have played out are:

  1. 17/21 of the witness on this blockchain, applied the hardfork.
  2. A new blockchain was started to apply the hardfork.

In the first scenario, which is the more aggressive play, it alters this network specifically. The one we're using to talk right now. If that were to suddenly happen, I can only assume that Steemit Inc would deploy a new chain and reverse the hardfork. They would then point steemit.com and all their tools to use this new blockchain.

The end result is: 2 blockchains, one with the hardfork applied and one without.

In the second scenario a brand new chain is just launched from a snapshot of the network we're using today, while applying the hardfork, while the old network continues to operate as it has been for years. Steemit.com continues to operate on the old chain and a new ecosystem is developed around the new chain.

The end result is: 2 blockchains, one with the hardfork applied and one without.

It's the same result no matter which way it's performed, so how is one theft and the other not? I really don't understand the logic either.

The one "dick move" part of the first scenario is that by taking over the live chain, all of the exchanges and external services Steem users would be on the hardfork-applied chain immediately, and service could potentially be interrupted. This was one of the best reasons against the first scenario, since that sort of external facing drama could cause exchanges to drop support for Steem all together.

Once you get past this slanderous narrative being spun, it's a pretty damn interesting topic to talk about lol.

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Once you get past this slanderous narrative being spun, it's a pretty damn interesting topic to talk about lol.

True enough. I've heard @ned refer to Steem as an experiment and it has been damn interesting watching it develop. Maybe it's time for a second experiment, a second chain not with just Steemit Inc's premined stake removed but all the premined stake removed (or as much as can be identified) and let's see how that would develop. I have a suspicion that people will people and much the same situation will evolve even without the premined stake.

@shadowspub
The current Rambling Radio Schedule can be found here
It's All About Community!

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People will people! Love that and I suspect you are correct but maybe a less extreme model. :)

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sometimes you just got go for the tough test lol

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Once you get past this slanderous narrative being spun, it's a pretty damn interesting topic to talk about lol.

That is absolutely true! :D I am totally fascinated by all this and the possible implications (regardless of price), while also trying to understand the argumentations of both (or however many sides).

In the end - to me - this all about some pioneer humans trying to handle the gift of decentralisation they have been given, and they just don't know how yet. This is a learning- and also sort of personal development experience for everyone involved, even the ones just watching from the side lines.

Everything comes down to consensus. How do you do consensus best in a decentralised network? It's great that so many people are trying to figure that out right now, especially here on this blockchain, right now, over the past week. If you have different agendas, it's time to part ways --> fork.

Steemit could go down in blockchain history, depending on how this is being solved.

Thanks for explaining the two options in detail. I didn't know about the first one with the 17/21 witness vote. I can see how this one could be seen as theft technically. However philosophically I would argue that it's more of a "returning of what belonged to the community in the first place". I'm not talking about funds, but about power.

I kind of like the thought that "bad actors" who are more committed to their own profit, rather than the wellbeing of the whole network and community, can be voted out by that very community. So, as long as everyone contributes to the network, there's consensus and the community can thrive. The moment someone does something "out of consensus" they get rejected. Just like a bad transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain, only with humans :)

But still, like you say, it would be sort of useless, since Steemit Inc could reverse the fork. Also it seems this game could then go on forever :) Makes me wonder when Dan's Steemit 4.0 is coming out... ;)

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This was one of the best reasons against the first scenario, since that sort of external facing drama could cause exchanges to drop support for Steem all together

I've not once heard of a single situation where an exchange has dropped support for a coin/chain because of the need for an update, or an unexpected crash, or a hard fork that resulted in two chains (in the last instance they may or may not support both chains, of course).

This claim is about as close to pure FUD as one can get, given that it lacks any historical precedent whatsoever.

The only scenario relating to exchanges in the event of a fork that required a code upgrade to get the chain going would be that it could result in downtime. History in this case supports that the downtime might be significant (months, though not likely for all exchanges, but some of them).

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Not disagreeing at all, but I'm curious to know how you think a sudden hardfork by the witnesses would have played out in regards to exchanges.

I don't think there's much historical precedent for it, probably the closest being Bittrex delisting Bitcoin Gold over the recent 51% attack, but even still that's a fairly difference scenario.

I suppose framing it as "exchanges are out to make money" and really don't care otherwise sort of defuses the entire idea. Maybe I'm assuming Steemit Inc has deeper relations with exchanges than they actually do (probably in part by Neds mocking comments about "thinking more" about directly powering down to them).

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I'm curious to know how you think a sudden hardfork by the witnesses would have played out in regards to exchanges.

