I knew that a hardfork of the Steem blockchain was in the works, but didn't know the date it would launch until the post came out. It makes sense that it was short notice. Justin was acting erratically and Hive needed a short runway to launch safely without his influence or him deploying his own hardfork. Additionally, much longer and it would have been harder to keep as much of Justin Sun's stake out of Hive, but from a business operator's stand point it presented a challenge.
The steem-engine dev team didn't have access to the completed code ahead of time. I figured there would be time to review code and prepare as a team when it was completed since it would be hard to build a compatible hive-engine backend from hardfork code that wasn't final. That didn't happen. When the code was complete it was announced, released, and there were 3 days to prep the hardfork. Go Hive and kudos for getting it done so quickly! But that's a rough timeline to operate re: Hive-Engine's development or strategic timelines.
The most immediate thought was "that's not enough time to prep a hive-engine, so let's make sure that everyone is able to withdraw their steem from steem-engine and let's make sure that the people who didn't withdraw their steem were taken care of quickly." I notified blocktrades we'd be participating in the air drop, and got to work figuring out on short notice the tools we'd need to complete the airdrop as quickly as we could.
We generally keep about 50% of the steem we hold in savings as a security measure. We worked out a plan to transfer that balance to liquid immediately, and then started working on securing liquid steem to ensure that enough Steem would be available to withdraw as people pulled Steem out. Lastly we focused on building tools to scan steem-engine for steemp holdings as a liquid balance and also those as buy orders on the exchange. Then we worked on a tool to airdrop Hive token on Hivers.
This tool that was built by @cryptomancer will be released as an open source tool compatible with tribe tokens for those that want it.
Within just a few days of the fork happening we completed the airdrop of Hive tokens to Hive balances on the Hive chain based on balances held on steem-engine. Woot!
Especially with so many exchanges down we thought it was critical for the hive ecosystem to be able to trade Hive tokens. We prioritized getting Hivep operational. We were one of the first exchanges to accept the pair and along with Blocktrades the only website that allows direct exchange. So far around $30-40k dollars of hive/steem have been traded on Steem-Engine in just a few days.
We're looking forward to building that success on HIVE!
Once the hardfork happened there became a couple of simultaneous priorities-
1. Hive Engine Backend
The team has already built the back end for Hive-Engine. The backend API is already working as well.
2. Hive-Engine.com Front end
There are additional components than just the smart contract node. We've completed the account history tool and its api. Scotbot and its api for hive are underdevelopment, and the crypto token converter api for hive-engine now works and with a little more work we can get about 10 different cryptos exchangeable on Hive-Engine. There are visual elements that need to be completed. The hive-engine site references steem still and steem keychain. Those things need to change and those are in progress.
You can visit hive-engine.com. It's operational. There's not much happening on it now. But as the rest of the pieces and the skinning complete it should be fully functional very shortly. It's still in pre-launch alpha so if you attempt anything on the site please start with small amounts.
3. Stability of Steem-Engine
Steem Engine has had stability issues in the past, but nothing like what's been happening over the last few days. As the infrastructure on steem has crumbled we've had challenges. We've created and implemented some stability fixes which appear to have improved performance. These also work for hive-engine.
I've noticed first logins of hive-engine sometimes take a few refreshes or just being more patient than I'm used to. But once I'm logged in it's been working fantastic.
Eonwarped has done exceptional work helping to get scotbot functional across steem and hive. Users right now can move their tribe base layer to Hive. Token balances are still on Steem-Engine. Steem-engine is covering the cost of this transition.
5. Crypto Token Converter
Getting this to work for Hive-Engine is currently under development. Some test tokens are underway now. We are working to get BTC, BCH, SWIFT, DOGE, EOS, BTS, STEEM, GOLOS, SBD, HBD all depositable on Hive-Engine as Pegged tokens in short order.
With 3 days of full notice with the finished code for the Hardfork there wasn't enough time to complete a hive-engine plan and we dealt with the things in our control. After having a moment to think about it we were left with 3 options.
