Why I'm blowing up my Twitter feed with the #Steem #HostileTakeover


Anyone following me on Twitter has most likely noticed I've been blowing up my feed with the #Steem #HostileTakeover. Here's the story, for those who are interested in what's got me Twittering like a woman possessed (moreso than usual...lol). Please keep in mind though that in the interest of time, and in an effort to simplify things as much as possible, I'm telling this much in the way I've been trying to explain it to my family over this past week. Expect some broad generalizations, sprinkled with bits of paraphrasing, so I can get this posted before another chapter in this Crypto Coup gets written (and since the agreed upon March 6th meeting between Justin Sun & the original Steem Witnesses is taking place as of this very moment, I'm sure there will be plenty more soon).

Pull up and seat & grab a drink

First off, there are lots and lots of posts about this whole situation, by folks more informed than me, so if you're looking for an in-depth breakdown of events, I highly recommend these recent articles to get you started -

Anatomy of Justin Sun’s Hostile Takeover of the Steem Blockchain by @shadowspub

Steem Community Mobilizes Popular Vote in Battle With Justin Sun by Brady Dale

Tron Executes Hostile Takeover of Steem, Exchanges Collude by Mitchell Moos

Steem Rallies Against Justin Sun’s Power Grab also by Mitchell Moos

However, this is my "normie" (non crypto savvy) way of telling the story, in the interest of making it as simple and understandable as possible. And I say I'm still a "normie" because when I joined the Steem blockchain/platform back in September of 2017, I knew zero about investing, and negative zero about crypto. Over the years, while I've studied & asked questions, I still feel like I've barely dipped my toe into the Steem ocean, but while I might not know the mechanics, I've read & listened enough to hours and hours in the past week alone to feel I have a pretty good grasp of what's going on.

In the beginning...

When the Steem blockchain/platform first started producing coins/tokens almost four years ago, Steemit was in the unique position of getting a huge head start, ultimately owning upwards of about 41% of the entire supply. Not a good look for a platform touting decentralization, so Steemit Inc put it in writing that they would never use that stake to control the community, or interfere with the running of the community (in a nutshell, the more stake/Steem you own, the bigger your say is on how things work).

Per their announcement on April 1st, 2016 -

The Steem network is live now!

We have secured ~805 of the initial STEEM via mining. Our pan is to keep 20%, sell 20% to raise money, and give away 40% to attract users / referrers.

So kind of like Steemit owned a house, and the Steem community had a lien on it.

On February 14th 2020, Justin Sun (founder of another cryptocurrency platform called Tron & major investor into Poloniex) bought the Steemit App from one of Steem's co-founders, Ned Scott. Justin also bought Steemit's Steem stake (reported to be about 74 million Steem coins/tokens). While the staff of nine at Steemit Inc knew there was a deal in play, they didn't find out even the basic details of the sale until the news hit the internet. There's some speculation that the deal was sped up because of either a leak to the press, or as an attempt to throw shade at the "Voice" launch (a competing social network on EOS, incidentally created by Steemit Inc's other co-founder, Dan Larimer) announcement on Valentine's Day. Either way, it took everybody by surprise, and in the days that followed, Steemians, as well as the staff of Steemit Inc, tried to get answers as to what it all meant.

While there was lots of talking back and forth between the Steem and Tron communities (and for what it's worth, the vast majority of Tron users I've met through this have been wonderful, passionate people), there wasn't much in the way of concrete information on Justin's intentions.

How the Steem blockchain/platform decentralized thing works

The blockchain/platform was designed to be decentralized, and so that no one person/entity could gain control. The software for the system is run on servers all over the world, by people called, "Witnesses" - a group of developers, software engineers, app creators, and regular people. To be a witness, essentially all it takes is a server & enough knowledge to implement the code. However, only the top 20 witnesses truly have the power to affect change, and to do so requires a certain percentage of those witnesses agreeing to the change.

Each person in the Steem community is able to vote for 30 witnesses they trust to be caretakers of the system, and the amount each vote is counted depends on how much Steem that person holds. So, if I own 10 Steem, and Joe Smoe owns 5, my vote counts twice as much as his, and if Dan owns 100, his vote is ten times more powerful than mine.

Clear as mud, right? 😝

Ominous actions by Justin Sun

On February 19th, Justin used his Tron stake to vote on two Tron Super Representatives (their version of Steem Witnesses). Needless to say, this didn't bode well for the Steemit community, so our top 20 witnesses, after many hours of mostly public discussions (for obvious reasons, some details had to be talked about in private), decided to implement a code called a Soft Fork.

What in the fork is a Hard or Soft Fork?

