Statement on Steem Soft Fork 0.22.2


Steem Soft Fork 0.22.2 Deployed

In light of recent events that have occurred involving the Steem blockchain, I wanted to briefly discuss the recent Steem witness actions of which I was and am a participant.

The Steem and greater crypto community is now learning about actions that were taken by Steem witnesses to help secure the Steem blockchain from potential continuity and security risks that were thrust to the forefront due to the recent sale of Steemit Inc’s majority shares.

These actions were not taken because of who purchased the company and its stake in the Steem blockchain. The actions were taken in order to ensure that the stake and tokens involved in the acquisition would remain non-voting until more information is released to the public and until prior commitments about the use of that stake have been addressed.

Due to the history of the Steem launch and the accumulation of tokens by Steemit Inc. during that period, a large amount of stake in the Steem blockchain was left in control of a single entity. Despite Steemit Inc.’s commitment to not use this stake for voting purposes on-chain, and despite holding to that commitment for the past three years, it was still at least a potential risk to the governance of Steem, particularly if that stake were to ever fall out of their control, either voluntarily or via other means.

In fact, the risk remained even if it was never relinquished because there were no on-chain actions taken by Steemit Inc. to decline their voting rights or remove/reallocate the stake even though the options were available.

For the past four years, Steemit Inc., Steem witnesses, Steem developers, and the community in general failed to adequately address the potential risks and take actions to ensure better security over Steem’s governance. The past week’s events effectively brought to fruition the potential threat and failing to address it would have left the security of the Steem blockchain in a very compromising position.

In other words, continuing to ignore this risk to Steem’s governance model would have been wholly irresponsible to Steem’s investors and users. “Good faith” agreements should never be necessary in a system of trustless protocols.

With such a potential existential threat to the continuity of the Steem blockchain, it was a bit comforting to see witnesses come together, address the risk, reach consensus on how to proceed, derive a temporary solution, and then quickly take action. By no means was this a rushed process without careful and adequate deliberation, nor was it any attempt to permanently seize any assets.The actions taken were carefully considered in order to have the smallest impact on the new ownership of the stake and to ensure that exchanges would not require an update to their nodes.

The updated code being run by certain witness nodes is neither a permanent hold against the affected accounts nor should it be interpreted as a sign of hostility by the Steem witnesses toward the account owners. On the contrary, the actions taken were simply meant to ensure the security of the Steem blockchain during a time of considerable uncertainty.

Witnesses who are running the updated code have simply opted to decline certain transactions, which is wholly within their rights as a block producer/signer. It is also wholly within anyone else’s rights to vote for whichever witnesses they want to support.

A Personal Note

The hope of the actions taken by myself as a Steem witness is to have a candid discussion about Steem’s DPoS governance and security, how it has continually been at risk due to Steem’s launch and the stake held by Steemit Inc., and with the new owners of that stake in question to ensure that prior commitments to the Steem community are considered and publicly addressed.

After four years of considerable neglect and mismanagement by Steemit Inc. leadership, I welcome new energy and investment into the Steem ecosystem. I would like to be hopeful about gaining investors and users and also about potential marketing efforts for Steem.

I would also like to be hopeful about Justin Sun and the Tron Foundation’s realization that they have acquired a rather significant stake in a phenomenal blockchain and now have a significant impact on how this blockchain proceeds - and that the opportunities to grow an autonomous and decentralized Steem blockchain are nearly endless with good leadership.

However, any hope and optimism comes with a fair amount of cautiousness, as we have very little information coming from both the Tron Foundation and Steemit Inc. since the announcement of the buyout on February 14th. I would encourage both entities to expedite their meetings and initial plans and then inform the community as quickly as possible to ensure that any fears, uncertainty, and doubt can be curtailed for the benefit of everyone involved in both the Steem and Tron blockchain ecosystems.

Amicable and productive relationships are possible but information is critical to that end.

My priority, as a Steem witness and user of its apps and social media interfaces, will always be to secure and protect the blockchain that I have been deeply involved with for the past 3.5 years. I hope that the new ownership of Steemit Inc. can respect the dedication and relationships that many of us have with each other and with/in this ecosystem and that they can respect the amount of resources and personal investment that many of us have poured into building that ecosystem over the past four years.

Please feel free to ask any questions, vote your conscience regarding your Steem witnesses (including me, @ats-witness), and/or leave any replies or statements you wish to make on this matter. Let your voice be heard, regardless of what other people may think.

Links for reference regarding previous uses of Steemit Inc.’s acquired stake in the Steem blockchain and code written for it:

Announcements and articles regarding the recent acquisition of Steemit Inc. By Justin Sun and the Tron Foundation:

Comments 29

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23.02.2020 22:45

Chaos will rise !

23.02.2020 23:09

Chaos never left!

23.02.2020 23:19

Always interesting...

24.02.2020 01:01

So what is it that you have done? frozen his accounts?

24.02.2020 01:49

Certain transactions made by Steemit Inc. accounts will essentially be ignored by those witnesses who are running version 0.22.2.

So in effect, yes, their accounts will be frozen from making those transactions.

