It's Time to Decentralize

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. I personally just got off a 24 hour plane ride, dropping into a quarantined city. It is a stressful time for many of us.

These last few weeks on Steem have been historic. You may not have agreed with the temporary availability limit of the utility of the Steemit Inc dev fund. But you should certainly understand now, that that decision was enacted in attempt to stop the exact situation that immediately followed -- autocratic centralized control over the system.

A lot has happened since. As others have already explained, and most of you all have witnessed it first hand, I won't dive into those details. What matters now is how we proceed.

The Community Matters

A long time ago in Steem, we had a very contentious hardfork: HF 17. I had posted my thoughts on it here, and ended the note with my opinions on the political situation. With Steemit Inc. employees (@ned) swaying governance -- even lightly -- the ability to oppose the hard fork was difficult. After suggesting we consider the ramifications of that hard fork, I was voted out of my witness position by @ned, which I wrote about here.

During this era, the community rallied against the use of Steemit Inc. stake to influence governance on Steem. The community convinced Steemit employees to avoid voting on governance. However, the Steemit Inc. stake as well as the dev fund, still had the power to control the chain whenever they wished. In Canadian corporate law, we have a notion of de facto and de jure control considerations, which means that their ability to unilaterally control the system -- regardless of their applied use of that control or not -- implies that they are in fact the sole controlling entity and owner of that system.

Despite our community voice, we have continued down the path of de-facto Steemit Inc. control. Over the past few years, we all pretended to be a decentralized system, and @ned let us play in the sandbox, so long as we stayed within the boundaries.

Under new hands, this control Steemit had was applied again -- and this time in total force. The community response was able to garner enough support together to oppose total centralized control and enter a stalemate, showing a clear sign: the community we have here is the true value of this system.

The Importance of Decentralization

When we think about decentralization, many often think of "no single point of failure". Recently, @jesta made excellent commentary here in regards to our current situation, as well as the decentralization of a DPOS system. One quote I really like is the following; "should a token holder controlling enough stake in a DPOS system be allowed to eliminate the system?"

In my opinion, the situation today is even more clear. When it's not even a regular token holder, but the controller of the dev fund -- intended to promote the growth of the system -- is used to enact total autocratic control over the system, with intent to destroy or migrate it, that system no longer is functioning as a decentralized community driven one.

I have written a lot about decentralization in the past. Two posts worth a read are here:

It is important to understand that a system that is centralized has no reason to use a DLT or a blockchain. These systems are designed with "anti-trust" in mind -- I do not have to trust you to interact with you in a trustable way, so long as the system remains secure. With an autocratic dev fund, and an iron grip on governance installing puppets and pawns, this system has failed. Like a failed state, this is a failed chain. This is not something worth continuing to support.

My Infrastructure Shift

A system is only as good as the resources backing it. Running one of the largest API nodes by volume, I know my infrastructure is important for the continuation of this community.
You can read more about my infrastructure in the SPS proposal post here.

After the airdrop, all infrastructure will be pointing towards the new Hive blockchain.

I am not a fan of politics. This is not a choice I make lightly. But I have no interest in supporting a system that is centralized.

I am also not tribalistic. As an academic, I enjoy discussing systems and their properties. It is no secret that I am also a core member of @greymass, which is block producer and supporter of many EOSIO chains. Greymass also recently said we would help advise the ex-Steemit Inc developers as they discuss their future plans. I will personally continue to avoid politics and give advice wherever I can about how to create a decentralized, distributed, cryptographically secure system.

Yet, as Justin Sun has hostilely taken over Steem, there is no reason for myself to continue supporting this system. As Steem departs from a decentralized model, my last parting academic advice is as follows:

I encourage those remaining on Steem to shift their underlying system over to a traditional database in postgres or RocksDB, colocated within a single datacenter, to improve performance and reduce latency. Using DLT for a centralized system is like using a spoon to shovel dirt. Know the purpose of the technology you are using.

It's Time to Decentralize

Now, the choice is in your hands.

Hive will truly be run by the community. No longer will you have to appeal to a centralized entity or authority to propose or implement changes to the system. You must convince the members of the system itself.

This new system will have its positives and its negatives for sure, but I know I have personally been held back on my own desires because of the centralized nature of this chain. Without a single entity that can shut down your voice, this system will have the ability -- good or bad as that is -- to run in a purely decentralized way. Yet, without a dev fund, we will have to rely on each other. We can use the new proposal system to, together, in a decentralized way, build our new home. This new home will be what we make of it.

