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Steemit.com Is Not The Decentralized Platform You Think It Is by cryptogee

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· @cryptogee · (edited)
$33.53
Steemit.com Is Not The Decentralized Platform You Think It Is
Since joining Steemit last May, I have seen, and in fact been a part of the confusion over Steemit's status. Some people have and do (myself included) believe that the website is a decentralised network.

Let's clear this up right here and now; it is not.

Well that was a short post....

OK, let me elaborate.

The Impossible Likeness Of Being
--------------------------------
[![Titusfrost dzt speechRZ540.jpg](https://s6.postimg.org/60gm83r5d/Titusfrost_dzt_speech_RZ540.jpg)](https://postimg.org/image/hct7pvzu5/)

The cryptocurrency known as Steem, sits atop of the Graphene blockchain. Blockchain technology, by it's very nature is decentralised (to a point).

However this has led to much confusion in the Steemit community, because whilst Steem is a decentralised cryptocurrency; Steemit.com or rather the company Steemit inc. is very much a centralised organisation.

This is because Steemit inc. is a company incorporated in the United States of America; thus on the incorporation documents it will have the name of the shareholders, and the "people of influence", and guess what?

Your name isn't on there!

What??? I thought holding SP meant I was a shareholder?

Nope, the only thing that makes you a shareholder of a company, is having your name on the incorporation documents, stating that you are. Or of course, if you buy some shares from a shareholder, or that are publicly offered on a stock exchange.

Having Steem Power makes you a stakeholder in Steemit; however so does visiting the site and reading articles without voting; or any other kind of interaction you have with the site.

The only thing that will make you a shareholder in Steemit, is for you to obtain some *actual* shares; got it? Good.

Steemit.com owned by Steemit inc. will never be a decentralised platform; why? Because in order for it to do so, Steemit inc would have to give up all rights to the IPs surrounded Steemit, and that's not going to happen, not necessarily because there is no willing from the Steemit owners, but rather an issue of profit, loss and taxation.

Reality Bites
-------------

Being an incorporated company in the good ol' US of A, one can safely assume that they pay tax, and stick to all the various corporate regulations that are required of a commercial entity operating in the States.

The website (at the last time of checking), generates 1.2 million Steem a day, and then allocates that Steem in the form of voting power. How much voting power you have, is determined by how much Steem Power you hold.

Now of course, Steem has a dollar value, so Steemit is a money printing machine, which means that there are profits (and losses) to consider. Trying to build a stucture whereby Steemit inc. was not breaking corporation law, in a decentralised environment would in my opinion, be impossible.

Apart from the legal mess that would ensue from dissolving the company whilst still trying to claim it was solvent. We have the reality of the fact that decentralisation would probably lead to complete chaos within the Steemit structure.

Blockchain Forever
------------------

The wonderful fact of the matter, is that Steem is a decentralised currency, and it sits atop of an open source blockchain. There is nothing stopping anybody from building apps and software that takes advantage of that, and in fact we have already seen this to some extent.

MASSIVE RECORD SCRATCH!!

[![cat scratching record.jpg](https://s6.postimg.org/v9ka446k1/cat_scratching_record.jpg)](https://postimg.org/image/9n59n37zh/)

Woah, wait just a cotton-pickin-minute there. Strictly speaking Steem is not decentralised, Steem cannot be forked (have the code changed) without express permission of Steemit inc. Hitherto (love that legal word), the Steem token remains the intellectual property of Steemit inc.

So, erm yeah, I was about to write about how the currency Steem being decentralised was the real winner here. Steemit was the trailblazer, and others will follow to utilise Steem in new, wonderful and previously unseen ways.

That of course may still happen, however, as long as Steemit inc. holds the intellectual property rights to Steem, and as long as Steemit.com can produce Steem at will. The actual currency will remain, for all intents and purpose, centralised.

Does all of this matter? Well it matters to the people it matters to, and to others it doesn't. I personally am somewhere in between. I have done quite nicely out of Steemit and still want to see it succeed. However at the same time, I'm aware some of these issues may prove to be counterproductive to the overall development of Steem the currency.

I don't see any change coming anytime soon, and in my honest opinion, I feel this is just another reason why Steemit will ultimately be replaced by something that takes the basic principles of the site, and improves it.

*Cryptogee*

WHAT DO YOU RECKON? HAD YOU ALREADY FIGURED THIS OUT OR ARE YOU SHOCKED AND APPALLED AT HOW WRONG YOU WERE? AS EVER LET ME KNOW BELOW.
πŸ‘  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and 229 others
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@dragosroua ·
Pretty much on the same line with you. As a former witness I can very much relate to the illusion of "stakeholder" and "ownership".
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@cryptogee ·
Yeah, what's funny is, I wrote this article and then talked about how the fact at least Steem is decentralised. Then I thought, let me make sure that is true; and it isn't! 

