RE: Teach the controversy: Softfork 0.22.2 // Stop and Correct // Potential futures
I have a hard time believing that any of what you're talking about is "enforceable", or that the sale itself was criminal.
From what I understand of contract law, there are a few criteria that need to be made for any contracts to be valid/legal -- and I doubt that any of those promises related to the "intent" of the neon-green stake would fulfill all criteria.
- Offer and Acceptance;
- While there appears to have been numerous accounts of what Steemit-Inc was promising to do with the stake -- I haven't seen any mention of what would be returned (from the community) to them for their act (i.e. "We'll use our stake for development, but the community has to write 5-posts a day" or some such nonsense)? Was this just a one-sided promise? I wasn't involved in any discussions, but it sounds like it was just a "hey we've got concerns!" from the community, with a "relaaaax, we promise we wont abuse the stake -- we'll do good things with it" from SteemitInc.
- Lawful Purpose;
- This seems to be satisfied. I don't think anyone was promising to break the law by developing with the stake.
- (Lawful) Consideration;
- Similar to Offer and Acceptance, there doesn't seem to be any two-way exchange of anything. While Steemit-Inc did appear to promise to provide a service of using the stake for development and whatnot -- there was nothing being exchanged to them for said promise. You can maybe make an argument of "but that's where the investors come in!" -- but I would argue that most investors were investing in their own projects, or buying Steem to have their influence increased; not as consideration to Steemits promise of being benevolent with their stake.
- Similar to this ongoing discussion with SF22.2, I would imagine that someone could make an argument that the party with neon-green stake (previously Ned / Steemit Inc; now Justin / Tronit or whatever) is only promising to be benevolent with said stake because they feel under duress to consent.
- I would imagine this criteria is satisfied. Steemit should have the capacity to develop the chain with said funds.
In my (unprofessional) opinion, no contract was formed, primarily because it was one-sided and there was no consideration behind the "promise" of what the neon-green stake was ever supposed to be. Only one-sided, potentially coerced, promises were ever on the table. I know little of the man (Ned), but if he was in a position where he owned Steemit-Inc, and the neon-green stake belong to Steemit-Inc -- then he's free to sell said company, and the stake goes with it. Business people gonna business.
At the end of the day, it sounds like there was nothing more than empty promises attached to the stake, and not any real contractual obligation -- unfortunate as it is. If a company owns a shovel that they promised would only be used to dig gardens because people yelled at them to dig more gardens, but then a new financier purchases the company and decides to use the shovel to scratch their balls or something -- I don't think there's anything you're legally able to do about it.
But I'm not a lawyer, so I dunno. I would agree, though, that the entire thing is frustrating, and business-people are generally worth their weight in garbage.