It's Time to Decentralize

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. I personally just got off a 24 hour plane ride, dropping into a quarantined city. It is a stressful time for many of us.

These last few weeks on Steem have been historic. You may not have agreed with the temporary availability limit of the utility of the Steemit Inc dev fund. But you should certainly understand now, that that decision was enacted in attempt to stop the exact situation that immediately followed -- autocratic centralized control over the system.

A lot has happened since. As others have already explained, and most of you all have witnessed it first hand, I won't dive into those details. What matters now is how we proceed.

The Community Matters

A long time ago in Steem, we had a very contentious hardfork: HF 17. I had posted my thoughts on it here, and ended the note with my opinions on the political situation. With Steemit Inc. employees (@ned) swaying governance -- even lightly -- the ability to oppose the hard fork was difficult. After suggesting we consider the ramifications of that hard fork, I was voted out of my witness position by @ned, which I wrote about here.

During this era, the community rallied against the use of Steemit Inc. stake to influence governance on Steem. The community convinced Steemit employees to avoid voting on governance. However, the Steemit Inc. stake as well as the dev fund, still had the power to control the chain whenever they wished. In Canadian corporate law, we have a notion of de facto and de jure control considerations, which means that their ability to unilaterally control the system -- regardless of their applied use of that control or not -- implies that they are in fact the sole controlling entity and owner of that system.

Despite our community voice, we have continued down the path of de-facto Steemit Inc. control. Over the past few years, we all pretended to be a decentralized system, and @ned let us play in the sandbox, so long as we stayed within the boundaries.

Under new hands, this control Steemit had was applied again -- and this time in total force. The community response was able to garner enough support together to oppose total centralized control and enter a stalemate, showing a clear sign: the community we have here is the true value of this system.

The Importance of Decentralization

When we think about decentralization, many often think of "no single point of failure". Recently, @jesta made excellent commentary here in regards to our current situation, as well as the decentralization of a DPOS system. One quote I really like is the following; "should a token holder controlling enough stake in a DPOS system be allowed to eliminate the system?"

In my opinion, the situation today is even more clear. When it's not even a regular token holder, but the controller of the dev fund -- intended to promote the growth of the system -- is used to enact total autocratic control over the system, with intent to destroy or migrate it, that system no longer is functioning as a decentralized community driven one.

I have written a lot about decentralization in the past. Two posts worth a read are here:

It is important to understand that a system that is centralized has no reason to use a DLT or a blockchain. These systems are designed with "anti-trust" in mind -- I do not have to trust you to interact with you in a trustable way, so long as the system remains secure. With an autocratic dev fund, and an iron grip on governance installing puppets and pawns, this system has failed. Like a failed state, this is a failed chain. This is not something worth continuing to support.

My Infrastructure Shift

A system is only as good as the resources backing it. Running one of the largest API nodes by volume, I know my infrastructure is important for the continuation of this community. You can read more about my infrastructure in the SPS proposal post here.

After the airdrop, all infrastructure will be pointing towards the new Hive blockchain.

I am not a fan of politics. This is not a choice I make lightly. But I have no interest in supporting a system that is centralized.

I am also not tribalistic. As an academic, I enjoy discussing systems and their properties. It is no secret that I am also a core member of @greymass, which is block producer and supporter of many EOSIO chains. Greymass also recently said we would help advise the ex-Steemit Inc developers as they discuss their future plans. I will personally continue to avoid politics and give advice wherever I can about how to create a decentralized, distributed, cryptographically secure system.

Yet, as Justin Sun has hostilely taken over Steem, there is no reason for myself to continue supporting this system. As Steem departs from a decentralized model, my last parting academic advice is as follows:

I encourage those remaining on Steem to shift their underlying system over to a traditional database in postgres or RocksDB, colocated within a single datacenter, to improve performance and reduce latency. Using DLT for a centralized system is like using a spoon to shovel dirt. Know the purpose of the technology you are using.

It's Time to Decentralize

Now, the choice is in your hands.

Hive will truly be run by the community. No longer will you have to appeal to a centralized entity or authority to propose or implement changes to the system. You must convince the members of the system itself.

This new system will have its positives and its negatives for sure, but I know I have personally been held back on my own desires because of the centralized nature of this chain. Without a single entity that can shut down your voice, this system will have the ability -- good or bad as that is -- to run in a purely decentralized way. Yet, without a dev fund, we will have to rely on each other. We can use the new proposal system to, together, in a decentralized way, build our new home. This new home will be what we make of it.

It will be a long road to solve problems in the system we are inheriting. There will be growing pains. But if you believe -- truly believe -- in taking steps towards decentralized future, this is the step we must now take.

I hope you will take it with me.

Learn more about Hive here. More information to come soon; many of us have been working hard and will continue to do so to make this launch successful.

