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
anyx.io 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.