Thoughts on recent witnesses discussion with Tron's representative, RoysteemCreated with Sketch.

in #steem10 months ago

First of all, thanks @ausbitbank for recording the witnesses meeting with Roy Liu from Tron. I took time to listen to the discussion, the recording was almost 3 hours long and I had to skip through some parts of it.

Roy from Tron seemed to be very focus on just 1 thing in this discussion, which is to bail the exchanges (Binance, Huobi and Poloniex) that helped voted for the puppet witnesses out. As I previously mentioned, those exchanges powered up STEEM into SP to vote and now they are regretting it because there is a 13 weeks power down period and they now face a liquidity squeeze.

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A few observations I made in this discussion. First, people outside the Steem community really do not understand the blockchain well. This can be seen by the fact that the exchanges powered up without knowing that their users' funds will be locked for 13 weeks.

In addition, Roy implied that the exchanges are not powering down as we speak because they fear that the witnesses can do a hardfork to freeze the exchanges' funds. This fear is relatively unfounded for a couple of reasons, to trigger a successful hard fork, you need at least 17 of the top witnesses spots.

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In addition, the witnesses had time and again explained that once an account started to power down, there is no way to reverse it. So clearly, a lack of understanding of the Steem blockchain by the outside world is hindering progress of this negotiation.

The second observation I made is that there is a clash of ideologies. Centralization vs decentralization. Roy repeatedly mentioned about veto rights and talked about achieving a quick way to power down as if there is a backdoor to configure it easily. I think this is stemmed from cultural differences in China based projects versus those from the Western world. We all know that the China way of governance is about full centralization of power and the central government has the ultimate say. While the western world wishes to believe otherwise.

I do not believe that there is a perfect government or governance model. I think it all boils down to personal preference. And personal preferences are influenced by the people we grow up with, the environment and many other factors. The problem with the current world is that many of us do not get a choice of government. We are born into a country and usually stuck with whatever we have. Hence, some get what we want while many others don't.

So over in this discussion, Tron represents more centralization and Steem represents decentralization. When there is a clash of ideologies, it just makes things more complicated.

The last observation I made was that Roy can be better prepared. I think Roy does not seem to be very technical, particularly in blockchain development. And because there is trust issue in the first place, Roy seemed to view the witnesses claims with skepticism. The fact is deploying a hardfork takes a very long time and requires a ton of testing. Steem is not a centralized database where an administrator can just go in and change things readily.

I think Roy should get someone more technical to join the next discussion. It will be great if this person had taken some time to read up Steem's codebase and understand how the blockchain works.

Another point on Roy's readiness is that he is helping the exchanges to fight for faster powering down time but yet he cannot represent the exchanges and make decisions for them. So it will be great if there are representatives from the exchanges to join in the discussion. This was also pointed out by a few witnesses (e.g. @lukestokes.mhth and @themarkymark). So Roy from Tron, in the unlikely even that you are reading this post, I hope you will be better prepared for the next discussion.


Some ideas moving forward

I think clearly at the top of Roy's mind is just to bail the exchanges out and solve the liquidity squeeze issues. The immediate thing that exchanges can do is to start powering down. If there is still fear, they can initiate powering down of half of their current SP. They will still have a ton of voting power and prevent a hard fork which they so fear, while relieving them from the liquidity issues one week later.

The witnesses can probably give a proper estimate on how long it will take if we do entertain the idea of a hardfork to bail the exchanges out and the risks involved. Let Roy do a cost-benefit analysis so that he can do a proper report to Justin Sun and the exchanges. If the time needed to do a hardfork is going to take more than 13 weeks then it simply does not make sense to arrange a hardfork for this purpose.

Roy should get a technical person plus the exchanges' representatives in for the next discussion. There are certain decisions to be made and it is probably too much for Roy to decide on the spot. He needs more help. So do yourself a favor, Roy, and get yourself the necessary support in the next discussion.

I think we are seeing some progress already and in this next discussion, with the right parties in it, I am pretty hopeful that there will be some concrete action plans.


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Time is on the Steem side. The longer the exchanges wait, the more pressure on Sun to hammer out a solution. It also means he has to wait longer to get back his investment.

Also, if the exchanges liquidate, then all the witnesses with Steem on the exchanges can power up to further consolidate power. It’s a beautiful stalemate.

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I kind of disagree with you @shainemata

Time is neither on steem side or Justin side. Time is against both parties. And let's hope that witnesses will not push Justin into decision to finally give up on this investment and cut costs.

It’s a beautiful stalemate.

for the first time steem really seem to be a bit decentralized :P

for the first time steem really seem to be a bit decentralized

Well, not really. This whole mess is happening exactly because this never was a decentralized system.

