Steem is uniquesteemCreated with Sketch.

in OCD8 months ago

Like its community.

Thanks to the DPOS {Delegated Proof Of Stake} blockchain technology of Bitshares and others.

As invented by Daniel Larimer.

There have been lots of improvements since the first moment Steem came into existence. The 23rd of march 2016 a brilliant idea came to live. It took me until the 26th of may that year to find it, thanks to Fyrstikken I did. A social media platform on a blockchain, that seemed very unlikely to me. Yet there it was, SteemIt dot com, my mind was blown. How on earth was this possible? My paradigm still was locked in Proof Of Work {POW} blockchains, like Bitcoin {BTC}. As a geek I fell blindly in love with the Delegated Proof Of Stake {DPOS} concept. (Later I did become a bit more realistic, yet still believe it can be improved.)

Recently I became aware that probably a lot of Steemians do not even know what it means to publish on a blockchain. Do they know we have Community representatives, known as Witnesses, and how we need them to secure the Steem blockchain? There is no company that 'owns' the Steem blockchain, although there can be attempts of one or more businesses to try and control it. Then we need our Steem Community Witnesses to prevent that from happening. That is why we vote for the ones that we trust. And un-vote those we do not. Or we choose to have somebody we trust to do the voting for us. If we, as a community dislike what some Witnesses propose, we just choose other ones.

Yeah, who needs them anyway?

Steem, the decentralized social media and application platform came forth from a voluntarism idea. It functions without a central ruler, which some have been mistaken with no rules. But that would mean chaos, creating a very hostile environment, that would destroy itself within no time. Still those who seem to believe in their own 'a decentralized blockchain has no rules' paradigm, will try to act accordingly. So some voices can be heard stating that an external entity should do something to protect the Steem Community. By that they could refer to a private company like SteemIt Incorporated. That would lead to centralized governance again. Which Steem is not about, remember: no ruler.

And to me it seems that many Steemians find it hard to grasp that we, all Steem accounts together, are the blockchain governance. We can vote for instance for our own Steem Community Witnesses. As they will represent us. Recent events have shown how important that can become when there is a possible threat coming from an external entity. And there are more than just the 20/21 active block creating Witnesses. Also keeping a copy of all our data. Because there is not central company like Facebook doing all that. It is done voluntary and the top 20/21 get some Steem per added block. Without them, there would be no you and me publishing, curating and staking.

Self governance.

There is no single ruler and even if the Witnesses want to change things we have a vote in that as a Community. This is what makes Steem unique, other blockchains do not have that. We actually have a voice, we can publish and vote. And the elected Steem Community Witnesses need to have 17 votes of the 20/21 to be able to make a change work. And there can be one Witness who proposes a change to the Steem blockchain, maybe quite drastic, even scary, but it does not matter if the rest rejects it. To make it very clear SteemIt Incorporated is merely a company that also works with the Steem blockchain. It also has to deal with the voluntary self governance of the Steem Community. So, if the majority of Steemians dislike a private company trying to grab control, then we simply block them, through voting, from doing so.

We have no police, we have no army, we have no ruler or government, everything is public available for everybody to see. The Steem blockchain is build on the principles of voluntarism and self governance. That means we have our own mutual understandings, we are bound to certain obligations, there are binding social contracts and we have a dynamic set of rules. Again, this is not a place of 'chaos and anything goes', we are a self governing Community. You and I are here voluntary and those who dislike that can leave, of course. And come back when they want too. That is voluntarism in a nutshell. We voluntary govern ourselves, proving that no rulers actually needs us to come to mutual agreements and act accordingly.

Defense is our weak spot.

We have been under attack by those who live life in a 'no rules' manor, they mistake it for freedom. But freedom can only be experienced by its limits. We are not alone on this planet, so our actions can cause damage to others their freedom. The worst one being taking the life of another human being because of ones own 'freedom' domination. Driving a car at the highest speed possible because nobody should try and stop that. Well, that irresponsible behavior could wound and even kill others. Therefore it is an attack on the freedom of others. It is chaos and such thing ends in self destruction. So, our freedom somehow better be based on mutual agreements. Your actions should not damage my freedom nor should mine do damage to yours. That kind of voluntary self governance can already be quite tough.

