Steem Improvement Proposal: Allow STEEM donations to the DAO


Currently, donations to the DAO (aka SPS and @steem.dao) are allowed in the following forms:

  1. Transfers of SBD
  2. Beneficiaries which pay out as STEEM/SP or SBD; those which pay out in STEEM or SP are instantly converted to SBD at the current median feed price.


This proposal is to add "3. Transfers of STEEM, which are instantly converted to SBD at the current median feed price"

This was not allowed in the original design of the DAO because of concerns that sending large amounts of STEEM and allowing them to be instantly converted to SBD could destabilize the supply of SBD, resulting in SBD dropping off the peg and imposing a haircut on SBD holders.


While the above concern is theoretically valid, I now believe this restriction is overly cautious and should be removed for the following reasons.

  1. Any large donation to the DAO is itself a clear and immediate benefit to Steem. While there may be some downsides, the fact that someone is donating, say $100000 or $1 million or more to fund SPS proposals is itself going to be enough system-wide benefit to offset any resulting disruption. Who would not like to see large amounts of additional funds available for development, marketing, etc.? Surely Steem could use it.
  2. The DAO has shown itself capable of self-repair when it comes to SBD oversupply. The @sbdpotato proposal is currently in the process of ramping up to convert much of the excess SBD in circulation into STEEM, reducing the oversupply and haircut, and restoring the value of SBD to $1. In the case where a very, very large donation were made which created a large amount of SBD, a proposal could be created and funded which: a) converts this SBD into STEEM, b) uses that STEEM to buy SBD, c) converts that SBD back into STEEM, and finally d) donates that STEEM back to the DAO (which converts it back to SBD). The net effect of this process is to remove the excess supply of SBD from circulation while returning approximately the entire value of the large donation to the DAO (small losses, or gains, might occur due to slippage or conversion price changes)

Key benefit: a vastly improved SBD peg

The biggest deficiency of the SBD peg, going all the way back to the original white paper, is its inability to deal with any sort of overvaluation or "pump". The white paper essentially throws up its hands and declares that nothing can be done, asserting that allowing converting STEEM into SBD would be too open to "market manipulation" (an assertion which has been heavily debated, but with this new approach, we can set that debate aside and leverage the DAO as a safer approach with fewer untested assumptions).

With the ability to donate STEEM to the DAO, we gain a safe way to convert STEEM into SBD as follows:

  1. Fund a proposal which pays out SBD (similar to the current @sbdpotato).
  2. The recipient of the proposal payout is charged with selling that SBD for STEEM.
    1. The recipient of the proposal payout is charged with immediately sending ("donating") that STEEM back to the DAO.
  3. The donation would then be converted by the blockchain code into SBD at the current feed price (essentially, 1 SBD for every $1 worth of STEEM).

In the case where SBD is overvalued (meaning the market is demanding a higher supply of SBD in order to maintain the peg), the result of this process is:

  1. More SBD has been provided to the market (step 2 above), helping to reduce the market price and satisfy demand
  2. The DAO treasury receives back more SBD than it started with (steps 3 and 4 above).

To see how this works, consider the example of SBD trading at $2 and the proposal being funded for 1 SBD. In this case, step 2 above would sell the 1 SBD for $2 worth of STEEM, the $2 worth of STEEM would be sent back to the DAO, and then the $2 worth of STEEM would be converted into 2 SBD added to the DAO treasury.

Why is this important

Many of us believe that a stable value asset is an extremely valuable service to provide, which not only allows Steem community members to save money with some degree of protection from highly-volatile crypto markets, but also allows businesses and services to be built which rely on having a degree of stability. The SPS itself was built around SBD as a result of various real world experiences with other cryptocurrency-based funding systems which suffered greatly from native token volatility. In fact, much of the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem has shifted toward greater support of pegged and stabilized asset such as USDT and DAI.

Second, previous SBD pegging issues have caused a lot of problems for Steem. In addition to reputational damage ("Even their dollar isn't worth a dollar; what a failed project"), the pumps encouraged hoarding and led to a build up of supply which in turn flooded the market later. Overall we would be far better served with an SBD that is actually more stable, in my view.

Finally, we have never seen how well SBD could perform with an upper peg. It is possible to could turn out to be very stable and effective, ultimately gaining the trust of the market and even becoming positive black swan for Steem. The potential market for a successful and trustworthy stable cryptocoin that is fully-decentralized is enormous, already in the billions and perhaps someday into the trillions.

