The Flawed "Witnesses Started This" Argument.
It's day nine of the coup, and everyone is Fing over it. I've been "wasting" quite a bit of time making the same arguments in PAL Discord. There is some consolation in the fact that I can use those discussions to invoke proof-of-brain and get paid to think on my blog, even if the reward is currently paltry.
Do you know how many times I've heard the words, "move forward"? Get over it fam, there is no moving forward. This is a stalemate and neither side can make concessions. There is zero trust left.
The most frustrating thing about this whole ordeal is that it's a battle of centralization vs decentralization. JSun has the advantage of centralization and a united front. There is no bickering from his side. Meanwhile, getting consensus on Steem is like herding cats. A lot of people talk trash on the 20 witness DPOS model because it's centralized. To which I say... thank god it is centralized or nothing would ever get done and a situation like this would cause multiple devastating sister forks. It's the centralization of the system that will allow the community to stick together if we lose the original blockchain.
There seem to be two main sides in this argument. On the one side we have people who blame Sun for this mess, and on the other it is the witnesses fault for throwing the first stone and freezing Steemit Inc's stake.
I take offense to this reductive dichotomy.
As someone who vehemently supports the witnesses in this case, I don't think there is any possibility of presenting an unbiased argument. To me it feels like the people who are outraged about the witness's actions didn't jump on the hate train until shit hit the fan.
Everything was going pretty good while 0.22.2 was in effect and it seemed like we were going to engage in peaceful discussions with Justin Sun about the ninjamine. Once shit hit the fan a huge mob was formed looking for someone to blame. This outraged mob worked their way back from the Sybil attack via the exchanges and landed on softfork 0.22.2 as the reason this all happened. No one looked any farther back; it was 'obviously' the witnesses fault for starting this.
Where were all these people when JSun bought Steem's most vulnerable attack vector and started making statements that our coins were going to be worthless if we didn't migrate to Tron? Where were they as the witnesses scrambled to talk to him constantly but he refused? These people were not that worried about the situation. Justin Sun has money; Steem needs more funding; this will be a good thing in the long run.
What about the history of Justin Sun before he even came here? I've written about him quite a few times over the years. Spoiler alert: it's not great.
There was a mass exodus from BitTorrent when he bought them, with high ranking members implying that Sun doesn't know what he's doing and that "BitTorrent is going to melt the Tron blockchain". Also, many of the accounts that were used to attack us were created long before 0.22.2 went into effect. There's a very high chance that these events were predicted in advance by Ned. All of the evidence points to that, but somehow this is all the witnesses fault. The tunnel vision and selective memory of people who think Sun's actions are justified astound me.
What astounds me even more...
No one in this opposing camp has any respect for Steem Sovereignty. "You shouldn't have stolen Justin Sun's money" they squeal. Barring the fact that it wasn't stolen and that the witnesses have a history of not supporting forking the ninjamine to @null, to what logic are we basing the "fact" that Justin Sun legitimately owns the ninjamine?
Steemit Inc. is a corporation, and that corporation was bought legally under the laws of the United States and China. However, the ninjamine was promised to this community, so under Steem law he did not legitimately own it at all, at least not unconditionally. Even more people chime in here and say it doesn't count because we didn't code it into consensus before the purchase was made. So what? We came to consensus pretty quick and took action before any damage could be done and we could force a conversation.
Imagine having to force a conversation with the biggest whale on the platform that just bought the majority share. That is so shady.
It's sun that should have been very keen on speaking with the witnesses ASAP. That's too big of an investment to do otherwise, unless you're planning to do a quick flip and not actually invest. Sun has a rich history of being a charismatic person who can trick entire communities and generate hype for pump/dump manipulations. No no, this is the witnesses fault. They started it.
I am also very annoyed that no one will even consider that this situation is very closely linked to the Ethereum DAO hack. Oh, well it can't be like the DAO hack because Sun 'legitimately' bought the ninjamine via USA and Chinese law.
If you think that Steem is subject to the laws of another country then what are you doing here? You should powerdown and GTFO, because if that's true, we are 100% fucked. We are a borderless sovereign entity. Pointing to the laws of a different sovereign entity is against the entire spirit of crypto. If you told Bitcoin maximalists that they need to obey the laws of X country they would laugh you out of the damn room. We are the country. We make the laws.
Code is not law.
As we can see from the DAO hack, the vast majority of users supported 'stealing' their money back from a user that manipulated the current rules of the system to funnel other people's money into his own pocket. This was not acceptable, so a new community consensus was forged to correct the situation. Ethereum Classic has very little support and hosts a floundering community in comparison to Ethereum. Anyone who sides with Sun's chain (if it comes to that) will find themselves in the same position (probably worse actually).
Paying a King's ransom to a known criminal.
Just give him his money back!
Let me be very clear: nobody owns anything without consensus. Not in crypto, not in the real world. The people in charge must agree that you own something before you own it. If your government says you don't own something, then you don't. If your bank account get's frozen, no laws have been broken (usually).
The witnesses have broken no laws. They created a law that froze the ninjamine because the network was under extreme threat. To say that what they did was illegal would be like saying it's illegal to flush your toilet after 10 PM. After all, this is the law in Switzerland, therefore it is the law everywhere, right? You can't break a law if you're the one in charge of making them. The irony of this argument is palpable.