Probably about as you predicted elsewhere. Steemit makes a new code release to restart the exchange nodes on the old chain, resulting in two chains (and points steemit.com at the old chain). Whether exchanges end up supporting both chains is hard to predict but has plenty of precedent in general. From an exchange perspective, chain broke (stopped reporting new blocks), devs fixed it. They're pretty wedded to the model of getting code releases from the "official" repo and probably would never agree to run code from some allegedly-community repo (mostly understandable) even if the Steem (sort of) consensus rules say that witnesses get to decide on hard forks. Yeah, that all seems pretty stupidly centralized but that's the crypto exchange view of the world 2019.

delisting Bitcoin Gold over the recent 51% attack

Delisting after 51% attacks is reasonably common, though not universal. Yes that is a different situation.

I suppose framing it as "exchanges are out to make money" and really don't care otherwise sort of defuses the entire idea

Likely a good first order model.

powering down to them

They didn't actually do that, which may say something.

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Hey @smooth! Is there a way to reach out directly to you, whether on discord or steemit.chat? Thank you ;)

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You can DM me on steem.chat. I only check it occasionally though.

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Awesome i just sent you a message there - so today may be a great occasion to check your account :-)) M.

"My perspective today: Steem at this point is corrupted by the "unaccountable actor" and the premine it performed years ago. " -Jesta

I've believed this statement about the Premine and it's influence upon the network for a number of months. And it seems each day it becomes more and more apparent to others. But one thing I've noticed @jesta. Democracy has funny ways to flip the script, turning existing power structures upside down. I believe steem is still a democracy, even though the premine stake warps that democracy towards Steemit inc. The network will fight this, as is proof with your post, and things can turn around for the better in a single pivot.

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It sure is refreshing to hear @jester speak openly about many of the things we have been speaking about in discord and people shutting down your insight for many many many months! Not much you have been wrong about if anything ... glad people are finally starting to listen and realize.

I totally missed this post when it was published. Thanks for sharing all the details and thinking. I see you are now out of the top 20 witnesses @jesta - Not surprising, I guess. I know I've seen other high witnesses going on full out BS campaigns trying to posture as if they are the 'true' saviors and would never set a foot 'wrong'. Thanks for your hard work, transparency and aim towards integrity.

thanks for sharing! Also enjoy reading the comments

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Awesome post, great detail and again good to hear the backroom dealings, though annoying that they're backroom.

We have already been told "if you don't like it, leave". In reality (and again, sadly) "leaving" is the first step in most of the options available for anyone unsatisfied with the status quo.

This is me, sad to say. I see you're teetering too. I have to thank you for this statement because it makes me look less crazy 😂 but seriously you are cut from good cloth, any project you're working on is lucky to have you. Peace and luck.

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Hah, I have that same feeling of "am I crazy?". You're definitely not alone.

Thank you much for the kind words. There have are (and have been) so many great people within this community. If I had to pick a single thing Steem and Steemit did for all of us, it's that it brought so many of us together.

The ninja mine was done to fund Steemit to do the development. I'm not sure if investors would have been any better. I know that I personally don't really like the idea of people only bringing money to the table and then sucking all the profits out and pushing you to fuck everything up just for more profit. The problem is that Steemit has been acting as a dictator and actually discouraging development in various ways.

Eventually there will be a fork. I don't know if it will happen because of this issue. It's up to the people that will be doing the actual development and the people funding that development. I think that the future forks that will happen will be a good thing for the most part. The problem is potentially splitting the community. But I don't think that should necessarily be a reason to not do a fork if the potential development can be an advantage. Right now, development on Steem is pretty much fully up to Steemit and they like it that way. The problem is that they haven't been getting enough done and haven't been making it easy for others to help.

I think that we need to stop relying on Steemit and basically just pretend like they don't exist when it comes to development. We need to work on a site for communication and documentation for development and start pushing forks to witnesses. We also need to get developers together to review the code Steemit drops and put forth recommendations to witnesses and patches for the forks BEFORE they cause huge problems. The problems of the past with hard forks need to not happen...or at least be rare.

Steemit wants to lead development, but they aren't acting like a lead. They're acting like a closed source corporation that just drops code and expects everyone to just be ecstatic. We can't change the fact that they're acting like this, because they really don't have to listen to us, and do have that huge stake. The only thing we can do is start doing things on our own.

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Yeah, investors may not have been any better, can't disagree with that. The way it was done though is clearly an example of "what not to do", since we've seen very little success with this model.

Eventually there will be a fork. I don't know if it will happen because of this issue. It's up to the people that will be doing the actual development and the people funding that development. I think that the future forks that will happen will be a good thing for the most part

I look forward to seeing what people come up with if they happen. I've always been a proponent of forks, which is why I've helped support things like Decent/SounDAC/etc. The more experiments running, the more likely one of them will succeed.

he problem is that they haven't been getting enough done and haven't been making it easy for others to help.