Of course, not everyone even agrees that SBD is valuable to Steem at all. In fact, some have argued for its removal altogether. I do not believe there is consensus for its removal, but the purpose of this proposal isn't to debate that issue. As long as SBD exists on Steem, we ought to at least make it work as well as we possibly can, to at least avoid or minimize its dysfunction hurting Steem. This proposal offers a sensible path forward to an upper peg which would protect SBD from pumps and also transmit the benefits of increasing SBD demand to the broader Steem community (via increased DAO funding).

Resistant to Abuse

This method of improving the DAO and SBD peg is highly resistant to abuse. Let's consider some possible "attacks"

Attack 1: Attacker donates hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars worth of STEEM to the DAO in order to destabilize SBD. Mitigations: As noted above, Steem gains large amounts of valuable funding to be used to improve the platform, excellent compensation for any potential disruption, and the disruption can be still be quickly self-cured through the DAO using an @sbdpotato -like proposal. Not a serious problem

Attack 2: Attacker pumps the price of SBD and/or STEEM and "somehow" attempts to leverage the ability to convert STEEM to SBD via DAO donations as well as a some sort of self-paying proposal to recover the resulting SBD in a manner similar to the "market manipulation" scenario in the white paper. Mitigations: a) the DAO has shown excellent resistance to frivolous proposals since many stakeholders support the "return" proposal as a defense; such an attacker would have a hard time getting their donation back via any sort of payout. b) Payouts from the DAO are limited to 1% of the treasury per day, which means in the case of a very large donation, even if somehow the attacker could manage to get their proposal approved, they would be limited in the rate they could possibly recover their donation, greatly limiting the effect of any market manipulation (the market would need to be manipulated for weeks or months for this to really work). Not a serious problem

ttack 3: DAO proposals which serve to help maintain the peg (by either increasing or decreasing the supply of SBD, as discussed above) involve large amounts of DAO-owned treasury funds being sent to a contractor on the expectation that they will be returned (in one form or another). A dishonest or incompetent contractor could steal or lose the funds. Mitigation: DAO proposals pay out gradually over a period of time. The rate of payout can be set so as to maintain the risk of loss at an acceptable level far below the total amount of funds. The processes as described require the contractor to return the funds promptly, and funding can be stopped at any time if the contractor is not returning earlier payouts. If market conditions are such that a high rate of disbursement is required, multiple contractors can be used, or alternately a multisig account can be set up to serve as the contractor. Not a serious problem

While this probably does not enumerate every conceivable method of attack, overall it should be clear that the existing limits inherent in the DAO (the 1% daily aggregate payout as well as the willingness of many stakeholders to vote for "return" and stop abusive proposals from getting funded) make any sort of exploitation very, very difficult and unlikely.

When can we get this done?

Whether this could be included in the next upcoming hard fork is debatable. From a code perspective, it is probably not very complicated; the code to convert STEEM to SBD already exists for beneficiaries and would need to be repurposed for donations, as well as removing the existing code which explicitly blocks those donations. That's not a huge change, but also not completely trivial

If it were up to me, I would push to include it because: a) the coding changes while not trivial, are still relatively simple; and b) the existing design of SBD is pretty much a ticking time bomb when it comes to more SBD pumps, which could once again cause a lot of disruption to the community and platform, as well as reducing the credibility and market opportunity for SBD going forward. Gaining the ability to stop these pumps and instead use SBD demand to boost funding for the DAO sooner rather than later is a big advantage.

However, I wish to make clear that the purpose of this proposal is not to advocate for including this change in the next hard fork, but to encourage discussion of including it in any future hard fork.


In my view, the balance of risks strongly favors allowing STEEM donations to the DAO, which in trn allows us to ggreatly improve the SBD peg in a manner that was not possible prior to the introduction of the DAO.

100% of author rewards from this post will be donated to @steem.dao (I forgot to set the beneficiary so I will do the conversion and transfer manually after payout)

Comments 43

We're fighting and bitching over crumbs here as far as I can see.
So who do you expect will donate 100K or a million dollars?

23.01.2020 04:54

So who do you expect will donate 100K or a million dollars?

In practice, no one, but that is the threat of destabilizing SBD which was the motivation for banning STEEM donations. I had to address it to make the argument that even that hypothetical case is not a threat to the blockchain.

23.01.2020 04:55

i think its way too late but idea itself is a good call

23.01.2020 05:16

So the concept is to be able to donate steem to a proposal which effectively removes that steem from circulation? Thereby reducing inflation?

