Soliciting feedback on pre-emptive methods to protect Hive against a malicious court order ...

avatar of @trostparadox
Steve Trost, Ph.D., P.E.
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3 min read

A week ago, I was listening to the live broadcast of Community Token Talk (CTT) Episode 61. @starkerz and @theycallmedan were talking about Hive’s resilience against attack and its resilience against regulation and coercive government actions.

They discussed (from 1:30:45 to 1:33:40) a tweet from @v4v.app (@brianoflondon) about what might happen if a malicious government tried to force Hive to censor an account or seize a wallet or some similar action.

@starkerz began the discussion by referencing how the High Court of England and Wales was able to intervene and force a ‘decentralized platform’ (oasis.app) to seize 120,000 ETH from a wallet that had been used in an attack on Jump Crypto’s Wormhole bridge.

Here is the statement from oasis.app announcing the actions they took (via their multisig protocol) in response to the court order. It bears noting that the court order and the Oasis Multisig implementation of the court order occurred ALL IN ONE DAY.



@starkerz and @theycallmedan then discussed how difficult it would be for a court to order 17 of the top 20 witnesses on Hive to do such a thing.

That got me to thinking. Should we incorporate a ‘feature’ into Layer 1 that would make it nearly impossible for a court to effectively order even ONE witness to take an action that might go against the community’s wishes. In other words, a ‘feature’ that would allow a witness faced with such a court order to elegantly and effectively resist implementing the court order.

I will explain a couple proposed solutions below, but first, here is the rest of the backstory.

A couple weeks ago, @brianoflondon tweeted about the need for a canary system, sort of like an emergency broadcast system where the entire Hive community could be notified if one of the witnesses was ever targeted by a malicious court order from an authoritarian government, or whatever other ‘emergency’ might arise.


Then @edicted tweeted about the possibility of paying witnesses who defy a court order out of the DHF.


To which @brianoflondon replied with the tweet mentioned above, the one that started this discussion on CTT:


I then joined in that Twitter convo, presenting an idea to help mitigate such an attack:


That led to some back-and-forth with @starkerz. Here’s that thread:


Then, on yesterday’s CTT (Episode 62), @starkerz and @theycallmedan briefly discussed my original idea (from 2:13:00 to 2:21:05) and an offshoot (suggested by @theycallmedan) wherein a witness could “press a button to forfeit all incoming witness votes” and return all their votes to a ‘consensus pool’; also, @brianoflondon reiterated the potential benefits of an ‘Emergency Broadcast System’.

Then @starkerz suggested I write a blog post about the concepts, to get some broader feedback from the Hive community (hence this post).

So, as of right now, we have three (3) potential new Layer 1 features on the table:

  • @brianoflondon’s ‘Emergency Broadcast System’, which would enable witnesses to declare an emergency message to be broadcast to the community.
  • @trostparadox’s ‘Whack-A-Mole Switch’, which would grant any account the ability to irrevocably delegate 100% of their incoming witness votes to any one alternative account.
  • @theycallmedan’s ‘Deadman’s Switch’, which would grant any account the ability to irrevocably decline all incoming witness votes and send them to a concensus pool.

**Below are four comment threads, one for each of the above features and one for general comments.*

Comment thread for general comments

Comment thread for an ‘Emergency Broadcast System’ as proposed by @brianoflondon

Comment thread for a ‘Whack-A-Mole Switch’ as proposed by @trostparadox

Comment thread for a ‘Deadman’s Switch’ as proposed by @theycallmedan

*Also, If you want to propose a completely new feature to potentially address the problem of malicious court orders and/or other forms of attack, please create a new comment thread below.**

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