My position on the soft fork - I am not running the changes on my witness node


A super-majority of the top witnesses have decided to proceed with a change to limit the use of the accounts belonging to Steemit, Inc. (which have been acquired by Tron as part of the purchase of Steemit, Inc.) To find out more about this, please read this post.

The decision to support the changes (or not) has weighed heavily on many witnesses including myself, and a lot of very healthy and productive conversation has taken place between many of the witnesses and Steem's stakeholders.

I fully acknowledge and appreciate the severity of the situation, and fully understand why the witnesses running this software have chosen to do so. Personally however, I have chosen NOT to apply the changes to my witness node.

Regardless of the messy situation that got us here, and the very real security risk that Tron currently poses to our chain - I see them as a stakeholder who acquired their stake through a legitimate over-the-counter purchase, and I am not OK forcing restrictions on the way a stakeholder uses their stake.

Note: From a technical perspective, this will have no impact on the restrictions put in place by the other witnesses. I am a single witness, and by myself I am not able to overthrow the will of a super-majority consensus (by design).

Despite the fact that I am not applying these changes to my node, I do support the overall mission that the top witnesses and community/stakeholders are trying to achieve: Finding a way for Steem to progress in a way where the security of our governance and blockchain is not under the constant threat of a single stakeholder.

In my view, there are really two paths forward:

  1. We find a way to work with Tron and come up with a mutually acceptable plan that allows Tron to keep and use their stake in a way that is acceptable to the community and stakeholders, and puts an end to the "ninja mine" dysfunction that has plagued Steem since day one.
  2. We create a fork of Steem (similar to Ethereum vs Ethereum Classic) in a way that voids out the ninja mined stake (or does something with it such as funding the DAO) and we let Tron proceed with the chain they have full control of, and we proceed with a new chain without them.

I am really hoping that we can find a way to achieve #1, because I truly believe that there is more potential for both Steem and Tron to be successful if we work together towards mutually beneficial goals. For the time being I see that as the best path forward, and I will continue to work towards that end.


Comments 93


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23.02.2020 22:39
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23.02.2020 22:47
0

Appreciate your stance Tim, as well as the overall consensus being what it is.

23.02.2020 22:48
0

Has there been any discussion about simply decreasing the number of witness votes per account? I feel a hardfork of that nature would be the simplest way to immediately decentralize Steem further and lift undue restrictions on the Steemit Inc. stake.

23.02.2020 22:49
0

There is definitely discussion about it although it does not nullify the current situation. They could just divide it up across two accounts and vote in 10 witnesses each.

23.02.2020 22:51
0

Any reduction in number of witness votes still helps. Right now we have a system of governance wherein voting rights are equal to SP times 30. SP times 10 is still a massive improvement, but cutting witness votes to 5 or 6 is probably what would be needed to prevent the Steemit Inc. stake from being able to control consensus outright. Not saying they couldn't control 10+ seats still if they chose, but at least they'd probably need to negotiate with some community backed "spoilers" at that level.

23.02.2020 23:24
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It would cut other stakeholders votes by the same amount as well. The Steemit, Inc. accounts would still have proportionally the same amount of advantage.

23.02.2020 23:27
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No, because they wouldn't be able to enforce a witness supermajority. Even though they will still have an advantage, it won't be enough to centralize the chain.

24.02.2020 01:03
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They would still have enough to enforce a witness supermajority.

24.02.2020 01:23
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I understand this idea has been going around but people are very confused about its effectiveness. @timcliff pointed out one simple scenario how it would fail but there are many others (the details of which vary according ot the specific voting rules) once you carefully think it through, pretty much no matter how you set up the voting rules. There is no plausible set of voting rules that is going to prevent a very dominant majority stake (current 150% as much as all other actively voting stake put together) from effectively "being in charge". That ought to be pretty obvious from the very concept of "voting".

Furthermore any such change would require a hard fork, which means all nodes and exchanges updating. That is obviously very costly and disruptive, and generally (for good reason) those have been limited in frequency and number.

That isn't to say that some changes to the voting rules wouldn't be beneficial in some ways and perhaps those should be included in some future hard fork, but it isn't a solution to this issue.

