Steem Witness Draw A Line In The Sand: Soft-Fork Of The Blockchain


Most heard by now that the blockchain experienced a soft-fork yesterday. The Witnesses voted upon it and it was implemented. The new code is now running on the Witness nodes.

Before going any further, this was not unanimous decision. There were a few of the Top 20 Witnesses who were against it. There was a super majority which meant the fork carried through.

The other aspect that must be spelled out is it stated to be temporary and reversible. This is why it is a soft instead of a hard fork. It also does not affect the exchanges nor require then to do anything.

What Is It?

So what took place?

Basically, this was a software upgrade that took the Steemit Inc accounts and froze them. The big move was it disallowed the Steem Power in those accounts to be used for Witness voting. It also stopped the ability to power down and move the tokens elsewhere. Delegation and content voting are still live.

At the core of this is the stake that Steemit Inc had that was ninja-mined. Most of the Witness assert this stake was not to be used for controlling the blockchain through Witness voting but, rather, for development. Ned Scott had alluded to this on a number of occasions. The feeling is that just because the stake is owned by someone else, that does not change.

Hence the soft fork.

Why was it done?

Essentially, this move was taken as a precautionary measure to protect the blockchain. Whether one agrees with the decision or not, we need to agree that the Witnesses who did this took the action to protect our beloved Steem. Even more importantly, it was also to prevent a hijacking of the STEEM token. The token is associated with the blockchain since that is where it is distributed from and not Steemit Inc.

There were a number of questionable events surrounding Justin Sun and the Tron Foundation over the past couple weeks. This most likely played a role in the Witness' decision. Sun comes with a reputation that is a bit divisive which makes the moves made also a bit more concerning.

At the heart of the matter is decentralization versus centralization. Sun is erecting an organization of control. There is no other way to look at it. The Tron Foundation, along with its acquisitions, controls all that takes place on that blockchain. They account for 55% of the tokens distributed.

Applications are coming under the Foundation's ownership. This means that it has a vested interest in protecting all that goes on there. Steemit Inc obviously never saw things that was as, Steempeak, and eventually the tribes arose, all which took users away from

Tron does not appear to look at things that way, at least according to one group of developers that tried to move from Ethereum to Tron.

The bigger issue took place just this week. Three super delegates were voted in by the Tron Foundation, something it promised not to do. This caused an uproar within the Tron community, an issue that is still not resolved.

How does this apply to Steem?

To start, Sun had the ability to set up a node, establish 20 accounts, and vote them all with the Steemit Inc stake, thus taking over the entire Witness pool. This is a concern because of the comments right after acquisition and during the AMA.

Immediately, the idea was expressed to do a token swap of STEEM for something on Tron. This would mean that they were looking to merge (or do away with) the Steem blockchain. The goal appears to have all Steem activity migrated to Tron in an effort to prop up that blockchain. Of course, the new token, according to statements, were to also be given to Tron users, thus diluting the holders of STEEM.

With the Steemit Inc stake, this could have been set in motion in a matter of minutes. Sun could have set up the node, taken control of the Witness pool and said "this is how it is going to be".

Here is an article detailing what took place on Tron.

Where do we go from here?

That is hard to predict.

This action was taken by the Witnesses to buy time. Since there were no discussions or interaction from the Tron Foundation with the Witnesses, there is no way to know what they are planning. What came from both Justin and the marketing team at Tron are sending mixed messages.

The fact this fork is reversible means that an agreement could be reached which enables the Witnesses to reverse the action. Of course, there needs to be a mechanism where the community and the steem blockhain are protected.

In this regard, the proverbial ball is in Sun's and Tron's court. The Witnesses were making it very clear that Tron purchased a company, not a blockchain. Steem is decentralized with the community being an important part of the picture. The idea of simply migrating over to Tron because Sun bought a private company was not about to happen, especially under force.

Did Sun know about this before buying Steemit Inc?

It is impossible to know what he thought was taking place or what was presented to him. Perhaps Ned Scott pulled a major heist, selling him something without explaining all the details. At the same time, maybe it was not up to Ned to define the difference between a private company and a blockchain community.

So, on that end of things, we have no idea what occurred and who was misguided.