Lolz :-)

*Cg*
πŸ‘  ,
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@selected ·
Hum. :(
πŸ‘  
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@dwinblood ·
Not truly surprised as I had discovered some of this the day Dan announced his resignation.   Prior to that I didn't realize how much gatekeeping ability they had due to that hitherto line in the license.
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@cryptogee ·
Yes me too; Ned's article about Dan inspired me to write this and as I was researching it, I found out that Steem is owned 100% by Steemit. Which I guess makes sense, seeing as the website produces 1.2 million Steem per day. Without total ownership, they would be in a very precarious position.

*Cg*
πŸ‘  ,
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@darkflame ·
I would like someone to write up a tutorial how to start mining Steem or how to host part the Steem blockchain. We can decentralize by participating! I could be less lazy and look it up myself but I am a n00b to the concept of mining cryptocurrency.
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@cryptogee ·
I have heard recently that mining is being restricted; though because it doesn't interest me, I am not totally sure what is going on in respect to that. 

Though mining will not make it decentralized; non-ownership by a centralized corporation will do that.

There are many mining posts on Steemit, written by people with a far greater knowledge than mine, check them out :-)

*Cg*
πŸ‘  , ,
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@neoxian ·
$1.27
In theory, one could write a clean-room implementation of steemd that follows "the protocol".  Certainly would like to see the license change though.
πŸ‘  , , ,
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@cryptogee ·
>clean-room implementation of steemd that follows "the protocol". 

I'm not quite technologically enough minded to fully understand that statement. Are you saying that another Steemit could be written that follows the same protocols of the current site (i.e. creating lots of Steem each day to allocate voting rights)?

I can't see the licensing changing for as long as Steemit.com is owned by Steemit inc.

*Cg*
πŸ‘  
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@neoxian ·
$0.66
I'm saying that one could write their own version of "steemd" from scratch, not using any code from Steemit, but it could be a functioning witness on the current chain (that follows all the rules).  You could license it with a more free license and Steem would be truely free.
πŸ‘  ,
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@kenny-crane ·
I had a pretty good handle on who really owns and controls what, but good to see it all laid out clearly for everyone to read.

Steemit will ultimately be replaced by a future version of steemit which will be quite different.  Steemit is adaptable and the dev team can do the adapting.  Add some marketing and steemit 2019 will look quite different from steemit 2016.  Steem on!
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@cryptogee ·
$0.05
I thought I had a good handle on it, until I started to research this article. I was aware of the Steemit situation and only semi-aware of the Steem situation.

Whether Steemit itself will be adapted, or a new idea built on a similar idea will be the next best thing,  Only time will tell.

Steem On My Brother!

*Cg*
πŸ‘  ,
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@stonedfood ·
![s_u.png](https://steemitimages.com/DQmZ8YYRc9EDwBrgdkwxqobgx7p2zMVGGktQJCjKn8ZPfPM/s_u.png)
*Don't force our hand Steemit inc!*
πŸ‘  ,
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@sneak ·
$0.60
We would absolutely welcome an alternate implementation.
πŸ‘  ,
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@sneak ·
$5.82
You seem to be conflating the STEEM currency or the Steem Blockchain with a specific piece of open-source software developed by Steemit, Inc.

Steemit Inc does not own the blockchain, nor do we control it.
πŸ‘  , , , , , , , , , ,
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@nanzo-scoop ·
I agree however as the largest holder of STEEM, Steemit Inc (and it's employees) do hold the largest influence (express or implied) over STEEM and it's Witness composition. Not necessarily a bad or good thing.
πŸ‘  
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@cryptogee ·
They also own the Steem IP, look up in the whitepaper where it says that no fork of the Steem token can be done without the express permission of Steemit inc.

The blockchain maybe decentralised, however Steem is not.

*Cg*
πŸ‘  
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@cryptogee ·
At no point in the article, did I say Steemit owns the blockchain. I said Steemit owns the IP for the Steem token; which is true, right?

*Cg*
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@sneak ·
$0.35
Incorrect for two reasons:

1) The license on steemd that has generated the controversy lately has nothing to do with Steemit; Steemit does not own all the IP in the repo any more than GNU owns the IP for Linux. We don't have a CLA, so the non-staff contributors remain rightsholders.

2) Anyone can use the blockchain without using the software covered by the license at issue. You can write your own wallet and many have. I hope someone writes their own p2p node, too.
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@irawandedy ·
So what should we do?
πŸ‘  
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@cryptogee ·
What can we do? Apart from be aware that unlike a shareholder of a company, you have no say in the running of the company. Also unlike a decentralised cryptocoin, Steem can be forked at any time by Steemit inc, so I guess; be careful about putting all your crypto eggs in one basket.

*Cg*
πŸ‘  ,
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@irawandedy ·
thanks input
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@sneak · (edited)
This post contains many basic factual inaccuracies, and I encourage those of you who voted for it to re-evaluate your voting criteria in the future.
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@cryptogee ·
Tell us what those inaccuracies are, and if proved right, I'll post an "I was wrong" post.

*Cg*
πŸ‘  
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@nanzo-scoop ·
I'd be less concerned about people voting on factually inaccurate content, then getting the correct communication out there. 

Maybe if factually inaccurate perceptions (that many people have) made it to the trending page, there would be more of a concerted effort sort out some communication and marketing.

