The Value Is Always with the Community

in #steem4 years ago

In the midst of a global pandemic shutdown, a group of committed community members continue to fight for their home on the blockchain. They continue to fight for Steem and not just Steem, but for what Steem represents within their communities, their apps, their content, and their tokens. These things were threatened by Justin Sun, possibly without him even realizing it. As he's said, he's just a businessman, doesn't want to deal with politics, and just wants to make money.

It's possible he didn't do proper due diligence to understand what he was purchasing. It's possible Ned mislead him during the sale. I'm a bit curious about that one. If you hire someone for a job, you generally check their references and make a few phone calls, right? Seems odd to me Justin spent millions of dollars to buy something without checking in on the team or the community that creates all the value within what he bought. I have to conclude some form of negligence or maybe this purchase was just so small to him that he doesn't really care.

When the announcements came about Steem apps and tokens moving to Tron without any communication at all with the Steem community, people here were pissed. Many demanded the witnesses take immediate action to protect them from what was seen as an immediate threat, further corroborated by recent actions on Tron. Witnesses took temporary action, hoping to start a conversation. I initiated contact to Justin via email through a friend with the hope this would all be resolved quickly. The initial response was positive, but then Justin and Steemit decided to sybil attack the chain they claim to value.

So where do we go from here?

Justin's so far unwilling to remove his sock puppet witnesses, the community is fighting back by voting up top community witnesses, and we appear to be in a stalemate. It seems Justin doesn't know what he purchased, and he's worried about the value of his investment going down or his stake being frozen again by the witnesses or something worse like what was contemplated last year by some who wanted to fork out the Steemit stake completely or null the keys. I said this then and will repeat it again now:

I will not implement, support, or condone any hard fork that effects the balances, keys, or security of any accounts on the current chain.

I'll go a step further and add this:

Justin Sun, I won't support a soft fork on this chain to freeze the tokens you purchased.

When I deployed 22.2, it was a temporary measure to determine the intentions of the new property owner. It was no easy decision. My intention was to have a call lined up to figure out his intentions as quickly as possible and revert the code after that.

Some disagree and feel entitled to that stake based on commitments made. Some claim there's legal support for that position, and if so, Ned may have some future troubles. Personally, I have no interest in legal battles. I'm an entrepreneur and in my opinion, entitlement is not healthy. Yes, I was mislead for years about the Steemit stake. Yes, I thought things would get better. This past year, I did see improvements when Ned got out of the way (SPS, Hivemind, MIRA, communities on dev, and a working demo of SMTs). But it wasn't enough.

I have to own my mistakes. I didn't continually push against Ned and Steemit for more. Yes, I pushed back at times. I pointed out economic problems. Ultimately, over time, I got complacent. Ned blocked me on Twitter a long time ago and once kicked me out of the steemdev Slack even though I was a consensus witness at the time and that was the primary mechanism for communicating with other witnesses in case of a chain problem (something that has happened many times in the history of this chain). I did push, but it didn't matter. When HF14 came out, we had a new tool with decline_voting_rights_operation to lockdown the Steemit stake. I didn't demand the Steemit accounts implement it. That should have been done. We all should have demanded it. The threat of the ninja mined stake being used against the community was always real. We knew Ned and what he was capable of, so we should have expected something like a botched sale of Steemit. Though not a consensus witness the whole time, this was partly on my watch, and I'm sorry for not doing more.

So where do we go from here?

Justin wants to know his property is safe. I imagine some other witnesses like myself are willing to make commitments not to freeze the stake he bought. Why would they do that? Because what's really important here isn't just some tokens. What's really important here is value. The true value of Steem is the community. All the apps, all the tools, all the various interfaces, all the bloggers, content creators, and friends... all the people. If Justin doesn't understand that, he may find himself alone on a chain that few people are still interested in. It may be a chain filled with accounts extracting from the rewards pool (with not enough downvotes to stop them), no core team members innovating the technology, and few applications willing to support a centrally controlled system. Blockchains are voluntary. They are distributed and decentralized. Consensus is built and secured by those who choose to participate. At any moment, they can leave to a new chain, a new fork, and bring all the value with them.

So the question for Justin Sun is this:

How much do you want to protect the value of your investment?

Will the Steemit purchase forever tarnish his reputation as a businessman? Will he change course, apologize for his attack on this chain and the community supported witnesses, and turn off the sock puppets? Maybe there's a chance some will still support his efforts to bring value to Steem. It's also possible many will want nothing more to do with him and will be happy to move to a new chain which will put the Steemit ninja-mined stake to use for the community.