What we can conclude is that Justin Sun appears to have thought he was getting everything tied to Steem. The path, based upon the original statements, was to have Steemit Inc start working on bringing all of Steem over to Tron. This would render Steem basically useless. The next step would be to "bribe" the applications that he wanted to come onto Tron. Finally, the holders of STEEM could get a new token which is on Tron.

This was the plan according to Sun's own words. Even his backing off when confronted about this was followed by a "For Now". It is obvious this did not reassure the Witnesses a great deal.

By taking this action, the Witnesses made it clear that Steemit Inc is not Steem. They also showed that Sun is not going to come in and destroy things. Based upon some comments by Witnesses there are plans in place depending upon which direction Sun takes things.

The best outcome would be an agreeable solution to both sides. However, the main thing to take from all of this is that the Steem blockchain is not going away. I think that is something that all agree is a good thing. The question of whether this action should have been taken is what is up for discussion.

What are your thoughts?

The full statement from the WItnesses can be read here:

If you found this article informative, please give an upvote and resteem.



Posted via Steemleo

Comments 39

I feel those witnesses stole from Justin. Who's next to get their frozen? I think STEEM just lost any integrity it had left. Which witnesses were opposed?

24.02.2020 14:55

from the little knowledge that i have, i think you can see here who is running which version

24.02.2020 15:31

Which witnesses were opposed?

Not sure about further down the list, but among the top 20, @timcliff and @clayop

24.02.2020 15:38
24.02.2020 16:20

Smooth was absolutely not opposed and made it known both privately and publicly. He supports the soft fork and he is voting witnesses that are running it.

26.02.2020 06:47

I see, so it is more accurate to say that he did not participate in the softfork.

26.02.2020 12:52

Tron and Steem's eco-systems should try and move forward for mutual benefit. At least that's what everyone would like to see. With the current situation there seems to be a delicate balance, where the witnesses are in power of the consensus, but Justin controls all on- and offramps, notably the exchanges.

It's going to be interesting times here.

24.02.2020 14:57

That is a valid point @fitzgibbon. Sun does have that in his pocket.

We will see how this all evolves. Hopefully we will see a joining of the minds and plans for advances that benefit both blockchains.

Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 16:49

Very well explained thanks for sharing this helpful and informative article

I think this Soft fork is neccessary for protecting steem blockchain and steemit users stakes

24.02.2020 15:02

I would like to know which of the top 20 witnesses were against the soft fork and if there were any that were neutral. Where can I find this info?

Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 15:13

i don't know much but from what i see currently on the top 20 timclif and anyx are not running it. I seen that blockbrothers were aginst it, not sure if they were in top 20 because now they are not. but there was some shifting in positions this few days and i don't follow nor know that much to say who was in and who was out.

24.02.2020 15:27

Blockbrothers wasnt a top 20 witness before the soft fork either.

But you are right @bil.prag...they are resolute in their opposition.

Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 16:45

i seen that there was some shifting in the top 20, but i don't follow it that much so i don't really know who was where.

24.02.2020 17:04

The code version is not a sign of support or lack of support. The older version may contain the code, the newer version surely contains the code. The code was released on 22.1 and later witnesses who wanted to publicly show themselves running it changed to 22.2.

25.02.2020 07:12

@timcliff and @clayop

At least that was the response to my query:

24.02.2020 15:36

There is no black and white answer to this. All involved witnesses are 100% committed to the sanctity of the Steem blockchain irrespective to whether they support all parts of mitigation or not.

25.02.2020 07:10

Every day on Steem more and more fun
I'm in shock!
The fun continues

Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 15:29

I think we should ask Steemit Inc to use "Decline Voting Rights" and then reverse the fork when they do. It's just a personal opinion I have at the moment which may subject to change.

Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 15:35

Nice and quick defensive measures on time of uncertainty and threats! Necessary and important for the survival of the community and Steem blockchain! Liberty and freedom! No authoritarian rule! No dictatorship! No tyrants!!

Thanks for sharing.

24.02.2020 15:40

It was rather quick and decisive. That all can agree upon.

Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 16:49

Very good reflex with agility and flexibility!! So good to have the backup procedure!

Thanks for all the information.

24.02.2020 17:03

@taskmaster4450, In my opinion here good thing is, this Soft Fork is Reversible and most importantly now Justin Sun called for an Town Hall Session. So let's hope that in this Town Hall Session everything will be cleared and everyone will be on the same page. Let's hope for the best and stay blessed.