Yet the Steem Community has proven the last four years that it can function. It is from perfect, but it has shown a lot of dynamics and the will to progress. And even though we countered many attacks from chaos promoting crooks, our defense system can be improved. There is still one individual creating lots of 'free' zombie accounts, being abused to down-vote for free. Of course such a swindler will hold it against us that it is our own fault. Yes, in a way we need to understand that evil will always look for ways to act destructively. And we, as the Steem Community need to protect ourselves in a realistic way. Not everybody will come to us with good intentions. Too much optimism is dangerous, just like too much pessimism can be poisonous. So, I prefer a realistic approach, especially when it comes to defending our Community against threats and attacks from the outside.

The right to defend ourselves.

In the analogue realm there is a ruler / government, with its books of laws. It has its police and army that can even use violence to enforce its will upon human beings. Some love that, others do tend to be a bit more skeptical, or just call it a make-belief system of oppression, or whatever. The Steem realm, being a dynamic communal entity on the blockchain, does not have such thing. And no, SteemIt Incorporated never owned our blockchain, not even controlled it and it never will. As it had control over a couple accounts, holding a lot of stake in Steem Power {SP}, it would have been able to install its own private company Witnesses, about 10 I guess. Yet it did not, but instead promised to use its stake for the well being and future of the Steem Blockchain and its Community.

That was all locked in the Steem blockchain, for the everybody to see. It was part of a mutual trust between a private company, SteemIt Incorporated and the Steem Community. And our elected Witnesses could make sure that the Steem Power {SP} controlled by this private company could never be used breaking the promise. So, no Content voting, no Witness manipulation and we all lived happily ever after...? No, not exactly, as you may have noticed recently. As mister N. Scott sold SteemIt Incorporated to mister Sun Y. the man of Tron. It that a big deal? Well, I could not care any less actually, except the amount of Steem Power {SP} that is controlled by the private company SteemIt Incorporated. Would the new owner honor the mutual agreement the Steem Community and SteemIt Incorporated had about the staked SP {Steem Power}? How could we defend ourselves, with our elected Steem Community Witnesses.

Tron shot first.

Mister Sun Y. thought it would be a good idea to start off with a threat towards the Steem Community on Twitter. Some seem to leave that important fact out of their reasoning. Steem was 'old' and it was going to be 'new', but... On the Tron blockchain. There would be a Token swap and the TRX {Tron token} holders would get them some new Steem. Also the process already had started and would be wrapped up as soon as possible. Many seem to have missed that part of hostile take over attempt by mister Sun Y. Luckily he is like a lose canon, very impulsive, very destructive unfortunately. (Must be tough for the Tron employees to clean up the mess after him.) Those who did their own research already knew he did the same to Dlive and their Lino blockchain. April 15th 2020 Dlive will run on the Tron blockchain and Lino will be left behind to die.

Now the unique being of the Steem Community rises to the surface. Even though mister N. Scott did everything his own way, giving the Steem Community a kind of: "Deal with it." farewell, it was not the end for the Steem blockchain, but a new beginning. Remember, we are a voluntary self governing Community, only software code can be used for our defense. Which our elected Steem Community Witnesses would have to deploy fast, but with 17 to agree in consensus. And we could vote them in, or out, which would then tell our Witnesses how we thought about it. (Not perfect I think, but we can change anything to improve it.) Tron shot first, mister Sun Y. threatened right away to end the Steem blockchain. No communication with our Community, so action was needed fast.

Freezing ain't stealing.

Never ever in the last four years had our elected Steem Community Witnesses to make a drastic defensive decision. It was one written as a temporary deployment of a so called soft fork. Again, we have no ruler, no dictator, no law but code, no police and no army to defend ourselves against an external attacking entity. (Please do your own research if you still think Sun Y. came in peace, with his shoot to kill announcement(s)...) What to do, just let it happen? We, at least I, do trust our Witnesses to keep our data safe, to keep the blockchain going and to protect us with update software code. Best choice? Well, it seemed mister Sun Y. was not going to honor the mutual agreements made between the Steem Community and SteemIt Incorporated. Instead he posted one hostile take-over strategy after the other.