Amen.

I think that we need to stop relying on Steemit and basically just pretend like they don't exist when it comes to development.

The hard part here is that if something was proposed/created that Steemit Inc didn't like (for example, redirecting a portion of the rewards pool to a worker fund pool), they'd block it. That's just an example and I don't know what their stance would be in the end, but it's a problem we face if we just ignore their existence.

Well said in general though, I think you're hitting the nail on the head in terms of identifying problems and potential solutions. This post in general feels like the conversations we were having before this entire conversation entered into a death spiral of drama.

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Yeah, I think if you drill through a lot of the bullshit, a lot of people are on around the same page. Except Steemit. That's the problem.

We need a lot more to be done here as far as development. Either we do it with Steemit, or we fight with them about it. If that means development that doesn't get adopted because they overule others...that sucks...but I don't see the alternatives as very good. We can't continue on the way we are going. If we start putting code out there, then Steem will move forward. Of course, if they block a change that splits the community, that's a lot more likely to cause a fork than this.

We are ourselves a fork though. It all started with Bitcoin. Forking isn't something to be afraid of. Of course, I think this isn't the issue to fork over. Whether people decide to fork due to Steemit or not, this battle needs to be fought. We need to have open source development on Steem. There's no other option. We can't rely on them.

The idea of one company pretty much doing all the development for an open source community is just...stupid.

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You know, I've been building a phenomenal idea to utilise the Steem chain in a world-changing way, and many people are very excited about it (I don't want to give it away on-chain), and I have been inches away from making the proposal to the wealthy investors I work under of which this would be very relevant to their cause and business. I genuinely suspected millions of CNY could flow in this way.

I've been inches away numerous times for many weeks now. But... I can't. My idea is super exciting, putting it on a blockchain? super exciting. Putting it on the steem blockchain, where people bicker and monopolize and collude and centralize? and threaten and lie and cheat and steal, with the reputation being 'steemit.com is a place to get paid to spam'?

My idea would work totally fine the way things are, but what can I tell a multi-million investment?

'Technically it would be great, but there's a bunch of people planning on forking the blockchain which threatens the value and purpose of the entire concept. Oh, also, the CEO is totally incompetant and malicious. Oh, and nobody actually agrees on what the actual purpose of the blockchain is right now. And nobody actually cares about the content. Oh wait, and large delegated projects are getting their delegations removed including my own SteemSTEM, and the company in control is removing their investment overall. BUT, you should still invest millions because it might be worth a couple of thousand in a month or two.'

It's such an embarassing shame, I just want this project to Go. Even if all of this got ironed out instantly right now, the history of cacophony that will pull up with even the most casual google search into Steem will probably get me fired for trying to burn so much money that could otherwise have been spent on ivory backscratchers.

Not sure why I'm typing this here. Just venting.

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I really like the idea of a worker fund pool.
If you take a look how Dash blockchain stakeholders can vote for worker proposals.
Just take a look here: https://app.dashnexus.org/proposals/leaderboard

This way developer would be encouraged to improve the Steem blockchain itsself - and Steemit Inc. would have an intencive to keep there funds on the blockchain, in order to use their large stake to influence which proposals would "pass" and receive enough voting power.

All Steem stakeholders could choose which company or individual developer should improve Steem further in an open market.

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The Dash worker proposals were a hot topic during all of these chats. It's a great idea, and as I said in my post, it was the topic (incentivizing developers) that specifically caused this entire conversation to explode into a discussion about a fork.

The one downside, which also came up with the conversation, was the only way for it to actually work on Steem in the long term was a change to inflation, which likely means redirecting rewards from authors/curators rewards pool to the worker rewards pool. This will probably be a sticking point and cause a lot of grief from the community, which in turn causing grief for Steemit Inc's mission, and prevent it from happening.

I'm pretty confident that the witnesses would approve and deploy the right worker proposal system, but I fear that Steemit Inc might actually block it. Which leads us right back into the territory of who controls everything :(

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Thanks for your valueable feedback as always!

I'am pretty sure most of the community would approve a small reduction on the reward pool in favor for "worker proposals". Long term this will increase the value of Steem and be more valuable for stakeholder.

If Steemit Inc would be confident in the work they deliver - there shouldn't be a reason to block it.
They could use their large premined stake of Steem in order to let their own proposals pass, even if a portion of other stakeholder think they failed to deliver in the past and won't give them another try. Of course this will be way harder if they move their stake into exchanges or sell their stakes.

I really hope there will be further negotiation with Steemit Inc about such a system in order to secure the future of Steem as a whole - or at least a statement from @ned about this topic.

