My Thoughts on the Steemit/Tron Merger/Acquisition

in #steem2 years ago (edited)

I was replying to a comment by @jrcornel on another post with this, but it ended up being long enough that I though it deserved its own post. This is in reference to @justinsunsteemit's comments about Steemit on Samsung phones. I was pretty stoked when I heard him start talking about app development and making Steemit a native app on Samsung's phones. It would serve to address the major issue for Steem growth, that of onboarding. Getting people I know who have no technical knowledge to join and use Steem has been the bain of my Steem existence.

Not one of my IRL techno-deficient friends has joined even though lots have been interested. I have tried and tried, but to no avail. To me the benefit was instantly obvious. When my friend @libertyrox told me about it and I took a look around, I did what I had to do to be involved. I taught myself to do some basic crypto transactions to test that the whole thing was legit. I even learned a bit of html code and embedding of images to be able to make posts here in the early days. Whatever I didn't know, I taught myself and made it happen. Most people don't have that wherewithal, and the technically-inclined people here don't seem to understand what a barrier that puts up for non-technical people who might want to join. Now Steem is much better at all of that stuff than in the earliest days when I joined, but it still has massive room for improvement.


This is why Apple was so successful with the iPod even though MP3 players were around for a few years before it was released. It was simple with an easy user interface that even your grandmother, who doesn't know how to turn on a PC, can figure out how to use. Everything was in place to make it a seamless user experience for your average person. This is not to mention the genius marketing that was used to promote the product. This recipe was duplicated at Apple under the guidance of Steve Jobs on all of their products, the pinnacle being the iPhone. This is what we've needed for Steem since the beginning, and it's still conspicuously missing.

With all of the effort that's been put into fine-tuning this platform and making it run as well as it does currently, it ultimately won't have wild success unless we have mass adoption. I don't want Steem to be what it is now. I want it bigger. I want it available for everyone who wants it, not just the people who have enough knowledge and inclination to overcome technical obstacles. Personally, I think the potential of Steem is much greater than that of Reddit, which is the obvious comparison here given that it's the original inspiration for Steemit and Steem. I think it has the potential to be the biggest social network in use, period. Bigger than Facebook, bigger than Twitter, bigger than all of them combined. The combination of decentralized monetization, censorship resistance and the resulting user experience can't be duplicated elsewhere unless this exact model of Steem is copied on another blockchain. In other words, this one is the holy grail.

This is not to say that I am approaching this development without trepidation. Many here have expressed concern over having the largest holder of Steem tokens (Steemit, Inc.) under the control of an entity that's beholden to the Chinese government. Many are also worried that Steem will be simply token swapped for Tron and the whole thing will simply fade away. Those are valid concerns and I think it would be unwise for the community to completely ignore them, but I'm still waiting to see what develops over the next few weeks before I start to panic.

Instead, I'd like to focus on the potential positives here. I am hopeful that we'll have an expansion of the user base that is beyond our wildest dreams under the direction of someone like Justin Sun. He's shown himself to be a capable leader who is at times painfully honest, but who is also great at marketing his products. He has huge financial coffers to draw from and in my opinion, he's saying the right things so far. I think that after he sees the potential of Steem, the value proposition of a token swap would be perceived as an absurdity. Ultimately Sun is going to do what he has a responsibility to do; maximize profits for his company. The road to achieving that is through keeping the core of Steem intact while building on it with some apps and tweaks that have been talked about for years. Now we have someone here with both the vision and the ability to make it happen. With all that said, I'd like to finish by saying, welcome to Steem @justinsunsteemit. I think you'll like it here.



I suggest you think about who non-technical people like your grandmother are, and how they approach governance. One of the reasons the community here got so upset at the prospect of the PLA being able to replace all the witnesses at it's sole option at any time is that they aren't non-technical people. Folks that have stuck around here are pretty competent at early adoption, and highly intelligent for the most part.

This is a pretty big difference from average folks. Given our vulnerability to this potential for hostile takeover, it is obvious that smart people can do dumb things, but that's a lot different from hordes of sheeple voting up Tila Tequila on Myspace.

We need to make Steem a platform suitable for use by non-technical users, but also prevent non-technical users from voting for Kardashians as witnesses. Steem isn't there yet. Tron seems to be headed for Steem being governed by Tron, like Tron is the God King of Steem - which 75M Steem actually make it, in terms of witness votes currently.