It will be a long road to solve problems in the system we are inheriting. There will be growing pains. But if you believe -- truly believe -- in taking steps towards decentralized future, this is the step we must now take.

I hope you will take it with me.

Learn more about Hive here. More information to come soon; many of us have been working hard and will continue to do so to make this launch successful.

Comments 75

It's pretty amazing that this community has reached the point where we can cast off the company who founded our blockchain and go our own way without them. You have been a big part of that. Thanks for all you have done to reduce the abuse of the blockchain. It was a pleasure to meet you in Krakow. Onwards and upwards to Hive!

18.03.2020 20:55

It was great meeting you too! I totally agree. It's hectic, it's crazy, but it's also very exciting.
And don't worry, hive will be watched :)

18.03.2020 21:02

We grew up and moved out of the house lol.

19.03.2020 02:28

Best analogy

19.03.2020 02:34

Thanks Cartoon Metaphor Man. Rick & Morty is one of the best cartoons out there.

19.03.2020 05:41

History in the making! I would like to see a list of who is moving over including which dApps.

19.03.2020 08:53

Various people are posting updates on this including @pennsif. It looks like most are moving, but Steemmonsters are not for now. It depends on how much they actually rely on the blockchain. I think s some will still be working out their plans as it's developing s so quickly. See you on Hive.

19.03.2020 09:12

I already moved there...

19.03.2020 11:45

Hive is the great alternative to the steem community, I will see you in next level. Hive all the ways πŸ’“πŸ’―πŸ™πŸ’“πŸ™πŸ’“

Posted using Partiko Android

18.03.2020 20:59

Lately I become an avid reader.
So many good points you elaborate.
I see the community is alive in your post.
Bumpy road is a sure thing and HIVE will approach it with both arms.

18.03.2020 21:25

Steem hive.png

18.03.2020 21:26


19.03.2020 02:30

This really brings the focus to a point most of us didn't really feel until now. There was this major dark shadow in the background and it had a massive influence on everything.

18.03.2020 21:28

i'm in.

18.03.2020 21:29


18.03.2020 21:34

Thanks for what you are doing, highly appreciate it!

18.03.2020 21:49

Those are wheighty words. Thank you! Let's work towards a great future on Hive.

18.03.2020 21:50

Hi @anyx , because it contains some important information about the migration to HIVE, if you aprove I could translate this post to Spanish as well.

18.03.2020 21:58


18.03.2020 22:04

@anyx here your translated article:

Llego la hora de descentralizar

19.03.2020 03:06

Sure is exciting times! πŸ’ͺ✊ All the best to you and yours during this complex time. πŸ‘

18.03.2020 22:03

Great thoughts. Governance in the shadows of Ned. Maybe this is the time to look for synergies between blockchain governance and network based governance. Here’s a first glimpse on what is been discussed in the spheres of political science. Could help here in building hive.

Posted using Partiko iOS

18.03.2020 22:07

I am also not tribalistic. As an academic, I enjoy discussing systems and their properties.

I know it's not the time now, because you are busy moving your infrastructure to HIVE. But when you do, if you could have a read and share your thoughts?

18.03.2020 22:11

Using a form of reputation to enhance influence has been definitely on my radar as a potential mitigation, though the current rep system we have is not suitable for this for a myriad of reasons. I'll definitely get back to you later with some more thoughts!

18.03.2020 22:23

Thank you @anyx! Much appreciated!

18.03.2020 22:33

Interesting idea. I agree with the other comments that accurately determining reputation is the hard part. For example, post rewards have a difficult time actually determining valuable content... I feel like we can't solve rep until we solve this problem first.

19.03.2020 00:06

I have long thought that implementing something inspired by a 2nd price auction for rewards in conjunction with a superlinear rewards curve (to discourage stake-splitting) would go a long way towards solving the valuation problem.

Unlike today's system where a voter can maximize curation rewards by voting at maximum strength, an algorithm inspired by a 2nd price auction could drive high-powered voters to self-limit their own voting strength to accurately match the perceived value that they place on a post. Otherwise, they'd wind up wasting their voting power.

Among other places, I wrote about that in Simulating a Steem curation rewards distribution that is modeled after a 2nd price auction

19.03.2020 02:18

Thank you for my new home! Hive on!

18.03.2020 22:24

Oftentimes, the end of one chapter just means the beginning of a new one. This is going to be awesome.

18.03.2020 22:29

My world is being broken down into little fragmented pieces right now, what is happening lol

18.03.2020 22:34

This is another source of great confidence in the steps of the new project, to count with your knowledge, expertise and great resources to support the new blockchain is awesome news. I hope the best for you all in this new endeavor, we are preparing for a brighter future.
My admiration and best regards, @Anyx!!