23.02.2020 23:04
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I'd actually be most in favor of a 1 SP=1 vote system wherein 100 million SP of stake would have to spread it across 30 witness votes, not get to vote 100 million on all 30, but limiting witness votes to say 5, accomplishes much the same thing and may be a simpler and more elegant solution to code. It does not prevent a massive stake from voting in witnesses, but it makes it extremely difficult for them to control consensus.

100 million SP with 5 witness votes could divvy it up to the point of optimizing 25 million SP of support on 20 witnesses, but that level still leaves room for actual community elected witnesses to remain in the top 20 and essentially give Steem classic seats at the table and keep any malicious hard forks from achieving consensus.

Of course 1 SP = 1 vote is the most extreme form of decentralizing the chain and honestly makes the most sense. In that kind of scenario, 100 million SP spread across 20 witnesses is equal to only 5 million SP of support per witness. Huge stake can control a number of witness seats, but certainly not all of them as is currently the case. SP being multiplied by a factor of 30 for witness voting is the flaw that needs addressed. If Tron wants to put their thumb on the scale and buy seats at the witness table, I think we could actually allow that provided they can't but consensus, which the current system is allowing.

23.02.2020 23:20
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This assumes NO support from any other stake, which is unlikely and realistic, especially after any degree of marketing, campaigning, offering incentives, etc. In reality, a dominant stake would still be to override, say an 80-20 split of the rest of voters against what they want to do, just not 100%. That's a little better but nothing close to a panacea, and this also significantly weakens the chain because any malicious minority attacker can still push in a minority of witnesses who can cause harm in various ways, instead of being kept out by broad stake consensus as the current rules are intended to do.

23.02.2020 23:28
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I realize that ~1/3 of stake is going to have immense influence on the platform, but in fact it does not create a supermajority. Further I note that equitable distribution of influence over governance is appropriate, particularly to an investor that purchased their stake.

I don't see any other lawful way to potentially secure the decentralization of the blockchain, than the proposal I have linked in my reply to the OP.

Please prove me wrong.

24.02.2020 01:07
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It's not 1/3, it is about 150% of the currently active voting stake, meaning 71% of all actively voting stake, were it to vote.

Perhaps some more stake might vote but there will always be some held by dormant accounts/passive investors who literally aren't paying attention or aware of any governance decisions, by dead people, by accounts with lost keys, by custodians with a policy of not voting, etc.

Claiming that 29% having much of a say is a push for 'decentralization' is a stretch IMO.

The core problem is simply that the stake is too centralized, was too centralized to begin with, and people were led to accept this situation by a bunch of empty promises, misleading and outright false statements, and a misplaced sense of trust in the founder (even, somewhat inexplicably, after the other founder demonstrated one reason why one should not trust in a founder).

That being said, I've noted elsewhere that I think splitting block production and governance (as was the case in Bitshares before this was combined in Steem with no explanation beyond "simplification") might be best, and even your exact proposal might be good, as long as people recognize it for the tradeoff that it is.

24.02.2020 01:38
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I did indeed fail to reckon inactive stake, or stake lost to the vicissitudes of key management. I agree with all of your comment I understand.

Thanks!

24.02.2020 01:44
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That isn't to say that some changes to the voting rules wouldn't be beneficial in some ways and perhaps those should be included in some future hard fork...

This really is something that we should be working towards as the platform and community matures and the decentralised governance of STEEM evolves long term.

24.02.2020 01:46
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Agree

24.02.2020 01:52
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The problem with any account based proposal is sock puppets easily circumvent it.

This is why I have proposed an equity based solution, linked in my reply to the OP.

24.02.2020 01:03
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Thanks for this communication Tim, have always respected your views. I am surprised by the news contained within this post, I think it is a very rash decision by other witnesses.

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23.02.2020 22:49
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I assure you it was not rash. It was heavily debated and days of discussion went into it. Nobody took the situation lightly.

23.02.2020 22:52
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I’ve just been reading the other posts and can now understand in more detail the temporary nature/ soft fork nature. Interesting times on here!

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23.02.2020 22:56
0

Regardless of the messy situation that got us here, and the very real security risk that Tron currently poses to our chain - I see them as a stakeholder who acquired their stake through a legitimate over-the-counter purchase, and I am not OK forcing restrictions on the way a stakeholder uses their stake.