24.02.2020 03:34

wow Thanks for your response.
And should we assume that you are 100% ok with this situation?
and who are the witnesses that supported this extreme course of action and which ones do not?

How do you feel about this ? Is it just more of he same? or does it hold more impact for you personally??

24.02.2020 04:20

I am indeed 100% in support of this and am running version 0.22.2 on my witness node. You can find many of the other witnesses on the post that is linked at the beginning of this post.

24.02.2020 04:22

You dont see any blowback from this action?

24.02.2020 04:32

I do not anticipate much. Here is Justin Sun's rather swift response:

24.02.2020 04:35

Can you imagine if some bitcoin whale account got frozen out by a similar action? Isn't this the exact opposite of what crypto is fundamentally supposed to represent?

Wouldn't it make more sense to fix the systemic issue (centralized control in the hands of 20 high-council, supreme-court, top-witnesses) somehow instead of singling out and specifically targeting individual accounts to be frozen?

24.02.2020 19:17

The issue, if it were thought to be able to fix the existential risk, would have required a hard fork...and that hard fork could have been easily blocked by the entity posing the existential risk. So it's a tricky situation to be in - and it's a situation that we did not put ourselves in.

By deploying a soft fork, we can temporarily mitigate the risk while working on a potential long-term solution. If that can be done, we can then remove the code that allows witnesses to ignore the transactions from the accounts in question, and then those accounts may continue to transact.

It's a temporary fix. It's certainly not an ideal way to address this but it's really a unique circumstance that was brought about by the original launch and the decisions made by Steemit Inc. leadership over the past four years.

24.02.2020 19:44

It sounds like the "problem" (ninjamine) was well-known for a long time, but people generally "trusted" the majority-stake-holders (and did nothing at all to fix the "problem").

If the majority-stake-holders were so "trusted" then perhaps they would have co-operated with the implementation of a true systemic fix at some point before the current "crisis".

Changing the rules to target specific accounts is BAD POLICY, and shatters my faith that steem is anything even remotely resembling a "reliable decentralized system".

24.02.2020 20:55

Yes, the problem/security risk existed and was well-known. Trust was misplaced in the previous owners. There was an attempt to discuss this openly last year and as soon as it was mentioned, the Steemit owner began powering down and moving the stake to exchanges in order to “hide” it so that they could continue circumventing previous self-imposed obligations to the community and continue being an actual threat to decentralization.

The fact that a large consensus of independent witnesses came together to finally address this security risk from a centralized entity shatters your faith in decentralization? That doesn’t make much logical sense to me, seeing as how the actions taken were taken in order to ensure that decentralization of Steem would remain possible.

Maybe your definition of decentralization differs from mine? I’d appreciate if you could expand on that.

24.02.2020 21:06

20 law-makers that can change the rules on a whim to protect THEMSELVES from a specific individual or group of specific individuals who are merely playing the game according to the existing rules, is NOT what I would call a "decentralized system".

It's more like the old Roman republic, where the rich could simply purchase their seats in the Senate.

Which is fine in principle, until a major player like mi.crosoft or am.azon or CHINA decides to get involved (and either purchase and or sabotage the top 20).

24.02.2020 21:21

20 law-makers that can change the rules on a whim to protect THEMSELVES from a specific individual or group of specific individuals who are merely playing the game according to the existing rules, is NOT what I would call a "decentralized system".

Ok, cool. That’s not what happened here though.

24.02.2020 21:52

If your system of control is based on the PRIMARY AXIOM of "the more you invest, the more control you have over the system because those who invest the most have the most to lose and will naturally want to protect their investment by making decisions that are good for the community" IS PROVEN FALSE (the rich often invest in things in order to kill them either because they don't like the organization (pure spite) or because they want to eliminate competition) THEN YOU MUST RE-EVALUATE THE ENTIRE SYSTEM, AND FORMULATE NEW PRIMARY AXIOMS.

Imagine giving all active accounts (at least one (non-spam) post or comment every 33 days over the past 52 weeks) with a rep of (70) or more, 20 witness votes each.

That way you know they're (probably) not sock-puppets and everyone gets exactly the same voting power (regardless of ninjamine or rich friends).

25.02.2020 13:28

Phenomenal analysis.

24.02.2020 19:05

and now I have hope. Thank you all for doing what you can to help

23.02.2020 23:29

Thank you @ats-david for this very well worded post, and for supporting this soft fork. @ats-witness has my vote.

PLEASE investigate the Matrix-8 Multi-Level Governance Platform to be, as a potential system of governance for Steem. You can begin to find out about it here:


24.02.2020 00:13


24.02.2020 00:14

haha so the NSA runs Steemit now?

24.02.2020 01:18

This was awesome to watch the witnesses come together like this.

24.02.2020 01:40

At present, I will not be changing any of my witness votes due to positions on this soft-fork. I do understand the argument on both sides regarding the actions taken. I lean with those who have taken action to protect the integrity of our blockchain and its continued existence.

Those witnesses and Steemians which are are against the soft -fork, I understand.

24.02.2020 14:06

You can keep my witness vote, thanks for 222

27.02.2020 05:46