Web2 vs Web3 and the scaling bottleneck no one on Hive is talking about.

7 mo
16 Min Read
3273 words


In April my witness partners @rishi556 and @sn0n wanted to upgrade our @hextech server to a full node. Of course I was like, "What are you talking about lets just hold a little longer, this thing is going to the moon!" Legit gambled on our rent money and lost it. Oops, now our dreams of a full-node were homeless.

Now we have the opportunity to fund such a venture once again, and I have begun active discussions in making this upgrade happen rather than trying to gamble it all again like an idiot.


Of course it turns out that our witness already has enough money to pay for its own upgrade. How crazy is that? All I have to do is front the liquidity now with my own money, start a powerdown on @hextech, and siphon the unlocked funds into my own wallet. Unfortunately @rishi556 has been gone for about a month and it would be super rude to buy a server without him, as he's done a vast amount of work maintaining the node in the first place and it was mostly his idea to upgrade it when we had the chance.


Why upgrade to a full node?

Why indeed! Mostly to support Hive and increase our reputation as block producers. The ultimate goal is to obviously get one of those coveted top 20 spots. Personally I think the whole "top 20" block producer situation we have going should be a bit more dynamic but I can't be shaking things up until I become a much bigger player on Hive.

How big?

Honestly it is not out of the realm of possibility that @hextech makes it to the #1 spot on the witness list. I bet that sounds pretty ridiculous to witnesses in the top 20, but believe me when I say I have some pretty serious vision as to the direction of this network.

Right now blocktrades is the number one witness, and that is obviously a well-earned position. However, at the same time, blocktrades is not a rockstar. He's got a thankless job that most users on this network take 100% for granted. Scaling up Hive is of the utmost importance, but at the same time most of our users already think we can scale to infinity (because the whitepaper told them so) without anyone doing all that gruntwork in the background.

Meanwhile, if I delivered even 10% of the ideas I've had over the last few years I'd be rocking this chain something fierce. That's the thing about ideas: easy to come up with, not so easy to actually implement. I gotta say: my ADHD is not doing me any favors, and I have considered taking Stimpacks (Adderall) dozens of times over the past few years. There are a lot of side effects (I know from experience) but it might be worth it at this point.


Back to @hextech witness

Why would we upgrade to a full node? Why indeed! Because there actually is zero incentive to run a full node in the vast majority of situations. And this doesn't apply to just the Hive blockchain: it applies to all of them. Why would anyone spend extra money to run a full node that anyone in the world can ping for information? The entity running the full node has to pay for that bandwidth. This is actually something that @theycallmedan talks a lot about: you absolutely can not expect people to just altruistically run a node just because wouldn't that be swell? Like, no. there must be financial incentives in play to run the node.

The only reason I personally want to upgrade to a full node right now is that it greatly increases my own reputation and the reputation of my witness partners and the reputation of our @hextech witness node itself. Also it would be really nice to have a server under my control that I can trust implicitly to provide me with correct data. I've even considered creating custom API calls that would not be available on other full nodes to help me advance my other projects. On top of that I could give myself priority and get the data faster than other full nodes, and if Hive is experiencing great strain my dapps would not fail because they have a dedicated full node that I control rather than relying on other servers to get the job done.

We are so early in the game that INDIVIDUALS can make it into the top 20 no problem. Can we see how insane that is? 10 or 20 years from now the only entities allowed to be consensus witnesses will be full fledged dev teams and/or corporations/DAOs. That is a fact. I gotta get in early and start building my team now so I can stay on the top of this doggy pile and make real change on this network. In a very real sense witnesses are politicians and DPOS is a Republic 2.0.

Many people think Hive can easily scale.

Probably because they were told exactly that.


Hive can not scale quickly in this state.

