Steem: Softforking, exchanges, security and mining ninjas

in hive-174578 •  3 months ago 

STEEM is a fungible token, meaning that any one STEEM can be replaced with any other STEEM and it will behave the same. However, not all STEEM was created equally.

When most people think about the source of STEEM, they think the rewards pool, the inflation that gets injected into the supply through voting, SPS, interest and the witness payments. But that isn't where most of the STEEM in circulation comes from.

There is currently 340,236,154 STEEM in the total supply. Now I don't have numbers and I wasn't here for the earliest days of the Steem Blockchain, but over the last almost 4 years of the chain ticking along every 3 seconds, about 100 million Steem has come out of the rewards pool. I am sure someone who can would be able to get an accurate account of this, but it doesn't really matter for the purpose of this post.

So, 100M STEEM out of the pool but 340M in the supply? Well, that is because in the very earliest days of the Steem blockchain, the initial supply didn't come from the rewards pool as it does now, it was mined - much like Bitcoin. However, while there are quite a few accounts that mined STEEM in those early days with some of the largest accounts on Steem being among them, one set of miners had designed and set up the system to have an unfair advantage over others - Steemit Inc.

This advantage allowed them to take an enormous amount of STEEM from the mining process by leaving all other miners at a clear disadvantage. As a result, the initial mining balance was very much out of balance from the get-go and Steemit Inc made some social contracts with participants as to how they were going to use that stake - which was in essence, to use it for the development of the Steem blockchain, but not have it get involved with governance of the blockchain.

And for the most part, Steemit Inc has kept their promise with a few caveats including the selling of some to keep afloat and the Misterdelegation account which delegated to applications and voted, but could definitely be construed with some charity, as helping develop the blockchain.

This created an often tense but generally amicable status quo. However, once Steemit Inc and that stake got sold, there was no telling what was going to happen with it, hence the softfork that put limitations on that stake. Now, while there are many opinions about right and wrong and whatever in between, I think the witnesses made a decision on what they considered in the best interest of the Steem blockchain. At least at the time. How it plays out is still up for grabs.

Here we are today.

But, I have done a bit of thinking on STEEM supply several weeks before Justin Sun rode into town, and find it all quite interesting. I stole these numbers from @penguinpablo's post from a few days ago.

  • Total amount of STEEM stored on all exchanges: 97,099,804 STEEM
  • Total STEEM supply: 339,814,612 STEEM
  • Liquid STEEM: 129,722,926 STEEM

Notice something? There s about 100M Steem stored on all the exchanges, which is almost exactly what has come out of the rewards pool for the last four years. Now, while we could say that it is all the selling going on by authors, that isn't the case at all. It can't be.

The reason is that there is ~209 million Steem staked in Steem Power (the difference between total and liquid) and that is distributed across many thousands of accounts like my own that didn't mine STEEM. While some of the earliest non-mining accounts earned a massive amount of STEEM and powered down to the exchanges, there are also many authors who have continually powered up. their earnings. What this means is that most of the STEEM on the exchanges is much more likely to be from the initial mining operations, not from authors.

From what I understand, there was 250,000,000 STEEM mined before the chain started to deliver similarly to as it does now, but based on the declining inflation rate, it will take eleven years from the start or thereabouts, before there is 250 million STEEM is distributed from the rewards pool. And after 20 years of operation, which is around the year 2036, there will only be about 630 million STEEM in circulation. Not too much considering that in 16 years, we should have a few more people around than today.

But, this isn't really what I was going to get into either, but I think that it is interesting to note that while we fight for the reward pool today, we are still being heavily punished on the exchanges from the initial mined STEEM. While it would have been a totally different ball game had the mine not happened the way it did...

Here we are today.

So, while that STEEM in the Steemit Inc accounts is fungible as individual tokens, it actually kind of isn't while it is locked up in those accounts, as we know exactly where it came from. The mine. The mine where Steemit Inc had a very large advantage over others. I wonder how many of the STEEM I have bought off exchanges is mined STEEM? Well the chances are, probably most.

Again, here we are today.

The softfork locked up those STEEM tokens held in a few accounts that are known to have been sold to Justin Sun, for precautionary measures, it wasn't random, it wasn't personal, the source of those STEEM are well known and, they had some conditions preset on them. While I am still unsure as to whether good or bad, the softfork in part, formalized those conditions into the code.

This act by the witnesses has created a lot of turmoil and raised many questions, with one being, "if thy did it once, they can do it again".

