There's no doubt in my mind that Steem needs more investors. We need content creators investing their time, we need wealthy people investing their money in steem and steem projects, we need devs investing their skillset/time, and we need business people running the whole show so the talent can stay focused on their specialty.
One major form of investment we need is to get more people buying and powering up Steem! That's how we all moon!
When it comes to Steem Power it's not as simple as rewards and earning though. Steem Power is tied to governance and security. When you power up you are given power over the direction of the chain. When the power down time is long it means you have to stay focused on long term objectives of the chain. If the power down time is short you don't have to care about the long term survival of the chain. You can be interested in just a quick profit rather than sustainable development!
Short Power Down Threats
One obvious one is phished accounts. When it's too short people won't have time to recover funds. Gandalf and others have done a better job than I could explaining that use case on the steemitblog post and I wholeheartedly agree.
Additionally, groups like exchanges don't pose a threat now, but under different circumstances they could. Right now they are kept from powering up a crap ton of steem because if the unstable crypto market happens to go berserk and they have to give everyone Steem back a 13 week waiting period will put them out of business. If it's a day they can power up, vote witnesses with other people's money, and hard fork whatever suits their purpose. This would be bad. It's also crypto, so I wouldn't be shocked if it happened!!!
I could see a hedge fund or just some rich btc whale coming in, buying up a bunch of stake, making bullshit changes or voting themselves in to rape the sps, the content rewards, witness rewards, or whatever else they can manage.
So, I'm not a fan at all of making on chain governance as simple as spend money for a day and do whatever you want. That's why I don't support the proposal as it stands now.
Benefits of a shorter time
That said, the point that the proponents are making it a good and valid point!
I understand and agree that long power down times decrease the liklihood of investors coming into the space. Crypto is risky enough and 3 months has already had an 80% loss. I get that's unacceptable, and it's a little terrifying to hold Steem that long in a market like this. So, I'm open to exploring something that suits investors better.
So, a better compromise to me than shortening the power down time to 4 weeks is to give Steem in a savings account the ability to participate in rewards but not governance. (I was reminded of this by the @joshman comment on the last steemitblog post). The recharge time is 5 days now. So, I would increase the powerdown time in savings to a minimum of 5 days so there aren't voting exploits. There is a small percentage of inflation that goes to accounts that stake steem rather than have it unstaked. I would make the savings account eligible to receive a normal or slightly weaker inflation rate.
In this way it would act a little closer to delegated steem power rather than your own steem power. You could vote. You could apply rewards. You could retrieve it quickly. You can influence trending, so you can essentially buy advertising influence on the chain with it. But!!! when you vote for witnesses or SPS proposals it's not counted because they aren't full voting vests.
I think this would offer the investors and speculators more incentive to Save Up rather than Power Up, which still locks coins up, but also doesn't come with the inherent risks of having people with no long term interests in the platform able to buy up stake and mess with the core of the chain and leave. It's also a faster power down time than the 4 weeks proposed so hopefully it has a greater impact on the problem they're trying to solve.
While I hear that forcing people to stay invested is a prison sentence I like to think of it more like a defensive mechanism. It's a safety precaution for the chain. It's like a moat or a big wall. Yes, it could be breached or crossed. It's not impenetrable, but it does provide a reasonable measure of safety that the people who are powering up are doing so for the long term viability of the project rather than any scam or quick payout especially at the expense of all other token holders.
The moat does prevent people from getting in and spending money to gain influence on the network, which is equivalent to purchasing advertising influence, but again I think that could be relieved by treating savings account steem the same way we do delegated steem.
Burning to power down
I also support the idea that you could power down your stake to get it faster. I wouldn't say instantly, but maybe a 1 week powerdown if you're willing to burn 5-10%. It's optional. So, no one is forced to do it. Right now I doubt anyone would, but when you're at the top of the next bull run and seeing how bears take the elevator rather than the stairs you might be willing to pay 5-10%. Or maybe you have a family emergency and grandma needs some surgery. Ok, take your steem out immediately.
This again provides some of the relief that an investor may need to see without the threat caused by super short power down times.
Anyway, I support the intent, here's a compromise approach, and let's see where it goes
I still don't think we should jam this into the SMT hardfork, but maybe 3-12 months later we can put this in that hardfork. To me it doesn't look like an obvious winner especially with some of the largest platform whales chiming in against it.
That doesn't mean the need isn't important. I agree it is important. I think there's a better way to do it. It doesn't have the same level of immediate gratification, but doesn't expose us to the same risks.
On many hardforks
The option has been raised to just do many smaller hardforks. I used to be a proponent of this. Then I watched an exchange go down for months due to a hardfork and stopped thinking rapid hardforks are a good plan. 6-12 months I think are ideal. Maybe 3 months if there's something super awesome and easy. Longer times between hardforks does require multiple things get shoved in, which I agree is less beneficial than testing individual variables, but to me it's not worth the exchange risk.
I'm not sure what comes after SMTs, but let's move powerdown and save up discussions to the one after it.
As a witness I'm doing whatever I can to make it easy for businesses and communities to form here and find tools to make them successful. Splinterlands is an amazing show case for how Steem can serve the needs of blockchain games. Steem-Engine is paving the way in regards to how token creation and NFT creation coupled with website creation can power your own digital publishing platform and soon you'll see how it can power your own digital storefront! I work on the Steem Foundation to help promote folks doing good work (more details soon). I support the development of keychain so we have common tools. I work on PALnet to help this community have a communication hub.
If that sounds good to you please vote for @aggroed. You can do that easily through Steem Keychain!