Meanwhile, Justin Sun has broken laws in multiple countries and, more importantly, he has broken the laws of our great nation of Steem. By hacking exchanges and using investor funds to meta attack the investment itself... it's really just an unprecedented legendary turn of events. Yet here were are. Steem slapped Sun in the face, he turns around and guns us down the in the street, and onlookers are like:
Well you shouldn't have slapped him; deserved.
It isn't the witnesses vs Sun. It's Steem consensus, the very sovereignty of our entire nation, against one individual.
He has to obey the laws of every country he operates in, in addition to our laws. He has failed on all counts, and we are doing just fine. Steem does not, and can not obey the laws of another nation. We are borderless, so it's actually impossible to avoid overlap of contradictory laws of all the nations that Steem operates in (not that we would want to anyway).
Just because Steem is a small Podunk chain, no one respects our sovereignty, not even its own community apparently. I find this highly alarming. We are not a subset of United States law like so many people seem to believe. I think things would be different if we had a much bigger market cap (and maybe even our own military).
Make no mistake, many these borderless communities will eventually be forced to create a physical military to defend themselves (or so I believe). Such will be the case when city-states are formed to combine the governance of the digital world into physical space. When this happens, people will look back at times like this and laugh that we were so willing to allow a criminal a seat at the negotiation table.
Hypocrisy of free market idealism and censorship resistance vs indentured servitude.
I am incredibly disappointed that the same people, that came to crypto to build and get away from financial subjugation, are so willing to jump back into the invisible chains of modern slavery.
The idealism of censorship resistance and free-market capitalism do not apply here. If that's what you want, go back to Bitcoin. Their governance model is simple enough to accommodate those ideals. Meanwhile, DPOS is more complex and open to a slew of new attack vectors. Plugging the holes requires a realist perspective.
Justin Sun wants to rule us. He wants to lord over us and use the ninjamine to keep us under his thumb for as long as possible. The people here that want to give him what he wants because they think he is owed... man... I did not come here for this.
It doesn't matter what you/I want.
Don't forget, this is a republic. The witnesses are our elected politicians. No matter what they say they are going to do, they can do whatever they want in the moment. They might be risking their position as top witness, but I know if I was a top witness and I had the chance to fork Sun's stake to @null right now, I would take it in a heartbeat. At the same time, I would be lying about my intentions just to smooth things over until the deed was done. Welcome to politics.
I know that if the ninjamine gets deleted, there is no way a new set of witnesses would get elected to bring it back. Sun has transformed the ninjamine from an asset that could have been useful to the network, to a 100% liability that is actively attacking the network and making us weak. We should all be thanking him for giving us a free pass to delete it. The decentralization of coin distribution we would gain from such an event is massive.
F bid bots.
Let me be very clear, I believe every witness involved with bid-bots was actively exploiting the community via the easily gamed rules of the trending tab. Again it doesn't matter. We were defending ourselves and now we're being gunned down in the streets. We've gotten into a position where we don't get to nitpick. Support the real witnesses or you are an enemy to the network. This is just like America's two party system: "vote for the lesser evil". Yeah, it sucks, but once it's over we can go back to being cool again. Ascending the ranks to top 20 witness is not difficult if you are actually bringing more value to the network than the rest of the witnesses. The system is not broken, and there are plenty of other ways to generate value here without being a witness.
The Korean community does not realize that their actions are wholly unacceptable. They want to make demands at a time like this? They say they care about token price while putting the entire network at risk to perpetuate this charade? They say they want downvotes eliminated which again destroys the long-term value of the network? These short-sighted political maneuvers... I just don't even have the words.
The world has been breeding slaves and masters since before we were born. Don't be a slave; Don't be a master. Crypto allows us to break free. Stop negotiating with terrorists.
There is nothing to even negotiate. Sun is a broken record. He needs quick powerdowns to make the banks solvent and to obfuscate his stake to said exchanges so we can no longer freeze it. He wants such quick powerdowns that it would break the entire network and even ruin account recovery (not that Steemit's account recovery is even operational right now).
He does not want these things for the network, he wants them for personal gain. How are we indulging these meetings? Make no mistake, this is a hostage situation. We don't owe him anything, but we might have to take a deal out of pure preservation. Personally I don't see that happening because there is no deal to be made, as has been made obvious from 10+ hours of circular discussion.
In less than 13 weeks, Sun isn't even going to care about a quick powerdown. The time it would take to program and test the stability of the hardfork is longer than the powerdown. He doesn't actually care about removing downvotes either, he is just pandering to the Korean community looking to scoop their swing vote. The Koreans want a higher token value. If Sun keeps buying coins the Korean's will side with us at the right time and make him buy even more coins. Quite the gambit they have going there.
If you think the witnesses are at fault here, you are out of your element. We have been hijacked by a known criminal and are 'negotiating' for our very sovereignty. Unfortunately the disconnect of users that aren't putting in 12 hours a day to fix this situation is leading them to believe that the witnesses got us into this mess. If you're looking for someone to blame, look at how primitive our infrastructure is. Rome wasn't built in a day.