Okay, picture that the Steem Blockchain is a train. It left the station back in 2016, chugging down the track. As it goes along, Steem coins/tokens are popping out of the train's smoke stack, having been produced in the Steem train's engine. People along the tracks can collect the coins either by buying them at train stations (aka crypto currency exchanges like Binance and Poloniex - yes, that one that is owned by Justin) or earned by entertaining passengers on the train (creating content like blogs, videos, etc).

When the train tracks need to be repaired/replaced via what is termed a "Hard Fork," the engineer (the top 20 witnesses) needs to agree with the changes (a certain percent have to vote yes). Next, the code needs to be studied for possible issues, all the train stations (exchanges) need to be notified and give their approval, test tracks have to be put in place and checked, then rechecked to make sure they'll let the train run smoothly.

Since the Steem train started, there have been over 20 Hard Forks implemented, each taking months and months of coding, testing, and approving.

There have also been many Soft Forks - much smaller changes to the code, designed to address minor issues. Kind of like keeping snow off the tracks so the train can run unimpeded.

So what in the fork happened next?

Because the top 20 Steem witnesses couldn't get firm answers from Justin and his team, and based on his actions with the Tron Super Representatives, a majority (with a few dissenting voices) decided to put the pile of coal known as the ninja mined stake under partial lock and key. While Justin still owned it, and could still do things with it, the Soft Fork meant he couldn't use it to make his vote the sole biggest vote on the platform (making him the only engineer the train).

There were actually some discussions about just burning the coal pile completely so it couldn't be used against the train/Steem blockchain, but wisely (in my opinion), no one wanted to take away Justin's property. The witnesses were acting solely to protect the Steem Blockchain train from a hostile takeover.

So the Soft Fork code button got pushed sometime on either February 23rd or 24th (depending on your local time zone).

Justin's response was swift and encouragingly positive. That very same day, he said on social media, and his new Steemit blog, that (essentially) he understood why the witnesses felt they had to protect the chain, he was still trying to figure out how the whole Steem ecosystem worked, and he'd be happy to meet with the witnesses in a virtual meeting on March 6th to discuss how to make everything work.

Cue the hostile takeover

In the early hours of March 2nd, Justin Sun and his Tron team managed to gather enough Steem stake to create 20 sock puppet accounts and vote them up to become the new default witnesses.

How did he do that? Essentially, he misrepresented the Soft Fork code implemented on the blockchain as, "hacking" to the train stations/exchanges Poloniex, Binance, and Huobi, and got them to invest THEIR CUSTOMER'S STEEM BEING HELD ON THEIR EXCHANGES (Hello? Securities fraud?) to power up the fake witness accounts. By doing so, they locked that Steem for 13 weeks (an essential part of the blockchain framework that acts as a security measure in part to prevent entities from attempting something just like this), making it inaccessible to customers wanting to use it for trade/withdrawal.

Why would they take that risk? Apparently everyone was under the mistaken notion that with 20 fake witnesses in place, all Justin needed to do was to have his team write up a new hard fork, change the powering down time from 13 weeks to 1 to 3 days, give the exchanges back their money, and he'd have completely control of the Steem Train.

Remember what I said about how it takes months to implement a Hard Fork?

Okay, say I'm hungry for a delicious homemade cake. No matter how hungry and impatient I am, I can't take a box of cake mix and magically turn it into a cake by shaking the box. I need to add the ingredients, stir it, bake it, frost it, and then I can have it. No matter how much I wish it were a speedier process, I can't change the basic things necessary to make the cake.

Apparently Justin told the exchanges they could just shake the box and the cake would fall out.

The Steem Community to the rescue!

In an unprecedented move, the Steem community, made up of people all over the world, from different backgrounds, opinions, and socio economic type stuff, banded together to change their witness votes to the original top 20 who were displaced by Justin's sock puppet accounts. Essentially, we all pooled our pennies and pounds to lift them up.

Keep in mind, there are hundreds of Steem witnesses and many people (myself included) voted for a number outside of the top twenty (for example, @thekitchenfairy is one of my choices for witness, because she's a regular steem user like me, and doesn't campaign for votes or do any type of political glad-handing - she just tries to do what's best for Steem and support as many people as she can in the process). But the majority of us Steemians put aside our differences, and banded together to save our blockchain.

The tide slowly starts to turn

By March 3rd, the first of the original witnesses @yabapmatt, was back in the top 20, and ten others have slowly climbed back up as well. That means essentially that Justin can't implement a Hard Fork since he doesn't have enough sock puppet votes, and the original Steem Witnesses are essentially holding the damn against the huge Tron tide that threatens to overtake (and break) our little Steem ocean.

Where are we now?

At the moment, the exchanges are still refusing to power down their stake, most likely under the mistaken impression that if they just wait a little longer, Justin can give them back their customer's Steem.