That would prevent Kim Kardashian from becoming a consensus witness, but it would also turn this platform into a fiefdom of the PLA and CCP. China plays a long game, and inscrutably doesn't show their hand until it's time to call. We see in China today the kind of society and kinder gentler quarantine their governance is implementing, and I don't think that savagery implies they will be gentler and kinder on digital media.

We cannot support mass onboarding with our present governance systems and retain our decentralization. I don't think Tron will maintain decentralized governance much longer. We need to prepare the blockchain for mass adoption without leaving Tron as the liaison of the CCP to govern us at their sole option.


If that's the case then it's too late. The community would need to fork and start anew to fix this vulnerability, or completely start over. As we now clearly see from @ned's decision to sell to Tron, the vulnerability has always been there. I guess that's why most of the crypto investing world has avoided Steem like the plague. I must confess that in my technical ignorance I didn't understand the implication of Steemit, Inc.'s large stake myself until all of the drama surrounding Ned stepping down as CEO with the witnesses threatening a fork during that time. I still don't fully understand how all if this works honestly. I have a basic working knowledge, but it's very limited.

Now all of that said, you seem to have a good mind for strategy in regards to nefarious state actors. What's the worst they could do to a person like me consuming and posting counter-narrative content? Other than just nuking the whole platform, I'm thinking doxxing, which in my case would be exceedingly easy even before this development. For me it's a nothing burger, but I'm sure some others might have some concern in this area. I've been if the assumption that my anonymity in the internet has been dead since 20 or so years ago.

While it is in fact too late, institutions are not mortal, and life after death isn't a meme for immortal entities.

Sun has reasonably stayed his hand regarding deploying his newly acquired stake, and this reveals that Steem is actually potentially more beneficial to Tron - his primary interest - as an independent entity. However, he properly understands that heretofore governance of Steem has failed to well grow the platform because whales were rationally compelled to avoid risk and take the cash that @ned allowed them to do by failing to use his imperial prerogative to effect governance at his sole option. @ned did this because he believes in decentralization and did not have a compelling model to effect in his understanding.

EIP worked much better than I expected, and this leads me to understand that I also do not have a compelling model that I should impose - were I to have that stake that makes that possible - but should defer to the decentralized mind of Steem that did deploy EIP with great success. That success at ending the destructive vote buying was an effective limitation on profiteering that the whales undertook to rein themselves in.

Now we have Tron wielding both the power to effect governance at it's sole option, and the competence to onboard masses of new users. Sun is presently hodling his ability to replace the witnesses at his sole option, which is an opportunity for our extant governance model to refine the platform to support onboarding Aunt Millie without destroying governance.

He won't wait forever, and this limited time opportunity needs to be seized today by our whales so they can govern well in the time he has given them to do so before he folds Steem into Tron and does what he sees fit. Steem can prove it is best able to profit Tron by remaining an independent entity by doing so - improving retention, which will require whales to give up ~25% of their rewards so that new users and content creators are nominally encouraged to stay onboard - or he will have to do so to make spending the money to onboard new users profitable to Tron.

As to anonymity, there are levels of actors that can pierce that veil. At the state level, you are correct, there is only pseudonymity. Goolag knows who we are. At lower levels of competence, pseudonymity effectively prevents our being compromised.

I do have existential concerns in this area. I have been physically attacked by bad actors associated with states, and my family has suffered threats and actual assaults. However, the expense of undertaking operations at those high levels limits deployment of malevolence, and dissociating this blog from my person has effectively ended the profitability of such ops to those actors. This is not the only means I have used to effect that mitigation, and literally stripping myself of assets, eschewing many mechanisms that contribute to my risk and are useful to bad actors as vectors for malevolence also secures my person and family, to an unknown and ineffable degree.

Simply posting content pseudonymously is probably not physically dangerous. I personally have challenged corruption and this enabled me to be targeted in person. By divorcing my pseudonymous posts from my physical person, I have ended that threat, but at the cost of no longer being able to act in person to challenge corruption. I have learned the hard way that I am incompetent to succeed against extremely competent institutional organization and cabals.

Imma post presently regarding how Steem might be able to prove to Sun that it is best left a decentralized independent entity, instead of folded into Tron and governed at Tron's sole option. We'll see how competent our whales are at financial prudence, which will be vastly improved by Steem's remaining independent.

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