Yes, they can. The witnesses can essentially do the same thing to any account on the Steem blockchain, but would they exercise that ability for any account, or would they only exercise it in the case of the STEEM that they know was part of what is referred to as the Ninja mine?

I got an interesting question today concerning this from a member of the Korean community who asked, would the witnesses do the same thing if the Korean community collected 10 million dollars, bought 50 million STEEM and tried to control the witnesses.

I do not think they would.

The reason is that the STEEM bought from the exchanges is liquid STEEM, fungible, unknown and "fair game". If someone or a group tried to control the blockchain through these measures, I think that would be considered above board and the witnesses would do their job and protect the chain as dictated and driven by the community stake. And - it would be community stake.

Due to the way the Steemit Inc stake was mined, it is definitely not part of the community. Now, do not be mistaken, this doesn't mean all mined STEEM or those who mined it are involved in this. Mining coins is common place to build a distribution network and the earliest in benefit. The problem with the Steemit Inc mined stake is the conditions that they engineered to ensure that they had such a clear advantage in proceedings, essentially giving them control of the blockchain.

Oh, and I would like to address one issue with the scenario of the 10 million dollars for 50 million STEEM above and that is, buying 50 million STEEM for 10 million is impossible, unless buying the Steemit Inc accounts. Buying over half the supply on exchanges would cause the price of STEEM to moon so hard that by the time a group had collected the 50 million, the price of Steem would likely be in the tens of dollars and the total cost would be in the hundreds of millions, or more.

STEEM pumps hard under buying pressure. It drops hard under selling pressure too.

But as said, I do not think that the witnesses would interfere in the manipulation or attempt to take control of the blockchain from a group that used community STEEM. However, this softfork and locking of stake wasn't community STEEM at all and, it has hung over the heads of investors like the sword of Damacles, with a slender and tenuous thread of social promises as to how it would be used to ensure it would fall.

While I don't know what is going to happen, I think it is good to understand that not all accounts nor STEEM were created equal, and the least and most obviously unequal out of all, are the Steemit Inc accounts and the reamining STEEM they hold.

To finish up, I will put something else on the table for now that most people haven't really seemed to think about.

If we look at the Steemit Inc stake in the 5 locked accounts as permanently unable to vote on governance or be sold on exchanges, it completely changes the makeup of the system. It means that as an investor, you could trust that when prices were climbing, that stake isn't suddenly going to get dumped onto the market and you could trust that it can't be used to centralize outside of the community wishes. Stake is your voice and a community which can gather a lot of stake can speak loudly, but that stake in the Steemit Inc accounts shouldn't have a voice at all, let alone a megaphone blasted through some amps.

While investors might think of the witnesses being able to lock stake as a risk, perhaps the larger investor risk is having one very large account that gained its size unfairly, being able to do what it chooses without any checks or balances. Perhaps the softfork might actually bring some peace of mind to some investors who actually want to have their voice through the stake they bought, without the fear of being overruled by Steemit Inc, who obtained their stake and voice unfairly. Maybe when one of the core requirements of a blockchain is security, on Steem, that takes the meaning for the security of community participants also.

It is hard to predict how this will play out, but I think that at least from a community perspective, if that stake never existed, the community would be better off for it now. If from the start the mined Steem went to more people or the distribution to non-mined accounts started earlier and went wider than it did, we would likely have a much more eclectic and vibrant community.

However, that stake does exist. So we have to deal with it the best we can. What the "best" is for it is very much open for interpretation and debate. Eventually, it will be sorted, one way or another.

Taraz
[ a Steem original ]

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For all we know, some may have invested in STEEM precisely because there was such a large stake controlled by a US company, so to argue for your particular financial distribution philosophical perspective is fine, but the witnesses should not assume that every investor of STEEM necessarily shares the perspective that Steemit Inc's stake is villainous and was obtained illicitly, and in fact most investors on this platform did so with full autonomy and ability to know the current stake distribution. The fork changed the rules in the middle of the game. If the governing principle is all accounts have equal rights to their STEEM then governance is simple, but now forcing one's personal ethical perspective onto the financial governing principles makes governing very messy and difficult now that we must decide who is allowed to keep their stake and which must be seized for the "good of the platform." What is to stop witnesses from removing stake they think might have been stolen? The witch hunt mentality of the spam fighting groups doesn't inspire confidence.

Yes, some could have invested for that reason. I do not think the largest stakeholders would have though, they have seen it as a risk.

The fork changed the rules in the middle of the game.

