Steem Hardfork 20: Thoughts on Velocity

in #witness2 years ago (edited)


After 14 months, we finally have a new hardfork to consider for approval.

My feelings about this new hardfork are currently mixed. Unfortunately – in typical Steemit, Inc. fashion – this is another let’s-cram-it-all-in-one-proposal hardfork. Before I even begin, I’d just like to reiterate my desire to have more frequent proposals and less changes to consider for each fork instead of the exact opposite, where we have to either accept undesirable changes or have no changes at all.

With that out of the way, I see some good and necessary changes being proposed and I see some things that appear to be unnecessary and overcomplicated.

What I like about Hardfork 20

Removal of the minimum SP power down restriction – If the SP is yours, you should be able to withdraw it. If there were concerns about exploiting account creation, then the fix is to mitigate account creation exploits, not to prevent all users from withdrawing their tokens. This one is a no-brainer for me.

Reducing the curation window time and self-voting rewards during that time (reverse-auction) – This is something that I have supported since the spring of 2017. I’m glad to see it finally being proposed in a hard fork. I honestly have no idea why it took so long to make this change. A 30-minute “reverse-auction” window was unnecessarily long and has done very little to nothing at all to “combat bots.” Self-voting within that window and being able to maximize your rewards was never ideal and didn’t make much sense to me. And anything that may increase the total pool of curation rewards is a great step. We definitely need to improve SP utility and SP returns for invested users.

28-day expiration of internal market orders – A good addition, in my opinion. I don’t think it’s a critical need, but if it helps to improve blockchain performance with insignificant or no negative consequences for token traders, then I’m for it.

Reward beneficiaries paid based on author settings – Again, this is a no-brainer and a good implementation. It keeps things simple and uniform, which should not be underestimated (time and again).

SBD print rate – This just makes sense to me. If our debt limit is 10%, then we shouldn’t be reducing the print rate of SBDs starting at 2% and increasing the printing of STEEM. In the few cases that I have observed, it’s negative STEEM price action that leads us closer to the debt limit, not the over-printing of SBDs.

I do, however, have a major issue with the SBD conversion function being taken off of the flagship site, This conversion function is the primary tool for users to combat the oversupply of SBDs. It isn’t an “advanced setting.” It’s a critical blockchain function. With prices creeping toward $1.00, it may be very necessary to use the conversion function to both reduce the downward pressure on SBD prices and to reduce the debt ratio by slightly increasing the STEEM supply at the same time. If having a pegged token is still desired, then we need the available tools to be...available.

What I don’t like about Hardfork 20

The new account creation functions and features.

I’ll keep my critique of this simple: It all seems to be an unnecessary and convoluted mess.

Back when the 2017 road map was released by Steemit, Inc., one of the concepts that they touted was K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid. It was a great idea that had a lot of support, as the blockchain already seemed pretty complex and easily confused new users. Making things simple for users, making the blockchain more efficient, keeping things as transparent as possible, and allowing for quick troubleshooting are all excellent ideals to strive for with tech and social media.

We’re not getting that here.

Instead, we’re being asked to accept a more complex system of account creation that will require new parameters from witnesses, including many of the same ones who are unable or unwilling to set existing parameters today. These parameters are supposed to be set for discount account creation tokens – the number created each day and the total supply. Then the new Resource Credits (or RCs, which are being proposed in this same hardfork to control bandwidth resources) will apparently be used to actually create the accounts.

Very few of the top-50 witnesses even bother setting bias and APR parameters, even when SBDs are off the intended peg. When it comes to block size and creation fees, most of them simply wait and copy whatever the first person does. If we’re hoping that new parameters will be set based on robust testing and discussion among witnesses and the community, then I’m afraid our hopes will be sorely misplaced.

Even if we were to assume that all of our top witnesses will be engaged and discussing these new parameters regularly, these account creation changes alone should be their own hardfork proposal. There’s no reason why they ought to be included with curation reward, power down, and internal market order changes. The account creation and RC system/market are significant alterations of Steem protocols and will likely have a large impact on the ecosystem. And as stated above, they will add a thicker layer of complexity to the system.

After testing on a testnet, it’s possible that it may turn out to be a better system than we currently have. But why it needs to be lumped in with other quick/easy changes that have more widespread support is mind-boggling.

All of that being said, I think the Resource Credit idea is worth testing. I just don’t think we need another 20 changes at once...again.

20-second comment limit reduced to 3 seconds – I’m not even sure why this was something that needed a fix. Are spammers not able to spam quickly enough with their spam bots? Or do we simply have world-record speed-readers and speed-typers out there who really want to leave engaging, meaningful comments every 20 seconds on different posts?

Upvote lockout period changed to cool-down – I don’t dislike this change. But I don’t necessarily like the time frame for the cool-down.

Very few posts receive votes (or any attention at all) after the first two or three days after publishing. This was the case before the 7-day payout was even implemented – users just didn’t engage much with older posts (mostly because users don’t engage much at all, but that’s another issue altogether). This was one of the main reasons why I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about changing the payouts to seven days. I would have much rather had a 48 to 72-hour payout period with extended voting time given to the post based on votes received toward the end of the payout period.

With a seven-day payout and a lack of voting and engagement on older posts, I would rather see a cool-down period of 3.5 days. This would help avoid “abuses” in both directions. It would limit the amount of late upvotes and/or votes purchased via bid bots that are made with the intent to try to hide the rewarding of the post after it is long out of sight by the average user. And it would likewise mitigate any late-stage downvoting that may be meant to simply “punish” another user.

