Steemit is Free, But Your Witness Vote Determines its Future

Did you know, as the owner of a Steemit account, you have an important responsibility?

Maybe no one told you or you haven't had time to look into it yet, but as a Steemit account holder, you control part of the future success of this platform. Decisions about code changes and economic polices are implemented by witnesses. Your vote determines who gets to be an influential witness and who doesn't. The Steemit FAQ has a great section explaining witnesses.

It's a big responsibility.

When you convert SBD to STEEM or you get a payout in SBD value, the price feed maintained by the witnesses directly impact how those processes work as well as the overall economic system. If the blockchain stops functioning efficiently, it'll be because witnesses are missing the blocks they are supposed to validate or they haven't updated their nodes properly. Your vote ensures only witnesses who have the best interests of the Steemit community in mind and who regularly demonstrate their intentions via their attitude and actions get to be in this important role.

Yesterday, I announced I'm running a full witness node and would like your vote of support. Even though I'm currently only ranked 77th, I was still able to witness my very first block today:

The witness node I'm running (thanks to hosting by @privex) did its part to validate this block on the Steem blockchain. That's pretty exciting, and I'd like to do more, but I will only be given the opportunity to do more if my ranking increases. That ranking comes from witness votes like yours.

I know. It can be a little scary.

I was active on Steemit by July 2016. I had read the white paper a couple times. I knew witnesses were important, but it took me a while to start voting for them. I realized the drama happening in the Bitcoin space directly related to Bitcoin users not having a say in the future of the technology they use, such as how big the blocks should be, if SegWit should be implemented, or if they should adopt a lightning network.

When I started on Steemit, I didn't want to vote for the wrong person. I knew it would take time to understand who was a beneficial actor and who might not be. Slowly, over time, I started trusting people and giving them my witness vote. It was work and it took time, but I knew it was important.

Since then, Steemit has implemented proxy voting which also exists in BitShares. This simplifies the process because you just need to find one person to trust who has done the work, gotten involved, and voted for people who benefit the network and set them as your proxy. If you're still figuring out who to vote for, I'd like to be your proxy until you decide to vote on your own. You can set that up here:

Just like voting for a witness, you'll need your Active private key to set your proxy. I hope you'll choose my account @lukestokes.

You can view who I'm currently voting for at Each account can vote for up to 30 witnesses. You can remove your vote or your proxy at any time.

And you should remove your votes!

One of the challenges with the voting system is many witnesses have votes but they aren't active, aren't publishing an updated price feed, or are missing blocks they are supposed to be witnessing. Those who voted for them before may not have updated their votes once they turned off their nodes or got busy with other things. has an excellent page here which gives you a lot of information about each witness. It shows what version of the Steem code they are running (very important to keep track of as we approach hardforks), the settings they've configured such as the block size, Steem Backed Dollar (SBD) APR (interest), STEEM price feed (with or without bias), and the registration fee for creating new accounts. You can also link from here directly to their original post announcing their intention to be a witness.

When evaluating a "good" witness, the first thing you should look at is if their node is currently active. If it's greyed out, that means it's disabled. If you're currently voting for them, you should remove your vote and give it to someone else. It's okay, they won't take it personally and you can always vote for them again once they are back up and running. As you can see, a lot of witnesses have votes but they aren't doing any work to help the network right now. Why not vote up some new witnesses who deserve a chance? Another important number is the number of missed blocks. That means the network was relying on them to fulfill their role at a specific moment, and their node wasn't available.

I'd appreciate your vote for my witness @lukestokes.mhth or, as mentioned above, you can set @lukestokes as your proxy, and I'll continue to engage with the other witnesses and vote for their nodes which keep this place awesome. We've built a nice little community on this blog (now over 1,550 of us!!!) with a lot of really engaging conversations. I hope you all can continue that support with your witness vote. Let's see how quickly we can get above 77th place!

Thank you for taking your Steemit responsibility seriously. Steemit is free to use, but we have to take care of it to protect its future.

I've declined payout on this post but would greatly appreciate a resteem and a witness vote.

Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, voluntaryist, and blockchain enthusiast. He wants to help create a world we all want to live in.

I'm a Witness! Please vote for @lukestokes.mhth

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