18.03.2020 22:41

How do you benefit from the fork? Will all steem users automatically benefit or is there a certain exchange they must join? How do you make sure you benefit from the fork please?
PS-I am not against vaccines, I am pro-choice. My body my choice!

18.03.2020 22:50

You only need to login in Hive when it's live with your Steem keys. All the information in your Steem wallet will be there in Hive. Once Hive is on, your publications will be in Steem or Hive depending where you decide to publish. Your steem wallet remains intact for you to decide what to do!

18.03.2020 22:56

Disagreements on rewards, although I like your efforts for the chain and your API node.

18.03.2020 22:54

As you should if you disagree. The option to do so I totally support -- downvotes are crucial for consensus!

18.03.2020 23:07

update API docs please. no idea how to broadcast a transaction correctly... this is what i try and it doesnt work... cannot decentralize without propper API docs

curl -s --data "{'expiration': '2020-03-18T21:55:39', 'ref_block_num': 24297, 'ref_block_prefix': 3227590836, 'operations': [['vote', {'voter': 'maxsieg', 'author': 'gtg', 'permlink': 'stop-playing-around-vote-for-real-steem-witnesses', 'weight': 10000}]], 'extensions': [], 'signatures': ['postingkey']}"

im building a terminal frontend that can run over tor network

18.03.2020 23:07

From what you've posted.. are you actually including a valid signature? If you just have 'postingkey' in that place it won't be a valid transaction.

Most people use a library to do the ECDSA. I suggest dSteem. Or soon to be dHive? :)

If you need more help, I suggest joining one of the many community discords and jumping in a dev channel. I'm sure it will be easier to get live support there.

19.03.2020 18:18

thank you! ye i tried the dev community but i was just put into the python section and thats it...
it sucks that for dhive i get this
it has similar colors to the hive colors therealwolfposted XD
imma follo a bit this post to try n understand all this
im glad to know the problem lies with the signature, now just need to figure out how to get the right signature XD

19.03.2020 18:37

As always a clear statement. Thank you.

18.03.2020 23:11

Exciting times ahead, its been 4 crazy years in antiabuse, I look forward to what you have in mind for various antibuse initiatives to work together in Hive so as to make it squeaky clean and no longer a whack a mole eternal deja-vu.

18.03.2020 23:23

Great summary and historical archive. I'm glad will be pointing to the hive blockchain. You've put a lot of work into a solid infrastructure. ... here we go!

18.03.2020 23:33

It's the best time in Steem right now, the ones that quit or idle on or before and even after this time are gonna regret not being part of this journey.

Kudos to all you who are working hard in building the Hive!

18.03.2020 23:36

On my wayyy!!!!


18.03.2020 23:49


19.03.2020 02:27


19.03.2020 09:48

Great post. I'm also an academic and appreciate the plentiful links in your post. This was a bit of a history lesson for me regarding HF17.

No longer will you have to appeal to a centralized entity or authority to propose or implement changes to the system. You must convince the members of the system itself.

But won't there still be major token distribution issues following the chain split on Hive? My understanding was that there are several whales with a large portion of stake. And many of these whales are not quite as reasoned as you... and perhaps are prone to acting in a flippant or callow manner? Other entities besides Steemit received substantial stake from PoW mining, right?

I'm excited for Hive. Just wondering whether it's really sufficient to decentralize the DPoS governance and remove any detrimental whales.

19.03.2020 00:02

This is huge. Your API is one of the de-facto best out there, so to have you onboard Hive is a huge boost.

Thank you for your work

19.03.2020 01:08

You've personally done a better job behind the scenes of keeping the chain up than STINC.

Thank you for that. I look forward to joining the community on Hive.

19.03.2020 01:45

I'm definitely in on this move... the pervasive subtext of never knowing whether or not Steemit would "pull rank" at any one moment to get THEIR way has always made me a little nervous...

19.03.2020 01:55

I love your spoon shovel metaphor.

19.03.2020 02:26

Thanks for this post. I was actually awaiting to see a post from you. Many people trust your nodes more than any other nodes. Your service to the community has always been inevitable. See you on Hive. πŸ˜€

19.03.2020 03:25

I encourage those remaining on Steem to shift their underlying system over to a traditional database in postgres or RocksDB, colocated within a single datacenter, to improve performance and reduce latency. Using DLT for a centralized system is like using a spoon to shovel dirt.


That spoon cant shovel dirt but it sure can take alot of salt!