I agree, especially when this is no different to a bank freezing the accounts of a client because they don't like what they do with their money, or the type of legitimate business activity they conduct.

(There's many examples of Australian banks shutting down the commerical / business acounts of Australian cryptocurrency exchanges), and this "Freezing of the funds" which the super majority has agreed to amounts to exactly this type of behaviour, and in my view cannot be supported on a blockchain that is by definition meant to be for the use of all stakeholders and their stake.

23.02.2020 23:09
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true dat

23.02.2020 23:33
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About the legitimacy of that deal: was Justin aware of the fact that on the Steemit-owned stake specific conditions had been agreed with the community?

24.02.2020 10:42
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and u lost a miniscule witness vote.

23.02.2020 23:20
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It may take some time for stakeholders to update their votes. It remains to be seen what the net effect on my witness position will be, although I suspect I will likely go down.

23.02.2020 23:23
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Stealing of goods is illegal and so is trading of stolen goods. STINC stole that stake and now sold it. That stake is still illegitimate. Justin sun should have been more careful about what he was buying. That is why I disagree with your position.

24.02.2020 01:37
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I agree and hope we can work with Tron like you said.

23.02.2020 23:32
0

This is a very reasonable and valid position, but are you not afraid of the decision that could be made by the account owner, which in fact is different, and maybe don't want to respect the social contract made by Ned about those accounts?

23.02.2020 23:44
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Yes, it is a very real concern. I would like to see them voluntarily agree to make updates to restrict the use of their stake in a way the Steem community and stakeholders are comfortable with. I outlined in my post the alternative if we are not able to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement.

23.02.2020 23:51
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Thank you for sticking to your principles, Tim. This was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make as a witness. Depending on how the owner of the property responds, I will adjust accordingly. Ultimately, to me, this is property we're talking about. We've acknowledged a lean in place on that property enforced by social contract. That may not sound like much (it's certainly not legally binding, as far as I know), but when it comes to blockchains, consensus is everything.

24.02.2020 00:18
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I believe you meant lean lien ...

24.02.2020 00:56
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Ah, thank you! Fixed.

24.02.2020 02:12
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👍

24.02.2020 02:38
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I hope the soft-fork isn't taken as a threat by Tron but brings them to the table to talk to help build Steemit that you all have worked so hard to bring into reality. I remember so many times a hard-fork was made out of fear and didn't go so well for the eco-system but the whales did very well. I am hoping this soft-fork turns out differently and Tron and Steemit work together and make Steemit a great ecosystem. If not, hard-fork it is, I will go with Steemit.

24.02.2020 00:55
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For the record, Tron now owns Steemit. I think what you mean is Steem.

24.02.2020 00:58
0

Yep, you know me I am horrible at remembering Steem Inc and Steemit.

24.02.2020 01:02
0

Thanks for your statement @timcliff

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: https://steempeak.com/naturalmedicine/@atma.love/why

Namaste
Atma

24.02.2020 00:59
0

I think it's time to admit that dPOS is not decentralized. There are witnesses which make decisions, and people who vote those witnesses.

It is like politics. If the leaders (witnesses) make a decision with consensus then it is by design a good one, a decentralized one.

If you are looking for decentralization like Bitcoin's, you're not going to find it in a dPOS blockchain.

Is that bad? I don't think so. I believe it's a great governance model.

24.02.2020 01:01
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If the stakeholders disagree with the decisions the witnesses are making, they can vote in new witnesses.

24.02.2020 01:19
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There is one stakeholder who is not allowed to vote in new witnesses.

24.02.2020 16:01
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They did already publicly agreed to not vote on witnesses though.

24.02.2020 18:39
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I believe there is another option. I'd appreciate your consideration of the proposal.

You retain my witness vote, and if I could I'd up the weight, because it takes courage of conviction to oppose a supermajority.

Thanks!

24.02.2020 01:01
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Thank you.

I read the proposal. It is an interesting idea, but unfortunately it would not solve the current situation. The problem is with ratios of STEEM. The Steemit, Inc. accounts have more STEEM than all of the other actively voting stakeholders combined. If you cut those accounts voting power by 30x, you also cut the voting power of the other voters by 30x. Steemit could just divide their existing stake into 20 separate accounts and use each one to vote in one witness.