This same exact problem has been pointed out countless times over the years. Why would anyone run a full node if they could just... you know... not? Over the years there have been plenty of top 20 witnesses that were not running full nodes. Why would they? Why would they spend extra money to get the exact same amount of income? The only reason to run the full node is if you want to set yourself apart and get into the top 20 or if you don't care about the money and you just want to altruistically help Hive thrive. If we assume that a good number of people are going to give away money for free just to support Hive we are going to be sorely disappointed... as we have been... many times.

At a core philosophical standpoint: an economy can not be expected to be maintained on hopes and dreams alone. At a certain point greed takes over, or generous people run out of money. Before crypto was a thing, this is why every single open-source project has failed to scale: there was no way to monetize it. There was no good way to capture value and scale up the project. There was no way to pay employees and get community members to continue donating their time for free in exchange for nothing.


Now, with crypto, the entire game has changed.

Now we have the means to monetize literally anything we decide to monetize. All we have to do is hardcode that rule into consensus and that thing magically becomes profitable and enforced by the community itself. This is not something the legacy economy could ever hope to achieve in their wildest dreams.

In the context of Hive and scaling we have a haphazard system that kind of sort of works. Many top 20 witnesses pay for a full node because they want to stay top 20 witnesses. However, not all full nodes are created equal. There's obviously a big difference in the ability to process database calls and pump out volume and bandwidth to thousands of users and frontends.

One full node on Hive might barely be able to service anyone, while another could theoretically support the entire network. Of course it goes without saying that the one that can support the entire network (think Steemit Inc) is going to be a lot more expensive. Once again we run into the same damn problem of money, scaling up, and financial incentives. No witness has a financial incentive to spend tens of thousands of dollars (or even millions) on a full node every month unless not doing so would bump them out of the top 20.


So what we have here is this weird race that witnesses play on a financial incentive level. As a top 20 witness on Hive: the goal is to provide just enough value to the network to not get kicked out of the top 20. That way they put very little overhead cost into the network while still getting those phat top 20 paychecks as block producers. If this sounds like a sustainable way of doing business to anyone, they need to rethink the strategy a bit.

Again, if every top 20 witness gets paid exactly the same (communist) then why would any one of them go above an beyond to offer more service and spend more of their own money than other witness? Surely, there are many witnesses that don't think like this, but that's not the point. The point is that if we want a network that can scale to infinity on demand then we have to completely restructure the way this entire system works. Their must be a financially incentivized mechanic that pays people to run a full node that's completely separate from block producer rewards.


A note about Resource Credits

There are many people on Hive who think we've already solved the scaling issues here because of this technology. That is patently absurd and shows a complete lack of understanding regarding this highly technical issue.

When Splinterlands gained a shit-ton of adoption, what happened? All Hive nodes got bombarded by thousands of new transactions/requests and the chain became totally unstable. On a very real level Resource Credits have absolutely nothing to do with Full-Nodes and API calls. Anyone in the world can ping a full-node and ask it for information. They absolutely do not need Resource Credits to receive a response (perhaps they should).

What's the solution?

Web3 is the solution. You see: about 99.9999% of the people in crypto wrongfully assume that WEB3 is a superior form of WEB2 in every way. It is absolutely not. WEB2 and WEB3 business models are totally different and completely incompatible.


  • Users are given "free" service.
  • They do not control/own their data.
  • The data is monetized and sold (ads/behavior-patterns)


  • Users own their data.
  • In exchange they must pay for service.
  • Crypto incentives allow users to earn much more than they pay.
We find ourselves in a super awkward transition phase.

Like, it's really... really bad. Because we need to onboard all these WEB2 users. So what do we do? We offer them free service just like WEB2 does because we are competing with WEB2 and we've been trained (and outright brainwashed) that free service must be offered no matter what, otherwise new users will ignore us in the emergent attention economy.

This ignores what the attention economy is all about.

PAID TO _______. That's what the attention economy is all about. Creating jobs, providing value to these networks, and getting that phat paycheck. In our haste to onboard WEB2 users to WEB3 we all collectively and wrongfully decided that new users should get free service.


Of course anyone who's read my previous posts on the issue knows that Resource Credits are not free.