More than that, having the shorter initial window would help with the notion of discovery and creating viral or trending content, which was the original idea behind the reward protocols in the first place, if I’m not mistaken.

So I like the idea of the cool-down as opposed to the lockout. I’m just not a fan of the current proposed implementation of it.

The rest of the proposed changes

I really don’t have an opinion on most of what was not mentioned here, which means I don’t really have a problem with any of it at this time. It’s all pretty mundane.

If there’s anything about Hardfork 20 that you want to discuss, leave me a comment and I will try to get a timely response to you.

Steem Velocity Hardfork - Hardfork 20

Vote for


Block-change you can believe in!



that's right, I went there

It's there! Didn't you see the Steemit's Minimized Timing post period being changed?

Oh very good. Consider yourself hired my friend.

Now, quickly come up with a way for me to tell my wife that the infestation is her fault!!

This could be a lucrative arrangement for both of us!

Maybe in 2020 lol

Somebody has to go there, because STINC surely isn't getting it done! ;)

Oh, you silly person, you!

Thank you for the information you provided.

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Pretty solid summary!

I like the discounted account system if that means the steemit sign up process can be improved and is faster for new users. I also like the burning of sign up fees.

Resource credits are what I am really looking forward to.

but in these proposals I see nothing against the thefts of votes and accounts on steemit!
Honestly, 10 or 20 seconds for the comments ... I do not care.

Things can change substantially when looking at them on paper than when they are actually implemented, testnet will give us a more precise feel regarding the HF20 changes.
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Still that community hardfork and that smt thing right?

Well, SMTs are still being worked on, allegedly. I'm sure that'll be the "next big focus"...again.

The community stuff isn't something that'll require a hardfork, as far as I know. There may be some aspects of it that could require some adjustments/tweaks at the blockchain protocol level, but the main project isn't going to be a blockchain function.

Interesting summary and points! I just got around to reading the release notes and am still digesting.
This review of the HF seemed very balanced and fair with good and bad points.

This review of the HF seemed very balanced and fair with good and bad points.

That's the only way I like to do things! Fair and balancedTM!

:) It's your brand! Good to see the funny side of you as well!

Would be interesting if Steemit Inc came out with that they wanted to HardFork Jerry's special video to the front page hahaha, the reactions...

thanks for explaining this in a way even a pleb like me could understand. @themarkymark too.

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totally agreed to what you have said.
it gives a strange sensation to me that reducing the 20 seconds to 3 is really seen as a improvement.
And i really dont know why this account creation has to go such strange ways ...
HF20 is really not what I thought it would be ...
Kind regards

HF20 is really not what I thought it would be ...

By the time the hardforks get to the proposal stage, they usually never are what we thought they'd be. They just love to stuff them full of many different things so that everyone can both like and dislike the hardfork. I mean...why bother sticking with a few things that are pretty much universally accepted as good/necessary changes?

A good review you have made and the H20 will bring features to enhance account creation, control ressources and better curation reward.

I am not sure what would be a solution to improving the sign-up process both for steemit and for DApps that would not add an extra layer or introduce a new system. So I would not use that argument against it.

For me, having the ability to sign up a thousand users on my own every day without a significant cost is the most important change I need to work independently with Steem. It doesn't really matter much to me how it is done as long as there is some scarcity to it that gives DApps the incentive to give accounts to users who will actually add something of value rather than at will.

After testing on a testnet ..

Testnet will go live, I guess, after 25. August.
Leaving a month time for testing.
Even in a good test environment, with test cases and such, this is a very narrow time window.

And I also agree, let's have all the features crammed into one HF.
What should one do, that likes only 50% of the changes?
Or 75%..and really hates the other 25% of the new features..

Even in a good test environment, with test cases and such, this is a very narrow time window.

Yeah, I agree with you there. They spend 14+ months putting this together, then want to spend maybe a month seeing how it'll work, with a very limited number of people testing it, most likely. But at least there is a somewhat public testnet and some advanced notice of testing. That rarely ever happens before hardforks around here.

What should one do, that likes only 50% of the changes?

Reject the hardfork. Make them scale it down to the changes that actually have consensus. Then discuss, test, and possibly revise the ones that do not have as much support. You know...collaboration and consensus stuff. Pretty novel idea, isn't it?

And as we know, there are many ways to reach consensus. Very doable.

Great update worthy of a upvote and resteem! Thanks!👌👍✌

I agree that changes should be voted on in a more line by line basis. It is the biggest inefficiency in the US government today. Laws being thousands of pages long and stuffed with special earmarks just to get a basic thing everyone agrees upon changed. I guess this is what you get when policymakers say I will vote for this if you add what I want too.

+1 +1


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Thanks for the thorough review.

All in all, I feel like Steem,Inc does not make changes to improve the uses interactions here. I use to spend so much more time here before, reading, writing, commenting, interacting... But now...

I don't know where Steem is headed but at some point the focus wshould be placed on the users and not on the tech. It should be fun and entertaining to come here. It is not the case anymore.

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20 sec comment limit is annoying. It gives blogger doubles to reply comments, but does little to prevent spamming. Spamming bot can spam once every minute.
A better way to limit spamming is leaky bucket, but a hard coded 20 second limit

So, am I correct in saying that new accounts will not have enough SP/RC to make a post unless they purchase said SP?

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