23.01.2020 05:55

DonateThe Steem Improvement Proposal involves donations to the DAO treasury (transfer to @steem.dao), not to a specific proposal. The treasury funds are then available for funding proposals, as long as those proposals are approved by voters (currently there are six active proposals being funded; you can see them here:

The DAO treasury is held in the form of SBD, and currently holds 234241 SBD. You can see it here:

Currently it is only allowed to donate (transfer) SBD. This proposal is to also allow donations in STEEM, which would be instantly converted into SBD at the current ge rate. Yes, the STEEM would be removed from active supply and certainly from the amount of STEEM in circulation, although it remains part of the total supply, since SBD counts as supply too. rate.

23.01.2020 06:10

I am in favor. I will support it.

23.01.2020 14:42

@smooth, can you think of something about SBD potatoes and burnpost littering the trending. I am a supporter of the intent and the math behind the project. But even at $25 cap, it is still on trending. What can we do?

Also does the curation for these post goes to curators? If yes, then that is not burned/converted. Therefore the posts become easy target for the optimizers and optimizing bots trying to maximize curation reward. Now I can be completely off the rail on this, and in that case I apologize. Just trying to educate myself on this.

24.01.2020 14:27

I've been thinking about what to do about these but I don't have any great answers beyond what is being done.

I do think the $25 cap is too high. Even without any overvoting, $25 will show up pretty high on trending some days. I would reduce it to $5 or $10 and make more posts per day.

Ultimately a big part of the issue here is that Trending is misnamed. It should really be called "Most Voted" in which case no one would be surprised that these show up, right?

As for curation, the curation algorithm is designed to address this automatically. Repeated high value posts that get high votes (whether it is these or just a consistently popular author) will attract earlier and earlier votes which return more of their Trending rewards to the reward pool. Burnpost gets most of its votes between 1 and 3 minutes which means 40-80% of curation is returned to the reward. Voters get something, which is fair IMO because they are consuming their valuable vote power, but they don't get anywhere near as much as they would get doing actual curation (more effort).

24.01.2020 20:05

What about posting them with a “invisible” tag. I single special tag. Will they still show up on trending? I guess so...

24.01.2020 21:00

It was my recollection that the 'experimental' tag used to do that in the early days of Steem. That was the reason I originally used it. It seems, though, that posts tagged experimental now do show up, possibly because milkers were using it to hide from downvotes. Same with comments.

25.01.2020 07:21

What can we do about burnpost? I understand the original intent behind it and I support it. But it continue to "trend" and occupy the landing page of steem. We are getting serious on on-boarding, and if new people coming in just sees burnpost (Potates are lower now!) it just makes us look bad. Please do something about it so that they do not show up on trending. You know the argument against it is mounting. I am sure you can come up with a solution. Can't burnpost be at least capped like Potatoes? This is an optional project, right?

27.01.2020 20:21

First of all, @sbdpotato and @burnpost are quite different, and I'm not sure they should even be lumped together in any discussion. @sbdpotato is raising funds, and is now getting most of its funds from SPS, which makes capping payouts relatively harmless. By contrast, @burnpost raises no funds, and is instead a method by which voters can vote for 'None of the above' when it comes to distributing rewards. Capping rewards would be overriding the will of the voters and IMO @burnpost should rather remain neutral. If you think @burnpost is getting too many votes, take it up with the voters, or create better, more compelling content that is more attractive to voters than 'None of the above'. (I've already stated my view that probably the best solution overall is for "Trending" to be renamed "Most voted" or "Most rewards", which would be a more accurate description of what it actually means, and get rid of the misleading implication that it is actually the most interesting or attention-worthy content.)

I added a line suggesting that voters consider later votes to reduce trending. The burnposts are now down to one per day, along with comments (but the comments tend to trend less). To me that seems like pretty reasonable accomodations to those who want to minimize the impact on Trending, but I'm open to other constructive suggestions.

On your claim that 'the argument against is mounting' I think we will have to agree to disagree. From my perspective, the true measure of support is the voting, and everything else is a bunch of hot air. As long as it continues to get votes, that tells me there is significant (even in some sense very large) support. As you can see from Chart 9 here, not only does it continue to get votes, but support for burning has generally continued to increase.

As far as getting serious about on-boarding, I think that is nonsense. There are only a small number of accounts created per day and a good chunk of those are created by @steemmonsters, which doesn't even use the social rewards system at all. And of those small number of accounts created, very few ever become or stay active users.

In four years we have had all sorts of different populations of posts on Trending and after four years I doubt very much that we are going to ever see Trending be a true driver of growth. Without a new UI and/or use case for Steem becoming popular (which could be revised, could be another site, could be games such as steemmonsters), I don't see this changing. Voters seem to agree, and increasingly prefer to preserve some value in the Steem ecosystem by reducing selling pressure and burning rather than blindly continue a failed model.

