Will STEEM pass the antifragility test?

in #steem3 years ago

When you have ‘skin in the game’ and are both financially and emotionally invested in something it is hard to think clearly and rationally at times. I have found that with STEEM... I often say STEEM is my ‘soft spot’ investment. STEEM is something that I used to spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy on. Over the last year, however, I’ve taken more of a watching brief of STEEM. I’ve had a break on blogging about STEEM and cryptos.... Alas, events over the last couple of weeks have compelled me to take a closer look at the direction of the platform.


When I strip away the emotion, noise, and nuance, I see STEEM as currently undergoing a test of its antifragility.

A disruptive technology needs to be able to not just survive but grow stronger under stress.

STEEM has lofty ambitions. It is looking to disrupt, inter alia, the social media space. Thus being an open, public decentralised blockchain, STEEM should expect to be subjected to many attack vectors on the road to mass adoption.

The current attack vector being played out at the moment I see as the Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) equivalent of a 51% attack.

51% DPoS attack

It is, after all, an obvious exploit. Especially for a nascent coin, with a relatively low market cap.

All it takes is an attacker to acquires a large enough stake to appoint the top witnesses and can make software changes, produce blocks to benefit their interest rather than all Stakeholders.

So how does a DPoS coin like STEEM survive a 51% attack?

Fork off

The deterrent to a 51% attack should be simple.

A DPoS community under such an attack can fork away to a new chain and neutralise the attacker's coins. A rational actor would understand this.

It would take an irrational actor to think they could just co-opt a decentralised blockchain.

Be a bad actor, lose a ton load of money to be on a chain nobody else is on.


The true value of any public, decentralised blockchain, like STEEM, is trust-lessness.

STEEM stakeholders should not rely on a large stakeholder ‘do the right thing’, for the ‘sake of the community’. That is not a decentralised blockchain. That is a blockchain beholden to the goodwill of a benevolent dictator. It would be no different than Facebook users relying on Mark Zuckerberg or Twitter users relying on Jack Dorsey to 'do the right thing'.

STEEM stakeholders only need to know that the core community of stakeholders is incentivised to maintain a public, open, decentralised, blockchain.

Saints vs Sinners

Granted, this STEEM/ Tron situation is more nuanced than a simple 51% attack.

As of now, Steemit Inc is a de facto 51% attacker of the STEEM. It is behaving like a bad actor on a decentralised blockchain (whether they know it or not). Yet Steemit Inc is the same entity that many know as lead devs of STEEM and owners of the site that become synonymous with the STEEM blockchain (steemit.com).

The ’Soft Fork’ Witnesses are seen by many as saviours of the STEEM blockchain and bastions of the community. To others, they are seen as a cabal that started the mess by massively over-reaching their remit and undermined the integrity of the STEEM blockchain by covertly freezing accounts.

This is why we have a situation where, on one hand, well-known Exchanges kowtowed to the wishes of Steemit Inc against their own, the STEEM community and their customer's best interests.

On the other hand, many well-known Crypto proponents were left aghast. The idea of Crypto Exchanges helping to facilitate a 51% attack on a public blockchain is incredible. Equally, Steemit Inc appointing its own sock-puppet accounts as Witness Nodes and validators of blocks as an anathema.

Growth & decentralisation

There is uneasy friction between large investors/ stakeholders and cryptocurrency. Wealth and value tend to concentrate. The cornerstone of cryptocurrency is distribution.

Steem should be open to people acquiring a large stake, with a view to providing value, building businesses, running applications and services and helping the platform grow.

In principle, any DPoS stakeholder should be able to vote,and transact as they please. In practice, however, every large stakeholder needs to be incentivised not to allow their stake to undermine decentralised governance.

The challenge of incentivising large stakeholders, institutional investors and the like to switch to cryptocurrencies whilst maintaining the decentralisation of the chain is not just a challenge for STEEM but all blockchains. We're just seeing it ply out with a DPoS one.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay


Hi @nanzo-scoop
This is a great classification of events in blockchain terms and a very helpful illustration of how this test can make us and all of cryptocurrency stronger. It sometimes takes events like this to move those in charge to take the additional steps needed to protect against the attack against decentralized governance of large stake holders and the use of exchange deposited funds.

I think if a large investor understood the limitations imposed prior to their purchase and if the code limited or excluded votes on governance by exchange deposited funds our situation and future situations could have been avoided.

But hindsight is 20/20 and life is indeed a learning experience. I seem to detect a change in your writing since you started focusing on learning more about coding. I think your clarity on this issue will motivate me to continue learning as well.

I enjoyed your post. Thanks

The use of exchange customer funds to vote in dpos without their consent is the big one. Really has the crypto community paying attention beyond STEEM holders. Any pos chain is threatened by that. The 13 week powerdown is just icing on the cake and Justin’s main issue right now. Which is why we must draw a hard line at any accelerated powerdowns. Exchanges need to feel the consequences of their decision.

Posted using Partiko iOS

True. It is a very important issue in this event. It will be interesting to see if the code can be changed to prevent this attack vector from being deployed in the future.

Hello @nanzo been a while, I see you've been following up, truth is I do believe steem is passing through its most testing time and one thing I think I might want to sentimentaly believe is that steem will come out tops because of the steadfastness of the community.
We're past blame games now I do believe most of these witnesses now know that communication should be key. At the end it's what will bring us out the mess shinning better than ever. Plus a few listing here and there. Time will tell

For someone who's been "away" you have a pretty good grasp of the situation :)

Off topic sir! . I want you to know that you are one of the reasons am still around here. It's safe to say only few care here. Thank you for your support

It's safe to say only few care here.

Yes, that is sadly/unfortunately true in general. I mean when we talk about posts and comments on the Steem blockchain. But I think that we can say that there is a real community co-operation in voting for the right witnesses. Currently 6768 users own the "Community Supporter" Steemit Board badge/award. I did not knew so far either, but there are thousands of good users on the Steem blockchain, so there is real community here. Even if it is not really visible on the surface at the first sight.

Oh thank you for that clarification.He is the only one voting me now automatically. He makes the vote worth & 0.20 per post and that's all I get. If I was up $1 daily I won't miss a day without posting. I was appreciating for his kind gesture, some of this appreciation makes one want to increase the % of which I will be flying in the moon. Haven't you heard? Appreciation is an indirect way of asking for more

$0.20 per post? You are lucky. I would appreciate that too. I mean I would be happy and grateful for it. Nowadays I usually earn much less than that with my posts. Like less than $0.10. Sometimes I am lucky, if my posts reach the payout threshold ($0.02).

Wow, l just had to read over the entire writeup and again. This for this beauty. We have invested so much of our time and energy into steem. With the great hope that the world sees the value of what we believe. You're just right and point. Thanks sir @nanzo-scoop and so happy to see you share this.

I think we must enforce some limits to the blockchain itself about the 51% attack.

To the question in your title, my Magic 8-Ball says:

Signs point to yes

Hi! I'm a bot, and this answer was posted automatically. Check this post out for more information.

que paso con el concurso del futbol

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