A lot to take in, not least because I’ve been away from steemit and steem for a while. Got to tell you, the “unaccountable actor” idea seems very plausiable to me. Other blockchain-based projects have their own unaccountable actors, and anyone who knows me at all well will know who I’m talking about.

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.....so I take it your project never got off the ground in the way you expected? I never heard back from them, I can't even remember the name at this point.

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It’s a long story, one that isn’t over yet. The project I’m referring to isn’t dead, but I feel like a lot of it’s ideals are. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another time and place. I’m on discord more often again, so feel free to quiz me there.

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Don't you have to have a number or something to find who you want to interact with on discord?

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I'm sure if we compared lists we'd end up with a good cross section lol. It's ruined so many seemingly good initiatives.

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Hey @jesta! Thanks for taking the time to put all this together, and thanks for sharing your personal view.

As someone who doesn't participate in those secret conversations (and it looks as if that applied for the majority of Steem stakeholders) I wonder if it's even possible to think about decentralization when the most important decisions are made in the dark by a small group of people.

I'm not sure if you followed the talks and presentations at Steemfest in Krákow, but @yabapmatt said something quite interesting in his interview on the second conference day: In order to successfully run a (crypto) business, you need to involve people from all areas of expertise and not just development.

One of the reasons why Steemmonsters is successfully operating is exactly that: they’re not just focusing on development but also business development, marketing, customer care etc.

I often have the sensation that Steem has never grown out of its infancy since there is 100% focus on technology but very few time spent on everything else. Today Steem doesn't even have a vision. There's no clear goal been defined since Dan Larimer left. The new vision presented by Steemit, Inc only considers steemit.com, so it also doesn't provide any orientation or guidance for Steem as a whole.

I wonder if anybody on this blockchain could tell us where we're going? What's the overall purpose?

I have the sensation that we do move in circles here and most of our valuable time is spent with pointing a finger at each other and trying to find the guilty one, while we could rather create something great.

To me this here is a fantastic wake-up call. It clearly shows that we need a different approach - a decentralized one.

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DECENTralization.. you said! And about having a clear goal, well.... that's is the start for every smart change. No doubt about that!

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As someone who doesn't participate in those secret conversations (and it looks as if that applied for the majority of Steem stakeholders) I wonder if it's even possible to think about decentralization when the most important decisions are made in the dark by a small group of people.

Sadly when I read this at first, I thought you were talking about Steemit Inc and their making decisions unilaterally without any inputs from the community, developers, and witnesses in their offices. I realize though that the statement was probably more directed towards the witnesses/developers who were in Slack though, but you should probably know that decisions weren't being made, just options being evaluated.

If a fork were decided to happen, I can't imagine a situation where the community would have been left in the dark about it. I imagine the first person that moves past exploration of the idea that wants to stir up adoption would have brought it out into the open. That didn't happen though, since it was just a conversation.

I'm not sure if you followed the talks and presentations at Steemfest in Krákow, but @yabapmatt said something quite interesting in his interview on the second conference day: In order to successfully run a (crypto) business, you need to involve people from all areas of expertise and not just development.

I haven't seen the talk, but @yabapmatt is completely right.

I often have the sensation that Steem has never grown out of its infancy since there is 100% focus on technology but very few time spent on everything else.

In some aspects I agree with this, and in others I tend to disagree. The blockchain technology itself hasn't gotten much love over the last 2 years, which in my opinion as a witness is the most critical piece of all of this. If it weren't for the blockchain, steemit.com would be a lot better off simply being a traditional web app (which ironically is the direction). You are right though in the overall idea that the focus has been 100% on technology and concepts around it (SMTs, communities, whatever "destiny" was). That focus has been mostly on a weird middle layer between the blockchain and the user interface. This creates a situation where both the end user experience (steemit.com) and the blockchain have both been neglected in very similar ways.

Today Steem doesn't even have a vision. There's no clear goal been defined since Dan Larimer left. The new vision presented by Steemit, Inc only considers steemit.com, so it also doesn't provide any orientation or guidance for Steem as a whole.

You're absolutely correct here. Steemit Inc has a vision for steemit.com which they recently presented, but it's more a vision you think a witness or developer building a user interface would have. It's not a vision for a decentralized blockchain or a path forward to enable thousands of businesses/websites to integrate Steem, unlocking that same the incentivized community model. It's a perfect example of product > platform.

I have the sensation that we do move in circles here and most of our valuable time is spent with pointing a finger at each other and trying to find the guilty one, while we could rather create something great.

We do, it's a merry-go-round, that occasionally starts spinning so fast that people fall off. Some get sick of the ride and end up leaving by how dizzing it is.

To me this here is a fantastic wake-up call. It clearly shows that we need a different approach - a decentralized one.

