Social Money For Enemies
This was originally a rant of sorts that came out of me in a steem-related Discord chat.
I published it in a totally unformatted fashion, mostly because I didn't have time to format it well... but then "Social Money for Enemies" became a theme that David began to explore a bit more seriously. I've kept it in my voice but tried to make it clearer.
So like... Hive is better than steem 'cause it shed stinc.
But it also shed many individuals stake based on their voting history and affiliations,
With Hive having made it clear that individuals stake was fair game
Steem banned a bunch of hive accounts
There are a few ways to read this, I am going to share several here.
Toss/ban/block me if you'd like, happens to me a lot in steem and hive circles, so I've developed a thick skin about it.
I won't be offended.
Of course if, we have an interesting conversation about it, all the better. I'd like that.
Ok so, I think everyone can agree that the ninja mined stake was a net negative to the blockchain known as steem. Steemit, Inc. was a net negative as well.
However, without the ninja mined stake and the fundraising it enabled, Steem may have never existed. Contrary to popular belief, software is in fact very expensive to create, build run, and maintain.
And Steem, what amazing software it was. Early on at Steem, we were all.... Connected. Not just socially, but economically, too. Hasn't been replicated elsewhere technologically except by other blockchains based on steem of which there are now many.
FYI I'm kinda referencing a few tweets I made today
But I'm going into more depth here. This is interesting stuff, and it deserves in depth treatment.
So steem, it was economically centralized and effectively controlled by a cabal. I'm not using the term cabal prejoratively, just factually. The cabal did a lot of good by creating the platform. It also introduced the problems common to systems controlled by cabals.
But I'd like to look lower, deeper than the human organizational level. Straight down to the blockchain consensus model and distributed systems for driving social media, in fact.
In 2016, I posited that you could more effectively execute a Steem-like network on Tendermint. I had mental health problems, and the effort failed. To this day I don't know if my thesis was correct. If we look at Cosmos, we can find that it, too, is effectively controlled by a cabal of sorts. Again, I'm not judging when I use the term cabal. Not hating at all. The cabal has fractured some and the chain is still up and running.
BitShares.... I think it's evident that BitShares is in fact a mafia of some kind, enabled by software. But for sure that mafia has fractured over time and the chain is still up and running. Notably, No one's stake got forked out on BitShares. Stan Larimer calls himself the godfather of BitShares on LinkedIn. EOS has had problems with witness collusion. This is well documented. TELOS just had the same problems.
Bitcoin, one of its enduring strengths is that it is "money for enemies". In fact, if enemies didn't mutually find Bitcoin desirable, it would lose many of its monetary properties. Censorship of Bitcoin is possible, but only at exchange level, enforced by humans. I'm referring to concepts like "coin taint" here. The blockchain has no concept of tainted or dirty coins. Users can merely spend UTXO's and that's how it works, and it works.
There have been forks of Bitcoin, too... Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV
And I'm sympathetic to their ideas, namely the core idea of big blocks. It's a very simple scaling solution that requires little actual writing of software, and allows Bitcoin to support both scale and applications. However, the perception so far is that they're simply not Bitcoin.
(BSV and BCH both implement big blocks. I hold neither.)
I'm trying to be analytical, neutral here:
How to build social money for enemies?
Steem and Hive have failed this test. They fork their enemies out.
So is the problem a community problem?
I don't think so. Communities naturally have enemies, out-groups and the like. People disagree. This is normal, right?
We shouldn't drain our enemies bank accounts. We shouldn't even be able to. It should be unthinkable.
Is the problem POS itself?
I reckon not. While I don't think that we have yet seen the end state of POS designs, I imagine that POS is overall workable. I'm being generic here. When I speak of POS I'm talking about all major POS implementations. There are better ones and worse ones and yes I have opinions, but since about BitShares 2.0, it's been clear that POS can work.
Let's circle back.
What do we want?
Social money for enemies, not a carefully constructed siphon for community-created value.
Where did Hive fail?
Hive is not money for enemies. It purges both real and percieved enemies
What can we do about it?
(Please note that I'm happy to discuss this point but am currently happily engaged in other endeavors that likely preclude my running to build it. But happy to discuss.) (That was in the original piece, published 21 days ago. It's fair to say I'm now actively pursuing "Social Money For Enemies" -JAG 4/28/2020)
Well, we can't, and shouldn't try to change Hive. Hive is actually very good, just as it is. I like Hive and think that even though an unfortunate decision was made to purge (dare I say cleanse?) various stakeholders, it's far better than steem, because it's Free. Controlled by no one. A beautiful mess.
I am a net supporter of hive.
Steem is hilarious and because it's what led me to go full time crypto, I'm always going to have much love for it. Even if it's corrupted by Justin Sun.
Despite my love of steem, it's inferior to hive.
