We are happy to say that the witnesses have reached consensus on Hardfork 19, codenamed “Equality.” This update to the Steem Blockchain Protocol changes how rewards are distributed to the content creators using any Steem application like Steemit.com or Busy.org.
The code was released last week and witnesses have been upgrading to it since that time. As of right now the top 20 witnesses are all running 0.19 but the changes described below will not go into effect until tomorrow morning (Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 at 15:00:00 UTC). Once those changes in logic take effect, the voting power of the users of any Steem-based application will be directly proportional to the amount of Steem Power they possess. Some have referred to this as “1 Steem Power, 1 Vote.” From that moment on accounts with a large amount of Steem Power will no longer have exponentially more voting power (i.e. influence) than accounts with less Steem power. This will reduce the degree of inequality within the ecosystem while preserving the incentive to accumulate STEEM and disincentivizing sybil-attacks.
What Are Hardforks?
For those new to Steem, “hardforks” are what people call updates to a blockchain protocol. The Steem Blockchain has an innovative Witness-based system that allows improvements to be made to the protocol more rapidly than other blockchain protocols. All that is necessary for a Steem hardfork is for the top 20 witnesses, who are chosen by the users, to adopt the changes based on their assessment that the code is bug-free and does not pose a threat to the security of the blockchain.
When it comes to most blockchains, a change like the one that will occur would either never happen, or would lead to an entirely new blockchain that would coexist alongside the unchanged original. Thanks to Steem’s unique design, when it became clear that there was a widespread consensus among Steem users that the reward system needed to be changed, we were able to come together and implement this change which will make the Steem Ecosystem more fair, and the Steem Blockchain more valuable.
Improving the Process
It was only 2 months ago that we first started experimenting with a proposal process which involved presenting the changes we were considering to the community for feedback before attempting to update the blockchain. We had lots of great discussions with the community which helped guide improvements to our proposal and that enabled us to arrive at a consensus regarding the necessary changes.
We want to give a special “Thank You” to everyone who contributed to this discussion and helped make the Steem Blockchain even better. That includes all the Witnesses, not just the top 20, who work tirelessly to maintain the stability, security, and sanctity of the Steem Blockchain. Their communication, cooperation, and diligence have enabled us to execute this change in the timeframe we did while meeting our high quality assurance standards.
The information below was included in our previous post Pre-Release HF19: Linear Rewards! and is included below for the benefit of those who would like to familiarize themselves with the other changes that will be occurring.
Curation Rewards and Vote Impact
There are two other changes, aside from linear rewards, within the update that affect non-technical community members: 1. Changing to a square root curation rewards curve and 2. Increasing vote impact.
The change to the curation rewards curve will not have a noticeable impact on curation rewards and is necessary simply to prevent the linear reward curve changes from having a material impact on curation rewards.
The changes to the impact of a 100% vote are more material. A 100% vote will be 4 times more powerful once HF19 is completed. As it stands now a single 100% vote uses only 0.5% of your remaining voting power (voting power regenerates fully over a 5 day period). That means real users would need to vote 40 times a day at full power to use most of their voting power. This leaves users who are less active unable to fully leverage their voting power. After this change, a single 100% vote will use 2% of your remaining voting power, meaning that 10 full-power votes a day will now be enough to leverage the majority of your daily voting power.
Users can continue to simply upvote-at-will because a vote only consumes a percentage of the remaining voting power, not the total. Imagine “voting power” as a swimming pool that is constantly being refilled by the rain. Every time you upvote you reduce the amount of water (in this case “voting power”) from the pool by a percentage (i.e. it’s not like you are constantly removing 500 gallons from the lake). The next time you vote you are removing another percentage from an already diminished supply.
That means there are still no limits on how much you can vote. The more you vote the more you incrementally decrease the amount of voting power you have (the water in the pool). To get a better sense of how powerful your votes are and the rate at which that power diminishes simply observe how much your full power upvotes increase the rewards of content creators and you should get an intuitive sense of how the algorithm works.
You can read the release notes on github here: https://github.com/steemit/steem/releases/tag/v0.19.0rc1
We have more exciting announcements coming this week, so stay tuned and Steem On!
- Team Steemit