Every fork does this.

What is to stop witnesses from removing stake they think might have been stolen?

Nothing. Never has been anything to stop this. The functions they used have always been available to them.

The witch hunt mentality of the spam fighting groups doesn't inspire confidence.

I have been here for long enough to know that the amount of SPAM and plagiarism on the platform sucks. I do not think that many people enjoy downvoting - but no one enjoys picking up trash on the highway either, yet people still through garbage out their car windows.

As much as the chain and platforms want to believe, I don't think there's any way to simply code our way out of human biases and error. The more this place develops, the more it sounds like it's just kind of being run by a government entity: You vote for people you trust to do a good job, you vote them out when they suck.

But like governments, there are always caveats to the rules set in place (just look at Trump's Impeachment stuff; an ocean of grey areas) that enables them to continue doing things you don't like - within reason.

I think we are being naive if we think we can iron out all the faith-based elements of the blockchain and just have this pure, robotically rational force driving us to utopia

I think the blockchain communities that succeed will have the most hard-coded protection for rights such as freedom of speech and secure wallets, but as you say it is on the community to form a governance that represents their values.

Yeah, that's pretty wild to consider the hyperinflationary period compared to the (relatively) slowly new-minted STEEM we see today. To be blunt, the initial sleight-of-hand that allowed that massive stack to be accumulated, followed by generally... well, never quite getting around to using it to further the growth of the chain (aside from the delegations to some apps you mentioned) is a shadow cast over the entire chain's future.

Ned was an inept leader, but was he, on top of that, a scammer with ill intentions? Or simply an idealist that got caught up and was way over his head, then panicked? Does he still intend to benevolently guide the chain from the background and perhaps even create new projects that will be synergistic with Steem's future?

I've mainly had the impression that there was a whole lot of confusion regarding how to create something as potentially paradigm-shifting as a crypto social media platform. Shooting in the dark, led by brilliant devs that are tinkering around to find solutions to problems that aren't even realized until shit already hits the fan.

In short, I tend to cut the whole cryptosphere a lot of slack. Nobody really knows exactly what they're doing. Lots of mistakes made along the way, some innocent, others certainly malicious. However, I believe that with strong enough leadership working in tandem with dedicated witnesses, Steem can get past the dubious happenings at the genesis of the chain.

And hey, if it all fails? — Well, it was a fun ride, and all involved will be ahead of the curve whenever whatever succeeds us starts taking flight. After last bull run, I eventually considered whatever crypto I have as being worth potentially nothing. Though, as an optimist, I doubt that outcome.

I think the uncertainty is why they mined that way to begin with, as if they really opened it up to a free-for-all, they would have no way to close Pandora's box had things gone terribly awry.

Once things stabilized though, it became the elephant in the room with a great deal of power, held only by trust. Once Ned sold it, the final threads of trust were broken. This is a trustless network, social contracts aren't worth much. Codifying that trust is.

All of crypto is a mess and we are all blindly trying to find our way to something better than what currently exists in the world. Not sure if we will get there, but as you say, a fun ride regardless.

!ENGAGE 30

Could not have Ned sought to establish a legally recognized foundation (subject to independent oversight and audit) that would have stewardship over the Ninja stake and would be expressly bound to execute actions purely in benefit of the blockchain and the community as a whole? This demonstrates things being done above board and can be the bedrock upon which confidence among stakeholders is built.

  ·  3 months ago (edited)

Something probably could have been organized. The issue here though is, it wasn't. :)



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"I got an interesting question today concerning this from a member of the Korean community who asked, would the witnesses do the same thing if the Korean community collected 10 million dollars, bought 50 million STEEM and tried to control the witnesses."

"I do not think they would."

As of right now, based on all of the witness chats I've been involved in to date, I can tell you that the answer is a resounding "No."

"buying 50 million STEEM for 10 million is impossible, unless buying the Steemit Inc accounts."

Yes, this is an extremely important point to make. The only way for an entity to acquire that much stake would be to buy it on the open market, which - as you pointed out - would significantly raise the price of STEEM to essentially price most buyers out of the trades or make the purchase so costly that becoming a "bad actor" would amount to a massive risk and potential loss...

Unless they bought it OTC from the Steemit account owners.

And this is precisely one of the problems that makes the stake in question unique and the actions taken against it extraordinary. There is no "slippery slope," as many people keep warning about. As far as I can tell, all witnesses are in agreement that no other accounts or tokens on the Steem blockchain are even close to having the same or even similar criteria as the Steemit stake that had been ninja-mined and that had been publicly earmarked/promised for specific uses by its owners in order to justify the way it was mined.