So why can you charge Web3 users for service?

I mean... just look at Bitcoin and Ethereum. Look at how much these users are paying for service. The service is obviously worth the fee or users wouldn't do it... right? Already, Bitcoin and Ethereum seem to understand WEB3, even if Hive doesn't seem to yet.

Wait sorry you want to charge people fees on a feeless network and you expect users to give you a hive-five as they bring all their friends and family into another endless fees ecosystem?

The point I'm getting at is kind of difficult to explain in these contexts. Basically, anyone who connects to a full-node should expect to pay something in order to receive a response. On Facebook or Twitter, it would be ABSURD to think that users would be willing to pay for service. Thus, they fall into the WEB2 trap of not owning their data and being constantly targeted by smart-advertisements. WEB2 has done an amazing job at monetizing each person's data just a little bit to make massive profits. That's not what WEB3 is about, because in WEB3 users own their own data. Therefore it becomes obvious that it can not be monetized to scale up these systems like WEB2 did.

The infrastructure for these payments did not exist before crypto.

Even if Facebook wanted to micro-charge users for requesting data from the API node... how the hell would they even do it? Integrate credit card payments? Already the amount of regulation and overhead of such a thing becomes completely untenable. Not because Facebook is charging the user, but because of the incentives Facebook must provide to the user in the first place to get them to pay for service.

On Hive we have blogging. We have games. And this is just the beginning. Hive will have HUNDREDS of ways to make money going forward. Hundreds. Not an exaggeration. Imagine if Facebook had hundreds of ways for their users to make money within a decentralized non-KYC ecosystem with zero regulations. They'd simply get shut down IMMEDIATELY. This is what I mean when I say WEB2 and WEB3 are totally incompatible.

Monetizing full-nodes

Once again, if users have to pay to use a full node (even if it's just a tiny tiny bit) this all of a sudden makes WEB3 scale to infinity. No longer does a full-node need to be a top 20 witness to get paid. Anyone can boot up a full node and get paid as long as users are connecting to that full node and paying for service.

The infrastructure is baked into the cake.

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, a Hive account has the money and the payment method built directly into the system. How are they going to pay for service? Well... they already have a wallet... don't they? Okay, well how are they going to get the money? "Get paid to _____"; we are providing the jobs directly on chain. You get paid to provide value to the network.

The nice thing about a Full-Node is that it is absolutely not decentralized. It is controlled by a single entity. That means that any full node can do whatever they want. That means they can provide free service if they want. Or they can provide paid service, but allow connected accounts to fall into negative bandwidth currency. An account with a balance in the negative could mean anything: from no action being taken, to degraded service, to being booted off the full-node entirely.

When a person pings a full node for information, none of this happens on-chain. Meaning a full node could charge users in any currency they choose, ranging from a custom token, to resource credits, to actual liquid Hive.

Only charge money when value is earned.

In fact, users might only get charged when they make money doing something. That way the illusion of "free service" is maintained. The end-user might not even realize that the full-node has charged them anything, and all they see is that they made money performing an action on Hive that was profitable. The full-node takes its tiny cut and no one is the wiser.

It is in this way that Hive can actually scale to astronomical levels. If a full-node is processing millions of requests and they aren't getting paid... we'll that's really expensive and demoralizing to the bottom-line of the witness. However, if that same witness is now charging just a tiny tiny bit across all their users they are suddenly making a mint and can afford to scale up their node to absurd levels and maintain profitability. Again, they don't even need to be in the top 20 for this to happen.


@hextech witness will be up and running with a full node soon™. If @rishi556 were around today we probably already would have bought the hardware.

Do you think that Hive can scale up to the likes of Facebook? Do you really? Look at the top 20.


Do you really think that these people can all scale up to the size of Facebook in an independent and redundant manner that blockchain requires? That is an absurd notion. These people can't scale up to one one-hundredth of the size of Facebook. And even if they could they would have ZERO financial incentive to do so. In fact their financial incentive would be negative because they'd be losing a shitload of money while all the other witness were still getting phat paychecks. Not gonna happen.