Stay on Steem exclusively.
Move to Hive exclusively.
Operate on both.
Because of the decision to exclude accounts from the Hive airdrop on Hive there are a large number of heavily invested users that the current atmosphere would prevent from migrating to Hive. Many people have purchased ENG, ENG miners, Tribes, Tribe Tokens, and Tribe Miners. There's a lot of people interested in the fate of this ecosytem. Many simply don't agree with the fork and want to stay on Steem. Many don't feel welcome. Over ten thousand accounts have SCOT balances on steem-engine. We have decided to continue supporting a steem-engine site on Steem even if it's for a minority of users on a centralized chain.
Because of how Justin behaved many former steem users and Tribe owners are going to avoid Steem and exclusively move to Hive. To support the development of the Hive Community we're opening up hive-engine.
While I personally support the fork and plan to help develop the ecosystem with my time and energy I won't force people to move. So, rather than completely abandon or "exit" on the Steemians who may willfully choose to stay or lack welcome or incentive to switch we plan to keep steem-engine operational.
To support the former Steemians who are migrating to Hive we'll operate Hive-Engine.com.
Whatever development work we do for Engine we plan to provide for the whole engine ecosystem.
Why we airdropped Hive?
When the layer one forked it was a very easy decision to say "ok, we'll honor any balances from the layer one in an airdrop to users." The layer one forked. There were a new set of tokens that operated with a new blockchain and we distributed them 1:1 based on their holdings in Steem-Engine.
But the layer 2 doesn't fork just because the layer one does.
The most simple example of this is pegged BTC. For every BTC we hold we issue 1 BTCP. When the fork happens if all of the balances fork over as well then we're left with 1BTCP-Hive and 1 BTCP-Steem, but only 1 BTC. The second set of tokens is meaningless and doesn't have value with respect to physical reality.
Additional reasons to not fork balances are from a legal perspective. I'm not an attorney, but my discussions with my attorney have lead me to believe it's "absolutely essential" that we do not carry balances over into hive-engine. Operating a legal exchange in the united states is difficult and in order to avoid chance of prosecution, fines, or jail the only safe way forward is to start with fresh balances.
Because of the legal and physical restraints we're starting balances from scratch on Hive-Engine.
There are 2 solutions available at the time of this post.
A. Stay on Steem for posts and votes, stay on Steem-Engine for token balances (this is free and requires you to do nothing)
B. Move to Hive for posts and votes, stay on Steem-Engine for token balances (Steem-Engine is covering the cost of Eon's time for this). Specifics for how this work are documented in this post
A. If you choose to stay on Steem and on Steem-Engine there is literally nothing you have to do. Just keep operating.
B. If you want to move the base layer to hive please contact @eonwarped. He has adjusted scotbot to work such that you alter your tribe to post to Hive. The token balances are still recorded in Steem-Engine.
C. Move to Hive, move to Hive-Engine (This will require the purchase of Hive-Engine based tokens)
Moving to Hive as a base layer is easy, but because we aren't transitioning balances over to Hive there's a need for the new equivalent of ENG on Hive-Engine that we're calling BEE.
Eventually there may be other long term solutions like working on more than one chain beyond just Steem or Hive. To set the future stage: if we do something like figure out how to get Engine on Telos, EOS, or ETH your token balances won't be reflected there. Each new chain will have a fresh install of Engine.
The Steem-Engine native token is ENG. The Hive-Engine native token is BEE. The pricing and structure is identical.
1 Steem can be traded on the market for ENG. We sell 1 ENG for 1 Steem.
100 ENG = 1 token
1000 ENG = Staking Enabled
1000 ENG = Ability to Delegate Enabled
1 Bee can be traded for 1 Hive on the Hive-Engine market (as soon as hive-engine.com is up and running).
100 BEE = 1 token
1000 BEE = Staking Enabled
1000 BEE = Ability to Delegate Enabled
You'll have just shy of 30 days to claim any token name that your account owned on Steem-Engine. After this time tokens will no longer have a reserved namespace. If this is critical for you to get done asap we have a functional alpha of hive-engine.com that's available to use, but with the warning that it's still skinned for Steem.