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  • @steevc

    It's pretty amazing that this community has reached the point where we can cast off the company who founded our blockchain and go our own way without them. You have been a big part of that. Thanks for all you have done to reduce the abuse of the blockchain. It was a pleasure to meet you in Krakow. Onwards and upwards to Hive!

  • @olaexcel

    Hive is the great alternative to the steem community, I will see you in next level. Hive all the ways πŸ’“πŸ’―πŸ™πŸ’“πŸ™πŸ’“

    Posted using Partiko Android

  • @pouchon.tribes

    Lately I become an avid reader. So many good points you elaborate. I see the community is alive in your post. Bumpy road is a sure thing and HIVE will approach it with both arms.

  • @appalachain

    Steem hive.png

  • @manniman

    This really brings the focus to a point most of us didn't really feel until now. There was this major dark shadow in the background and it had a massive influence on everything.

  • @stellabelle

    i'm in.

  • @stackin


  • @dalz

    Thanks for what you are doing, highly appreciate it!

  • @okean123

    Those are weighty words. Thank you! Let's work towards a great future on Hive.

  • @traducciones

    Hi @anyx , because it contains some important information about the migration to HIVE, if you aprove I could translate this post to Spanish as well.

  • @yogajill

    Sure is exciting times! πŸ’ͺ✊ All the best to you and yours during this complex time. πŸ‘

  • @impactn

    Great thoughts. Governance in the shadows of Ned. Maybe this is the time to look for synergies between blockchain governance and network based governance. Here’s a first glimpse on what is been discussed in the spheres of political science. Could help here in building hive.

    Posted using Partiko iOS

  • @argsolver

    I am also not tribalistic. As an academic, I enjoy discussing systems and their properties.

    I know it's not the time now, because you are busy moving your infrastructure to HIVE. But when you do, if you could have a read and share your thoughts?

  • @always1success

    Thank you for my new home! Hive on!

  • @fearlessgu

    Oftentimes, the end of one chapter just means the beginning of a new one. This is going to be awesome.

  • @cyberblock

    My world is being broken down into little fragmented pieces right now, what is happening lol

  • @leveuf

    This is another source of great confidence in the steps of the new project, to count with your knowledge, expertise and great resources to support the new blockchain is awesome news. I hope the best for you all in this new endeavor, we are preparing for a brighter future. My admiration and best regards, @Anyx!!

  • @sakkie

    How do you benefit from the fork? Will all steem users automatically benefit or is there a certain exchange they must join? How do you make sure you benefit from the fork please? PS-I am not against vaccines, I am pro-choice. My body my choice!

  • @twinner

    Disagreements on rewards, although I like your efforts for the chain and your API node.

  • @maxsieg

    update API docs please. no idea how to broadcast a transaction correctly... this is what i try and it doesnt work... cannot decentralize without propper API docs

    curl -s --data "{'expiration': '2020-03-18T21:55:39', 'ref_block_num': 24297, 'ref_block_prefix': 3227590836, 'operations': [['vote', {'voter': 'maxsieg', 'author': 'gtg', 'permlink': 'stop-playing-around-vote-for-real-steem-witnesses', 'weight': 10000}]], 'extensions': [], 'signatures': ['postingkey']}"

    im building a terminal frontend that can run over tor network please help, ive been asking for weeks now and i either get a "idk" or i get completely ghosted whenever i ask

  • @soyrosa

    As always a clear statement. Thank you.

  • @jaguar.force

    Exciting times ahead, its been 4 crazy years in antiabuse, I look forward to what you have in mind for various antibuse initiatives to work together in Hive so as to make it squeaky clean and no longer a whack a mole eternal deja-vu.

  • @jasonbu

    Great summary and historical archive. I'm glad will be pointing to the hive blockchain. You've put a lot of work into a solid infrastructure. ... here we go!

  • @funtraveller

    It's the best time in Steem right now, the ones that quit or idle on or before and even after this time are gonna regret not being part of this journey.

    Kudos to all you who are working hard in building the Hive!

  • @angel35mm

    On my wayyy!!!!


  • @dhimmel

    Great post. I'm also an academic and appreciate the plentiful links in your post. This was a bit of a history lesson for me regarding HF17.

    No longer will you have to appeal to a centralized entity or authority to propose or implement changes to the system. You must convince the members of the system itself.

    But won't there still be major token distribution issues following the chain split on Hive? My understanding was that there are several whales with a large portion of stake. And many of these whales are not quite as reasoned as you... and perhaps are prone to acting in a flippant or callow manner? Other entities besides Steemit received substantial stake from PoW mining, right?

    I'm excited for Hive. Just wondering whether it's really sufficient to decentralize the DPoS governance and remove any detrimental whales.

  • @stuffbyspencer

    This is huge. Your API is one of the de-facto best out there, so to have you onboard Hive is a huge boost.