24.02.2020 01:22
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@smooth just also pointed out that problem of inactive and lost stake, which I had failed to reckon. However, the problem of inequity and it's centralizing influence remains, and so does the problem of tortuous harm presently ongoing.

The proposal may not solve the threat of influence the founder's stake represents, but it does solve inequity and tort.

Thanks!

24.02.2020 01:49
0

You earned a solid long-standing witness vote from me reading this man.

24.02.2020 01:03
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Thank you.

24.02.2020 01:23
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I see them as a stakeholder who acquired their stake through a legitimate over-the-counter purchase, and I am not OK forcing restrictions on the way a stakeholder uses their stake.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Possession_of_stolen_goods

Figure out the analogy. Theres nothing legitimate about the ninjamine stake. It remains as it was.

24.02.2020 01:11
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Possession of stolen goods
Possession of stolen goods is a crime in which an individual has bought, been given, or acquired stolen goods.
In many jurisdictions, if an individual has accepted possession of goods or property and knew they were stolen, then the individual is typically charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the stolen goods. If the individual did not know the goods were stolen, then the goods are returned to the owner and the individual is not prosecuted. However, there are often exceptions, because of the difficulty of proving or disproving an individual's knowledge that the goods were stolen.

24.02.2020 01:11
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Acknowledged, and appreciate the position. While it does not change my mind, I am not going to argue against anyone who holds that view.

24.02.2020 01:25
0

Thanks Tim, this is sicking.

With zero evidence he had any intent to do anything to harm Steem we have greeted him with hostility.

Sad day

24.02.2020 01:11
0

I am obviously not in direct support of what was done, but at the same time I can say that it was not a decision that was taken lightly, and the people making it perceived a very real and credible threat to the security of the blockchain.

Nothing has been done at this point that cannot be quickly undone (at least at a technical level). If however Tron had done something hostile (such as voting in a new majority to carry out their will), it would not have been possible to undo such an event without major changes. To that extent, I can at least understand the "precautionary" nature of the move.

That said, I do agree 100% with regards to the hostility part. My goal was (and still is) to try and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome, and I hope we have not backed ourselves into a corner where that is no longer possible.

24.02.2020 01:33
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you forget that what has been proven to everyone is that a small group of people can meet, change the code and execute it without a single public discussion.

Whether Justin turns out to be great or not, that can never be undone. And it is way more important than the circumstances used to justify why it happened.

24.02.2020 03:35
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There are limitations on what can be changed "in secret" in that if the consensus rules are changed, other entities in the ecosystem (exchanges, seeds, full nodes, etc.) have go "agree" to the changes and apply them to their nodes too, otherwise the witnesses will go off on their own and leave everyone else behind. The code changes that were made today did not change any consensus rules.

Witnesses always have the ability to "ignore" transactions. In 99% of the cases, if they do this - it is a very good way to get voted out by the stakeholders and replaced by new witnesses. That is esentially what all of the (other) top witnesses are doing with this "soft fork" - agreeing to ignore a set of transactions from certain accounts.

Ultimately, DPoS is a stake based governance system. Stakeholders are the ones who choose who to vote in, and witnesses who do not align with the interests of the stakeholders typically get voted out. If the stakeholders are not OK with the witnesses ignoring certain transactions, then they 100% have the ability to vote in witnesses who won't ignore them.

What I suspect you will find though is that in this case the witnesses do have the support from a large majority of our stakeholders. At least that's my read on it.

24.02.2020 04:09
0

Exactly. This is representative democracy rather than direct democracy. We appoint senior witnesses to act on our behalf for our stake in Steem.

24.02.2020 11:44
0

@whatsup True, but that small group of people has the community trust through their witness votes..

25.02.2020 06:32
0

I fully respect your decision to be the black sheep in this case.

At the same time I agree that it was our best move so that Justin will be more inclined to find common ground with the existing community or he'll lose half of the users (and his investment).

It's indeed a hard measure but his words were quite threatening (and naive) at the same time.