What happens next on Steem is up to Justin.

The real value will always be controlled by the community because they are the ones who create it. If he wants his investment to return value to him, he must respect the community.


Appreciate hearing this thoughtful commentary @lukestokes.

I have always been a believer in measured responses and negotiation to see if we can't address as many people's needs as possible. But I am also loath to "drown" in service of keeping an even keel at all times.

The evidence I have seen is that Justin really doesn't care about anything other than making a quick buck. As @v4vapid outlined in a recent post, he appears to be what the investing world calls a "Vulture Capitalist."

There's an old truism that goes something like this: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

Justin has already shown the world — through a trail of actions, going back to leveraging Ripple to create Tron, to using "reserved" stake to control witnesses on other blockchains — who he is. Whereas seeking balance and peaceful resolutions is a noble cause, there comes a time where we must consider whether we are asking a leopard to change its spots.

While everyone has been up in arms, I have been trying to keep my eye on the flow of Steem, particularly from/on exchanges... and you know all about this, given the reports you create. I find it noteworthy — and worrisome — that the consistent jump in Steem volume on Bittrex corresponds not most accurately with the Feb. 14th announcements, nor with the 22.2 softfork, nor with the 22.5 takeover... but with the moment it became clear that our consensus witnesses had retaken "veto power," as it were.

I suppose you could argue that the volume jump is related to lacking liquidity on Binance and Huobi... but I sense that would be just a smoke screen, because the volume should have dropped once those exchanges had some liquidity again. I hasn't. Which suggests to me that JS is just amassing Steem ahead of planning a massive powerup to unseat the consensus witnesses, followed by another fork that will effectively centralize Steem. In effect, the stalemate will have bought him enough time for his developers to substantially alter the code in key ways that would render everyone currently influential "impotent" at the flip of a switch.

Essentially, JS would become that proverbial "dictatorial Redditor" who bans and shadowbans anyone who disagrees with him. Such fun! No Moon!

At this point, I am beginning to see the split Dan (blocktrades) just posted about as the most positive and hopeful (or "least shitty?") possible way forward. Justin will still have Steem, but the only effective feather in his TRON cap will be yet another blockchain app with very few users.

I grant you, my perception is also tainted by a 20-year history with venues that compensate content creators for their contributions. All of the ones I've known (50+ and counting) have failed... and I'm sad to say (keeping in mind that generalizations are dangerous, yet often founded on fact) that the "key ingredient" in those failures has been... "domination" and community takeovers by certain cultural segments from South-East Asia where winning and making money/succeeding at any cost supercedes right action. There, I said it.

Sorry to have "blogged on your blog" again... stay healthy!

Good thoughts even the “politically incorrect” one. Anyway we’re leaving and I see that you’re coming too. I’ve already packed!

Which suggests to me that JS is just amassing Steem ahead of planning a massive powerup to unseat the consensus witnesses, followed by another fork that will effectively centralize Steem.

And would any value be there? I don't think so, but maybe I'm wrong since some people prefer centralization over decentralization. I agree, a new chain may be the best way to go. I hinted that a bit in this post from last night, but didn't want to come out in front of a larger announcement.

You make a very important (though delicate) point that some of the challenges we face as a community relate to much larger ideological differences regarding centralized vs. decentralized governance, hierarchy, and control.

justin ludovic.png

sun 3.png

The problem is both side can't trust each other. I suggest a hard fork with consensus:

  1. New soft fork must be able to review for a certain time(3days? TBD) before deployed. That is, after top 20 witnesses showed a new soft fork for 3 days, they can really changed to it.
  2. Witness voting changed to one account one vote, SP weighted, or any votes as the voters like, divides the original SP to witnesses one want to vote.

Great writing Luke.

Nice to see you are looking at your self as well in the historic terms of events.
Looking back at it now, knowing Ned, it was almost inevitable something like this will happen and actions should be taken earlier.
But no going back now, and lets see what will come out of this.

Thanks. I know there are many witnesses outside of consensus who are justifiably very upset at those who are in consensus and have been for some time. I hope we get passed this stalemate so those witnesses can be represented by the community and given a chance to lead as well. Early on, I never wanted to be a witness. I prefer software over running hardware, but I was asked repeatedly to step up and run a node people can trust, so I did. I think there are others more qualified due to their C++ experience, their network infrastructure experience, and more, but I'm still here running a node because this is my home on the blockchain, and I was asked to support it. Sometimes the best technically qualified people work well with computer systems and networks but not so well with people and I think a witness position requires both. That said, there have certainly been times during all this that I've been tempted to do as @smooth did and shut down to let others work it out.