Functionality is currently being built to allow Scot to start trailing Hive Engine for token balances. Once this is done, tribes that wish to completely move to Hive Engine for balances will need to let us know and we will need to follow a specific set of steps:
Steem-Engine will cover the labor involved in shifting to hive-engine.
If you're looking for your tribe to operate on Hive the minimum you can purchase is a token and the ability to stake, which is a combined 1100 BEEs.
If you're migrating off of Steem and moving to Hive Engine and you have miners you can purchase the necessary tokens on Hive-Engine and migrate your stakeholders to Hive. There won't be a charge for SCOTbot alterations to support the different chain with your miners. You can also figure out an alternative exchange with the holders if you don't plan to continue mining on Hive.
While the thought of spending more money on tribes might be daunting I'd like to try to provide remedy by providing some kind of path for people who don't want ENG, EM, or EMFOUR on a working steem-engine platform and instead want comparable things on the Hive-Engine platform. There's a limitation to hive-engine's ability to absorb the full cost of migration. There's a limitation of the tribe owners to absorb the cost of a migration. There's frustration of token holders across multiple tribes that want to see something figured out.
I don't want to simply provide an answer. I think it takes open discussion to figure a reasonable solution. I'm inviting tribe owners, eng holders, and miner holders to join me on Wednesday April 1st at 1pm EST in the Steem Engine Discord Server. It might be in the middle of the day but I imagine many people are forced to be home anyway these days.
As with everything I host all opinions are welcome, not all deliveries of those opinions are.
I think people just wanting some fun points to go along with their community will be better served by SMTs/HMTs than by tribes. I think people that want to use a token to earn a profit or run a website like a business or if they have tokens that represent something that has a fixed or physically bound supply it will make sense to stay in the layer 2.
People operating businesses may want to consider our experience before using Layer 1 SMTs/HMTs for business needs. If the chain forks all those tokens will automatically fork. Depending on the website or business it may not matter, but if layer 1 tokens represent something that doesn't fork (like websites) along with the layer 1 you'll have similar challenges as we do, but be forced to duplicate tokens. These things are complicated and users may not immediately understand the benefits and limitations of being on a layer 2 vs a layer 1.
I think SMTs and HMTs are great developments and very necessary, but as I've said for a while token distribution is like 10% of the problem. 90% of the problem is meaningful sinks and usecases.
It's been delayed because of Justin/Fork business, but we're still working on building marketplace functionality into Engine. We already have simple token market place functionality, but I'm interested in a marketplace where NFTs are front and center.
When we're done users will be able to create listings and optionally create NFTs inside the listing to buy/sell/rent goods and/or provide services. I think it'll be the basis of decentralized marketplaces springing up. Want to sell shoes, make an NFT and list it for sale. Have a game? Make an NFT and list the game pieces on the market through your own storefront and the catalog in general. Offer a service? We'll help you book appointments and handle payment. Want to rent something? We'll help create a space for renting and service contracts that go with it.
Tribe tokens can be a part of that. You can use a small incentive with a tribe to get people talking about your business. To give the tribe token value you can accept for value for good/services. That's why I'm excited by markets!
Bringing value to engine token owners is the plan despite some very intense conditions. With good development and a little luck tribe owners will see a vast increase to the potential use case of their tokens.
This entire document would have been better as advanced notice as opposed to trailing notice of how things are shaping up after the hardfork. We've done our best under duress to enhance our tools, provide new services, and give our customers options. We look forward to operating on Hive and bringing users Hive-Engine.com. Thanks for your business, your support, your patience, and here's looking forward to the cool projects that people will develop with layer 2 SCOTs and NFTs provided by the Engine team!