28.01.2020 00:02
  1. Potatoes and Burnpost are both devoid of content. So from that perspective they are identical. Background mechanics of steem is not of interest to content creators and consumers. While I respect your software prowess, you must respect that this is still a social network.
  2. You better understand the reason burnpost is getting vote is because people’s auto-votes and bot votes are piling up for curation reward. It’s a fact, I know it and you know it
  3. We talked about both steemmonster and that their on boarding is different but they are not the only source. Also people actually like to look at trending, maybe not you but I do. Since trending is called trending and not most rewarded that discussion is a moot point
  4. This failed model is the place you and I are talking on. If you are jaded about it that’s your prerogative. I rather appreciate the blockchain I have, rather than the blockchain I wish I had. I rather improve the blockchain from within with all its components. Without people there is no steem for investors.
  5. Finally there are 38 accounts higher than my investments in steemit and at least 10 of them are either non-human or repository. So I am putting my money where my mouth is. Also I support your witness and I honestly think your contributions are important to this ecosystem. Although you do not know me, or you never asked for it, when very recently you went out of top 20 I lobbied for you to get you back. You are at your current position within top 20 exactly because of two votes mine, and theycallmedan’s which I lobbied for. Please understand I think you are a valuable asset and you belong inside top 20 but please listen to the people. Not everything has to be code, sometimes it can be people too. Many thanks smooth, I wish I can have this conversation off the chain but you are not on discord unfortunately.
28.01.2020 01:25

you must respect that this is still a social network

It is and it isn't. is (and similar web sites are) a social network/application built on top of a blockchain. But there are other applications built on top of the same blockchain which have nothing to do with content creators and posting and content. One of them happens is steemmonsters, which as I mentioned is among the most successful in bringing on new users. There are also social-type UIs which don't use the same Trending page as Steemit. I don't agree that the entire blockchain and economy should be held hostage to's crappy UI.

As I mentioned, I'm very happy to make accommodations such as suggesting that people vote later and encouraging spreading out votes on comments instead of the main post. That said, I still feel strongly that the option to vote for none-of-the-above in terms of payment for content should be there. After all, as I mentioned above, the entire network and economy is not based on paying out to content, and serious questions exist about how effective the content payment model is. (And despite all that, posting more better content that rises above @burnpost is yet another way to push down the visibility of @burnpost; complaining that its ranking and visibility is too high is the same as complaining that the quality and voter appeal of other content being posted is too low, is it not?)

I also absolutely agree that filling the entire tending page with duplicate posts is pretty serious disruption (that being said, it is also a serious disruption which could be addressed at the UI layer, for example, by collapsing posts by the same author or some similar approach). But I don't agree that a single top level post where people can vote for none-of-the-above (which is, after all, consistent with and does fall within the social network concept of rewarding content; it is just a manner of expressing a different view on it).

This failed model is the place you and I are talking on.. If you are jaded about it that’s your prerogative. I rather appreciate the blockchain I have, rather than the blockchain I wish I had. I rather improve the blockchain from within with all its components. Without people there is no steem for investors.

Indeed we are talking on this platform without each of us voting our own comments up to $10-$20 or otherwise extracting unsustainable value from the system. It works quite well in this manner. I am not at all jaded on the social aspects of the platform, or even in cases when discussions do earn some small votes (which I often do myself), as a mechanism of distributing stake to active and engaged participants. Unfortunately, too may users on the platform do view it as a vehicle for extracting value, which is one reason that voting for none-of-the-above is an important an necessary alternative.

In my view, improving from within is exactly what we are doing with initiatives like this one which work within the existing code and rules to improve the outcomes. The biggest victims of money being drained from Steem include those making sincere contributions of content and effort. Who suffers lower rewards on their high value content contributions, when the price of Steem is 0.15 rather than $1. Who will suffer when the price of Steem is 0.01?

but please listen to the people

Is it not people who are voting in favor of directing rewards to @burnpost rather than paying them out, often ineffectively to milkers and other exploitative schemes which are extracting value from Steem to none of our benefit (other than the milkers themselves, of course)? Yes, some of the votes, maybe even most of them, are automated, but it is always people behind the decision to vote in that manner. IMO their votes should be respected.

Thank you for your support of my witness position, BTW. I wasn't aware of it.

28.01.2020 02:21

And now you are aware of it. Both Dan & I voted you in top 20 when you got out after the proxy.token fiasco

28.01.2020 02:36

It was actually dan who removed his vote which dropped me out. I was still top 20 after the proxy.token votes.