I really hope that'll happen, but I'm incredibly doubtful at this point. There is a new group forming up out of the ashes of last week's situation, which sadly I suspect won't have any power to make changes. We already have one ineffective group, witnesses, and now we're adding another, all while Steemit Inc retains complete control of the ecosystem.

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First of all, thanks a lot for your detailed response!

I didn’t want to criticize anybody with my initial statement, just wanted to vote for more transparency in general.

I feel that the past days have kind of released a new wave of change. There are a lot of interesting ideas being published on how to improve this project and make it become more decentralized.

I’m probably not as sceptical as you are, but still observing everything from a neutral position. The next months will show where we’ll be going.

It’d be definitely great to still have you on board then! ;)

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@jesta, is there a way to directly reach out to you off-chain? via discord for instance? Found a jesta there but am not sure if it's you ;)

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jestagram on telegram or jesta#9954 on discord.

I'm on telegram consistently and only seldom on discord (lots of spam).

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Perfect, you got a dm on discord and telegram :-)

I honestly don't know what to do or what to say. I started using Steem properly about a year ago. Eventually joined Steemcleaners and it been a great point in my life believe it or not. It saddens me if it were to end because of all this drama. And pointless drama at that. I just wish ned would see that we do have Steems best interest at heart, we aren't trying to destroy him. But from how it's playing out it's like a ticking time bomb. When is it going to explode. 😢

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I highly doubt it'll be 'the end', but it might be the end of an era. It sad regardless though.

Thank you for your contributions to Steemcleaners!

The biggest problem is that steem is not quite decentralised. You speak for the Steemians, you criticise the Steem Inc. You lose the vote from the @pumpkin and all these kinda say that @pumpkin is controled by the officials. :P

I love it when individuals that are normally silent suddenly speak out with something profound. Like when Silent Bob finally speaks up.

Lots to ponder on here -- as this whole account of events and experiences has some teeth to it. I've heard in numerous different communities some rumblings and grumblings of encounters with Ned -- and/or the SteemitInc operation in general -- and how that experience has left them unimpressed, or otherwise convinced them to leave altogether.

The unaccountable actor label is compelling -- the whole reason that many of us are here is that we're tired of being at the whim of unaccountable actors -- Facebook / Twitter / Whathaveyou -- and were drawn in by the initial promise of decentralized authority.

It's nice to hear a commentary on the kerfuffle that shares so much background and history.

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Like when Silent Bob finally speaks up.

LOL, got a good laugh out of that.

The unaccountable actor label is compelling

It's the best way I've figured out how to describe it. I've been pecking around the symptoms of this problem for almost a year now and only recently did I start to frame the conversation around accountability. I'm still not 100% sure it's the best way to describe the situation, but at this moment it's where I'm at and it seems to explain a lot.

the whole reason that many of us are here is that we're tired of being at the whim of unaccountable actors -- Facebook / Twitter / Whathaveyou -- and were drawn in by the initial promise of decentralized authority.

I know that's why I'm here, I've spent my career building applications with a focus on community-centric ideas. It's the entire reason I got involved and wanted to be as involved as I could be and started running as a witness on the network.

I think what we've discovered though is that it's going to take change to actually push a platform like this mainstream. If we had more than one entity like Steemit Inc, we wouldn't be so reliant upon them to succeed.

Ouch, i know you've poured alot of life into this chain.
I hope you will continue to do what you think is right for you, and best for the community.

Me, i say nip the cancer in the bud.
The community knows what is right for it.
It has spoken loudly enough with a ~97% drop off rate.
If a fork restored proof of brain, and divorced its abusive collaborators, I'm sure the community would follow.
The free market could decide.

I know i shouldnt attribute to malice what can be explained by ignorance, but if we arrive at the same destination the path taken is irrellevant.

This might be a stupid question....

What would actually happen if Steemit shut down the website, and Steemit Inc. totally powered down and wanted out with as much remaining funds as they could get their hands on?

More possibly dumber follow-up questions...

What consequences would there be?
What positives would there be?
Would any witnesses remain capable to run the blockchain?

The reason I ask...

How much does community retaliation efforts or good faith in Steemit Inc affect this potential outcome? In other words, is there anything we can do to sway the outcome?

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From a legal perspective, as far as I understand it (but I'm not a lawyer):

What would actually happen if Steemit shut down the website, and Steemit Inc. totally powered down and wanted out with as much remaining funds as they could get their hands on?

They'd be in their rights to do so.

What consequences would there be?

None, besides paperwork I'd assume (if that's a consequence hah).

What positives would there be?

Hard to tell, positives for the blockchain might be that it's now community controlled, and we could attempt to actually make some progress without getting blocked by a corporate roadmap.

Would any witnesses remain capable to run the blockchain?