25.02.2020 06:31
0

We have years of evidence of what Justin Sun intends to do and does. He lies to, he cheats, he obfuscates and he exploits others to make himself richer. He is a master of the crypto shell game and a bad actor.

Life is too short to waste a second working with or investing into people you can identify as bad actors or untrustworthy. This should be a lesson we have all learned repeatedly over the years. It never ends well.

24.02.2020 16:19
0

There is no evidence, there was concern.

24.02.2020 17:12
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Justin Sun has done nothing but provide evidence. He's not some random person, he has a track record of 4 years at this point. He is a bad actor, point blank.

24.02.2020 22:00
0

These witnesses are thieves!

24.02.2020 01:12
0

Nobody has stolen anything at this point.

24.02.2020 01:26
0

themarkymark blocks my rewards every time, so to me my steem dream was stolen! I’m leaving this place, goodbye!

24.02.2020 01:35
0

They are not "yours" until consensus is reached, which includes stakeholders being allowed to downvote.

24.02.2020 01:36
0

Fine, i know that, so i have to leave already! Consensus of stakeholders will always say i cannot earn here! I don’t work well in this environment - The end!

24.02.2020 02:07
0

I am sure you will "leave" another thousand times or so before you ever even consider actually leaving.

24.02.2020 03:53
0

I doubt it, it is like blogging up against a brick wall and i’m done!! u’r muted as u’r rude and i am done here! i’ll make new friends on Tik Tok or another blockchain social media! cya

24.02.2020 06:27
0

Lol

24.02.2020 10:34
0

You've said that SO many times.

24.02.2020 03:16
0

Thanks for noticing!!

24.02.2020 06:17
0

Yeah, we'll I was lying all those other times!!

24.02.2020 07:31
0

I couldn't resist...

24.02.2020 16:39
0

voted for you just because you were ready to stand to what you believe. i am not sure where i stand on this, but the thing i know is that his lack of communication is disrespectful to the steem community.

24.02.2020 02:33
0

Good standing up, Tim.

Dissent is important.

nedstrikesagain

24.02.2020 02:56
0

Well said, I agree with you on most counts. Full respect for sticking with your core principles, it must take plenty courage for a top witness to go against the popular vote.

24.02.2020 03:41
0

Thank you

24.02.2020 03:55
0

Agree with your stand. Below is my take and proposal to handle similar crises in future

https://www.actnearn.com/actnearn/@prameshtyagi/my-take-on-soft-fork-0-22-2

24.02.2020 05:31
0

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24.02.2020 08:03
0

I don't agree with this either.

24.02.2020 09:14
0

Saya sudah mempercayakan suara saya kepada anda sebagai seorang witness sudah sejak tahun akhir tahun 2016. Saya berharap agar anda bisa mewakili suara saya yaitu tetap mempertahankan blockchain Steem dalam keadaan independen dan desentralisasi.

Secara garis besar saya setuju dengan apa yang anda gagas dan tulis di sini, dan saya sangat menghargai itu, semoga para witness lainnya bisa mengikuti langkah anda.

Secara garis besar, saya memahami pemikiran anda dan saya juga sependapat, bagaimanapun juga saya tetap taruh dan percayakan harapan saya kepada anda.

I have entrusted my voice to you as a witness since the end of 2016. I hope that you can represent my voice, which is to keep the Steem blockchain in an independent and decentralized state.

Broadly speaking, I agree with what you have in mind and write here, and I really appreciate it, hopefully the other witnesses can follow your lead.

I general, I understand your thoughts and I also agree, however I still put and trust my hopes to you.

24.02.2020 12:19
0

24.02.2020 15:47
0

Appreciate your position but I have no faith in Tron doing anything except chewing up the juicy bits of STEEM blockchain and then spitting out the gristle left over for the maggots to munch on.

24.02.2020 16:04
0

All of us (myself included) are working to ensure that does not happen.

24.02.2020 18:35
0

"This is a digression. May the force will be with you."
😎

24.02.2020 16:58
0

Hi @timcliff firstly I think your #2 option is plane ludicrous. I mean come on mate we all know what's going to happen everyone will abandon the tron steem chain for the new one it's not rocket science.

