It is very easy to criticize DPOS and "proof-of-brain" as it were. Why is this? Because in THEORY there are a lot more glaring problems with DPOS than there are with other models. Obviously if you tell someone we are going to start voting with our money and whoever has the most money makes the rules... red flags are going to go up all over the place. Clearly, we will eventually get money attacked and then it's game over for the network.
But in PRACTICE we've already been money attacked, and that attack both worked and failed miserably at the same time. It worked in that our brand was stolen and we had to start over with marketing and whatnot, but it failed to enslave the network to a trust-fund baby. It also failed to hurt most users financially. Most users that fought against the hostile takeover made money even though we lost the war for our brand. (A brand that in my opinion wasn't that great to begin with; Hive is better than Steem).
Looking at BTC and ETH governance, what do we see? We see single points of failure all over the place with a complete breakdown in communication and consensus. Bitcoin Core is developed by an elite centralized group. Ethereum is developed by an elite centralized group with a massive premine intact.
The only way to push through changes on the top chains is to get permission from the elite and have the miners approve it and have the nodes upgrade consensus. This slows development to a snail's pace. Even though the Ethereum Foundation has a massive premine and carry a balance of billions of dollars the speed at which they are scaling the network is laughable. The same thing happened with EOS.
DAO Hack hardfork split
Ethereum didn't lose their branding, unless you consider Ethereum Classic to be the "real" chain (which it isn't because Ethereum had overwhelming consensus), but they still had to hardfork and rewrite history to prevent the DAO hack money from being stolen. DPOS might be flawed, but Ethereum still had the same problem as Steem even without the stake-based attack vector. Consensus is key.
Building up Runway
An x10 on Bitcoin or Ethereum isn't going to change anything in terms of governance or development. An x10 on Hive is going to change quite a bit of things around here. Hive's distribution of tokens is already better than the vast majority of other networks out there now that the ninjamine has been quarantined to the dev fund. When the value of Hive runs up, all of a sudden a bigger chunk of community becomes empowered by that, allowing development to proceed exponentially.
Whereas Hive opted for a governance model with obvious flaws and attack vectors, the top coins by market cap opted for ZERO governance in many respects. At the end of the day Bitcoin is a niche token who's specialty is security. Governance is an attack vector. Inflation is an attack vector. So rather than try to implement these things that could end up getting attacked, Bitcoin decided to just not have them.
This is simultaneously a feature and a bug.
Bitcoin and many other top market-cap coins chose to have nothing rather than something that would have been idealistically flawed. This is not good or bad, it's totally neutral, and it leaves a vacuum open for other projects to take those risks and to try and get them right. Hive is at the forefront of governance/reputation.
You might say Hive development is highly centralized as well. After all @blocktrades is doing a lot of heavy lifting, and we didn't even have a vote or anything to decide what our new brand was: 'Hive' was decided for us.
That may be true, but Hive scaling is not limited in the same ways that it is clearly limited on BTC/ETH. Hive development is centralized out of necessity, not because governance doesn't allow it. We are a small network, but as we scale, development we will become more decentralized in tandem with that scaling, whereas other networks will not.
The dev fund comes into play here as well. Even though it's easy to criticize the dev fund and point out how money is being wasted... it doesn't really matter how much money is getting wasted. What matters is how much total value is being generated there. We could be wasting 90% of the money on dev fund allocations, but if the remaining 10% generates x100 the value it costs, that's a net gain of x10 for the dev fund. This is a powerful tool that can only get better as we improve it and figure out what works and what doesn't.
How many people created Hardfork 25? I certainly didn't do any work on it, or did I? HF25 was everything I ever wanted out of a hardfork. So even though I didn't code any of it I was still out here writing my blog complaining about what I thought needed to be changed, and the vast majority of those changes have happened.
Does my opinion on Hive matter?
Maybe, maybe not. The point is that my opinion could matter. It is possible, whereas on the Bitcoin or Ethereum networks my opinion absolutely does not matter one bit. That is a fact.
In addition, Bitcoin/Ethereum don't have a way to communicate on-chain. That's a pretty big deal in the long run. On hive we can talk to each other on encrypted channels with the memo-key baked right into the network. I don't know when encrypted communications are going to come into play on Hive, but when they do it will be a godsend to be able to talk to each other on a public blockchain without anyone but the intended parties being able to read those messages.
If you buy 1 BTC, you have zero influence on the Bitcoin network. If you buy 500 Hive, you have exponentially more influence on Hive than you would voting in any kind of real-world election. A lot of people feel like those small votes don't matter very much, and maybe they don't right now. However, as time goes by, those small votes are going to add up to a big number.
Our distribution model is also superior to most chains. Again, it's easy to criticize Hive when the abuse of the system is transparent and there are bad-actors milking the reward pool. However, again, that doesn't matter.
It does not matter if their are bad-actors on Hive. This becomes especially relevant with free downvotes as it becomes easier to route out that corruption. What actually matters though is how many good actors there are. Every time a big account upvotes a small account, that's a net victory, regardless of what anyone else does.
If every single person on the Hive network was a bad actor and only upvoted themselves or their friends via circle voting, that wouldn't lead to meltdown, it would lead to the exact same distributions we see every day in DEFI yield farming. Every upvote cast that has merit improves decentralization a little bit more than it would have otherwise. The bad actors are largely irrelevant.
Crypto isn't supposed to be a good solution. It just has to be good enough to work. Getting stuck on the ideals of what a network should be is a mistake, as reality will always deviate from theory, usually by a wide margin.
While it is extremely easy to criticize Hive and other DPOS networks due to the glaring attack vectors that exist in the codebase, we see that in practice it is a superior form of governance when compared to the bigger networks that seem to ignore governance issues completely and just hope it works out.
Hive is essentially a Republic 2.0. Money rules the world, and Hive, rather than shying away from that fact, leans right into it and allows the stake holders to control the network using delegations and voting in politicians directly with stake. To many, this seems like a huge flaw, and it is, but it's better than anything else the world has created, so there is that.
This essentially cuts out the middle men of traditional republics, where one must still spend an obscene amount of money to get elected. It's starting to become obvious that this is the superior form of network organization because money still controls top chains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, just in more roundabout and unfair ways that end up grinding development to a halt and slowing growth, whereas Hive has none of those issues.
There are no practical governance solutions that are better than what we have here. If they existed we would probably implement them. It's time to stop listening to people who complain without ever offering up real solutions to the problems they are pointing out. The real world is no place for idealism. Shoutout to all the builders: keep at it you're doing a great job.