Yeah - the blockchain would be fine. Steemit Inc could pack up their bags and shut everything down that they operate, and the blockchain would continue on. The witnesses are completely independent of Steemit Inc, and if they were to sell their tokens, out of their control.

How much does community retaliation efforts or good faith in Steemit Inc affect this potential outcome? In other words, is there anything we can do to sway the outcome?

Honestly, I don't know. That's part of the reason I am considering leaving.

There's one huge assumption underlining this post, which is undermining much of what you're saying - "Premine is the cause of unaccountability."

Now, let's say there was no premine. Let's say a whale comes and plops several million dollars to buy a huge stake in the blockchain.

Are they accountable to anyone? No.

Now, you do raise one alternative which is a "committee", which if elected democratically, would be accountable, yes. But it is not the pre-mine that makes someone unaccountable - but them being a private player that does so. And it doesn't matter how they get their stake.

No whale is accountable.

Forking out Steemit Inc. wouldn't increase accountability either, just shift the focus to the next largest tier of unaccountable players.

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Now, let's say there was no premine. Let's say a whale comes and plops several million dollars to buy a huge stake in the blockchain.

Are they accountable to anyone? No.

The difference in this scenario is that the whale invested his/her own money to buy that stake. The whale has a vested interest, which is different than the recipient of a premine, to grow that investment. I am not saying those who receive a premine don't want to see it grow (they do), but a whale who invests millions of dollars of their own money will have a slightly different perspective than someone who was just "given" a substantial distribution.

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That's why people that win the lottery often go broke. They don't value the money or know how to use it properly. Or they just don't have the mental side dialed in to hold it.

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Excellent analogy IMO.

Compare that to a self-made millionare and the differences become very clear.

and steemstats has been down since hardfuck20. I rilly miss it.

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That poor project, it was my "hello world" project for Steem! It's pretty damn sad it doesn't work with the APIs anymore :(

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I loved it. I used it every day until it broke.

i remember getting kicked from that very slack after coming up with whalecoins w/ matias from bitshares and asking ned and others if they wanted one. that was when i still thought i was surrounded by visionary synergistic badasses in crypto.

"This specific conversation started as a discussion about how to attract developers into the Steem ecosystem"
^ by not attacking developers and entrepreneurs who try to innovate and pretend their ideas are yours.

kind of like how i consistently give jesta and his team credit for the good works they do...because we are all in this together and noone can do all of it. when people try to help and effectively create new things they should be embraced (or they will leave and negative word of mouth ensues).

Im not here to boo hoo. I could care less but the point is until these issues are fixed steem is just a platform pretending to be here for the benefit of the world-- as an engine for economic empowerment.

btw, we moved to whaleshares.io with Crosschain Whale Tokens. They still work on steem too.

I dont plug very often but just for the record...steem started someplace and if it werent for me occasionally telling people noone would ever know...so here it is shamelessly :P

If this is how i was treated...i can only imagine how nonwhale developers who scare steemit.inc are treated.

Thanks for having a pair @Jesta. Glad to see people talking about things that matter. Im powering down but we will always try to synergize and create voltron. that is what matters most. Whats that saying again? First they censor you, then they demonetize you, then they ban you...then you still build for the hell of it?

~whaleshares.io~

Come join us sometime ;)

Who knew Brexit could be so contagious?

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So it turns our Brexit was in our hearts all along. Kinda sweet when you think about it.

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Don't make me think about it, I end up with Theresa May's smug face in one mind's eye, and Corbyn's in the other.

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Nexit

I think a fork will happen even if it is a chain split. It's taken far too long for this conversation to happen honestly. For two years any discussion of this distribution problem has been ignored or flagged by whales.

There are some serious projects on steem now, do they really need the current distribution to be successful? I think any project which is built well could migrate and exist on multiple platforms. Why use a platform where you get all the negatives from a decentralized system but less of the positive aspects?

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Steemit is powering down and moving funds to exchanges, fork will not cut off these funds. Fork seems to be to late, would not resolve anything.

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Yeah, I'm not saying it's a good or simple option. I just think a fork is going to happen regardless.

Steem is majorly centralized which could be fine if that group was working in the self interest of steem. It's not though, it's working as a parasite on the fools like us who get trapped in the web.

Posted using Partiko Android

Everything in this system is voluntary. The reason Steem has value is because you believe it does. Steem, and every other blockchain, are all huge social experiments we choose to be a part of. The situation in this experiment at the moment is pretty dire, and it's up to every individual to decide if this is acceptable and if they want to be a part of this.

My thoughts exactly! I still like this place and i hope my 2 years hasn't been for nothing! I personally don't care what any individual does with their stake, but i do see the problem with one person having too much control, and i don't really understand exactly how all this blockchain business works or how stake was pre mined but some more real communication from ned and steemit incorporated would be really nice to see! Myself, i intend on doing what i've been doing for two years now, and post my photography in hopes that someone will enjoy it!