We must monetize full-nodes with pay-to-play service, micro-charges, and data/income streams. As batshit crazy and counterintuitive as that sounds: this is the future of blockchain and scaling in general.


WEB2 navigated around the scaling problem by enslaving their users and turning them into little Matrix batteries that powered the BIG TECH machine. It would be quite foolish to assume that WEB3 was going to magically give users their data back but somehow solve the scaling problem without charging users to fund it. We are heading into a system where people are being held accountable. Everything is transparent. If you want to use a ton of resources you had better be willing to pay for it. No more promises of "infinite free bandwidth" like WEB2 was pushing. WEB3 is an entirely new animal.

I've actually been thinking about this concept for over a year, and I've never even brought it up to anyone ever because I know how it will be received. Most people reading this post are automatically going to assume that what I'm proposing here is essentially an idiotic idea with zero merit. We've been brainwashed for so long on this concept of "free transactions" and "free service" that suggesting that we should actually be charging users for service is going to sound absolutely ridiculous at first glance. Yet, I will maintain that what I'm proposing here is literally the only way to scale up Hive to the sizes that everyone expects it to reach.

I challenge everyone to reevaluate their concept of WEB3.


Playing Devil's Advocate: Why Steem HF23 is NOT THEFT!

Remember when @Blocktrades explained how a fork is not theft and you ate that shit up like it was candy?


Flip-Flop Time: Steem HF23 is Now Theft

These philosophic differences are critically important.

Under WEB2 rules, Justin Sun "stealing" money from Steem whales was absolutely theft. However, if you use WEB3 rules what he did was exactly the same as what Hive did. I would make the argument that if you do not agree with this statement then you do not truly understand WEB3, and will almost certainly disagree that users should be charged for the resources they consume (which is clearly WEB2 idealology).

There's still a lot more to be said on this topic. But I think this particular post has reached it's end. Next time I bring up this subject I'll talk about @anyx and how I connect to his full-node and constantly ask him for the same data over and over and over again (1700 Hive-blockchain Discussions every time I restart my browser). Because I'm allowed to be wasteful and their is no penalty, I continue to be a wasteful glutton when interacting with full-nodes. I guarantee you that everyone else around here is pulling similar bullshit. Only by charging users can we force accountability, scale up, and make this ecosystem more efficient. Micro-charges are the future of blockchain.

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Luckily we have some core developers who have top witness spots and actually know what they are doing, but there are so many others, you never hear of, who don't seem to have a single thing to offer besides, a big enough vote to trade with the others and a lack of desire to question their decisions.

But you make an excellent point, but it's a self correcting problem. As new money comes in and witness wages become more enticing, I imagine we will see some big changes soon!

I hope you and your team get a full node and I remember this came up a lot when we were busy in 2017 early 2018 as well!

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Sounds like something the new recurring payment feature could be hooked into. 🤔


@edicted thanks for highlighting the problem and sharing with us I hope soon we have a solution of this


We definitely need to monetize the infrastructure in some way.
I'd go so far as the shake up the current inflation split to something that accounts for hbd interest and pays folks to run the full nodes.
The dao is plenty full, imo.
Take some of its 10% and send it to the full nodes.


I do not understand more than 20% of your post. But I feel that I agree with you at a 80% confidence level... Witness mechanism is definitely a critical and inevitable part that needs to be scrutinized before Hive grow larger. I like most of our top 20 witnesses, but this issue is not personal at all.


Yeah that's the problem with these discussions they get way too complicated quickly.

7 mo (edited)

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I can fully see the validity of your argument and would agree with you if properly set up.
Why would anybody provide a costly service for free?
I wouldn't so why would I expect others to do the same. It would need to be structured properly to make it work but running a node can be no different than running any service.
I'm not a dev so don't understand the operational side of things but you could have free use for small/new users that are just making basic transactions with different subscription levels for the people making larger use of the node up to dev or app level where they would need a premium subscription.