Posted using Partiko Android

24.02.2020 16:06

I agree it is a good bridge but we need to tread softly. Town Halls are often nothing more than the proverbial song and dance.

There needs to be concrete agreements and not just a bunch of verbal "Yes I agree" type stuff.

I will say Sun did handle it well and took a good step.

Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 16:47

Yes. Things are looking Calmer and let's hope that it will continue as it is. Have a great time ahead.

25.02.2020 01:01

I can appreciate the importance of "protecting Steem;" but I just hope this doesn't turn into some kind of weird "pissing match" that leaves everyone on both sides not only looking stupid, but being utterly broke... I'm glad it's reversible, and a "defensive" move.


Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 17:08

Looking stupid or being utterly broke isn't all that is at stake here.

28.02.2020 19:13

Very interesting. I have been reading a great deal about Tron and Juston Sun lately. I originally thought this had the potential to be a good thing for Steem, but not so sure now. Now I am of the opinion they are being vauge and evasive in addressing specifics on the future for a reason and it is not in the best interest of Steem.

24.02.2020 17:29

I'm 100% against this. Terrible precedent to set. I understand the witnesses were scared of what he might do due to his confusing and contradicting statements but that is no reason to freeze (steal) his steem power. I know they say it is "easily reversible" and yes, the transaction can be flipped but the negative feelings this softfork must produce in J.S. must be big and there is no reversing that.

I do not like businessmen like J.S. but he did acquire his stake through a legitimate transaction and I believe the witnesses nullifying his stake like this is wrong.

Posted via Steemleo

24.02.2020 18:46

The stake was not nullified. It's still there but now code restricts its use in the same way the agreement around it existing in the first place restricted its use. It can actually be said that nothing about that stake changed. It was always used for account creation and onboarding and it'll keep serving its purpose just like that unless JS wants to stop giving onboarded minnows a little bit of free SP.

25.02.2020 07:17

Did Satoshi Nakamoto develop Bitcoin so a quorum of miners could decide to freeze funds like a bank from time to time? It's rather sobering, that 21 witnesses would conspire to do this on Steem. What is to keep the five or six Bitcoin mining pool operators from conspiring to freeze some accounts for not going along with the Chinese Communist Party as more and more of the hashing power comes under Chinese control?

25.02.2020 23:56

Did Satoshi Nakamoto develop Bitcoin so he can sell it for personal profit?
Do you prefer having 20 witnesses protecting the Steem blockchain or just one destroying it?

01.03.2020 13:30

"Destroying" is the wrong word to use, isn't it? I concede though with one person controlling the Steem blockchain, you would end up with something that is more like PayPal rather than Bitcoin. The benefits of proof-of-work in Bitcoin are here demonstrated.

02.03.2020 10:48

WOW a lot to take in here, things move quick on this chain. :-D

24.02.2020 21:33

Hi @darthknight. As I'm sure you have heard by now, the community witnesses are trying to retake the chain from Tron - who used the Steemit, Inc. accounts + exchanges to overthrow the witnesses that the Steem community had elected. I noticed that you are a large stakeholder who has not used all 30 of your votes. You could really give us a boost with trying to retake the chain by voting for another 20 community (non Tron) witnesses. If you are not sure who to vote for, you also have the option to proxy your witness vote to someone you trust.

06.03.2020 04:07

Wow, just wow.

I made myself get off steem for a Sunday and a Monday Morning because there was lots to read and lots to feel, but not really lots of... nothing.

Now there is something.

I also noticed actifit disabled their witness node, going to their page to check out what gives.

Posted via Steemleo

25.02.2020 01:10

If possible, can we take out those ninja mined staked since it is connected to a plunder now and a criminal act of stealing both the community and Mr. Sun. Furthermore, it also a breach of contract....

25.02.2020 02:38

Great points you raised here. It is important we always get details and terms of our transactions to avoid such jerks as per what is happening to Sun. However, I hope the best comes out of this for our all-round good.

Posted via Steemleo

26.02.2020 11:22

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26.02.2020 16:14

I think it was the right decision and the speed at which Justin Sun finally reached out to intimate a desire to meet with the Steem community is proof of his intent.

proof of his intent
Is not provided by what he is saying in his "open letter to the community." It's provided by his murky past, conflicting history and lack of any actual reason to want anything except ownership of STEEM blockchain.

28.02.2020 19:09