Witness voting and the security of the chain.


The Hive

Howdy folks'.

Nothing I say in this post should be new to anyone. Many should of heard this from one place or another, because it has been said many times in many places. It has also been said prior to the arrival of the @JustinSunSteemit account. Why things were ignored I have no idea. I can come up with some compelling conspiracy theories. Let's not assume the worst in others though and leave them the grace of doing their best for the chain. Even though I laugh at that myself.

With Justin's arrival Pandora's box has opened The S stuff hit the fan. Once again let us not put blame on the cause. I say that again for the grace of the previous witness who held the top 20 positions and did not change things that were highlighted to them about flaws in the system.

It is beyond me though why the ability to vote for 30 witness and a consensus of 17 + 1 is needed for a Hard Fork and serious changes to the Steem Chain was not blatantly obviously open to abuse. I have stated also I do not have faith in many of the top witness because of the negative changes made from my own view. But let's move on.

We should not only be looking at a take-over from one source. We should be looking also at the possibilities of a Cliche being able to take control. Not every threat is from the outside.

There is a combination of things which can be done to provide a greater security for the chain. I hope I am able to remember them all and include them in this post.

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In an effort to combat hostile take-overs and moving forward with a positive future to give greater security to the chain we claim as "ours" after the current stalemate has finished.

  1. An account after joining the chain holds a time restriction before it has the ability to vote for a witness. This will prevent any new account from taking control for personal gains at a cost to others. However it does not prevent a preemptive attack. Nor does it prevent any already registered account from doing the same thing.

  2. The removal of dead votes. People making votes on a witness should at least be aware of what is going on at a minimum having periodical log in's. Even if it is only to confirm their witness vote.

  3. Vote renewal. Active users on the chain should have to renew their vote every 6 month or at a maximum every year. renewing your vote once or twice a year should not be a hassle to anyone. It might also mean a witness would have to show some reason why they should continue to keep a vote or gain new ones. This might also improve communication between witness and the general community.

  4. Veto account. It did come up over the past week about Steemit Inc have a Veto option to a Hard Fork. While I do not agree with that myself as it does leave a certain amount of power if not total control over a change with one party Steemit Inc in this case. It would be possible to give veto powers to the community as a whole. Elected to a position by one vote per account without the ability to proxy. Also a renewable vote. This is open to corruption by users creating multiple account. Maybe a KYC (Know Your Customer) of some sort might be needed for something like this, which I know many wold oppose. The sole purpose of that account run by one or a collection of people would be to examine the effect a fork might have on the population of the chain and prevent abuse of changes for financial gain by those with the authority to make changes, Removing to some degree conflicts of interest. Much discussion on this point would be needed and definitely would receive a negative response from witness.

  5. Possibly combined with the next suggestion. A lower percentage vote is given to the second witness vote and lower again to the third. As an example the first vote places would get 100% of vesting power. The second vote would get a reduced vote of 85% and the third vote get 70%.

  6. Votes per account. Reducing the amount of witness an account can vote to is an essential part of this. Some number have been thrown out there recently. I have looked at numbers of votes for some time and periodically examined them in my head.

  • 10 votes as max does not do very much, It does give a higher cost to a hostile take over from the outside but it doesn't do anything else that has a positive outcome.
  • 8 - 7 votes has also been mentioned. Really, anyone suggesting this I think has already calculated the number and know that it will leave a cliche control that already exists in place. Just think about this with some logic, Freedom gets the first 7 in place and then the rest of the cliche just vote to each other and we remain with a centralised control from a selected few.
  • 5 votes is getting closer. It would mean an outside investors would need to invest 3.5 times the amount that would be need in comparison to the current system in place. with only 17 +1 needed it would be very close if a cliche would be able to pull of abuse of power or not.
  • When we reach 3 votes per account we are getting then to were the chain can become secure and demonstrate the best interest for all parties of the Chain population. An outsider coming in would need 6 times the investment compared to the present system. For ourselves this would make it harder for any cliche to maintain control over all decision and a need to consult with the community at large would be needed instead of things happening behind closed doors and even if objection to them is voiced. With only 3 votes that Freedom can vote to. The rest will need to campaign to gain some support and show they have the best interest of the chain and the population using it. Making it harder for things that happened in the last Hard Fork to happen, taxing the lower levels with lower reward to reward the higher level with more. Maybe it could also promote looking at alternative methods to control plagiarised content other than a down vote that is often abused by personal opinion.

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There might be a few more option to prevent a small few from gaining control. If you know of one please write it in the comments so everyone can also see that point, The few things I have written here are preventive measure and things I feel would provide a long term solution to governance issue's.

One other key thing not about witness also need to be looked at. Flagging posts.. I already hear your thoughts on this. There are alternative to flagging posts though.

An alert tag on a post instead of a down vote. An alert tag can be linked to a community like Steem Cleaners and have them go to a post to see why an alert was placed on it. If the post is deemed to be plagiarised or of malicious content. Steem Cleaner could have the ability to remove all rewards. If this can be coded there would not be a need for Steem Cleaners to have a high Staked power to perform these tasks. We may also need to look at a payment system for this role as an employee of the Steem Chain.

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1 - a ninety days wait period would be very acceptable and pretty sure that would be a shoo in for implementation.

2 - Not sure removing them entirely would go through, but a decaying one has been visited quite a bit. This would also fall in to number 3 with the renewal being necessary as a vote reaches decay maturity.