If you could take a small percentage of earnings or set up a recurring payment to use the node. There are lots of options and nothing in this world comes for free. If people want the service they should be willing to pay a reasonable amount to use it.


I agree fully with this. Question.

Is there any reason why a full node operator cannot currently do this now? Say @anyx just started charging you however much each time you accessed his node. Is there anything to stop him from doing this? Other than the fear he would piss you off?

And if he did piss you off would that be a bad thing? Seems like he would just save himself some resources for anyone willing to pay a small fee for the service. I get it that he likely runs his service for altruistic purposes and his own personal satisfaction (and witness chops), but it seems to me that charging would paradoxically be altruistic for the chain in the long run. I don't mean to single him out, but you mentioned him and I feel that he has been a large force on the chain for a very long time. Personally I feel the full node operators deserve some compensation and compensation would breed the desire in more people to run full nodes (helping stabilize and scale the chain).

Well enough blather. I am not really knowledgeable, just a long diatribe to ask, isn't this possible now? Is there anything coded in the chain stopping @hextech or anyone else from just doing it?

Just Do It! :-) Forgiveness is easier to get than permission :-)

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What stops him from doing it is the complete lack of infrastructure. Right now anyone in the world can connect to a node and request certain pieces of data. This creates an open a free system which has a lot of advantages.

Once we start forcing people to log-in to nodes and set them up with accounts that track bandwidth... things can get needlessly overcomplicated quite quickly.

Luckily as soon as one person creates such a system it can be downloaded, cloned, and forked by anyone because this is an open source ecosystem. One one person needs to make a working model for everyone to benefit. I will admit that creating this template in a way that actually makes sense is going to be extremely difficult.


Ha! I am upvoting this comment with my formerly massive but now piddly 100% vote and am moving over after this to vote your witness. So hop to it ;-) What ya waiting for :-)

Seriously. Right on thinking. Hope you accomplish even half of what I have seen you talk about in the medium term future. Hive needs more thinkers and idea guys. Even more doers.

I need to seriously sit down and think about my plans for the future on HIVE/LEO as well as what I am actually gonna do to help unleash its potential, because I do think it has massive potential. As they say though, that car won't drive itself (well, not for the next 5-10 years anyway :-))

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7 mo

In fact, users might only get charged when they make money doing something. That way the illusion of "free service" is maintained. The end-user might not even realize that the full-node has charged them anything, and all they see is that they made money performing an action on Hive that was profitable. The full-node takes its tiny cut and no one is the wiser.

It's a good concept, I like it!

It is in this way that Hive can actually scale to astronomical levels. If a full-node is processing millions of requests and they aren't getting paid... we'll that's really expensive and demoralizing to the bottom-line of the witness. However, if that same witness is now charging just a tiny tiny bit across all their users they are suddenly making a mint and can afford to scale up their node to absurd levels and maintain profitability. Again, they don't even need to be in the top 20 for this to happen.

Yes, and everyone will be able to choose their level of node - making money. To occupy your niche in other words...

I guess I like everything about this post. It's logical, clever, and can be implemented! Thanks for the thoughts, made me think about a lot of things!🙏


I think the base layer can remain incentivized by inflation, and with time people will not vote for witnesses who provide shit nodes without APIs.

However, when it comes to infinite scaling, smart contracts, etc, then we need a second layer with fees, I agree.


A lot key points to note.
Web3 is everyone involvement if I understand
from all stages of the blockchain.
You name it, witnesses, users, everyone on the blockchain
bandwagon will have to participate deeper if they want to
in order to advance.
I think monetizing resource credit should be a start for full node.
Like you said scaling is something we need to envision as value is coming our way


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As a top 20 witness on Hive: the goal is to provide just enough value to the network to not get kicked out of the top 20.

Here you identified something that could be the crux of what you are describing.

Is running just a Witness node enough in the future? We know how things are now with the votes and that is fine for the moment. However, will we get to the point of raising our expectations?

