I would like to lay out my views on the proposed fork and why I think it is the only option if Steem is to have a future.
Steemit Inc.'s initial 80% "ninja-mine" has always been portrayed as funds that will be used to further the Steem blockchain. The 2017 roadmap speaks about decentralizing the stake. There was a special
decline_voting_rights operation developed specifically for Steemit's stake to be locked to assure they wouldn't vote in witnesses, in their own words from the steemd release notes:
This is only to formalize a smart contract between certain accounts and the community that currently only exists as a social contract
Ned has also said on multiple occasions that he is open to creating a Steem foundation that would give some transparency and accountability for the use of that stake.
And here lies the problem, if I had 1 STEEM for every time Steemit said they are "open to" something and never following through I would have enough stake to vote this fork in myself. Steemit has no ability whatsoever to achieve their (constantly changing) goals.
The final straw was Ned "hiding" his stake from public view, to me that confirms what I've been feeling for some time now - that he has lost interest in Steem and wants to move on.
If this was done as him stepping down as CEO and/or actually following through with decentralizing Steem development I would have had no problems with it. But this looks more and more like Steemit exiting while squeezing out as much value as possible in the process.
Steemits decision to power down the entirety of their stake at the mere discussion of a fork and their refusal to cancel the power down even though a supermajority of witnesses have given their words (first privately, then on-chain) that no such fork would be implemented speaks strongly to this as well in my opinion.
My view is that the disruption a fork would have on the ecosystem is preferable to sitting around and watching Steem dwindle to nothing.
I've seen some common arguments against this view and I'll try to address them here:
But legally it's Steemits tokens and they can do whatever they want with them!
That is true, it is also true that users and witnesses are free to run whatever software they want to. This is a voluntary system and witnesses don't have any legal obligations to run code approved by Steemit inc. Just like Steemit Inc. has no legal obligation to do anything useful with their stake.
This is a heist! It is stealing! Violence!!
I think this is a ridiculous argument, again you are free to run whatever software you wish. A fork does not destroy anything or take something away. People who wish to stay on a chain where the Steemit stake is still active can do so freely.
If we fork away Steemit's stake what's next? Slippery slope!
I think this argument has merit and my only counter argument is that the situation justifies it. For those of you who believe immutability is sacred I would like to point you to HF9 where Steemit changed the keys of over 150 accounts.
But Steemit will just use their stake to prevent the fork
I say let them, if they are willing to go that far, basically proving what the nay-sayers have been saying since the start: That Steem is centralized and it isn't a cryptocurrency. It would also force them into a position where they are accountable and prevents them from hiding their stake.
Disclaimer: These are my own personal opinions, I do not represent any witnesses, stakeholders or anyone else for that matter