Yesterday, Justin posted a long, bizarre, and expletive-filled post on his Steemit blog called, "The Justin Sun Steemit witness voting policy" that laid out 11 questions for current Steem witnesses to answer, if they wanted immediate backing as a witness. A short time after one of the rightful Steem witnesses shouted out to Justin's advisor with a, "you might want to check this out" kind of message, Justin edited the entire post to say, "Happy to talk to community. Looking forward to seeing it." However, since the blockchain is forever and no amount of cyber white out can cover your oopsies, it's still viewable to anyone who wants to see it. Here's a look at original post, captured by Steemian @berniesanders (not the presidential candidate... at least, I don't think it is... 😂 )

Why I’m blowing up my Twitter feed with the #Steem #HostileTakeover

Still managing to have some fun on Twitter & Steem!

Special thanks to @arcange for my three new spiffy SteemitBoard badges - Community Supporter, Not Justin's Friend, and Not Ned's Friend.


I'm still hopeful I can claim some sort of Twitter badge of honor for being one of the many Steemians Ned Scott blocked on Twitter last night...

ned's tweet I was replying to.jpg
Ned's tweet I was replying to


Why I'm blowing up my Twitter feed with the #Steem #HostileTakeover

Why I'm blowing up my Twitter feed

Oh, and one last little giggle - one of the exchanges I've been putting on blast with all the barking my small dog Twitter account can muster, actually started following me last night...


And of course, there must be GIFs...

Inspired by @andrarchy's tweet



Inspired by @theycallmedan's tweet -



And a reminder that this isn't over and we still need to #BringBackTheRealSteemWitnesses, so Steemians - please vote!


Long Twitter story short... TOO LATE! 😂

I've been working on this post since yesterday, and I still feel like it's rushed and missing information, but I'm going to call it here.... for now... 😂

So apologies to everyone on Twitter tired of seeing tags like #SteemHostileTakeOver #SteemNotSteemit #SteemitIsDeadLongLiveSteem #wheresmysteem #steemISNOTtron in their Twitter feed, and I don't blame you in the slightest if you've muted or unfollowed me. I promise that once this blows over, I'll be back to sharing things from the #writingcommunity, #Tarot, #Witches, #EssentialTremor, and all my other regular topics in the very near future. In the meantime, thanks for bearing with me, and to my crypto friends - STEEM ON!


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Awesome post @traciyork! Made it clear and sooooo understandable... and had me laughing by the end, which is a GREAT take-home.

Retweeted, resteemed and shared into the @naturalmedicine and @ecotrain discords for steemfam who might still be very confused.

Following you too - steem could use a few more smart, savvy, funny women in leadership!! This week I have often scratched my head and had to remind myself that some of these BOYS have yet to learn basic life and communication skills, despite being crypto-legends. :) Let's tip that balance a bit by supporting more of steem's great women, I say. Like @riverflows.

Steem on. To the moon, albeit possibly detouring via Pluto. :)


Traci is indeed one of the good ones! Happy to see her post shared in many of the amazing communities where more eyes can see it. 💚

I'm typically not one for any sort of self-promotion with links, though feel this is a highly-relevant outlook on the whole matter that needs voicing in this discussion:

Justin Sun's "Hostile Takeover" of Steemit: The Mature Road To Win-Win...

(Note: self-upvoted this comment only for the purpose of bumping this up to the top of comments, as it's a needed perspective worthy of acknowledgement & contemplation.)

I hadn't voted a lot of the "old" Top20 witnesses either and hadn't used all my votes - I mean it's like telling people "you're my favorite... and you... and you..." ;) I voted people I knew better than "he's the guy that's running XYZ", most of the time because I knew them through Discord and read what they wrote and how they answered questions. But thekitchenfairy was on my list, too ;)

As I said in my tweet, I had not read this before re-tweeting. Saturday mornings are a little busy with the market, etc. I've only just got to read it now. It's brilliant. Without labouring it, you articulated the confusion as well the tensions (and often sense of betrayal) abandoning our loved witnesses (like @thekitchenfairy)) in the interests of protecting #steem and blockchain integrity. I know that I am not alone in having been on a rollercoaster of certainty and uncertainty. I know I often whinge about the conduct of some people on the blockchain, but one can just avoid them.

This issue? Not so much. As I said in one of my tweets: this is an issue that affects everyone on this blockchain and who joined because it was/is the concept of decentralisation resonated for me.

Like you, it was and remains my gateway into crypto. And, who knows, with Covid-19, what is going to happen to the world's economies.

Thanks again, Traci for this.

Rewards - each one deserved.

Congratulations @traciyork! You received a personal award!

Did you downvote Steemit's posts because its owner converted it into a sockpuppets factory? OK, you deserve that badge!