Perhaps, one of the requirements for getting major votes is going to be a full node being run by the top witnesses. As you said, Blocktrades holding the top spot is a no brainer. He and his team do a lot that most overlook.

As for the main theme presented here, the fact is money is ceasing to be a problem. You aptly pointed out we can incentivize anything. That is the power of what we have in Web 3.0.

It is just a matter of designing the reward/payment system.

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It is just a matter of designing the reward/payment system.

Yeah it's going to be very difficult to build the template I have described here.


It's post like these that give me hope for Hive (pointing out the problems is the only way to start thinking about how to solve them); hope we find a solution :)


Probably my best wasted 16 min on Hive consuming content. Thanks @whatsup and @taskmastser4450 for directing me to the post. I know have the real understanding of scalability of Hive and also a quite decent vision on what Hive might be in years from now. You guys have my vote.

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7 mo

Thats an important disscussion you raised. I totally agree. Also why 20? What is this "magic" number?
The algorithm of choosing the witness should be based both on votes and contribution. Resources of the node should affect the chance to mine.


Would should be able to change the number of consensus witnesses with community voting, in addition to changing how much money they make and how much overall inflation the network has.

7 mo

Send a link and I will vote your witness. I hope you will still promote this when you are in the top ;)

7 mo



@edicted A person with Broken Shoes is writing to you, which is why so much content can cause me confusion, the truth is that there is a problem and it is necessary to solve it for mutual benefit. You have the idea, and executing it requires organization and planning. Just as no one leaves the restaurant without paying, Everything has its price, Nothing is Free, but there may be an alternative that benefits everyone. Let's speak the same language and let's unite to differentiate ourselves from other social networks. Let's leave the competition to the Rats while we work together.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)


🤣I hope we dont go homeless this time..Looking forward to this growth and creativity.Amazing read right here

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I don't see this issue corrected by collecting fees on access by full node operators. Do you think Google will pay to rank our pages? This is an example of indirect outside use of full nodes, I believe. This would hurt Hive a lot, in many ways.

But I agree there is a problem and that some witnesses do the absolute minimum to keep their position while others may deserve better ranking and don't get the necessary votes.

The solution is still in the governance and better popularizing what each of the top witnesses are doing (or not doing), and allowing the community to vote in or out of Top 20 those who they deem worth it. The vote decay should also help to some extent with this.

We should also keep in mind it's not all about the full node, but it is a big piece that can propel a witness higher in the ranking. Some are contributing in other ways. You mentioned Blocktrades, the lead dev team for the core. Although they have full nodes as well. And even a permanent test net.


I don't see this issue corrected by collecting fees on access by full node operators.
Do you think Google will pay to rank our pages?

Again this is 100% WEB2 thinking.
Google? What is a Google?

Of course they would pay to rank our pages, because ranking pages has value and Hive would be paying more to Google to rank the pages than they'd have to pay to rank them. Paid to _____.

More likely the real solution to this problem is to simply expect that nodes making gobs of money are going to run a badass full node (like Splinterlands and other gaming dapps). However, charging users for premium service will definitely come into play during the long-game.

7 mo (edited)

Well, I use Presearch with DSearch... Haven't used Google's search engine for more than a year now.

The point I was trying to make is not necessarily about them. Because they parse our front ends. How many of our front ends could afford to pay for full node access? And maybe users of the popular interfaces would support their own activity, but what about outside access?

Yes, I understand what you say about Web 3 and paying for everything while making a lot more and owning your stuff.

Full Web 3 is still quite far from now in my opinion. Remember, MOST users online haven't heard, not to mention used Hive while it is in this state of subsidized activity through almost free resource credits.

Maybe it's too soon for Pay to Use?

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Could you give me a rough list of hardware requirements to run a full node? I will be getting a fiber-optic internet soon, and I do dream about a node that does not rent a remote server or so, but is physically accessible.
Any hint would be appreciated!

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