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RE: Steem Power and Governance, Part 1: Centralization and Decentralization

in #steem4 years ago (edited)

Hi, thanks for posting; it was quite informative. I do have a clarification question, though. You said steemit.com is a decentralized database. Then you went on to describe how quasi-decentralized systems have top-level nodes called "witnesses" and you only referred to witnesses when talking about quasi-decentralized systems. My three-part question is If steemit.com is decentralized, why does it have witnesses? What purpose do these witnesses serve? And in what ways are steemit's witnesses different from those in a quasi-decentralized system?"

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First of all, it is important to distinguish between steemit.com, the website, and the Steem protocol. The Steem protocol specifies, strictly speaking, a quasi-decentralized database. The witnesses achieve some semblance of decentralization and contribute mostly to the robustness of the system. With 20 witnesses, many must be incapacitated at once in order to significantly disrupt the system, where disruption generally means slower block times or persistent forks that render the state of the database ambiguous. I will get to all of these questions as we go along, but the Steem witness system is quasi-decentralized, which can be thought of as a type of decentralized system in that consensus among the witnesses is decentralized but subject to a strict set of rules to establish consensus.

Thank you for taking the time to reply, I look forward to your answers in future posts.

When I go to https://steemit.com/~witnesses, I see you're currently listed as witness number 13. I also notice there's an option where I can cast a vote for a witness, which makes me think I should know something about their relevancy. Whether it's here in this comment thread or in a future post, can you please answer this question as well: As a steemit.com user, what do I need to know about witnesses, if anything?

The job of the witnesses is to produce blocks. Because Steem is build on a blockchain, somebody has to do it. Steem uses delegated proof of stake (DPOS) toproduce blocks.

Steem Power holders can vote for those people/organizations who they want to see as witnesses (preferably the most reliable ones of the candidates).

This was my exact question. And I'll also give my shoutout to @steemed for writing such an informative piece. I look forward to the upcoming installments in the series.

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