3 - (4) The veto is a great idea, but not sure it would work. It would almost have to be like a whole new committee voted in by the community, similar to how witnesses are voted in maybe. I would not suggest any consensus witness be allowed on the board though as it would be a conflict of interest.

4 - (5) Since it is a current 'top 20' model, I think you're on to something. I like the idea of percentage weighted voting. I'm going to throw 6 out there declining to 50% on the sixth. I also like the 8 and 25 top for consensus. The numbers would dictate, that no person should be able to vote on more than one third of the consensus. That would truly represent the ooverall view of the community.

5 - (6) The flags. Was against the free ones from the get go. Just going back to it drawing from a single pool, combined with your upvotes, would significantly improve morale. People would be more selective instead of handing them out like crap candy. Communities like @steemcleaners could have an entirely different function and by design, that notification system sounds great to help them out!

Great post man, put some serious thought into this.


Yes the decaying vote I have heard a couple of talks on. BUT! nothing happened. You have to wonder why?

The veto thing would have to be discussed in detail and also I think work best as a paid position that the chain would have to cover.

Flagging is abused by opinion and hate for another. It is negative and will turn new comers away.

Some interesting points. I don't like the current witness system whatsoever (which is why I actually voted for Justin's accounts), but some more restrictions in the voting system could prove to be a step towards the right direction


Not a big fan of many of the current elite witness myself also losing more respect for them by the way to talk to the average user with disregard over an alternative opinion.

All very good suggestion, I am not sure about number 4 though. A veto Account seems to me would be to powerful, but it is something that perhaps should be looked at. This would prevent a block/group of individuals that are closely knit from doing severe damage via Forks.


Yes the veto would need to be done through a paid position by people who know what they are doing. The avoidance of damage is the thought behind it.

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This is a very interesting and debate provoking post @thehive, so thank you for publishing it. I think your suggestion about vote renewals every 6 or 12 months is good, because it requires Steemians to refresh or update their witness choices in accordance with what those witnesses are doing and how they are operating. In shot it helps to keep everyone on their toes. However, I am certainly not of the opinion any KYC requirements should be introduced.

In relation to giving the right to veto I do not agree with this option, like you don't. I don't know if you were in Discord the other night when Ned came into one of the servers to directly speak to the community but he suggested that Steemit Inc is given the right to a veto. I was almost laughing, I mean seriously how convenient would that be for Steemic Inc. I actually couldn't believe Ned was suggesting this seriously after everything that Justin Sun has done this past week in his failed attempt at taking over the Steem blockchain. I know Ned is obviously quite desperate to allow some kind of emergency fork to be implemented so exchanges like Binance can do a quick power down and get liquid Steem back in to their customers wallets, but that's there problem. I was always 50/50 with Ned but after the other night I am now 99/1 against the guy.

In relation to reducing the amount of witness votes any witness can receive sorry but I kind of lost you there and what you were saying.

As regards Justin Sun I do believe that he does want to genuinely increase the value of Steem, which is good news for all of us. He has a lot of tech, resources and outreach at his disposal and we should remember that. If he adopts the right approach to the community and doesn't attempt unhelpful manoeuvres like hostile takeovers then hopefully something good can come of Tron's ownership of Steemit Inc.


You make me look bad, Your reply is longer than my post lol

Yes I am sure the KYC would fail from conversations I have heard but something needed to be there to be dismissed by the top witness straight away so they would at least consider the rest.

The veto I say here is more from elected people like yourself on the chain that are not a witness having the ability to veto when a fork might have a negative influence on the lower levels that never get heard. Very hard to find a decent balance with it though and I am unsure that it would really work well. Bribes and shit would be done behind the closed doors I feel.

He profits with a higher Steem price Justin sun we all do, Maybe his goal is to increase the price sell the 65 million Steem and bugger off from Steem,


Ha! Sorry I didn't mean to make you look bad lol. Thanks for explaining what you meant about the right to a veto and yes that's an engaging proposition, I think it could prove useful in helping ensure a wider system of governance that includes the 'little people' get their right to a say.


no one looks bad when it is a discussion. If people see bad their mind is closed

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There really is a lot that can be improved and changed to a better and it will be very interesting to see how this evolves. But one of my biggest concerns is, that also I learned so much about witnesses and the system behind it, it is very hard for me to know which witness has which opinion on all of this. Is there something like a summary of their ideas, motives and points of view? May be important to have something or we all will be lost not knowing which one to vite in the end. I just wonder as also I listened a lot to the recent talks I still not know who wants what for which reasons exactly 🤔.. But at least I am super happy that all together care about us 😁


I am of the opinion that all witness are concerned about the chain.
I also feel there is a cliche of witness at the top that needs to be disbanded and an opportunity for the voices of others like yourself and me that never get heard should be heard, that can only be done by the witness we do vote to having an opportunity to reach those Higher levels.

At the top now though I think they only care about themselves for the majority as the flaws in the current system was voiced many a time by many people.

The best we can do is look forward and try keep a positive mind for resolution.

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I really do agree that lowering the number of votes is crucial; it prevents one bad actor from being able to swamp the top 20. However... this also runs the risk of leaving some witnesses without votes entirely while also leaving the other witnesses running a popularity contest. I think you're on to something with the idea of weighted votes.

Glad this was shared on #pypt


It also provides opportunity for other witness to move up, many do not vote for ant of the top 20. and their voice is never heard