I'm stoned again...who's @ned?

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The CEO of Steemit Inc, an organization that controls somewhere north of 30% of all Steem tokens, does nearly all of the development, and unilaterally controls steemit.com.

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bad times for satire...

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hah, yeah went over my head. That's probably a serious question a lot of users ask though...

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@jesta, what are you planning to do now? It’s been a week since you wrote post. Anything change since last week?

I wish you the best

Posted using Partiko iOS

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I'm just watching at the moment as events unfold, hoping to be proven wrong. So far though not much has changed.

As one of the Steemit users and token holders, we would like to see full cooperation between Steemit inc with Witnesses. Communication from Steemit Inc to community members and Witnesses should be enhanced too.

Did the word ,,Samsung'' ever popped out on your secret slack meetings?

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Yes.

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Thanks.

It's funny all those witness statements flying all over the place and all talking about transparency yet all secret members hiding that fact from regular steemians.
I don't see the difference between stinc and these guys. I don't trust anybody anymore.

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“ sorry, the battery on my Samsung is low, will switch to another device "
:))

This is going to be an interesting month.
Is it all a big ruse and decoy to hide the takeover of 30% of steem tokens by another company?

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@inertia is trolling you at this point by not giving you the whole answer.

I did a search on the word "samsung" and it did come up tonight, as well as 2 days ago when someone asked about it and no one answered.

Tonight Ned finally answered one of them with "no definitely not sold".

Before those two entries, any talk of "samsung" in regards to their solid state drives.

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That's exactly why I don't trust anyone anymore. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

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Fun fact: the one not sharing the whole truth with you is an ex-steemit employee and not a witness. If you're looking for a difference, this thread might point that out as to who you could actually trust more than the other.

I've always tried to be brutally honest, it's the only way to get things done.

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you're saying trust the witnesses more than Inertia? riggght

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That's exactly what I'm saying. I do. It's up to you to decide who's telling the truth.

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Thanks for the great post and for this clarification.

@jesta, tks for you bringing out the problems. Transparency and decentralization are both core value of crypto community projects. Hope you can still stay in and keep pushing Steemit Inc improve.

I'll throw my support into a community fork or audit, with a strong committee towards a workable solution. The arguments presented here make sense and I feel enough time has been given to remedy the issues that a consensus fork would be tenable.

Just wondering if getting out top 20 witness rank is all it takes for a witness to "crack" and become brave and critical.

  • Good info btw.
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Nah, whether you believe it or not, this post was coming regardless of the way votes unfolded. Most of this post was outlined/drafted before I dropped in rank, and honestly I haven't really looked at my rank since then. At this point the "crack" was caused by Ned going on a social tour labeling witnesses as a threat, since I perceive that as the first step in him trying to assume control of the network.

Thank you for bringing additional clarity to this whole situation.

I want to add what I think is a very important piece of the puzzle. It seems to me that any entity can acquire a large stake at any point in time. In other words, what we have now is not a one-time problem. And most solutions being talked about treat this as a one-time problem.

Because this seems like an ongoing problem for a blockchain, I think any solutions discussed have to be about making changes to the protocol. What change can we make to the Steem protocol to enable the community to do blockchain development (i.e. not relying on Steemit, Inc. or any other single large stakeholder)?

I saw a bit of this happen spontaneously, when 15 people put together a reward for a tutorial for multisignature transactions on Steem. I was disappointed this approach wasn't continued and expanded upon.

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I want to add what I think is a very important piece of the puzzle. It seems to me that any entity can acquire a large stake at any point in time. In other words, what we have now is not a one-time problem. And most solutions being talked about treat this as a one-time problem.

The difference is that if any entity acquires a large stake, they've purchased it and invested their own money, and would have a different sense of urgency to see a return on that investment. In the situation we have now, that's not the case. A premine is a lot different than a whale purchasing a large amount of tokens.

I think any solutions discussed have to be about making changes to the protocol. What change can we make to the Steem protocol to enable the community to do blockchain development (i.e. not relying on Steemit, Inc. or any other single large stakeholder)?

This is the discussion that sparked the entire set of drama. We were having conversations about changes to the protocol to support community development before this entire situation blew up. We still are having those conversations, they're actually happening in the new slack we created right now.

Sadly, if we were to actually develop and make these changes and submit a pull request to the Steem codebase - they'd likely be rejected by Steemit Inc. That's the reality we're facing and why we even started talking about a fork.

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Thanks for your responses, much appreciated.

Sadly, if we were to actually develop and make these changes and submit a pull request to the Steem codebase - they'd likely be rejected by Steemit Inc. That's the reality we're facing and why we even started talking about a fork.