It cannot be under-estimated how little people understand how STEEM works today (myself included!)...

Keeping the Whitepaper up-to-date would be a good starting point.
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@stonedfood ·
BINGO, my friend. Wish I had 2 upvotes for your explanation.
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@cryptogee ·
How about instead of telling us we're all wrong, making a post explaining things like this. Because saying something has factual inaccuracies; without explain what those inaccuracies are, is not very helpful, and comes across as you saying "move on, nothing to see here."

*Cg*
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@nanzo-scoop ·
$0.04
Hey CG,

Hope you're well. I think you're mistaken on this one. I'll writing my perspective on this in post shortly.
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@cryptogee ·
Hi Nanzo,

I think you'll find I'm not :-) There's a former witness in the comment section who 100% agrees with me.

Some of the info in this post has been lifted directly from the whitepaper...

However, I humbly await your repost.

*Cg*
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@nanzo-scoop ·
$0.12
Might not get the time to write an article...

A couple of points for a start,

> Strictly speaking Steem is not decentralised, Steem cannot be forked

The fact that STEEM cannot be cloned with permission, does not mean STEEM blockchain itself is not decentralised. It just means it is not fully opened source.

Another minor point...

>  The website (at the last time of checking), generates 1.2 million Steem a day,

STEEM's inflation rate has been changed to 9.5% pa. Many seemed to have missed this, STEEM is a lot more scarce than it was previously. Also the website doesn't generate STEEM it's generated from the blockchain.

Also the Whitepaper is now woefully out-of-date... making it very difficult for people to keep up with where we're at including myself!!
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@rossenpavlov ·
I'm not surprised at all. Steemit is like the MySpace of the blockchain. There are new platforms ahead like yours.network and other social media to come.
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@detlef-s ·
Interesting post, congratulations.
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@rok-sivante ·
excellent piece.

I'd expect some people to get in a fuss because it's not fully decentralized - which could be reason for really thinking about why decentralization has been epitomized as *the* favorable ideology.

interesting, having thought about it like that - there's been such huge push in this crypto space for decentralization as the end-all-be-all - though how is such a one-sided extreme statement any better than total centralization? at the end of the day, they're both extreme ideologies on contrasting ends of the spectrum - neither better nor worse than another really, just different states of form suitable for different points in evolution - the *ultimate*, perhaps being a harmonious balance between the two...
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@rok-sivante ·
ok, that ended spiraling out into this:

https://steemit.com/philosophy/@rok-sivante/decentralization-fever-the-path-to-utopia-or-just-another-fundamentalist-ideological-mindf-ck
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@cryptogee ·
You make some interesting points, and have got me reading these comments again, there is a lot of confusion surrounding this issue still...

*Cg*
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@oliver.rivers ·
@cryptogee great analysis ... I just posted an article about things I would like to see change on the platform, totally missed this one. I couldn't agree more with what your saying, I would love to see a social network without a centralized governing body. The community should take this role! Thanks for sharing!
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@dylan007 · (edited)
Interesting post @cryptogee, you have a new follower. I wrote an article you might like called; [β€œHi and Welcome to Steemit!”… β€œErr, what is Steemit?”… An Interview with Steemit.](https://steemit.com/steemit/@dylan007/hi-and-welcome-to-steemit-err-what-is-steemit-an-interview-with-steemit). If you have a mo I'd love to know what you think? Many Thanks, @dylan007.
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@blockexpert · (edited)
There is a few things that will have to happen in order for a blog platform to be completely decentralized. First and foremost, it will not be a centralized and controlled dot com. Just the domain name alone raises a red flag because a .com can be seized by the US government without any due process. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. If SteemIt violates even the most basic rules which are all bendable of course they are toast. So, with that in mind a truly decentralized blog platform is going to contain a decentralized domain name not a dot com.

Second thing that I am not sold on is how comments and blogs can be edited after they have been submitted. Ok maybe I am missing something or do not understand the implementation here, but it seems that all our content is stored in regular SQL databases and the actual currency runs alongside the application in parallel. If our content was stored in a blockchain then it would be unchangeable.

And third flag is how spam is being controlled. Where is the excessive spam, porn and other unwanted nonsense? See this is where things get interesting with blockchain because it’s hard to stop spam unless some kind of central authority is screening or organizing the incoming data before its added to the blockchain. Otherwise it’s probably just going into a SQL database and getting flagged as spam because people vote it down.

Finally, USA is not proving to be a blockchain friendly country. The regulations alone are already pushing developers overseas. Americans may want decentralized platforms but truly decentralized platforms are not going to be accepted in the United States.
πŸ‘  ,
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vote details (2)
@ade-greenwise ·
Great post and info. Personally, I'm ok with all this, as there needs to be some centralised control, but we all have vested interest in improving the platform obviously, so it will move forward.
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@miguel12 ·
yes, @ned said one time that if you put a video in dtube that infringe copyright , they could erase it.  That is not blockchain for everyone nor uncensored blockchain.
πŸ‘  
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vote details (1)