In the world of banks, governments and so on there is the possibility to freeze banking-accounts and assets. If the system has a reason for that, it can do so, even using its 'legal' violence. People can be demonetized by private companies, as a way to censor unwanted content. Being in the interest of its stakeholders and advertisers. Those companies, these governments, they all can do so, protecting the own interest. Those who are targeted like that probably will start to shout, get angry and even become aggressive or violent. It wont change anything though. As a voluntary self governance Community on a blockchain, we do not have that kind of measurement ready to use, just like. But we can temporary freeze accounts so to prevent them from doing harm to our Community. That was soft-fork 22.2 in effect.

Already history and nothing got stolen.

Currently our elected Steem Community Witnesses are 'signalling' Steem blockchain version 22.1 (or the same but with a different number). This means that the initial, temporary, frozen accounts are free move again. Our elected Steem Community Witnesses kept their promise and they got our massive support in votes. Currently we are at 50-50. There still are 10 zombie Witnesses active. Even because a part of the Steem Community decided to become part of the Tron Community. And actually that is good to know. As they might become a risk to our self governance system, when they are willing to let an external entity take our blockchain over and destroy it in the proces. Freezing the assets temporary was a tough choice to make, but it was needed to defend our Community and the Steem blockchain. No way was it stealing.

To my surprise mister N. Scott was Tweeting something about 'theft', in regards to what was happening. This seemed a bit weird to me, as he should know, of all people, that this was a temporary freeze of some digital assets holding accounts. But then it made sense to me, he was actually referring to his own situation. Due to the mutual agreement made between SteemIt Incorporated and the Steem Community he could not Power Down {PD} any Steem Power {SP} staked in the SteemIt account. (And the others.) Out off nowhere comes mister Sun Y. Seems to have bought SteemIt Incorporated and states he want to put an end to the Steem blockchain, by moving it over to the Tron blockchain. Maybe mister Scott managed to make a fifty-fifty deal with mister Sun? So he finally would get part of what he seems to believe was stolen from him. That would explain why he turned on the Steem Community, just like that.

If he only had opened a conversation.

As seen from my personal perspective I do want the Steem Blockchain to become substantive. Meaning that any possible centralized governance (hostile) take-over risk should be prevented from happening (again). Again, we have nothing to protect ourselves with than the law of code. For which we need our elected Steem Community Witnesses to deploy it as either a soft- or a hardfork. For those who now even fear the word 'fork', we did not get this far without them. Smart Media Tokens {SMT} need a hard fork to become real. Protecting our Steem blockchain and Community will probably need a couple and then some. It is a duty of the Witnesses to make sure we are safe and our Blockchain is secured. So, basically I would like to see all those SteemIt Incorporated accounts to Power Down {PD} and leave the Steem Community.

My guess is that mister N. Scott then gets part of what he saw as 'theft', even though he made an agreement. But, I am okay with him getting part of a deal that he probably made with mister Sun Y. And to those who believe we cannot become a substantive blockchain, cut lose from the Tron Foundation and SteemIt Incorporated, there is always an exit. Just start a Power Down {PD}, it will take 13 weeks, but then you are out. And I strongly believe mister Sun Y. is going to move on with his initial plans to do a swap. Therefore, those who want to move over to the Tron blockchain, please do so. You are here on a voluntary basis and you can leave as such. And mister N. Scott could have tried to communicate with the Steem Community and ask to end the mutual agreement. Yet, things turned out differently.

Exchanges powering down, Witnesses too?

There has been some panic spreading about elected Steem Community Witnesses doing a Power Down {PD}. Well , there is a logical reason for that, but if this is unknown that could scare some fellow Steemians. Witnesses store our data, the blocks that make up the blockchain. Those in the top 20(/21) do earn Steem doing so, they get rewarded for adding a new block. A block that will have a transaction with this publication inside, or your up-vote, because you do value my work. This way every 3 seconds (!) a new block gets created. And about 4 new blocks give a reward of 1 Steem. But, in the form of Steem Power {SP}, not bad either, but like anybody else their SP it is put at Stake for 13 weeks. (There are about a hundred ready to create blocks, helping to back up the blockchain though.)