There's no sense in messing with steem. It'll just.... Keep on keeping on doing whatever the hell it is doing. I don't claim to know what it is doing.
3) NewChain based on Steem code
So, we have seen this occur and largely fail many times now. Not to say that the attempts were not interesting. In fact they were very interesting and each one was a noble experiment of some kind. Even bearshares was a noble experiment. (BearShares of course was an attempt at "steem with dictatorship by Bailal")
Universal failure to thrive has occured in steem based NewChains. Far as I know, most (all?) of these chains are still running, and doing.... Stuff. I don't know exactly what, I do not keep a close watch.
So if they're all still running, we can know that the graphene consensus can even survive economic hard knocks. This is notable.
Let's dig down to first principles again.
Was steem a thing of great value to the world and more importantly to its users?
yes. I have no doubt of this whatsoever.
What made Steem valuable?
I posit that steem's value derived directly from the unfiltered thought of steem users. It was a machine for turning thoughts into money, the first of its kind that I am aware of.
Where did the trouble all start?
I think steem's drapes didn't match the curtains.
Here's what I mean by that. There was a social convention that the ninja mined stake wasn't for voting.
But that social convention was not backed up in code. It was just accepted to be the case. Justin Sun broke only a social convention, not what the blockchain regarded as fact.
What can we learn from this?
Drapes must match the curtains
Important social conventions must be enforced at consensus level.
4) something else altogether, to reach the goal of social money for enemies
Architecting decentralized social media is hard, and I respect literally everyone's attempt to do so. Even Dan Larimer's though I'm on record throwing him huge disrespect. But I wasn't in my right mind when I did that, and furthermore my thinking has evolved significantly.
Suitable Consensus Mechanisms
I think this has been tried and has been proven over and over to result in scenarios incompatible with the goal of "money for enemies"-- with the notable exception of BitShares(which hasn't violated anyone's balances).... steem, EOS, and hive have all encountered situations like "consensus by conference call" that make them poor money for enemies because users lost access to their property on the network.
If we look at who runs validators on cosmos, we can see that there are many insiders. I'm not judging, this is just fact. Cosmos and a few Cosmos-SDK chains are currently running smoothly. Game of Zones is launching soon to support IBC. Desmos is building social code on cosmos SDK. Dither is building social right on top of cosmos the blockchain.
How to know if Tendermint/Cosmos-SDK can be social money for enemies?
I) watch the Cosmos ecosystem
ii) watch projects like Desmos, which implements a framework for building social networks (Desmos will support many social networks and is not itself a social network)
iii) build and launch a steem like chain on Cosmos-SDK, with the goal of being social money for enemies, and with all important social conventions implemented in code, as well. Ignore IBC and focus on that one goal: "social money for enemies*. Ensure that the end result functions to turn ideas into money with steem like directness.
In the end, it's an unknown. To know if it would work you'd have to try it.
Polkadot is a novel consensus (and architecture for that matter) focused on shared security using a DOT token, implemented in Rust, put out by the team that created the rust ethereum implementation-- quality work, I'd say.
It differs from tendermint in that when using cosmos SDK, the blockchain daemon has all the logic built in. To upgrade it, you have to replace the daemon software.
Using polkadot you can write your logic in rust, compile it to wasm, and then upgrade your chain on the fly without taking down the daemon. Additionally, one daemon can run multiple bits of chain logic.
It's interesting as hell, but I know much less about it compared to Tendermint. With Tendermint I've gotten my hands dirty a bit.
It's worth investigating further.
a social chain with its own tokens for incentives, linked somehow to Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a source of great stability. Perhaps it would be possible to whip up a Bitcoin sidechain like liquid, which implements a social network. Now I am truly out of my depth and straight up spitballing.
I came up with this idea literally just now, while spamming your Discord channel with ideas, and I kind of like it.
Might be able to leverage the best of both worlds with this concept. If you're pursuing blockchain based social money for enemies you might want to spend a day or two thinking about this, and looking into weather or not it's workable.
Novel consensus purpose built for social money for enemies
This is very hard and certainly beyond my personal capabilities technically speaking. But we all know there's value here, in social money for enemies. So what I mean is it could be well worth R&D costs, which would likely run into the millions of dollars, to look into this. The return could be enormous.
- look at existing consensus designs, and see which might work well for social money for enemies.
- Also determine which features harm the goal of social money for enemies and come up with a design that is suited to the goal.
The strongest ideas here are probably Tendermint, "bitcoin-linked", and Novel Consensus. "Bitcoin Linked" and Novel Consensus also bleed into one another because the "bitcoin linked" strategy would need a system of its own, regardless of its link to Bitcoin
Thanks for listening guys.
Happy to discuss and debate any of this with anyone at any time.
Have a nice day. Back to work for me.
Oh, by the way. I don't even really know what this (Discord) server is for. So I hope I was not too far off topic.