The community stance over Tron lack of communication and its ethical implications


I get away for only 3 days, and Steem is already on fire again!

If for some reason you were under a rock (or on a beach) like me, here is a small resume of what happened the last 3 days:

Here is a some interesting opinions:

Coindesk - Posted an article about what happened
@midlet - Bring up the concern of witnessess having the power to lock the funds of any user
@cadawg - Details how the soft-fork code work
@blocktrades - An non-lawyer analysis about the legality of cryptocurrency forks
@clixmoney - Shows how you can find out wich witness are running the soft-fork
@jrcornel - States his opinion that this was the right move to protect the Steem Blockchain
@drakos - Expose some of the reasoning that is behind the decision of the majority of witness to implement the soft-fork

Up-to-date already? Good, now let's talk about the implications


The trolley problem

Most of us already heard about the Trolley problem, an ethical dillema regarding an impossible decisions.

If for some reason, you don't know it yet, here is what it is about:

There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options:

  • Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
  • Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.

Which is the more ethical option? Or, more simply: What is the right thing to do?

Now, due to the recent events, specially the unclear communication that was published by the Tron foundation regarding what are their plans to Steem blockchain and Steemit inc. stake, the witnessess are posed with a similar tough decision:

  • Do nothing and hope for the best
  • Implement security measures to prevent any hostile move by locking Steemit Inc. funds

There is good and bad implications on both decisions, and as is already known, most of them decided to risk the possible bad repercussion of denying an user to perform some actions on the blockchain.

But why this subject matters a lot? Here is a few reasons:

1 - Steem blockchain is liberal-democratic, not anarco-capitalist

While one of the main attractions of the blockchain systems is to be censorship-resistant, each blockchain have it's own governance systems, and they can be related to some political systems that we know on the "real-word".

Altough i understand a lot of the cries that this move by the witness is a 'violation of property rights' based on anarco-capitalist principles, what they are missing is that Steem is a democratic system, where each STEEM staked give the right to elect who is going to represent the community, and make the decisions regarding what are the rules of the blockchain.

In the end of the day, the elected witnessess are the ones who define how the blockchain works, and what will be allowed to happen.

What happened is just a great example that everyone here must know who are the witnessess they are voting for, what they are doing to improve the blockchain, and what are their intentions to be a witness, including choosing to support of not the witnessess that are running the forked version.

If you don't agree with the soft-fork, you can still remove your votes from the witnesses that are running the soft-fork and vote for those that aren't.

2 - The community is stronger than it seems

From @berniesanders vs @haejin flagwars, to @themarkymark harassment by abusers and many many others squabbles that happens daily here on our beloved blockchain, this showed that, when needed, the Steem community will come together to protect the blockchain.

No matter if you agree or not with the decision, what i have seen on the last days was a huge mobilization from the majority of users, be it witnesses, community manages, curators, investors...

A lot of discusson took place regarding what we, as a community, should do regarding the troubling news that were dumped on our heads by @ned and @justinsunsteemit

3 - In the face of threats, it's better to be ready for the worst than hope for the best

The perfect example for this is how @justinsunsteemit broke the silence right after the soft-fork took place.

Before that, the interaction that happened between the head of Tron Foundation and the Steemit community could be resumed as 'Hey, i am here, and i want to grow this place. We have our plans, and we will keep you informed."

A lot of attempts were made to ask for more clarifications of Tron plans for the blockchain, from comments on the first post to open letters expected to be read by Justin.

No answer came from Tron, just a few more official announcements that still talked about STEEM tokens being swapped to Tron blockchain.

But the moment the community decided to make a stand, and to create protective measures to have some leverage over Tron's owner, Justin created his second post on Steem, inviting the the 50 witness to have a talk.

I call this a big win.

4 - Justin Sun focus is on the Tron blockchain

I always said that, and there is no reason not believe that Justin initial plans were always to re-create steem over tron, and swap STEEM tokens to an TRC10/TRC20 token version.

And i think this is still his plan. What got my attention on his latest post was this statement:

And there are many ways we can get it there, from bridging TRX, TRC10’s and TRC20’s into Communities to marketing and growing

Notice that he want to grow bridge Tron Tokens and 'growing' , not Steem blockchain.

I hope the witnesses that will go to the meeting with him keep that in mind and be ready to defend the Steem blockchain.

5 - There is more positive expectations than before

At the beginning of this whole process, all information we recieve was confusing and truncated, wich created a state of fear about the future of Steem blockchain.

At this point, there is no turning back. Tron owns and a big stake of the blockchain, and with the resources they have at hand, it's not hard to see a future where Tron make the swap a reality, and abandon the Steem blockchain.

But he positioned himself open to discussion with the community, and this is the most positive news we had so far.


There is nothing more for me to say here, but i have been using Steem for around 3 years, and so to me, this is, at the same time, the best and the worst thing that happened on this blockchain.

I am still cautious about this whole situation, and i am still moving part of my stake to bitcoin until there is more solid informations about this platform future.

Let's hope our elected witnesses make good decisions.

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27.02.2020 02:19

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27.02.2020 17:09

Steem blockchain is liberal-democratic, not anarco-capitalist

After almost 2 years here, I have exactly the impression Steem is "anarco-capitalist". Not democratic, or only like any company where votes are proportional to the capital somebody invested (shares, stocks). Here is no rule, no law, any person can be downvoted, censored and ruined any time. By others, who are more muscular, more aggressive.