"The witnesses can essentially do the same thing to any account on the Steem blockchain..."

Yes, this is true. Witnesses can do that. It's part of the DPoS protocols. It's the way the system was intentionally designed.

But it should be noted that after four years, this is the first time that witnesses have ever done it (outside of the time Steemit Inc. did it back in 2016 by controlling the top witnesses with their ninja-mined stake). So it has only occurred twice: once with the ninja-mined stake and once against the ninja-mined stake. And as of right now, that stake has been neutralized in order to ensure that the security/integrity of the blockchain remains intact.

As of right now, based on all of the witness chats I've been involved in to date, I can tell you that the answer is a resounding "No."

I would very much assume this.

There is no "slippery slope," as many people keep warning about.

I actually think that the slippery slope would have been to do nothing and wait and see. Once sliding, the potential "switch" would have been flicked and there would be zero anyone could do. This might be somewhat of a bright line, but it keeps the ground level for now until more is known.

Yes, this is true. Witnesses can do that. It's part of the DPoS protocols. It's the way the system was intentionally designed.

It was always possible, people lived under the understanding (illusion) it was not. I think those that should know and might complain about the decision to do it, knew. In my opinion, I would rather accept that it is possible than do my best to avoid it by believing it would never be done. The usage of the consensus in this way should actually bring some peace of mind to some people as it proves that witnesses will make hard decisions when they feel they have to. This is a turning point for the blockchain, and it should be a wakeup call for all witnesses and aspiring witnesses - as well as the relatively "disinterested" community.

Any freeze of any account unrelated to the Steemit INC premine would never get consensus and would result in a fork. This is a very special condition related to solely the premined stake. The founders made social contracts, putting in the very roadmap what would be done with the stake, and centralizing the witnesses by voting was strictly prohibited.

Dan L realized this early on and left. Ned went on to try and pull a fast one and send us up the creek. Swift DPOS governance prevented the Steem chain from being vulnerable to being cannibalized.

Any freeze of any account unrelated to the Steemit INC premine would never get consensus and would result in a fork.

That is what I assume, but people who treat all accounts will say "they did it once". This is part of the game though, there are risks and decisions need to be made. A lot of people don't want to make the decisions themselves, but don't like any decisions that are made.

It is indeed tough to make a very objective statement about the act of the witnesses. Okay not all of them.
While they can tell that it isn’t personal I can imagine Justin could see it as an personal attack or message, which is actually is.

What troubles me the most is that fact that a witness who was against it almost got bullied here on our own blockchain. Strange isn’t it? Yes and No, I know.

It was a very interesting post. And let’s hope some community will try to purchase 10M steem 😁. Maybe the value of steem would rise above your selling point of a few weeks ago.

Also lets hope that this was a one kind action. But people do strange thongs when they do have the feeling if somebody want to have a piece of the cake, which they see as their own!

Also another question to end this dull and boring reply. Wouldn’t it be fairer if they also would have made the delegations of mister delegation unusable at the softfork? Now it feels like this is good for us so we do leave it alone, while it comes from the same pot of gold!

Cheers,
Peter

Not sure who got bullied, I haven't spent much time reading the witness statements.

If they tried to buy 50 million, I think it would rise above it :D

Also lets hope that this was a one kind action. But people do strange thongs when they do have the feeling if somebody want to have a piece of the cake, which they see as their own!

This is true, which is why the ninja mine happened in the first place. They wanted decentralization, but didn't want to give up control :)

All of the stake can be delegated, which could be an important way to develop the blockchain later.

I did read a lot of witness statements. Because I did find it a bold and strange decision. Just like you I have no idea which is right or wrong in this case.

Justin could use it to show his true intentions but also can see it as an act of war!

I don’t know about how the witnesses did earn their stake. Some of them was also probably as early adapter or witness. Their stake is consider to be fair and square. And they have promised to protect the steem blockchain, read for some of them their piece of the cake. That how one could interpret it.

!ENGAGE 15

I don’t know about how the witnesses did earn their stake.

Most of the current consensus witnesses didn't mine their stake by the looks of the list. There really weren't so many miners and as said, the mining wasn't the problem, the way Steemit Inc mined theirs is.

If Justin sees it as an act of war, it would be good evidence as to why it was done. With that much free stake, it takes some level of maturity to use it wisely.