The computer hardware and internet connection has to be very powerful. Otherwise a Witness can not do its job the way it needs to, securing the blockchain, protecting us from hostile take-over attacks and so on. But, who is going to pay the bills for them? Well, the Steem they earn does, but it gets staked as Steem Power {SP}, so it is not liquid. That is why most of them Power Down {PD} on a weekly base. Then some might ask why they do that for the whole amount of Steem Power {SP} they have at Stake. That is to make sure they get a maximum possible part out after a week. Next the stop the PD and restart it as and if needed. It is simply needed to do so because bills need to be payed to be able to run a top elected Steem Community Witness.

Some changes are needed.

As we, the Steem Community, exist on a Delegated Proof Of Stake blockchain that has no ruler, no owner, no dictator, government, police and/ or army, we are bound to the task of self governance based on voluntarism. This changes, it progresses as we move along together. It means that we have to be realistic about possible threats, coming from the outside. And we only have 'code is law' to help us with that. Some things have to change as they have proven to be a backdoor for Trojan horses for those who want to enforce a (hostile) take-over. This threat is still real. And I do see freezing accounts, of (possible) attackers, as a legitimate consensus defense mechanism, it is better to find a lasting solution.

For instance only being able to vote for 15 Witnesses, at the most. To lower the risk of all of a sudden 20 zombie witnesses appearing out off nothing, trying to take over our blockchain. Whatever reason an entity behind such an attack might claim to do so, I'd rather see it prevented from happening again, ever. And some do let themselves be fooled easily by statements about private property, as being more sacred than the evil that might be done with it. That can become an endless discussion and does not solve anything, so that is why I would propose measurements that prevent any entity from taking governance under its control. It is better to prevent than to heal afterwards.

Finally...

It seems that there has been a shift between those who want the Steem Blockchain and its unique Community to move on substantively and those who want mister Sun Y. at the helm. What would mean a swap from Steem to the Tron blockchain. Some will go there following mister Sun Y. his lead. And if that is to happen I'd state: let them go, it is their voluntary choice to make. So we can build on what we already are a part of: the Steem blockchain. It is important that we become a substantive blockchain. Meaning that it would be better if the SteemIt Incorporated controlled accounts started a complete Power Down {PD} and the private company moves out. Maybe put its focus on their Web app. But Steem becomes a substantive self governing entity, with a Community that is here voluntarily.

There are many things that could be improved. It is up to us to make it happen. Not using Amazon? About time, of course! Imagine our Witnesses adding IPFS as a module. We can do a lot more with Mana / Resource Credits. It is weird that a hostile entity can create one free account after another, draining the delegation account. Not only causing harm abusing the free delegated Steem Power {SP} for down-voting at -10%. But also making it harder for others to climb aboard. This is harming the Steem Community and its future. Apparently there is a backdoor in the system that lets such a rogue entity do its destructive thing. Why not use RC, instead of delegated SP, for new 'free' accounts. Then we could do without a mister-delegation account, for instance. So that one could PD and go.

If some want out, let them. If some state that a substantive running Steem Blockchain, cut lose from SteemIt Incorporated and mister Sun Y., can not be done, for what ever reason, then they should not disturb the ones actually doing it. In other words they are free to go with all those who want to leave to the Tron side. Personally I am strongly opposed to any involvement by mister Sun Y. and the Tron Foundation. If collaboration is going to be for things like cross-chain swaps, storing media on Bittorrent and so on, and so forth, then we can always reach out to each other and make it happen. But done as a substantive Steem blockchain.

Time is on our side, yes it is.


Unleash the Steem Lion, take charge.
txgacj.jpg
Image of lion CC0 license, courtesy of ractapopulous.

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't ziet er naar uit dat we echt genaaid zijn door @ned...

Hoop dat ze (we) er een beetje goed uit gaan komen de komende maanden!

#nl Het lijkt er op dat we flink in de aap gelogeerd zijn.

Wellicht komen we hier uiteindelijk toch sterker uit. Herrijzen als een Phoenix uit de vlammen.

According to the Bible, The Story of Gideon: On Making Choices and the Second Coming.

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