My understanding and thoughts regarding this ongoing witness battle

Since the recent top 20 witness battle has started, I have received many messages asking my actions and rationales behind them. Some also asked what Korean community thinks.

While I cannot say anything on behalf of the Korean community (people have different opinions), I believe that if I write up my understanding and thoughts it would be helpful for non-Korean Steemians so that they may find it easier to understand how many Korean steem users view these events.

  • This is the point of writing this long article in English (which I seldom do).

Let me clarify the terms first, as it seems that the same word is being used in many different ways across different articles.

  • "22.2 community": witnesses who has agreed to soft fork 22.2 and users who support 22.2

  • "Justin": Justin Sun, tron, Steem INC.

  • "sct community": Steemcoinpan (steem engine tribe) users, in particular users who proxied to @proxy.token.

I want to make it very clear before I start: I simply wanted to balance between 22.2 community and Justin so that neither side could fork (if they have super majority of top 20) before I hear from both sides regarding future roadmap - how to improve STEEM. My witness voting for tron puppets does NOT mean that I support them. Proxy.token's intention is the same and lots of other Korean users share similar opinion.

Several days after Justin bought Steem INC from Ned, I learned that there was a soft fork 22.2 that freezes Steem INC's accounts.

It was shocking that witnesses (and select few - according to the screenshot below, total 65) made the decision and executed with without any public discussion, and still claims that "this statement has been co-authored by the Steem community..."

Thoughts 1: So "Steem community" is 65 users who were invited to the private channel.

Thoughts 2: Wow, so it means that witnesses may freeze anyone's account, potentially including mine, without any notice? If they can do this to the biggest investor, they can simply ignore non-whale like me fairly easily. And who would like to invest large sum of money to Steem if his account may get frozen anytime?

Later, 22.2 community explained that it was a "preventive" measure because they have not heard from Justin ("there have been a lot of uncertainties around the company and its continued use of the assets it controls, ...") and it is a soft fork that is reversible.

Thoughts 3: so this action was based on mere assumptions, or "IF"s. Basically, witnesses took Justin's accounts in custody and saying that they may give back his accounts.

I read the replies, and most of them were supportive. And for non-supportive ones, I saw lots of hostility and ridicule towards them.

Thoughts 4: It seems that users like @tcpolymath and @rentmoney (who I "met" at Splinterlands games) already expressed similar concerns, so no need for me to repeat. And I may get attacked like below (see below for a sample - I do not know who they are but it seems pretty aggressive) , so why take risk.

I also learned that the reasons cited were (1) these stakes were ninja-mined and (2) there was an "agreement" or "promise" that Steem INC steem power (and steem) should be used in a specific way.

Later I asked @aggroed, one of the 22.2 witnesses that I still vote for, regarding this. His explanation was the following:

  1. There are other ninja-mined stakes, including freedom, blocktrades, etc.
  2. But Steem INC accounts were the only ones with "social contract" that Steem INC funds should be used in a certain way.

Thoughts 5: wait, "social contract" is not a legal term (see wikipedia) that can be used for a corporation. And are there any legal documents stating above?

So I asked aggroed about official, preferably legal document that shows such alleged obligations (he said he would come back to me). In the meanwhile, I consulted a US lawyer (NY state) and she was skeptical that "evidences" suggested in postings like Evidence of Steemit Inc making representations about use of ninja-mined stake and could be used as legally binding evidence.

And Justin fired back with the same "sneak" attack and got his accounts back and set 20 puppet witnesses.

Thoughts 6: wait, can you use exchange fund to power up and cast witness votes? I haven't read all details when I make an account at Binance, but it is likely that they should not use the customer funds without explicit(written) consent.

  • I still do not know the legal details regarding this, but this issue is not primary unless these exchanges vote again.

And 22.2 community led a campaign asking for votes. These was even a case where they were clearly buying votes:

Thoughts 7: If I remember correctly, buying votes was blamed/condemned so far. Maybe from now on, selling/buying witness votes would be okay. It seems like a bad precedent.

When 5 of the 22.2 community witnesses made to top 20 again, @proxy.token (managed by SCT community) asked witnesses' opinions on Steem issues such as power-down period ([공지] @proxy.token 증인 투표 운영 방침(@proxy.token witness voting policy) before making votes.

No witness replied.

Not very surprising, as sct community used to be ignored and sometimes even faced hostile attacks, including downvotes and ridicules (Several members were even getting auto-downvoted no matter what just because "it was not written in English" or "no thumbnail" or "too much rewards").

I used to proxy to @proxy.token, but when I read this I cleared proxy and voted for 20 tron puppets and some witnesses that I support.

Thoughts 8: I expected that no attention will be given unless proxy.token actually shows that they may change the main witnesses. They would like to make decisions based on answers from witnesses, but if they do not vote first they won't get answers.

After 6 hours, proxy.token has learned and fired witness votes. Now 17 tron witnesses are top 20.

And suddenly SCT discord channel and the previous posting got popular.

SCT community (including myself) enjoyed talking to witnesses and other Steemians and I believe that it was very productive. In short,

  1. 22.2 witnesses asked to put enough non-tron top 20 witnesses (5 or more) to prevent hard-fork from Justin. SCT community agreed and made 7 non-tron witnesses top 20. [공지] @proxy.token 증인투표 추가.

  2. SCT community asked Steem Foundation to present future roadmap/plan for Steem in 3 days, and aggroed and shadowspub(current chair of the Foundation) said they would.

5 hours ago, Justin showed up at SCT discord channel. He confirmed "real Justin" by tweeting:

While we wanted to have constructive discussion, it did not go well. Justin repeated the same thing (I bought steem with my hard earned money, I do not like to see someone's assets get frozen, I agree with what proxy.token suggested) but didn't have a chance to say something about his future plans, as some users from 22.2 community were too emotional and overly aggressive.

Thoughts 9: Calling the other party "liar" after each dialogue didn't help the conversation get going. Maybe we should get one representative from each side and let them debate how they will improve STEEM.

Almost there. It went a lot longer than I had thought.

So ... My final thoughts:

  1. It seems that it would be quite difficult to reach an agreement. Both sides (22.2 community and Justin) got emotional and cannot trust each other at this point.

  2. Justin cannot dump STEEM and take profit: even if he could power down all of his steem power, there's no way that he could sell them without destroying STEEM price and sell STEEM at a very low price since he got too many.

  3. I do not see clear path for the future - so what if Justin leaves or forfeits? STEEM was slowly dying before Justin, and I expected this STEEM INC deal would be a positive catalyst - but it seems that this is not going well, and I don't know what or how we may change the situation. I will wait for the STEEM foundation to present its roadmap.

  4. For now, I am leaning towards 22.2 community after reading @Justinsunsteemit witness voting policy - Justin, you don't use "fuck" multiple times if you want serious answers. While some of 22.2 community also lack manners, I believe that I can find people who are ready to work out a solution in a civil way.

  5. I am now worried about potential repercussion: obviously I was not an ardent supporter of the 22.2, and I belong to a minority group (Korean). Isn't it possible that some people from 22.2 community attack me (downvoting, etc) or even freeze my account?

I would like to thank @proxy.token, @aggroed, @kopasi, @jayplayco, @stoodkev, @thecryptodrive, @dakeshi, @roelandp, @therealwolf, @dalz, @themarkymark, @steempress, and SCT community members for joining the SCT discord conversation, providing information, and sharing your opinions.

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