I was one of the early miners and I have a pretty good idea who the others are. I believe about 5 of the current top 20 witnesses were early miners. The rest were not. Some don't even have all that much Steem, but they are trusted and respected by the community so they are voted in.

Yes, I have dug around enough over the years to be able to pick most from a lineup :) At the moment, it isn't a bad mix of old and new, developer and community orientated.

Why is your mining considered fair and non-ninja, while Steem Inc's mining is ninja and unfair?

I had no privileged information of being a VC-backed company with significant funding to carry forward the effort and make it worth something, which removed much or all of the the risk of spending money on mining, from their perspective alone. I also didn't deliberately withhold that information from everyone else, or order to deliberately rig the outcome the way they wanted.

From my perspective as a miner (as well as that of other non-Steemit miners), it had a high risk of never getting further development, never getting listed on an exchange and never having any real value, like many other coins at that time which showed up as only an announcement post. But they knew quite well that wasn't true.

Moving on, I didn't have the correct mining instructions while I gave everyone else broken ones. I hadn't spent months working with the code while everyone else only had a day or two to try to get an incomplete idea of what was in it and how to mine efficiently with limited or no correct documentation. I didn't reset the chain when things didn't go my way (in fact I was hurt by that, as I spent money to mine on the first chain), and finally I didn't make any promises or statements about dedicating my stake to developing the ecosystem or not voting.

Finally, I wouldn't say that Steemit's ninja-mining wasn't 'legitimate', but when they went and sold others on why we should invest our own money and effort into something with a very unbalanced and centralized stake ownership, they made promises and statements about how the stake would be used to get that support. I consider likewise consider it legitimate to hold them and the ninja-mined stake to that model and usage.

So, in summary, I'm perfectly accepting of their stake, as long as it is used as promised, which is that it be non-voting and used to develop the ecosystem.



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Because i knew things like this were possible, that witnesses are in place to protect my investment, is why i bought Steem in the first place.

My only criticism is that this should have happened years ago.

Unfortunately for Justin, he got screwed over by Ned... He didnt do his research and in the end, that is his problem.

It should have happened much earlier. I wonder what Ned would have been able to sell for if it had.

Yea pretty much my thoughts but longer lol

I didn’t know the exact amount they controlled but that’s a lot!

Length matters less than girth.

Yeah, it is a massive amount, and that is only in those 5 accounts - I am quite sure there is more.

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Excellently written :) I could pick out plenty of points but I think

Perhaps the softfork might actually bring some peace of mind to some investors who actually want to have their voice through the stake they bought

Is a fair statement and it would be good to hear of those who have recently bought in or now more confident in Steem's future.

For now, I am :)

Thanks.
I am sure that the argument can go either way, but that also means that there is the chance that while some investors today are unhappy, others might be happier tomorrow. Confidence is important - it drives positive sentiment :)

I was just saying on @midlet's post I thought that only the voting and delegation was frozen but I could have read it wrong, guess I read it wrong XD

This is the list and I don't know what they all are, but will add some I think.

Excluded Operations
account_witness_proxy_operation (can't assign a proxy to witness vote)
account_witness_vote_operation (can't vote for witnesses)
update_proposal_votes_operation (has to do with the SPS voting)
vote_operation (can't vote directly)
withdraw_vesting_operation (can't power down)
set_withdraw_vesting_route_operation (can't powerdown to another accont)
transfer_operation (can't transfer?)
limit_order_create_operation (internal market?)
limit_order_create2_operation (internal market?)
transfer_to_vesting_operation (can't power up)
transfer_to_savings_operation (can't move to savings)
escrow_transfer_operation (no idea)

They can delegate their stake to other accounts and those accounts could vote. This allows for example, mister delegation to support applications.

Ahh, I think I somehow missed the transfer_operation the last few times I read the list x_x

I think they should have clarified the operations in the post.

Nice summary of the situation but it would be nice to go even further back.

I believe that there were also others, old friends from Protoshares and Bitshares days plus a few others that figured things out, that mined huge amounts of Steem.

I could name a few but it would be interesting, from a historical perspective, to have a complete list.

For those, I can "good guess" at one or two, but it was well before my time.

Even steemit.inc's was before your time.

But not well before. A lot of what has happened and the discussions surrounding them are on the blockchain and date back to 2016. The BTS connections I know about through private discussion over the years, but they are not as well represented on chain.