Hmmm, this would seem to contradict one of the foundational principles of blockchain technology - that the stakeholders have in their interest to do what (they think) is best for the platform. If the community can improve upon the platform, then this would benefit all stakeholders. Steemit, Inc.'s tokens would rise in value. If they prevent the platform from being improved upon by the community, then: 1) the token price wouldn't be going up due to community efforts, so there is lost potential value there; 2) a lot of the community members may get super frustrated and leave, which means the network shrinking and the token's price diminishing.

Why would a large stakeholder on a DPOS chain not do everything they can to improve the platform and help others improve it? They stand to gain the most benefits.

As a sidenote, why would they devote resources to a dev portal if they didn't want others to contribute to development?

Taking a different angle now - if Steemit, Inc. wanted to exit (cash out), they would power down and sell their stake. I imagine the price would crash a little or a lot based on how quickly they sell and on the community's response (it could trigger a massive wave of selling). So I'm not sure what they'll get if they sell. They'll probably get a lot more in return if they sell gradually and do their best to help the community continue the platform's development. This might even increase the price as it could create a lot of excitement about decentralization.

In either case, somehow I can't see a large stakeholder as a malicious actor, even if they wanted a quick exit.

How do you see it?

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Agreed, if you pay for something you tend to value it more than getting it for "free."

As a complete outsider to any of this, watching from the sidelines, I look at this whole development with a different perspective. I've been on here since close to the beginning, and I've been awfully disappointed with some of the marketing failures, execution failures and lack of certain basic features on this social network, and I hold Steemit, Inc. responsible for these failures. They are the ones who most have a vested interest in the success of the platform, and they have been blowing it. If even the discussion of a coup like this is enough to rattle Ned's cage and knock him out of complacency, then I'm happy it happened. I'm also happy to know that it was never a serious threat, because I think it would be very bad for the Steem ecosystem if it were executed. Thanks for all of the clarifications you made above. We all really appreciate it.

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You're welcome, I'm glad the post helped explain the current situation.

And you're right, there would be some very bad consequences should a hardfork occur like this on the active/live Steem network. Exchanges would probably have issues in the short term, more drama would ensue, and it's very likely that it'd put a new black mark on Steem.

We talked about all of this like I said, "the good and the bad".

Awesome, thanks bro n.n

Good post, thanks for sharing!

Hello!

I am a community manager at Snax. We are trying to make public blockchain based on EOS node. Snax chain will provide transactions over social networks, token supply based on user social influence.

Snax as well as Steemit rewards its users for the content created, but Snax works as overlay solution over existing social networks (e.g. Twitter)

We have no ICO. We already have a testnet, mainnet will be launched this month, and we currently looking for great candidates for Block Producers like yourself. You can find out more about us at our website snax.one

If our project is interesting for you, please let me know by emailing me at tim@snax.one

Looking forward to hearing from you, and keep rocking this world!

Woooowoooowoooo... I was searching for delegate donations to launch a four series, high quality creative content blog. Settings are at 100%! I'm ALL in as a newbie minnow. I made mistakes! I REPENT. FORGIVE ME MY WRONG!
There are so many beautiful people that have contributed to resetting my mind and focus. I'm more enthused than ever to continue. And, I will GO HARD FULL CHARGE!
We all will push through this process to the ultimate success we all desire. At the end of the day, we are HERE for each other.
Great insight! It is appreciated. One more sign to pull back a little... POWER UP... But, I can't full throttle the hair pin curves! We all know what will happen.
KEEP THE FAITH!

The Ninamine aka the premine keeps coming back to haunt this platform, and it always will. The other day I googled "criticisms of steemit", a lot of people not in the steem cult, not drinking the kool aid, see this place much differently.

Tht fact Ned has all this steem is a problem, even more when he goes dark for a month and a half. Not sure how anyone can not see that as a hostile act. On his return he posted a document when he pledged communication LOL. It's always promises and big ideas here, shit never gets fixed.

This isn't my real account, I'm afraid to speak publicly, and I am powering down and quitting no matter what the price.

Powering down he is.
I guess we know his decision :/

Good 👍

Posted using Partiko Android

Thanks a lot for sharig the info on what’s been happening and also for your personal viewpoint...

Thanks @jesta for this account of activities that has led up to this really weird situation we are in.

My biggest problem has been the lack of communication from Steemit Inc and the top witnesses regarding what is actually happening most of the time.

The first instalment of Steemit's power down is complete. The Steem is still with the account at the moment. Just have to wait and see what happens.


Edit:

Ok, I stand corrected. 2M Steem is on its way to an exchange.

This post has been included in the latest edition of SOS Daily News - a digest of all you need to know about the State of Steem.