At this point, it seems like most of the community is in agreement on one thing: they don’t want Justin Sun here. The primary disagreement seems to be how to achieve that. From what I’ve been told, even Justin himself has said he doesn’t want to be here. He just wants to get paid to leave.
So the purpose of this post is to list the reasons why I don’t think it’s a good idea to pay him to leave and why I won’t be participating in any such deal via coding support, money (among other ideas, I’ve been told via intermediaries that Justin would happily sell Steemit to me now), or even as a simple endorsement of a deal.
What’s the value of Steemit Inc now?
In my opinion, Steemit Inc has nearly zero value now
Wait, what about the Steemit stake it holds?
While it controls a stake with a quoted value of many millions, it will never be possible to realize that value now. My best guess is that it is worth around $200K USD, and that's only if the owner considers it ethical to dump the stake that was promised for development. My estimate of its dump value being so low is because it can only be dumped slowly, which will give the market time to see what's coming.
This is also one of the big reasons why Justin is lobbying to get the powerdown rate changed to something like a day. The faster he can dump it, the more value he can get from gullible buyers who think they are getting coins cheaply, never understanding that the coins they are buying will never regain their value, because all the value is going to leave (more on this point shortly). Time is not on his side in such a dump, because the more information people have, the more they will realize that what he’s selling won’t be worth buying.
As a side note, all the above is one reason Steemit got sold to Justin to begin with, in my opinion. Ned has dealt with Steem long enough to know that he was unlikely to extract the value just by dumping it and he didn’t have a plan for how to profit by using it for development (he tried that and failed already). So instead he sold the company for less than half the value of the Steemit stake and was happy with the deal.
Wait, what about the IP and developers?
When Justin acquired it, Steemit absolutely had some strong value, in the form of intellectual property, branding, and experienced blockchain and frontend developers. But now, all the developers he acquired are gone (they’ve all quit).
Branding, good will?
Despite all the mistakes it has made, Steemit Inc also had some good branding and good will from its role in starting the Steem blockchain. But almost immediately, Justin began destroying that via his public statements and actions. I don’t want to rehash that, because almost everyone else has already deeply analyzed those actions (most reasonably with a few bizarre exceptions).
At this point, Steemit Inc itself has no community to support the value of a coin it controls: the only community here is the Steem community, not the Steemit community, and it mostly wants nothing to do with Justin (some are even willing to pay him to leave).
What option does the Steem community have if it won’t compromise?
Before long, we will launch a new coin that is essentially a re-branded hardfork of Steem, airdropped on all Steemians, without airdropping to the Steemit stake. This new chain will maintain all our collected posts and our transaction info and will support all the same Dapps we’ve come to know and love.
I believe all the economic value will move to this new chain and the chain with Justin's stake will ultimately just die. He can keep his chain running for a while, trying to find uninformed people to sell it to, but it’s not going to last long with no devs, no real plan from Justin on how to keep it alive, and most of all, no community to support it.
In other words, I believe the value in your existing Steem coin account will migrate to a value in this new coin. And I believe the value (i.e. the price) of the existing chain will just drop as Justin dumps on that chain.
I see this as a big win for the community and particularly existing Steem holders, as we free ourselves from an entity that has just been dumping on us economically for a long time, without properly returning that value with enough technical development or publicity.
Another cool thing, from a marketing perspective, is we will be a literal demonstration of how a community is what gives a coin value. We should make every effort to capitalize on this in cryptocurrency media, just as we’ve done so far in our DPOS vote fight with Justin.
Does the community have the skills to operate a blockchain?
We have more developers committing to work on this new chain than we’ve ever had before. We already have a team of 36 experienced developers, including key devs that were involved in the initial development and maintenance of Steem. And new developers are joining us daily. By contrast, from what I know, Steemit had 4 devs, and currently has none at all.
And we don’t just have devs, we have marketing people, business people, artists, and idealists. Our combined efforts can do far more than a narrow-minded, profit-driven Steemit ever dreamed possible. As many here know, the community constantly reached out to try to help Steemit, and was continually rebuffed. We plan to be be the opposite of that, with an all-inclusive, decentralized approach to development, marketing, and on-boarding.
Does the community have the resources to launch a blockchain?
Yes, we do. It’s actually much easier for us to launch a chain, because of the many lessons we’ve had operating the Steem blockchain. And as far as financial resources go, several prominent Steem stakeholders have privately offered both computing resources and significant financial support, including my own company, BlockTrades. Even at this early stage, I’m utterly convinced we have sufficient support to launch and develop this new blockchain.
We’re also already hard at work lowering the costs of operating the servers that power the Steem ecosystem (web sites and Dapps). We’ve identified key areas where we can dramatically reduce operating costs over the costs paid by Steemit and we’ll be ready by launch to deploy these higher efficiency API nodes and services.
But isn’t compromise always better?
One of the first things we’re taught as children and often taught again in life, is the importance of compromise. Generally speaking, compromise is often a good idea. But compromise is not always the right choice: 1) it usually fails when you can't trust the other party to keep a compromise agreement and 2) it doesn't make sense to compromise if the resulting value trade is uneven. Both of these apply in this case, I believe.
Making any kind of deal with Justin at this point would just be a case of handing over dollars that we can use for development to a guy who can still go after Ned for financial restitution as well. Any payment to Justin represents both an economic loss to us and a potential financial win for him (since if we pay him off to leave, he can even potentially profit off a legal recovery from Ned too). From both an economic and moral perspective, it makes no sense to compromise with Justin.
What about exchange listings?
Some of our community depends on the ability to translate their Steem into fiat money. They will not be forgotten in this move. To protect them, we will need to get exchange listings. We’ve been in promising talks with some exchanges already, without disclosing too many details to them, and I’m sure we will be able to obtain plenty of listings as we show that our chain is the true community chain. But no matter, I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we have one exchange listing within days after launch.
We win by fighting, not by compromising
The ongoing fight with Justin has been and will continue to be a huge publicity win for us. We are getting more publicity now than we have had in a long time.
Steem has long been ignored by most of the crypto-space as a failed project of Dan Larimer. We are now being giving the opportunity to show that the community we have is so much more than that, and that we can emerge under the umbrella of a new coin, as a dominant player in decentralized blockchain development. Our strength is the personal contacts we have with each other. We are not just strange looking addresses on a blockchain, we share more than just number transactions, we share ideas, beliefs, and fellowship with each other.
More to come
Now, one thing I haven’t done here is lay out all the details of what we will do with our new, revitalized chain. There’s a lot of ideas for that, and some obvious first steps. But the long term plan is one we will need to build together. The important thing now is to align on what we value and how we want to approach the future. Not everyone on Steem may stick with us, and we have to accept that. But we should reach out where we can, if only to save them from losing money investing in a Justin-run chain (that is mostly why I’m writing this post now, even though I haven’t had a chance to express all of my own ideas or the ideas of others for future work).