27.02.2020 23:44

Here is no rule, no law, any person can be downvoted, censored and ruined any time. By others, who are more muscular, more aggressive.

Quite the opposite. These are the rules/law.

Downvote is part of the power provided by the stake and have the same weight as an upvote.

If you are saying that a downvote is an act of 'aggresion' or 'robbery' it is not true, because the rewards aren't yours until the 7 day payout. So, no one can rob you of what you don't own.

If it weren't for downvotes, we would be seeing a lot of more bad actors and spam, and STEEM would probably be worth way less, and have way less actual users.

And you can't be censored. Downvotes don't erase your post from the blockchain. It is still there. The front-ends chooses to not show posts/comments that recieved a lot of downvotes.

But you only need to click on 'reveal comment/post' to show it again.

28.02.2020 00:00

I see. Really an incredible success story, this Steem thing. People killing each other to participate and Steem price in the Moon.
I'm too old for fairy tales.

28.02.2020 00:09

Hi @phgnomo

And you can't be censored. Downvotes don't erase your post from the blockchain. It is still there. The front-ends chooses to not show posts/comments that recieved a lot of downvotes.

In simiar way one could say that you cannot be censored via youtube. Because the fact that your video is being somehow restricted and your followers will not find it any more on their feeds - it doesn't mean that such a video is removed.

And still, majority of youtube users would say that it's a censorship.

28.02.2020 12:09

Can Tron remove Steem's blockchain? If so, where would the posts be? Would Tron create a fork to redirect his blockchain to the old Steemit chain? Or would they just go down in history? And what about the witnesses? Wouldn't they reuse their devices to be reused with another blockchain? Would the STEEM diminish its value? What about steem-engine? Would tokens no longer have any meaning?

It's really frightening what could happen.

Thanks for sharing

28.02.2020 11:29

That's a lot of questions... let me try to answer:

Can Tron remove Steem's blockchain? If so, where would the posts be? Would Tron create a fork to redirect his blockchain to the old Steemit chain? Or would they just go down in history? And what about the witnesses? Wouldn't they reuse their devices to be reused with another blockchain?

Tron can't "delete" the blockchain, but they can choose not to support it anymore. This mean no more official api nodes, no more servers to hold images and videos, and no more money going to development and marketing.

IF they go on with the swap plan, this means that something similar to Steem blockchain would be build on Tron blockchain, and the STEEM/SBD would become TRX10/20 tokens.

To get the new tokens we would have to send our tokens to some other account, and recieve the same amount of TRC10/20 tokens on a Tron account of our choosing.

In this situation the old Steem blockchain, it would still be running as long as there were witnessess to process the blocks. So, it would be up to the witnessess (old and new) to decide if they would keep their nodes running.

Would the STEEM diminish its value?

The new Steem-Tron token would probably rise in value, mostly because of the new users joining the ecosystem, and the bigger reach it would get.

The old STEEM would probably lose most of it's value, and again, it would be up to the witnesses and community to rebuild the reach of the old STEEM

What about steem-engine?

That only @steem-engine team can answer. To soon to know though.

Would tokens no longer have any meaning?

Old STEEM token would still keep it's funcionality on the old blockchain, but the monetary value of it would depend on what the market would value more: tron Steem or Steem Steem

28.02.2020 11:47


28.02.2020 15:24

Hey! This is actually quite informative. Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me :D

So we could have Tronit or STRONIT?

I guess the new blockchain would have a new name...

Then the big problem would be centralization vs. decentralization, so to speak.

Have a nice day :)

04.03.2020 14:11

Hi @phgnomo

Somehow I'm losing my interest with tron and steem lately :/ So forgive me that I won't share any opinion on this subject. Just wanted to thank you for another interesting read.


28.02.2020 12:05

Yeah, me too, specially since there is nothing most of us can do. I am not a developer, and all i can do i share my opinion about the happenings.

I wasn't even to write about Tron/Steemit anymore, but the softfork came out as a real surprise to me, and i wanted to share my thoughts about it.

28.02.2020 13:19

Thankyou, for the updates. I love that Steem community wants to defend Steem Inc. I hope the witnesses make good decisions in the meeting.

To know that Steem has a community and identity and wants that integrety is such a heartening news. I loved that soft fork move alerting Sun, nice move by the witnesses.

28.02.2020 15:18

It is true that in this hectic period of STEEM's history, there are novel things almost daily.

I think that what the people of TRON did with the vote of witnesses who are suspected of benefiting them in their future actions, is what among my people is called "Test Balloon", I mean, the people of TRON are making a action that violates Stemit's good faith agreement with the STEEM community and evaluates the reaction, to know how much they can do and how far they can mold this blockchain to their benefit.

The idea of making a separation or applying a filter that blocks the actions of Stemit's accounts may seem exaggerated for some colleagues, in which case they are recommended to review their witness votes and also to give them to those who support the action of the TRON people, that is to exercise the power that the same chain gives them, the power to choose the witnesses who are going to lead the ways of this project.

28.02.2020 21:27

Thanks for the great recap, it was worth the long read.
Those of us who are new here have an insight on the current happenings.

29.02.2020 11:49

hi @phgnomo

I have 2 years in the network and I really trust that everything will be solved in a good way. I have realized that there are half-truths in Justin's attitudes and I believe mine that you want to change us to Tron, so I consider what the witnesses are doing prudent. They have in their hands the future of steemit, hopefully now in the days (March 6) they will finish clearing up many doubts.

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02.03.2020 13:49