Well I'm glad you are still around :)

How many more weeks/days of these changing positions and narratives will we have before we settle on a plan to move forward, seems like a lot of tale chasing at the moment

One of the challenges is defining "we."

Distributed, decentralized communities have many different "we"s. Some want to fork to a new chain. Others want to stay and work it out. Some want to integrate tightly with Tron and pump the price with hype.

The biggest challenge we face as a community is defining "we" and what "we" want.

Individuals have intention. Groups just have emergent properties of individual intention.

For the 3 years I've been on Steem, I've considered the witnesses the real leaders, not whoever was at Steemit Inc.

It's unfortunate that the development of Steem and Steemit were so closely tied together. Maybe now is an even better opportunity to further distinctify the two.

I agree. For the first time ever, Steem (or whatever comes out of it) has the opportunity to be lead by the community without a central authority (via stake or influence or otherwise) calling the shots.

I believe that conversation like this - tone, manner, and content - would help us move forward to make any kind of agreement.

In particular, I applaud that you declared that you won't support forking other's assets.

Albeit not very large, you have my witness vote now. And I would recommend you as a witness who may represent the community.

One question: what do you mean by your question to Justin? Are you asking him that what he may offer to reach a compromise?

It's clear what he needs to do: stop sybil attacking the network and shut down his sock puppets. Apologize to the community and witnesses for his actions and accusations. Come up with a reasonable plan for the Steemit stake where everyone benefits that acknowledges the original intent of that stake. That's all assuming he wants some value out of his investment. Otherwise he may find himself alone on a chain few care about anymore.

What you wrote is bascially what 22.2 witnesses' demand(or request), while not proposing anything what witnesses may offer or concede. It seems that you do not want to make a deal, and I assume that fork would be inevitable.

What do witnesses owe Justin? He bought something he didn't understand. He came here and attacked this chain.

We didn't show up to the TRON ecosystem and make demands of it.

What, if anything, should witnesses give Justin and why?

You already did the first step that stating you won't freeze accounts. I believe that 22.2 witnesses also apologize that they made a mistake by freezing someone's asset behind the curtain, instead of continuously saying that it was "reversable" and "preemptive".

I don't think the witnesses (myself included) have anything to apologize for. We acted quickly to try and protect the chain from the very fate it's under right now. The community token holders supported our actions and voted out witnesses who didn't. It was temporary, reversible, and preemptive. To say otherwise would not be accurate.

Yes, it was done quickly and "behind the scenes" as you say, though it did include many large stake holders, application developers, and witnesses who all believed immediate action was required.

I understand that we view the situation differently. "Temporary", "reversible", and "preemptive" are what the "performers" think, and I believe that who got affected or who did not participate may view it very differently.

As I clearly understand your logic, I do not think we need further discussion regarding this.

I appreciate your time and effort again.

Thanks. I wish I understood your logic clearly also. I seem to be missing something.

Thanks for trying to explain it to me though.

How much do you want to protect the value of your investment?

It's not an investment on STEEM as you now are starting to discover. He just needs to create value for TRON. So on his strategy is an onboard vehicle. If creates in the near term more value for TRON than what he invested, it's ok for J.S. And he bought at a very low price.

He just needs to deploy an easy mechanism to onboard current STEEM accounts into TRON, that's all he needs.

At this point it is better to think on how to develop a better protocol for a newsteem when the hard-fork takes place

It's not that simple though. If Steemit gets converted to a word-press site and the blockchain goes away entirely, sure, he might convert some, but my hunch is much of the value will transition elsewhere and it would harm TRON more than help.

well said, but Justin just doesn't seem to be a very trustful guy. At least his new representative Dan made me feel more optimistic in the latest town hall meeting, but he also said that he is only one voice and that he doesn't know if Justin will listen to him... I made a somewhat more pessimistic post here, which I hope won't happen

he must respect the community

This is what we've all been resonating since day 1. And the fact that, after almost over a month, we're still having to emphasize on this very same thing tells me either these messages aren’t reaching justin or he just doesn’t care. Either way, it shows his negligence towards the community and he sees this as just a business investment, nothing more, nothing less.

In that case there’s no point in hoping he'll do the right thing.

If he wants his investment to return value to him
It's possible he doesn't care.
I agree, there is no point in hoping which is why some people think a fork to something new is the way to go.

Of course he doesn't care. As long as he's getting a return on the investment, why would he care?

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