Anyway, I'm thankful for all support, but I'm also perfectly comfortable of stakeholders want other witnesses instead of me. It is fair voting either way.

28.01.2020 02:42

Like I said, I am comfortable with my choice. I also convinced Dan. I am an activist individual and I am familiar in VC space. Future in this space won’t be like the past. Also the crypto space need to mature itself so that it can speak adult language of a financial sector as opposed to drama and talking about “moon”! This is a 60M USD marketcap pond. How can we even put some real money in?

28.01.2020 02:57

Steem's market cap was over $1.2 billion. Yes, it has been a bear market since that peak but in my view it truly wasn't necessary to see the market cap drop by more than about 75% (overall market average) and probably less given that Steem has a lot more substance and promise than the true trash in the market (which, to be fair, a lot of which has dropped even more than Steem). Instead poor economics sent us down 97-98% and from the top 20 in terms of blockchains to barely hanging on in the top 100. In this sort of market, that degree of visibility an credibility loss carries its own added costs.

Steem's economics are, quite frankly, more than a bit bonkers. @burnpost is my small (albeit growing) attempt to make something of a course correction within the system, since getting to consensus in a decentralized system to make a more substantive pivot is very difficult, even if justified on the merits (which is debatable).

And by 'economics' above, in VC terms, I include burn rate, not just what things look like if and when you get to a sustainable mature operating model. Too many arguments are made on the basis of this or that economics weakness not mattering because demand all be so massive once we 'get there'. Well, for that to matter, you still have to get there. We haven't even figured out how to grow yet. Getting there is a huge challenge and will take time (if ever).

28.01.2020 03:15

I agree to this proposal, best simplest way to tackle reverse conversions without too much dev effort.

23.01.2020 06:47

This may be way ahead of time because currently the peg is broken downwards but why not? It's simple and the community has been asking for reverse conversion for some time now.

23.01.2020 07:38

Right, this isn't addressed at the current situation (which I see being handled by both @sbdpotato and normal market dynamics) but the well known vulnerability to SBD becoming overvalued, which has happened repeatedly and is almost sure to happen again at some point if the structural issue is not addressed.

BTW, the STEEM price is only about 18% away from returning the SBD peg to $1, and that number steadily decreases as more SBD is converted (by @sbdpotato and others). That's a bit of a move, but hardly extraordinary. It was briefly there a few days ago, but the higher price just didn't hold.

23.01.2020 08:17

Donation in Steem to DAO are good and easy to make.

But in long Term the "today" Sbd need to be removed from rewarding.

Next is to rebuild them to a copy of DAI. So we have no longer inflation abuse problems and a stable coin its scaleable.

The Reward SBD cant scale.... The DAI one can.

With a Stablecoin that works 100% ( and its scaleable), we can get the best feature Steem can have.

  • Community Benefit
  • SMT benefit
  • Internal Trade Volume Benefit
  • Dapps benefit
  • Makes Steem more valueable and liquid

Is a win win win situation

Otherwise next bull run Steem will perish and look like a super scam.

23.01.2020 09:58

Thanks this is great I would like to say this is a great offer and we should get advantage by this offer

23.01.2020 10:31


23.01.2020 12:35

This could influance about the value in my opinion

23.01.2020 14:05

hello steemit and i hope that you dont spam me , i need some support from you . i m using this website since two years and i couldnt increase my account at all . peace to you all from north africa .

23.01.2020 15:12


23.01.2020 15:37

Good work

23.01.2020 15:40


23.01.2020 15:52

Thank you, I'm in favor.

23.01.2020 20:43

Resteemed by @thethreehugs

23.01.2020 20:51

Resteemed by @thethreehugs

23.01.2020 20:52

Thank you, this is great. I'm in favor.

24.01.2020 10:41

The DAO could purchase SBD from the internal market automatically at the market rate instead of printing new SBD

24.01.2020 14:56

This would make the existing major weakness of SBD with respect to overvaluation/undersupply even worse.

It would work fine if there were another dynamic source of SBD supply within the system such as reverse conversions (STEEM-to-SBD), but there isn't.

24.01.2020 20:01

24.01.2020 15:50

I think it is a good idea

24.01.2020 22:24

Seems like a beneficial change to me, with not much downside. I'd vote for it.

25.01.2020 02:09


25.01.2020 14:51

Thanks for the post.

27.01.2020 06:43

Thanks for the post.

27.01.2020 07:04

Excellent work

31.01.2020 13:49