With that said let's re hash on option 1. Coming up with a mutual agreement with somebody who just purchased neds stake.. I mean yeah sure in a perfect world but unfortunately business is business and at the end of the day tron and Mr sun give no shit about you or your with title.

Posted using Partiko Android

24.02.2020 21:50
0

I've been dormant but checking on things every now and then for I suppose about a year at this point.

The question that occurs to me regarding this Soft Fork is:

We've seen how readily Justin spends money on things. Should he try to use his stake to vote in witnesses who will fall in line and this fork goes in to effect to "lock out" his stake, what is to keep him from going to the exchanges and buying every STEEM token out there to build a "legitimate stake" outside of the stake that is locked out.

I have no idea how much Steem is currently on exchanges, but I have to imagine it would be a drop in the bucket for him to buy it all and power it up. Would this be enough to cancel out the intent of this soft fork?

24.02.2020 21:57
0

I don't know, but it is possible.

25.02.2020 02:00
0

Reading this, I just found my fourth witness to vote for. Since I joined Steem(it) I have been reading messages and looking for people who are worthy witnesses. Somebody who dares to challenge the common opinion and stands up for his opinion is somebody who will help to challenge and with that impact the balance of Power. My vote is yours. And to the rest of the community I would urge you to give Justin a chance. To get this platform into mainstream, it should become easier to familiarize yourself with it.

24.02.2020 22:09
0

Thank you

25.02.2020 02:13
0

I agree with @carapthian we should all give Justin Sun a chance after all he legally bought the stake that NED was offering. I think it would have been much better for NED to having done a Reverse Auction where he sold the coins at a higher price then the Market but in Bulk Lots.

That would have given everybody here a chance to buy some STEEM at discount rates and create a truly Autonomous Blockchain like Bitcoin.

26.02.2020 13:27
0

@timcliuff,

I am astonished by what I've been reading on "Justification Posts" for the softfork.

For years, Top 20 Witnesses not only supported bidbots, they owned and operated them. Vote buying and selling, the very dictionary definition of corruption in any system predicated upon voting.

  • "Well, everyone has a right to vote their stake."

Along comes @justinsunsteemit who buys out Steemit Inc. ... and all of a sudden he's not allowed to vote his stake!? So what if the Top 20 Witnesses don't like his ideas? So what if he shuts down some of their pet projects?

That would just be him "voting his stake."

None of the Top 20 Witnesses took or take any heed of the army of voices screaming bloody murder about their self-serving tactics but we're all supposed to care when they are now, potentially, on the receiving end.

None of this matters.

If @justinsunsteemit decides to take legal action, which I would encourage him to do, any judge on the planet would call this Theft and Extortion. I ran a hedge fund for 20 years and am extremely familiar with securities law. Any Witness who voted for this abomination is very likely going to jail. It's that black and white.

Here's a suggestion: The Top 20 Witnesses need to IMMEDIATELY consult an attorney ... something they should have done BEFORE undertaking this asinine caper.

Irrespective of what Justin decides to do, the Top 20 Witnesses just waived a huge red flag in front of the SEC practically daring them to intervene. The SEC will not require a complaint from Justin to open an investigation (and yes, the SEC will easily be able to assert U.S. jurisdiction).

Tim, as per usual, you're the one Top 20 Witness that manages to show some restraint and common sense.

Note to all Steemians: Because of Tim's non-support for the softfork, he's likely to drop out of the Top 20 Witnesses if he hasn't already. If you haven't voted for him already, do so now.

Quill

26.02.2020 00:59
0

Despite the fact that I am not applying these changes to my node, I do support the overall mission that the top witnesses and community/stakeholders are trying to achieve: Finding a way for Steem to progress in a way where the security of our governance and blockchain is not under the constant threat of a single stakeholder.

Hi @timcliff,

Isn't there already one or two stake holders in which hold a large say on who gets to be a top witnesses?

Regardless of that, I share your views. I think its going to be tough getting any big investors to take a look at STEEM due to this decision.

You have just become the 4th witnesses in which I vote for.

29.02.2020 16:26
0

There are some that can take someone into the top 20 if they are already close, but not from zero to top on their own without any other stakeholders.

Thanks :)

29.02.2020 17:16
0