Open Letter to all Steemians - Hardfork 21: Culture Change

Hello Everyone. As many of you know, hardfork 21 is next week.

What to expect

This hardfork is going to be a big deal. Not just because of all the economic changes that are going into effect, but because there is an opportunity for us to make a major change.

Hardfork 21 = bad?

I know there is a lot of negativity surrounding this hardfork. There are a lot of people who are concerned about how this will affect the "little guy" (average user) and how it opens up more potential avenues for abuse.

I suspect a lot of people will think that because I am voting in support of the hardfork that I am not listening to these concerns, but I assure you - it is quite the opposite. I am very concerned about those things as well. Despite those concerns, I am still strongly in favor of the hardfork.

In my view, hardfork 21 is exactly what we need in order for all Steemians ("little guy" included) to succeed.

Here is my view

Steem in it's current form is broken. It has tremendous potential, but for whatever reason(s), it has not and is not living up to that potential. It is not broken beyond repair, but we cannot keep doing what we have been doing for the past 3+ years and expect different results. Things need to change.

Stakeholders vs. Users

Our community needs to realize that we need both groups in order to be successful.

  • Users need stakeholders to buy STEEM in order for their rewards to have any value.
  • Users also need stakeholders to vote on their content if they want to earn any rewards.
  • Stakeholders need users to be telling all of their friends and family about how great this place is in order to draw more people to the platform.
  • Stakeholders also need users to produce quality content that attracts outside eyeballs to Steem and shows off the potential of our platform.

Users: Start thinking about what you can do to make this place more attractive for stakeholders.

Stakeholders: Start thinking about what you can do to make this place better for users.

Why is Steem broken?

Blame Steemit for the ninja mine. Blame stakeholders for not putting the needs of the community above their own self interests. Blame witnesses for being lazy and not doing more to improve the platform. Blame users for leaching off the system and producing little of value. Blame Steemit for not making enough improvements to the platform over the years. Blame the "alt coin bear market". Blame abusive stakeholders who drove users away. Blame the lack of marketing.. Blame, blame, blame. There is plenty of it to go around.

Diagnosing Steem's issues

There have been lots of discussions on Steem's issues and what to do about them since before I got here (~3 years ago). There is no shortage of ideas on what is wrong and how to fix it.

I have (literally) spent hundreds of hours hashing out ideas with various stakeholders, other witnesses, and employees of Steemit, Inc. trying to figure out how to fix this place.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but some of the top issues include:

  • It is too hard for new users to get noticed.
  • The platform is too confusing.
  • Signups are too difficult to onboard at scale.
  • There is a lack of funding (outside of Steemit, Inc.) to pay for community development and marketing.
  • Users who contribute a lot of value are not sufficiently rewarded.
  • Users who don't contribute a lot of value find ways to milk the system.
  • There is not enough of an incentive to buy and hold STEEM.

Hardfork 21

Hardfork 21 does not attempt to solve all of our issues, but it does provide us with tools to make a pretty significant dent in many of them.

Here is how HF21 is supposed to work:

  • Curation is now more profitable, so there is more reason to buy STEEM and power up.
  • Members of the community who have good ideas and are willing to put in work to improve the platform will have a mechanism to get paid for it.
  • Stakeholders will have a means to earn higher returns on their investment by doing something that is good for the platform (curating) as opposed to something that is arguably not (funding bid bots).
  • Curators who see content that is not adding value will downvote it, because it is taking rewards away from everybody else.
  • Curation communities and voting trails will form to hunt for undiscovered content and upvote it in order to earn higher curation rewards.
  • Authors who are producing good quality content will have a higher chance of being noticed, because now more people are actually looking for good content.

Here is the 20 billion dollar question:

Can we do it?


I believe we can.

Hardfork 21 alone is not going to get us there, but it at least gives us the tools we will need to achieve it.

What will it take?

The simple answer is we need a culture change. We need users and stakeholders to start working together to build the platform and community that we want.

Every Steemian is going to have lots of choices to make after the hardfork. Where we end up will be a culmination of all those choices.

Change takes time

One thing to keep in mind, is change takes time. I know a lot of people will get frustrated when their utopian view of Steem does not come to fruition in the days, weeks, or even months right after the hardfork. The key is to not loose hope, and to keep working towards our shared goal.

Where do we go from here?

The reason I joined Steem and the reason I still continue to be an active part of the community is because of the huge potential that I see here. I want STEEM to be a top 10 cryptocurrency. I want us to scale to millions+ of users. I want Steem to be as popular (if not more) than Facebook.

Closing thoughts

What I ask of all of you going into the hardfork, and in the days, weeks, and months after is this:

Start to dream about what this place should look like in order to be a top 10 cryptocurrency and attract millions of users. When you are using the platform, align your actions with that vision. Do things that bring us closer to the goal, and fight against things that take us away from it.

With HF21, we will have the tools we need to get us there.

No more excuses. It is up to us.

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