Well that escalated quickly! One minute Justin Sun was freeing us from the tyranny of inaction of the Steemit Incorporated hierarchy, the next, the top witnesses and influential stakeholders on the platform pulled off what can only be described as an incredibly stupid move.
So let's dive in, and check out the recent history of this incredible debacle.
It is no secret that @ned, ex-chairman of Steemit had lost interest in the place and simply wanted to live a quiet life enjoying his riches on some island somewhere. Which of course is fine, he and @dan started Steemit, so he's entitled to any success he has garnered from it.
Enter @justinsunsteemit CEO of the Tron network, to buy Steemit Incorporated for an undisclosed sum of money.
There is an initial announcement by Justin about a future migration to the Tron chain, this is not received well, and Justin backtracks and says that actually, he needs to sit down with the top witnesses and the Steemit team to discuss the future.
Okay, great so far...
Justin's assurances go unheeded, as far as a lot of people are concerned he is a dirty liar not to be trusted. Words like centralisation start to be thrown about, fear, uncertainty, and doubt start to spread like wildfire.
Now we have what could well be viewed as a criminal act in the United States of America. The Steemit protocol is broken and the Steem code is changed so that Justin cannot touch the 65 million Steem that he has quite legally acquired.
Justin Sun uses customers' Steem placed on Poloniex and Binance exchanges to power up and create a witness so as to block them and take control back of the thing that he legally acquired.
The Aftermath & The Reality
Well the ashes are still smouldering on this one, so there will no doubt be further developments. However as it stands, Justin has probably realised by now that two wrongs do not make a right and is giving back the Steem which he essentially stole from innocent users.
The witnesses though have not realised how stupid they've been and how illegally they've acted.
They point to the promises made by @ned regarding Steemit's reserve of Steem, however those promises were broken a long time ago, and 200 million Steem has dwindled to 65 million Steem.
So why didn't they do what they've done now before?
Because they were scared of Ned, and of course because it was more obvious that it was completely illegal!
Last time I checked, you are allowed to sell something you own. Justin Sun bought Steemit Inc. and its assets, which of course amounts to 65 million Steem.
The Witnesses implemented code to stop him touching this Steem, because they mistakenly believe that it belongs to "the community", which of course it doesn't.
As I tried to point out 3.5 years ago in my article Steemit Is Not The Decentralised Platform You Think It Is Steemit.com is owned by a private company, whom own the IP for the cryptocurrency Steem.
In turn the website holds, and generates a large amount of Steem each day. Therefore they also own Steem, meaning it is NOT DECENTRALISED AND NEVER WAS.
I feel I have to shout that bit, because some people still don't get it.
Who knows what's going to happen now? My guess is Justin will simply ask for his money back and walk away from this mess, which is the best outcome for the developers who implemented the softfork, however I'm not so sure if its the best thing for the platform.
Of course Justin might decide to seek revenge in the American courts. I don't know how many Steem Witnesses live in the States, however if I were them, I'd be very worried. They have essentially blocked somebody getting access to the thing they legally acquired, I cannot see any other result than a loss for them should this go to court.
Given the draconian state of the American legal system, whereby a person can spend a long time in prison for the most trifling of matters, if I were one of the instigators of softfork 22.2, I would be afraid, very afraid.
Unless of course I was a Steem Witness living in complete denial, thinking that I had protected the blockchain and my actions were just. Then, I'd be happy and blissfully unaware of my criminal status, right up until the point they threw me in jail.
So let's sit back, order more popcorn, and watch this hot mess unfold itself right in front of our very eyes.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? DID THE WITNESSES DO THE RIGHT THING, OR ARE THEY A BUNCH OF DELUDED WOULD-BE CRIMINALS WHO HAVE ROYALLY SCREWED THEMSELVES AND THIS PLATFORM?
AS EVER, LET ME KNOW BELOW!