19.03.2020 04:37

Will there be a company behind hive? how will it cover the expenses?

19.03.2020 05:44

It will be run by the community. Expenses will be covered by the proposal system!

19.03.2020 18:20

Nice to know. <3

19.03.2020 07:56

Very good news.

19.03.2020 07:57

" to create a decentralized, distributed, cryptographically secure system."

One word in particular piqued my interest: distributed. As censorship burgeons on the internet, seemingly increasing it's reach and grasp daily, and now has taken on existential threat to the public with the WHO pressuring centralized social media platforms to prevent information regarding pandemic from being promulgated by unofficial sources, the threat posed by ISPs, registrars, and infrastructure providers becomes more potentially disruptive as disaffected users seek alternatives to the propaganda echo chambers social media platforms have become.

Lies and censorship are becoming life threatening when facts about potentially fatal disease wreaking havoc globally are kept from the public, and disinformation posted in it's place. When Hive goes live, no matter how censorship resistant the platform itself is, it can be prevented from being a vector of factual information by service providers that cut the platform itself off.

For a while now financial service mechanisms like Visa, Patreon, and Paypal have been used to censor dissent, and registrars have done the same, albeit in fewer cases. ISPs have cut people off too.

In addition to decentralized governance and the trustless code of a sound DLT, free people need a route for their voices to reach each other that banksters and government censors can't shut off. Having read much more of your history and efforts to increase decentralization just today, and now reading your comment regarding distributed social media platforms, I am definitely hearing a whisper of that greater potential to resist censorship.

Is it possible that users themselves can be nodes, and torrent chain data instead of relying on centralized servers and their providers that have the power of autocratic overlords?

Could we, like protestors in despotic countries have, connect to the internet itself through mesh networks that ISPs can't shut off?

The fact is that powerful corporations have been seeking to increase their control of all narratives, lying to us, and preventing the truth from being told, and this is horribly increasing our vulnerability to a rapidly expanding pandemic today.

The enemedia lies, and civilization dies.

Hive is a good step in the right direction. We may very soon need more resistance to censorship than the platform itself can provide. If your node goes down for some reason, or governments force ISPs to not resolve our node's addys (as New Zealand did after Christchurch to Kiwifarms), or registrars remove us (as happened to Stormfront), we're going to be helpless - and silenced.

What's the way forward?


19.03.2020 08:27
0 matter how censorship resistant the platform itself is, it can be prevented from being a vector of factual information by service providers that cut the platform itself off.

Saying that for years to friends and family already, 'cause it is one of the biggest problem we have already over here in Europe...

19.03.2020 12:18

All or the recent actions only motivate to believe in this even more. Autocratic, you wrote it. Looking at other project without trying to compare, we just underwent a huge revolution unprecedented in the space. I guess we are paving the way to true decentralization right here when it comes to DPOS?

Posted using Partiko iOS

19.03.2020 09:07

!giphy the time is now

Posted using Partiko Android

19.03.2020 11:04

giphy is supported by witness untersatz!

19.03.2020 11:04

I’m already there ....


19.03.2020 11:45

Let's hope HIVE turns out better than Steem ever was! Together we can achieve it!

19.03.2020 13:25

19.03.2020 15:47

I have watched over the years hearing about decentralization, besides BITCOIN nothing else is decentralized people always want to have some control over their platforms, so in their mind it makes them feel that they for themselves have POWER. But some one else always has the shut down switch to press.

19.03.2020 15:53

Just in three words. Great write up

Posted using Partiko Android

19.03.2020 16:25

I feel so happy to see this day. The future is now

19.03.2020 16:40

I like this line especially

With an autocratic dev fund, and an iron grip on governance installing puppets and pawns, this is a failed chain.... This is not something worth continuing to support.

It's good to hear someone just state it like it is in clear terms.

I'm looking forward to the migration! Feels fresh.

19.03.2020 16:51

Ahh great I can use esteem for hive posts then. I use your server in esteem. 😊

19.03.2020 17:21

eSteem is coming! Though I believe there will be a rebrand in name :)

19.03.2020 18:21


19.03.2020 19:08

View or trade BEER.

Hey @anyx, here is a little bit of BEER from @eii for you. Enjoy it!

Learn how to earn FREE BEER each day by staking.

19.03.2020 19:08

thanks for the perspective.. gives me hope.

bizz-buzz on!

19.03.2020 21:50

I am with you and I am als porting all of my services over @zelegations and @steemvpn will be rebranded to the Hive community.

19.03.2020 22:41

I'm in

19.03.2020 22:59