    Thank you for your work

  • @holoz0r

    You've personally done a better job behind the scenes of keeping the chain up than STINC.

    Thank you for that. I look forward to joining the community on Hive.

  • @denmarkguy

    I'm definitely in on this move... the pervasive subtext of never knowing whether or not Steemit would "pull rank" at any one moment to get THEIR way has always made me a little nervous...

  • @joeyarnoldvn

    I love your spoon shovel metaphor.

  • @bala41288

    Thanks for this post. I was actually awaiting to see a post from you. Many people trust your nodes more than any other nodes. Your service to the community has always been inevitable. See you on Hive. πŸ˜€

  • @awesomianist

    I encourage those remaining on Steem to shift their underlying system over to a traditional database in postgres or RocksDB, colocated within a single datacenter, to improve performance and reduce latency. Using DLT for a centralized system is like using a spoon to shovel dirt.


    That spoon cant shovel dirt but it sure can take alot of salt!

  • @galasek

    Will there be a company behind hive? how will it cover the expenses?

  • @levant

    Nice to know. <3


    Very good news.

  • @valued-customer

    " to create a decentralized, distributed, cryptographically secure system."

    One word in particular piqued my interest: distributed. As censorship burgeons on the internet, seemingly increasing it's reach and grasp daily, and now has taken on existential threat to the public with the WHO pressuring centralized social media platforms to prevent information regarding pandemic from being promulgated by unofficial sources, the threat posed by ISPs, registrars, and infrastructure providers becomes more potentially disruptive as disaffected users seek alternatives to the propaganda echo chambers social media platforms have become.

    Lies and censorship are becoming life threatening when facts about potentially fatal disease wreaking havoc globally are kept from the public, and disinformation posted in it's place. When Hive goes live, no matter how censorship resistant the platform itself is, it can be prevented from being a vector of factual information by service providers that cut the platform itself off.

    For a while now financial service mechanisms like Visa, Patreon, and Paypal have been used to censor dissent, and registrars have done the same, albeit in fewer cases. ISPs have cut people off too.

    In addition to decentralized governance and the trustless code of a sound DLT, free people need a route for their voices to reach each other that banksters and government censors can't shut off. Having read much more of your history and efforts to increase decentralization just today, and now reading your comment regarding distributed social media platforms, I am definitely hearing a whisper of that greater potential to resist censorship.

    Is it possible that users themselves can be nodes, and torrent chain data instead of relying on centralized servers and their providers that have the power of autocratic overlords?

    Could we, like protestors in despotic countries have, connect to the internet itself through mesh networks that ISPs can't shut off?

    The fact is that powerful corporations have been seeking to increase their control of all narratives, lying to us, and preventing the truth from being told, and this is horribly increasing our vulnerability to a rapidly expanding pandemic today.

    The enemedia lies, and civilization dies.

    Hive is a good step in the right direction. We may very soon need more resistance to censorship than the platform itself can provide. If your node goes down for some reason, or governments force ISPs to not resolve our node's addys (as New Zealand did after Christchurch to the Chans), or registrars remove us (as happened to Stormfront), we're going to be helpless - and silenced.

    What's the way forward?


  • @yangyanje

    All or the recent actions only motivate to believe in this even more. Autocratic, you wrote it. Looking at other project without trying to compare, we just underwent a huge revolution unprecedented in the space. I guess we are paving the way to true decentralization right here when it comes to DPOS?

    Posted using Partiko iOS

  • @tonytrillions

    !giphy the time is now

    Posted using Partiko Android

  • @offgridlife

    I’m already there ....


  • @bagofincome

    Let's hope HIVE turns out better than Steem ever was! Together we can achieve it!

  • @fwelectronics

    I have watched over the years hearing about decentralization, besides BITCOIN nothing else is decentralized people always want to have some control over their platforms, so in their mind it makes them feel that they for themselves have POWER. But some one else always has the shut down switch to press.

  • @mattsanthonyit

    Just in three words. Great write up

    Posted using Partiko Android

  • @michaelchijioke

    I feel so happy to see this day. The future is now

  • @revisesociology

    I like this line especially

    With an autocratic dev fund, and an iron grip on governance installing puppets and pawns, this is a failed chain.... This is not something worth continuing to support.

    It's good to hear someone just state it like it is in clear terms.

    I'm looking forward to the migration! Feels fresh.

  • @hans001

    Ahh great I can use esteem for hive posts then. I use your server in esteem. 😊

  • @eii


  • @beerlover

    View or trade BEER.

    Hey @anyx, here is a little bit of BEER from @eii for you. Enjoy it!

    Learn how to earn FREE BEER each day by staking.

  • @darrenfj

    thanks for the perspective.. gives me hope.

    bizz-buzz on!

  • @phusionphil

    I am with you and I am als porting all of my services over @zelegations and @steemvpn will be rebranded to the Hive community.

  • @condra

    I'm in