This article was motivated by an article by one of Steemit's community pillars, @winstonwolfe, who wrote about his recent realization of how advanced the BitShares ecosystem is. He mentioned:
I'm baffled how it could be so undervalued given its capabilities.
and I am too Winston. I'm still investigating the underlying reasons for this. I try to engage folks wherever I go in this crypto space to get to the bottom of this question, but it's not easy getting answers. One reason is that BitShares and Dan Larimer are not well known compared with others who are far more vocal and in the eyes of the greater crypto community. Those who know something about BitShares / Larimer usually don't know that much, and typically spout off with unsubstantiated claims and obvious biases.
As genius as Dantheman Larimer is in code & philosophy, he is still only human and he is still susceptible to the same influences and biases all humans face. I believe Dan to be a high integrity person. However, I recently realized he has a tendency to make decisions that impact others without considering how those decisions would affect them. It seems to be a recurring pattern with him. If you had contracted with Dan to build widget X and instead he gives you Y, would you be happy? Even if Y is better for reason R he could be jeopardizing the plans you made based on widget X and perhaps invested greatly in.
I too have been impacted by this tendency of his as has every early BitShares holder, some more than others. Larimer's "pivots" can make following his projects risky; ever heard of the Moonstone project? I have also found a few people over the years who have been disregarded or who have not been paid for work Larimer agreed to pay for. Small amounts, but the amount is not what matters, it's the break in trust that stings and I wonder if that is where negativity towards Dan comes from or possibly where it grows from.
I am concerned for all crypto projects (at least those with Satoshi Nakamoto's disruptive, decentralized vision to empower individuals with financial freedom) and their ability to stick to their original vision. We can see how Bitcoin has been infiltrated and co-opted by the banksters through their funding of Blockstream. I agree with your sentiment Winston, Bitcoin is finally, truly dead as a disruptive project. It will probably devolve into govcoin. Can that also happen with other projects, could it happen to BitShares?
Unfortunately the answer to that I believe is yes, and easier than you may think. One must look hard at a project's governance model AND those in key positions within it. BitShares has a good model, but voting is flawed. This has enabled a centralization of power in the hands of a very small number of proxies.
I was hoping to get a comprehensive answer from Earnest Hancock when I met him in September, but failed. I could not seem to get him out of his emotional negative response to discuss WHY, why he got a bad feeling from Stan, and why he feels the BitShares ecosystem is not the closest contender to match his specs for his "Pirate Money". He is dead right, it doesn't fill all of his wish list yet, but there are NONE that do now. Why he chooses to help and support some and not others I was unable to get an answer to. If he would only interview Dan Larimer to see the strength of his convictions and roots in voluntaryist, Austrian Economic philosophy I believe he would see BitShares in a different light.
I was unaware Earnest Hancock existed until last year, so I wasn't paying attention to him in 2014 when he interviewed Daniel. I just finished listening to him interview Daniel for the 2nd or 3rd time. I came away thinking he was a major fan of Dan's, and he expressed his strong desire to stay up to date with him, his gratitude to Dan for taking the time to come on the show. His attitude during the interview with Stan in Late August was actually quite adversarial compared with Dan's. What the hell happened to sour you? Stop listening to Tone Vays Earnie! I have no idea why you consider Tone a friend, his principles and perspective on government, money and crypto is so far away from yours. What do you see in him that keeps you from saying get thee away from me? Why would you give him more air time than people who are far more a kindred spirit to you (like Dan Larimer)?
As much as I love Earnest and his Declare Your Independence radio program , I see a bias in him that I still don't fully understand. It's the same bias and aversion to anything created by Dan Larimer. It's an endemic and pervasive bias held by many and I'm still not sure why. Earnest told me his anger comes from people who come on his show to promise great things but then let him down with promises broken. Who hasnN'T done that Earnie? If you could only appreciate how difficult it is to create your "pirate currency", you might put more importance on your guest's integrity and motivation. I am absolutely certain in Dan or Stan's case it isn't to run a pump & dump scam operation. If he hasn't come thru with your pirate money b/c it's so difficult AND the cryptosphere has puppets like Tone Vays to parrot scam coin without supporting evidence. Hell Earnie you didn't even come up with your pirate money "spec" until this year. Good idea BTW.
Earnie instead looks at the Nexus project and others who he provides more air time to and faith in what they tell him their project will accomplish. He doesn't care about a timeframe or the technical difficulties, not his concern. He told me this directly. I like the Nexus project, Collin is a very sharp guy with a good perspective and the vision he and his dad Jim have is very ambitious and exciting. But Collin has an awful lot of implementing to do to even come close to the functionality BitShares has today. Collin could reach his goals faster building on another platform rather than reinventing the wheel, IMHO anyway. But I digress...
Proxy voting was a "feature" created to address voter apathy and it does help to provide stronger, better informed input for important decisions that determine the direction of where the BitShares platform will go. But just like PoW mining, it is also a way to centralize power, and that has definitely happened. BitShares is not the decentralized platform it was intended to be, now that a small number of proxies have so much power.
There are 2 potential solutions to remove this centralization:
Eliminate proxy voting Change Voting Mechanism
I won't rehash the discussions of years gone by on why proxy voting was deemed a good idea. Voter apathy is a real problem and there is lots of info you can review on the bitsharestalk.org forum on why it was chosen as the solution. We can see now it was not a wise decision since it has led us to our current state of centralization.
The 2nd approach has also been considered and it too has been discussed at length on the forum. I'm talking about @cm-steem, aka customminer's BSIP 22, a proposal for voting decay for witnesses, workers, proxies and committee members.
Here's the catch tho - now that these proxies have become popular and have amassed their power, will it be possible to pass such a worker proposal? It may already be too late to save BitShares from devolving away from it's freedom oriented roots. If BSIP 22 is approved it will demonstrate my concerns are for naught, and I truly hope that transpires. However I see statists involved now, some prominent, that only seem to care about profits and mass adoption. So my optimism is not high, and I remain skeptical.
I'm glad you now see the value of BitShares @winstonwolfe, and welcome aboard! Will you be one of the few who help shape the BitShares community into being the disruptive, freedom promoting platform it was originally envisioned to be, or do you see it as a gov-sponsored replacement for the US Dollar?