I'm sad to say this post will end with more questions than with answers. You may not have noticed, but about 3 months ago Steemit got a new whale. In terms of whaleballz there's only 1 account that beats it; @steemit. Literally 3% of all the steem that exists today is in this account. This is the biggest whale in the ocean, and we know so little about them. There isn't one post or even anything in the account headings.
the central challenge for my search
It matters to me as a witness because the account is witness voting. This one account without a single post is practically hand picking the top witnesses. @freedom proxies it's vote to @pumpkin, another account where it's unclear who it is. For some of the witnesses it amounts to over 30% of the power behind them. I've asked no less than 20 whales on here and not one of them has said "I know who it is." The two most common responses are "It's Dan" and "I don't know, but I know it's not Dan." Whales appear to be fairly certain that @pumpkin is Dan (possibly actually Dan's wife). I've had it suggested to me by people that I sthink would know.
Presumably I could pay for a Doxx or some shit like that, but I respect privacy that isn't built on the block. So, let's just see what we can figure out, and maybe that will share with us some clues as to who it might be, but to be clear I'm only offering questions and publicly available info on the block.
Let's start with what's publicly available on the block. We'll start at steemd.com/@freedom.
@freedom is account 499. So, one of the things we know is that this person was one of the first members around. It's entirely possible that they are or were a Steemit Inc employee, but nothing shows me that they have to be. They are however likely friends with the founders and first devs at the very least. Not only are they rich which makes a founder want to say hi, but being the 500th person on a platform still has that "friends and family" appeal. It's also worth noting that @steem was made on 3/24/16. This account was made on 3/31/16. So, within the first week that this place existed. Hard to suggest anything other than they at least knew the founders. So, probably a bitshares hound.
Ok, well, my first thought was let's go check the wallet. There are probably some yuuuuuuuge transactions there. Turns out there isn't shit. Not a single transfer going in that could account for any of the size of this account. So, that got me thinking... how tf can you get 7Million steem into an account without a transfer. These days you can't. So, I was trying to figure that out. I moved from steemit.com/@freedom/transfers to checking out what I could find on steemdb.com.
Here's what I found-
I didn't even know the command existed, but apparently when you powerdown you can powerdown from one account into another. So, when I looked I found that there were 18 accounts that were created back between 3/30/16-4/1/16 roughly all in one night that all started powering down into the one freedom account all at once. Here are the accounts and here are their account numbers (ie test drive was the 461st account to be created on the block).
The accounts were made 3/31/16 and 4/1/16.
All of the accounts use pumpkin as a proxy, and there's evidence to me that Pumpkin is another one of the accounts tied to this rather than a separate person being proxied.
So, then I started wondering how the fuck did they get those funds. Again. I started at the wallet, but as you may guess there wasn't a single transaction. So, the best info I found was at steemd.com/accountname. I started looking at each one of these. They all have several pages that look like this.
I wasn't thinking about mining first because mining was gotten rid of months ago. But these are original accounts. These are some of the first people. And mining had a cue system such that you couldn't just mine with 1 account. You had to have several accounts or you'd miss your next step in line. So, all these accounts were created to ensure they would keep getting back in the loop, but they are all the same person doing it. That's especially obvious when you check how they collectively decided to powerdown and the information for like 15 accounts is in consecutive blocks.
My leading assumption is that @dan is @pumpkin and @freedom and all these other accounts. I'm not sure about that by any means, but it's my leading theory. I've had people tell me who seem pretty certain that pumpkin is Dan, and I'm pretty certain that freedom and all the minis are pumpkin, which leads me to believe that they are all Dan.
If that's true it means Dan owns 7.2M steem through @freedom, 4.2M steem through @dan, and an extra 1M liquid steem as @dantheman. That's 5% of all the steem that exists. Who knows if he has rights to steem with @steemit account to which owns like 40% of all the steem. It would certainly stand as an ongoing challenge contributing to a very unequal distribution on the platform.
what if it isn't Dan?
I started looking at some of the other accounts to figure out if they might be the mega miner. Here are some of my leading suspects if it isn't Dan.
In my brain you have to be a very early adopter, possibly a Steemit Inc employee, knowledgeable about mining, a decent programmer to get the accounts to all work at the same time. Freedom is likely an old BTS hound. You also have to have a great vocabulary if you're dropping diaphanous on a name. You are also probably 40ish if you're referencing Disney and Excaliber at the same time. Those are my current thoughts on the kind of person Freedom is.
@berniesanders was a potential, but at one point they are in a flag war, so I'm pretty sure it's not the same person.
It's also possible there are still more mining smurfs that weren't tapped. So, maybe there a few other accounts that have 500,000SP that have yet to appear.
I'm just starting to poke around. It's like a little mystery to me. I think there are some good details in account history. It seems as though the miner checked in occasionally from each of the accounts. Maybe once a month or so, and I think there might be clues in there too.
Tough and personally dangerous thoughts to share
I have conflicting feelings if it is Dan. He's the founder and really the braintrust behind this. I get that he gets a phat stake in it. It makes me nervous that on the one hand he's basically left the platform except to pitch for another one (EOS), but is potentially controlling who the top witnesses are. I mean it's his stake, right. so he gets to do whatever with it, but my challenge is that I'm pretty invested here and now I have about 5 other minnows coming out of the Minnow Support Project that have put together witnesses that are focusing on this project (steemit).
It's a little daunting to think that even if we got all 2600 people that are part of the minnow support project aligned and voting that at this stage it wouldn't account for just one of his previous smurfs. So, it's hard to come to terms with the stake weighted nature that I love so much with the distribution that plagues this place and Dan may be contributing to that distribution more heavily than anyone else.
How can I get my minnows to have any stake in this place when they couldn't have taken part in mining or the vast inflationary period? How can I get my minnows into witness spots when they have to compete with 14GV upvotes at a time? How can we find an avenue for new people to have any say?
More questions than when I started
The ethics are gray to me and I'm not even sure @freedom is him... As I said, I have more questions ethically and factually than anything else at this point.