RE: My Personal Thoughts - Steem/Tron Saga
It's a good idea to relate your personal experience of these events, for improving public understanding, and for the sake of posterity. I agree that the founder's stake has been a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads as long as Steem has existed, and that witnesses have failed to resolve that threat heretofore.
I have personally engaged several current and former consensus witnesses in an attempt to better decentralize Steem, and still do presently. One issue that is pressing is how large stakeholders are advantaged by the extant witness voting mechanism over lesser stakeholders. 30 witness votes without depletion magnifies the influence of larger stakes over witnesses, and this appears - whether it does or not - to compromise witnesses regarding their positions due to their dependence on such stakeholders.
I will not detail supporting evidence of that pandering resulting from the problem (despite much existing), but will show the math that explains how larger stakes are enabled to wield influence, disproportionately to their actual hodlings, over governance.
User A has 1m Steem, casts 30 votes for witness, and wields 30M Steem influence over governance. User B has 100 Steem, casts 30 votes for witness, and wields 3000 Steem influence over governance. The difference between their hodlings is 999,900 Steem. The difference in the weight of their influence on governance however is 29,997,000 Steem. Heretofore witnesses have failed to rectify this imbalance in influence on governance, and an accusation can reasonably be made that, due to the general misunderstanding of this magnification of stake weight, historically consensus witnesses have been willing to pander to the interests of the most substantial stakeholders to secure their positions.
I have discussed this current dilemma with many stakeholders, current, and former witnesses held in high regard generally, and have been given estimates of the stake held by Tron presently of ~100M Steem. Under the current witness voting paradigm that theoretically enables Tron to wield 3B Steem influence over governance, and this dramatically contributes to Sun's ability to instantly undertake control of the blockchain at his sole option.
Clearly, this is a problem, and like the founder's stake itself, has been a problem with decentralizing governance as long as Steem has existed. This voting mechanism was coded by Stinc, which held the largest stake on the platform, and has refused to abstain from voting through codified mechanisms, although before Tron did so this stake has never before been used to effect governance directly. It is obvious why Stinc did so.
While making the change to 1 Steem = 1 vote may not completely prevent this stake from being capable of arbitrary centralization of blockchain governance, the principles of decentralization, and of proportionality of influence of stake critical to DPoS, strongly support doing so. All that is required to make the change is to deplete VP for witness votes 100% without recharge (until votes are withdrawn, whereupon VP recharges 100% instantly), and merely adding VP code already deployed and well proven for ordinary voting with appropriate parameters is all that is necessary to do so.
In discussion with a consensus witness since this hostile takeover has been undertaken, I have been struck by their unwillingness to substantively address this disproportionate influence of substantial stakeholders over governance. Frankly, their approach to the matter raised a stench of undue influence that triggered the smell test, and forced failure. TBQH, they sounded exactly like Roy Liu, making statements that meant nothing. I have also discussed this with other community consensus witnesses and former consensus witnesses with less objectionable results, including agreement that this change reduces Steem's vulnerability to Sybil attack, such as it now suffers via the founder's stake deployed by Tron.
In the event we resecure Steem governance from the present attacker, it is of critical importance that we decrease our susceptibility to Sybil attack from this vector, and normalizing the influence of stake on governance so that all Steem holdings equally weigh on witnesses is essential.
This problem has strengthened Tron's hand in it's attack on our blockchain, 30x. It's time to acknowledge the weaknesses of Steem that have allowed this existential threat to manifest, and arrange to resolve them to make the blockchain more secure and more decentralized.