One doesn't necessarily need to have been there to have an understanding of what went on. I know you are old, but I am guessing you include knowledge from before your time too ;D

Not just interesting. If they want this fork to be legit we all should know all the names, including the name of guy who hack the wallets and stole the funds.
If they don't reveal this they are just a bunch of hypocrites.

All of the mining information and the accounts are on chain. You can see which accounts are mined from steemd of you look at the account details, there is a section. I don't know how to search it as I don't have access to the SQL databases, but it is possible. Most of the miners are quite open that they mined. There is nothing wrong with those who mined - but it wasn't a fair mine by design.

Which hack are you speaking of?

Somebody hacked the wallets and stole steem. Steemit just refund the coins but thief keep the stolen steem. They know who that was but they never told steemians how much was taken and who did it. But as you said, it must be on the chain. Find it.

But as you said, it must be on the chain. Find it.

Happy hunting!

Ninja mined stake was not burned, no trusted body (foundation?) was created to manage it. Softfork has (likely temporarily) frozen these tokens.

But - what is the vision? Are witnesses to unlock these funds based on Justin's word? Such that it rolls on (with all the uncertainty) like during Ned's Stinc?

I haven't seen any discussion on the future, or any proposed solutions for ninja mined stake.

(I should have written a separate post, but nobody's going to read it, this way maybe the problem will get the attention of at least one person)

No, it wasn't burned, but probably should have been once the chain was stable, at least most of it (I wrote about this years ago). A foundation is likely open to corruption anyway.

  • What would be interesting is if it all got airdropped to holders with a longer locking up period as stake. Just to distribute it.

The conundrum is, what to do now. Perhaps more will come out after the March 6th meeting.

Justin as much as he is savvy, he unfortunately did not do his due diligence and bought a poisoned chalice. Unfortunate. I am sure a resolution can be reached that doesn't threaten the decentralization aspect of the chain.

While not everyone might agree, in some ways you would want your investment to be protected by the witnesses. Let's see how it goes.

I totally agree with the measure amd it is probably one of the most proactive steps I have seen from the Witnesses.

Looking forward to the outcome of the March meeting.

I do not think they would.

Bold assumption.

All assumptions are. There is no certainty in life.

There is one, it's called "Human Nature", and the only way to mitigate it is by making the code immune to its different identities.

Predictable, not certain.

If from the start the mined Steem went to more people or the distribution to non-mined accounts started earlier and went wider than it did, we would likely have a much more eclectic and vibrant community.

Agreed, nuff said.

@tarazkp i want to know this Soft fork is implemented consensus of all top 20 witnesses? I mean how many witnesses agreed to implement it

I just want to know how this works from witnesses side ,can only one witness do that or there must be consequences of 20 witnesses to change the code?

A soft fork only requires a majority of witnesses to run the code in order for it to work.

This soft fork had a supermajority, however. And the support for it extended well beyond the consensus witnesses (top 20). At the time of the fork, only two top-20 witnesses were opposed - one of them (clayop) disabled their witness, then making it 19/20 in favor of the new version.

Brother tarazkp mentioned 17/20 top witnesses and you are saying 19/20 who is right?

17/20 are needed for consensus to implement a hard fork.

This soft fork (any soft fork, actually) only required 11/20, but it ultimately had 19/20 when it went live, plus many backups.

Thanks for sharing this information

There has to be a super majority and I think that is 17/20. I think for this particular softfork, it was unanimous - but don't quote me on that.

What will be the case if in future 5 out 20 top witnesses agree to do same softfork again can they are able to do that's?

they do not have consensus. The top20 are called "consensus witnesses" and a super majority (17 out of 20 [I think]) have to agree for a fork to be implemented. This means that 17 of the consensus witnesses have to upgrade to the new code for it to go through.

Its good thing if 17 out 20 have to agree let's hope there will be a no need to do this again

Thank you @tarazkp for this clarification of this softforking, exchanges & ninja mined. I believe the witnesses would not try or intend locking stake, but would try to protect steemit Inc for good. We are all looking forward for steem incentivization, that is a great resource that will bring more income into the system.

protecting their own asses might be protecting ours too?

Let’s hope this can be settled with Justin Sun behind the evolution os Steem as a whole, he has resources and is quite the marketeer. So a middle path with him and the witnesses on the same course would be a good start!

Yes it would be a good start, but only if we as Steem survive.

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This is by far the best article I have read on this subject. Thanks for sharing and more ink to your pen.

Thanks, I hope it is helpful for those who do not have a background in what has led us to this point.

Sure, it's more than helpful. Even I who have been here for a while find it very helpful.