It was always "whoever got the most money control the chain"

The threath of exchanges using client funds to do something like this was always there, but it kind of a common sense that, because of the 13 week power down, it would be something really stupid for exchanges to do. Yes, they would control the chain, but they would risk locking up their clients funds for a long time.

It's a move that is so... stupid in a business sense, that no one even considered that this would happen.

Now, there is a huge possibility to learn here, and make changes on the code to improve the governance system (wonder why we never saw the witnessess much interested in this.... hum....).

Witnessess just need to lick their wounds, and start to negotiate with Justin like grown ups.

After that, there is a lot of ideas of governance improvements posted on Steemit already, starting with how the witnessess are elected.

Now, there is a huge possibility to learn here, and make changes on the code to improve the governance system (wonder why we never saw the witnessess much interested in this.... hum....).

Fully agree to this

Yea, interesting stalemate. It is beneficial to STEEM price at least for the very near term

Steemit is a Representative Republic run by an Oligarchy, just like America. It is not decentralized, nor can it be as it currently is. The Oligarchy is allowed to rule through weighted stake voting. My vote does nothing and one whale vote is equal to thousands of plankton votes.

Fair point. There are varying degrees of decentralization. Steem is not perfect but it is at least more decentralized than 1 party/entity ruling them all

But one party can rule if it wants at any time.

Steem is modelled after the U.S. Representative Republic ruled by an Oligarchy. It is no more decentralized than America, which is not at all.

Hi @culgin

I was wondering if it's worth listening to entire 3h and I kind of gaved up. Wish there would be some 'highlight' from this meeting which I could view :P

I've already heard that Tron representative cared mostly about issue with exchanges and those from opposite team were focusing on putting blame and pointing a finger at Justin. Was it true?

In addition, Roy implied that the exchanges are not powering down as we speak because they fear that the witnesses can do a hardfork to freeze the exchanges' funds.

That would be extreme hostile behaviour and I can only hope that witnesses will not escalate conflict to such a terrible degree.

The second observation I made is that there is a clash of ideologies. Centralization vs decentralization

I found it interesting to see that so many people consider steem being decentralized. So far it has been fully centralized by one ruling party. Just like democratic country with 20 main politicians who are all from one team. I would say that currently we're witnessing some sort of decentralization for the very first time.

Upvoted already, enjoy your weekend,
Yours, Piotr

Thanks my friend. The key debates in the video is covered in this post, so there is really no need for you to listen to it :)

I've already heard that Tron representative cared mostly about issue with exchanges and those from opposite team were focusing on putting blame and pointing a finger at Justin. Was it true?

Yes, the rep is really just focused on powering down the the powered up STEEM by the exchanges. The witnesses came from all different angles. Largely, their stand is that they do not want to risk a hardfork for because the exchanges screwed up by powering up users' deposits. However, I do not think they are hostile, they are just being firm.

I found it interesting to see that so many people consider steem being decentralized. So far it has been fully centralized by one ruling party. Just like democratic country with 20 main politicians who are all from one team. I would say that currently we're witnessing some sort of decentralization for the very first time.

Care to explain what do you mean by it has been centralized by one ruling party? Do you mean that the prior elected witnesses before Tron came in are from one entity/party? Any references to back this claim? Thanks!

Hello @culgin

Roy should get a technical person plus the exchanges' representatives in for the next discussion.

I have no doubt that this should be the case, when an area that is so delicate and involves so many people and lives is unknown, one should be responsible. This leaves a lot to say about them (the people of Tron), and what I see is that they don't seem to have a knowledge of how the steemit.com community works, I recommend that they be soaked and advised to win the goodwill of us and of all.

I consider it appropriate to "reconcile", for me it is the key to this negotiation and future changes. It is necessary to reach a neutral point between both ideas and start from there to file differences, this depends on the future of all.

Yes. Find a common ground and progress from there. This is the fundamental of effective negotiation. The 3 hour discussion could easily be covered under 1 hour. Hope the next meeting will be more efficient

As much as I do not claim to know much the blockchain and steemit, I am still of the opinion that the witnesses did not have the right to disrupt the activities of a person who just invested his hard earned money into a project, it is believed that they are fighting for the community but it looks more like they are fighting for the power they hold (my honest opinion though, not taking sides).

Again, I am not commenting on the right or wrong. One thing leads to another. In a war, the victor gets to write history, that is all I can say. The only thing I am truly upset about in this fiasco is that exchanges are powering up users' deposits without prior seeking permission. This is a breach of trust.

Alright, I get your point now. Cheers

Congratulations @culgin! You received a personal award!

Look's like you do not like Justin. Did you really downvote him?

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts @culgin

Resteem and upvote on the way.

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