You can view your badges on your Steem Board and compare to others on the Steem Ranking

Do not miss the last post from @steemitboard:

Downvote challenge - Add up to 3 funny badges to your board
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WoW! Great post @traciyork! You have covered it all and put it together brilliantly! Thanks for this!


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That's awesome @traciyork! Looks like Binance isn't exactly thrilled with Mr. Sunbutt: https://cointelegraph.com/news/binance-ceo-admonishes-justin-sun-over-steem-fiasco-transparency-works

Let's all just keep making a lot of noise, and pouncing on every possible nugget of incriminating evidence!

Fighting for what is right, Twitter has been a lively place to get news out, finding latest, getting to know many more Steemians.

Steem Witnesses/Members make me proud as to how Steem banded together, along with Communities and many Members explaining more history to new arrivals.

Forward and onward we go, decentralized Steem is most definitely not Steemit.Inc, yes some may drop you on Twitter for repeating constant warning, it is well worthwhile. Keep going.....

@tipu curate


Super read!

Well, I won't need to write my Bluffer's Guide blogs any more - there's a new Bluffer Queen and her name is Traci York!

This is a fantastic read with simple analogies, easy to understand and non tech language. Well deserved big upvotes and I hope you get many more for this!

I've been struggling to keep up with it all myself but a great summary 🙂

In the first point in Justin Sun's deleted post, I see that he mentioned private property. Now, I've written a bunch about ownership rights which normally applies offline. I love private property but in the world of the Internet, it is not that simple. I don't have time right now to talk all about that except to say that it's a long story and rather complex.

Private Property

And speaking of property, assuming that Tron Overlord Justin Sun did get crypto exchange websites to use or steal their client's Steem coins or money to vote for Steem witnesses, I would ask that same question back at Justin.

Respecting Property

Justin asked if we respected property and I would argue that money might be and could be perhaps considered to be like private property. But I'm not saying that cryptocurrency is money. But I'm speaking hypothetically and for sake of argument as a contrast to what Justin said as he called some things his property or the property of Tron. He might be talking about anything connected to the Steemit Inc company which Tron purchased. So, ownership rights may apply to whatever that may include in the purchase.


I wonder if Justin understands that what was frozen was not his. Well, technically speaking, it may appear to be his. I feel like he is trying to take Steem down, assuming he isn't just ignorant of the details. I feel like he might be trying to make a profit and then destroy Steem on his way out. I feel like he is plotting to take witnesses to court. But I'm not saying he would win. I understand how complex all of this can be and I've been writing about all of this on my blog. I will be writing more about this.


Traci York @traciyork, good work with your article here. Good summary. Good outline on what has been happening. Keep up the good work.

You can get around Ned's Twitter block to see his posts simply by not logging in and simply by going directly to his Twitter.

Well, off-topic but... can I have a piece of your cake? 😂😂😂😂

I think you deserve some $trdo


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pixelfan aww thanks.gif



You are by far more active on twitter than here... you even got me there and I hate twitter 😂



coffeea Lucky you @traciyork here is your COFFEEA, view all your tokens at steem-engine.com Vote for c0ff33a as Witness


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Thank you for your hard work to simplify this situation, Traci...you are much appreciated ♥


credit for the title, to you, bc i saw your gif on twitter

Don't mind me over here slow clapping. Not much more to say on my end since I think you've covered it all. Bravo on perpetuating intelligent discourse in the midst of a heated week, all with a little giphy fun thrown in to keep things level.

You are the woman..!


Hopefully those exchanges will be powering down for the next 13 weeks and everyone bought every single STEEM and keep it in their own STEEM account.

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Would be curious to objectively know exactly where everything is at around this at this point.

Crazy to think this all happened only 5 days ago, as almost seems like old news by now. lol.

Am sure there's been notable developments since. I had heard that the Binance CEO wasn't fully aware of the situation before approving their move, and immediately reversed it upon getting clear feedback from the community - at least one point that is worthy of being factored into discussions.

Also was interesting to hear that the whole fiasco brought Steem to KuCoin's attention for potential listing there.

Am sure it's all helpful in the bigger context to iron out kinks in the system and move us all towards a better governance model...

Definitely a wordsmith :D
I loved how you made sense of it with trains and cake
This is a really good one <33

Hey @traciyork, here is a little bit of BEER from @pixresteemer for you. Enjoy it!

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You have done an amazing job on Twitter! They froze my account for 1.5 days and I just now got it back! I have to be more careful with it now as they said I spammed, LOL! Yes- I was! I was doing probably 100-200 comments, retweets using all the steem hashtags, LOL! So now I have to change it up and not go so hard I guess, I don't know how to do it exactly so I do not lose my account.

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